|Title of Invention||
AN ANTENNA ELEMENT
|Abstract||The present invention relates in its various aspects to an antenna element, a proximity-coupling feed probe for an antenna; a dielectric spacer for an antenna; an antenna (which may be single band or multiband), and a method of communicating with a plurality of devices. The invention is preferably but not exclusively employed in a base station antenna for communicating with a plurality of terrestrial mobile devices.|
|Full Text||FORM 2
THE PATENT ACT 1970 (39 of 1970)
The Patents Rules, 2003 COMPLETE SPECIFICATION
(See Section 10, and rule 13)
1. TITLE OF INVENTION
ANTENNA ELEMENT, FEED PROBE DIELECTRIC SPACER, ANTENNA AND
METHOD OF COMMUNICATING WITH A PLURALITY OF DEVICES
a) Name : ANDREW CORPORATION
b) Nationality : AMERICAN Company
c) Address : 10500 WEST 153RD STREET,
3. PREAMBLE TO THE DESCRIPTION
The following specification particularly describes the invention and the manner in which it is to be performed : -
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application claims the benefit of priority from provisional patent application Serial No. 60/482,689, filed June 26,2003,
entitled Antenna Element, Multiband Antenna, And Method Of Communicating With A Plurality Of Devices. Provisional
patent application Serial No. 60/482,689, is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety
HELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates in its various aspects to an antenna element, a proximity-coupling feed probe for an antenna; a
dielectric spacer for an antenna; an antenna (which may be single band or multiband), and a method of communicating with
a plurality of devices. The invention is preferably but not exclusively employed in a base station antenna for communicating
with a plurality of terrestrial mobile devices.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
In some wireless communication systems, single band array antennas are employed. However in many modem wireless
communication systems network operators wish to provide services under existing mobile communication systems as well
as emerging systems. In Europe GSM and DCS1800 systems currently coexist and there is a desire to operate emerging
third generation systems (UMTS) in parallel with these systems. In North America network operators wish to operate
AMPS/NADC, PCS and third generation systems in parallel.
As these systems operate within different frequency bands separate radiating elements are required for each band. To
provide dedicated antennas for each system would require an unacceptably large number of antennas at each site. It is
thus desirable to provide a compact antenna within a single strucSe capable of servicing all required frequency bands.
Base station antennas for cellular communication systems generally employ array antennas to allow control of the radiation
pattern, particularly down tilt. Due to the narrow band nature of arrays it is desirable to provide an individual array for each
frequency range. When antenna arrays are superposed in a single antenna structure the radiating elements must be
arranged within the physical geometrical limitations of each array whilst minimising undesirable electrical interactions
between the radiating elements.
US 2003/0052825 A1 describes a dual band antenna in which an annular ring radiates an omni-directional "doughnut"
pattern for terrestrial communication capability, and an inner circular patch generates a single lobe directed towards the
zenith at a desired SATCOM frequency.
WO 99/5Q223 describes a dual-band microstrip array with a line of three low frequency patches superposed with high
frequency crossed dipoles. Additional high frequency crossed dipoles are also mounted between the low frequency
patches. Parasitic sheets are mounted below the crossed dipoles.
Guo Yong-Xin, Luk Kwai-Man, Lee Kai-Fong, "L-Probe Proximity-Fed Annular Ring Microstrip Antennas", IEEE Transactions"
on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. 49, No. 1, pp 19-21, January 2001 describes a single band, single polarized antenna.
The L-probe extends past the centre of the ring, so cannot be combined with other L-probes for a dual-polarized feed
A first aspect of an exemplary embodiment provides a multiband base station antenna for communicating with a plurality of
terrestrial mobile devices, the antenna including one or more modules, each module including a low frequency ring element;
and a high frequency element superposed with the low frequency ling element.
The high frequency element can be located in the aperture of the ring without causing shadowing problems. Furthermore,
parasitic coupling between the elements can be used to control the high and/or low frequency beamwidth.
