Affiliations: NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH 44135, USA Tel.: +1 216 433 6640; Fax: +1 216 433 6371; E‐mail: [email protected] | Analex Corporation, Cleveland, OH 44135, USA Tel.: +1 216 433 6388; E‐mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Phased Array Antennas (PAAs) using patch‐radiating elements are projected to transmit data at rates several orders of magnitude higher than currently offered with reflector‐based systems. However, there are a number of potential sources of degradation in the Bit Error Rate (BER) performance of the communications link that are unique to PAA‐based links. Short spacing of radiating elements can induce mutual coupling between radiating elements, long spacing can induce grating lobes, modulo 2π phase errors can add to Inter Symbol Interference (ISI), phase shifters and power divider network introduce losses into the system. This paper describes efforts underway to test and evaluate the effects of the performance degrading features of phased‐array antennas when used in a high data rate modulation link. The tests and evaluations described here uncover the interaction between the electrical characteristics of a PAA and the BER performance of a communication link.