Antenna design is one of the remaining "mystical" areas of the high-frequency electronics industry. Although mathematical modeling software and electromagnetic (EM) simulation tools have made the task somewhat more predictable, successful antenna design still requires a great deal of knowledge and experience. And it is knowledge and experience that newcomer Micro-Ant, Inc. (Plymouth, MA) brings to the industry, along with EM modeling, manufacturing, testing services, and several lines of high-performance microstrip antennas and arrays, feeds, parabolic reflectors, and precision horns.

Founded by Charles McCarrick, who honed his antenna design skills under the guidance of John Seavey (Seavey Engineering) and also serves as lead engineer, Micro-Ant also boasts antenna engineer Greg Poe and mechanical engineer John Barbuto. The design team has already developed a wide range of microstrip designs (including patches and phased arrays), feeds (including symmetrical reflectors, and parabolic antennas.

For example, model PCA24SR is a microstrip array antenna (Fig. 1) formed from bonded layers of plastic and foam sheets. The circular antenna is 24 in. in diameter and only 0.75 in. high but yields 21 dBic typical gain from 2200 to 2300 MHz. The printed-circuit array exhibits a maximum VSWR of 1.30:1 and features typical noise temperature of 70 K.

The model PCA5LR is a microstrip patch antenna designed for the INMARSAT BGAN satellite network. Measuring only 4 × 4 × 1 in., the patch operates with right-handed circular polarization and achieves 8.5 dBic gain from 1525 to 1661 MHz. With maximum VSWR of 1.50:1, the basic design is available for other frequencies and can be supplied within a radome.

Model WGF2XL is an example of the company's feed products (Fig. 2). Measuring 3.8 × 4.25 in., the lightweight scalar feed is designed for use with prime focus symmetric reflector systems. The feed, which operates from 7.5 to 8.4 GHz with typical noise temperature of 70 K, is constructed of brazed aluminum with a WR-112 waveguide flange at the RF port.

Among the firm's horn designs, model QRH13LS is a broadband quad-ridged antenna that can be used as a feed for a reflector, for instrumentation applications, or in broadband communications systems. It operates from 1 to 2 GHz with dual linear polarization (the horn has two orthogonal RF ports that can be combined via a hybrid to produce right- or left-handed circular polarization). The horn delivers minimum gain of 10 dBi and exhibits maximum VSWR of 2.0:1.

In addition to these standard designs, the company offers a host of custom antenna configurations. Services are many, and include consulting, computer modeling, noise-temperature measurements, manufacturing tolerance studies, and optimization studies. Micro-Ant, Inc., 15 Wildwood Rd., Plymouth, MA 02360; (508) 888-0406, FAX: (508) 888-1626, e-mail: salesmarketing@micro-ant.com, Internet: www.micro-ant.com.