Preferably the low frequency ring element has a minimum outer diameter b, a maximum inner diameter a, and the ratio b/a
is less than 1.5. A relatively low b/a ratio maximizes the space available in the center of the ring for locating the high band
element, for a given outer diameter. The antenna may be single polarized, or preferably dual polarized.
Typically the high frequency element and the low frequency ring element are superposed substantially concentrically,
although non-concentric configurations may be possible.
Typically the high frequency element has an outer periphery, and the low frequency ring element has an inner periphery
which completely encloses the outer periphery of the high frequency element, when viewed in plan perpendicular to the
antenna. This minimizes shadowing effects.
Communication system includes a network of antennas as discussed above.
The antenna can be used in a method of communicating with a plurality of terrestrial mobile devices, the method including
communicating with a first set of said devices in a low frequency band using a ring element; and communicating with a
second set of said devices in a high frequency band using a high frequency element superposed with the ring element. The
communication may be one-way, or preferably a two-way communication.
Typically the ring element communicates via a first beam with a 5pt frit-power beamwidth, and the high frequency element
communicates via a second beam with a second half-power beamwidth which is no more than 50% different to the first
beamwidth. This can be contrasted with US 2003/0052825 A1 in which the beamwidths are substantially different.
The ring element communicates via a first beam with a first half Power beamwidth less than 120° & high frequency element
communicates via a second beam with a second half power beamwith less than 120°. Generally second half-power
beamwidth is less than 90°. A further aspect of an exemplary embodiment provides a multiband antenna including one or
more modules, each module including a low frequency ring element; and a dipole element superposed with the low
frequency ring element. The antenna can be used in a method of communicating with a plurality of devices, the method
including communicating with a first set of said devices in a low frequency band using a ring element; and communicating
with a second set of said devices in a high frequency band using a dipole element superposed with the ring element.
Communication system may includes a network of antennas. v*"
We have found that a dipole element is particularly suited to being used in combination with a ring. The dipole element has
a relatively low area (as viewed in plan perpendicular to the ring), and extends out of the plane of the ring, both of which may
reduce coupling between the elements. A further aspect of an exemplary embodiment provides an antenna element including a ring, and one or more feed probes extending from the ring, wherein the ring and feed probe(s) are formed from a unitary piece. Forming as a unitary piece enables the ring and feed probe(s) to be manufactured easily and cheaply. Typically each feed probe meets the ring at a periphery of the ring. This permits the probe and ring to be easily formed from a unitary piece. A further aspect of an exemplary embodiment provides an antenna element including a ring; and a feed probe having a coupling section positioned proximate to the ring to enable the feed probe to electromagnetically couple with the ring, wherein the coupling section of the feed probe has an irwsr side which cannot be seen within an inner periphery of the ling when viewed in plan perpendicular to the ring.
This aspect provides a compact arrangement, which is particularly suited for use in a dual polarized antenna, and/or in conjunction with a high frequency element superposed with the ring within its inner periphery. An electromagnetically coupled probe is preferred over a conventional direct coupled probe because the degree of proximity between the probe and the ring can be adjusted, to tune the antenna. Typically the element further includes a second ring positioned adjacent to the
first ring to enable the second ring to electromagnetically couple with said first ring. This improves the bandwidth of the antenna element.
A further aspect of an exemplary embodiment provides a dual polarized antenna element including a ring; and two or more
feed probes, each feed probe having a coupling section positioned proximate to the ring to enable the feed probe to
electromagnetically couple with the ring.
A further aspect of an exemplary embodiment provides an antenna feed probe including a feed section; and a coupling
section attached to the feed section, the coupling section having first and second opposite sides, a distal end remote from
the feed section; and a coupling surface which is positioned, when in use, proximate to an antenna element to enable the
feed probe to electromagnetically couple with an antenna element, wherein the first side of the coupling section appears
convex when viewed perpendicular to the coupling surface, and wherein the second side of the coupling section appears
convex when viewed perpendicular to the coupling surface.
A probe of this type is particularly suited for use in conjunction with a ring element, the 'concavo-convex' geometry of the
element enabling the element to align with the ring without protruding beyond the inner or outer periphery of the ring. In one
example the coupling section is curved. In another, the coupling section is V-shaped.
