Some highlights in reflector antenna development
Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
Copyright 1976 by the American Geophysical Union.
Volume 11, Issue 8-9, pages 671–684, August-September 1976
How to Cite
1976), Some highlights in reflector antenna development, Radio Sci., 11(8, 9), 671–684, doi:10.1029/RS011i008p00671.(
- Issue published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Received: 25 FEB 1976
Reflector antennas have been used since the radio pioneering era of Lodge, Hertz, and Marconi, but it took the exigent demands of radar in World War II to stimulate a real development in the reflector art. Subsequent interest in the science of radio astronomy and the inception of microwave ground communication links were responsible for a burgeoning growth in the field, so that in the 1940s and 1950s the design principles and requirements for prime focus fed systems were well established. Cassegrain, or secondary focus systems, and horn reflectors came into prominence in the early 1960s with the advent of satellite tracking and communication networks. The desire to maximize the gain, or the gain-temperature ratio, then led to development of sophisticated techniques for properly shaping the illumination over the reflector aperture in order to maximize efficiency and minimize spillover, among them being the shaping of the sub-reflector in Cassegrain systems and the use of multimode and hybrid mode feed horns. Not all reflector antennas utilize paraboloidal surfaces. Some recent developments in line source feeds make the spherical reflector attractive for scanning applications and the conical reflector for deployable, space-borne antennas. The large 1000-foot diameter reflector at Arecibo is a well known example of the former. Although some extremely large spaceborne reflector antennas have been proposed and studied, the largest now in use appears to be the unfurlable 30-foot reflector carried by ATS-6. Finally, some gain comparisons are given for a few of the (electrically) largest reflectors that have been built both for radio astronomy and for space communications. If some milestones in reflector development have been overlooked it is due to the limitations inherent in a review paper.