A further aspect of an exemplary embodiment provides a multiband antenna including an array of two or more modules,
each module including a low frequency ring element and a high frequency element superposed with the low frequency ring
The compact nature of the ring element enables the centres of the modules to be closely spaced, whilst maintaining
sufficient space between the modules. This enables additional elements, such as interstitial high frequency elements, to be
located between each pair of adjacent modules in the array. The modules are arranged in a substantially straight line. An
array consist of only a single line of modules. The low frequency ring element has a substantially circular outer periphery. An
antenna further includes an array of two or more primary modules spaced apart along an antenna axis each primary module
including a low frequency element & high frequency element superposed with low frequency ring element; and one or more
secondary modules, each secondary modules, positioned between a respective pair of primary modules, and including an
interstitial high frequency element. A parasitic ring may be superposed with each interstitial high frequency element. The
parasitic ring (s) present a similar environment to the high band elements which can improve isolation as well as allowing the
same impedance tuning for each high frequency element.
Further a communication system includes a network of antennas as discussed above.
A further aspect of an exemplary embodiment provides a multiband antenna including one or more modules, each module
including a low frequency ring element; and a high frequency element superposed with the low frequency ring element,
wherein the low frequency ring element has a non-circular inner periphery.
The non-circular inner periphery can be shaped to ensure the sufficient clearance is available for the high frequency
element, without causing shadowing effects. This enables the inner periphery of the ring to have a minimum diameter which
is less than the maximum diameter of the high frequency element.
A further aspect of an exemplary embodiment provides a microstrip antenna including a ground plane; a radiating element
spaced from the ground plane by an air gap; a feed probe having a coupling section positioned proximate to the ring to
enable the feed probe to electromagnetically couple with the ring; and a dielectric spacer positioned between the radiating
element and the feed probe.
This aspect can be contrasted with conventional proximity-fed microstrip antennas, in which the radiating element and feed
probe are provided on opposite sides of a substrate. The size of the spacer can be varied easily, to control the degree of
coupling between the probe and radiating element.
A further aspect of an exemplary embodiment provides a dielectric spacer including a spacer portion configured to maintain
a minimum spacing between a feed probe and a radiating element; and a support portion configured to connect the radiating
element to a ground plane, wherein the support portion and spacer portion are formed as a unitary piece.
Forming the spacer portion and support portion from a single piece enables the spacer to be manufactured easily and
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The accompanying drawings which are incorporated in and constitute part of the specification, illustrate embodiments of the
invention and, together with the general description of the in Sanction given above, and the detailed description of the
embodiments given below, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
Figure 1 shows a perspective view of a single antenna module;
Figure 1a shows a cross section through part of the PCB;
Figure 2a shows a plan view of a Microstrip Annular Ring (MAR);
Figure 2b shows a perspective view of the MAR;
Figure 2c shows a side view of the MAR;
Figure 3a shows a perspective view of a Crossed Dipole Element (CDE);
Figure 3b shows a front view of a first dipole part;
Figure 3c shows a rear view of the first dipole part
Figure 3d shows a front view of a second dipole part;
Figure 3e shows a rear view of the second dipole part
Figure 4 shows a perspective view of a dual module;
Figure 5 shows a perspective view of an antenna array;
Figure 6a shows a plan view of an antenna array with parasitic rings;
Figure 6b shows a perspective view of the array of Figure 6a;
Figure 7a shows a plan view of a parasitic ring;
Figure 7b shows a side view of the parasitic ring;
Figure 7c shows an end view of the parasitic ring
Figure 7d shows a perspective view of the parasitic ring
Figure 8 shows a perspective view of an antenna employing a single piece radiating element;
Figure 9Ashows an end view of an alternative probe;
Figure 9Bshows a side view of the probe;
Figure 9C shows a plan view of the probe;
Figure 10 shows a plan view of a square MAR;
Figure 11 shows an antenna array incorporating square MARs;
Figure 12 shows an isometric view of an antenna;
Figure 13 shows a plan view of one end of the antenna;
Figure 14 shows an end view of a clip;
Figure 15 shows a side view of the clip;
Figure 16 shows a plan view of the clip;
Figure 17 shows a first isometric view of the clip;
Figure 18 shows a second isometric view of the dip;
Rgure 19 shows a side view of an MAR;
Rgure 20 shows a top isometric view of the MAR;
Rgure 21 shows a bottom isometric view of the MAR;
Rgure 22 shows a single band antenna; and
Rgure 23 shows a dual-band antenna communicating with a number of land-based mobile devices.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
Rgure 1 shows a single antenna module 1, comprising a single low frequency Microstrip Annular Ring (MAR) 2 and a single
high frequency Crossed Dipole Element (CDE) 3 centred in the MAR 2. The MAR 2 and CDE 3 are mounted on a printed
circuit board (PCB). The PCB comprises a substrate 4 which carries a microstrip feedline network 5 coupled to the MAR 2,
and a microstrip feedline network 6 coupled to the CDE 3. As shown in Rgure 1a (which is a cross section through part of
the PCB), the other face of the substrate 4 carries a ground plane 7. The MAR 2 and CDE 3 are shown separately in Rgures
2a-c and Rgures 3a-f respectively.
Referring to Rgures 2a-c, the MAR 2 comprises an upper ring 10, lower ring 11, and four T-probes 12a,12b. Each T-probe
12a,12b is formed from a single T-shaped piece of metal with a If-13 and a pair of arms 15. The leg 13 is bent down by 90
degrees and is formed with a stub 14 which passes through a hole in the PCB and is soldered to the feed network 5. Thus
the leg 13 and stub 14 together form a feed section, and the arms 15 together form a coupling section. Referring to Rgure
1, the arms 15 each have a distal end 50 remote from the feed section, an inner side 51 and an outer side 52, and an upper
surface 53 which couples capacitively with the lower ring 11. The arms 15 extend circumferentially with respect to the ring,
and have the same centre of curvature as the outer periphery of the lower ring 11. Therefore the outer sides 52 appear
convex when viewed perpendicular to the upper surface 52, and the inner sides 51 appears convex when viewed
perpendicular to the upper surface 52.
The arms 15 of the T-probe couple capacitively with the lower ring 11, which couples capacitively in turn with the upper ring
10. The rings 10,11 and the T-probes 12a, 12b are separated by plastic spacers 16 which pass through apertures in the
arms 15 of the T-probe and the lower ring 11. The spacers 16 are received in the apertures as a snap fit, and have a similar
construction to the arms 122 described below with reference to Rgure 17.
The T-probes 12a are driven out of phase provide a balanced feed across the ring in a first polarization direction, and the T-
probes 12b are driven out of phase to provide a balanced feed across the ring in a second polarization direction orthogonal
to the first direction.
An advantage of using electromagnetically (or proximity) coupled feed probes (as opposed to direct coupled feed probes
which make a direct conductive connection) is that the degree of coupling between the lower ring 11 and the T-probes can
be adjusted for tuning purposes. This degree of coupling may be adjusted by varying the distance between the elements
(by adjusting the length of the spacers 16), and/or by varying the area of the arms 15 of the T-probe.
It can be seen from Rgures 1 and 2c that air gaps are present between the upper ring 10, the lower ring 11, the arms 15 of
the T-probes and the PCB. In a first alternative proximity-coupling arrangement (not shown), the MAR may be constructed
without air gaps, by providing a single ring as a coating on an outer face of a two-layer substrate. A proximity coupled
microstrip stub feedline is provided between the two substrate layers, and a ground plane on the opposite outer face of the
two-layer substrate. However the preferred embodiment shown in Figures 1 and 2a-2c has a number of advantages over
this alternative embodiment. Firstly, there is an ability to increase the distance between the arms 15 of the T-probe and the
lower ring 11. In the alternative embodiment this can only be achieved by increasing the substrate thickness, which cannot
be increased indefinitely. Secondly, the rings 10 and 11 can be stamped from metal sheets, which is a cheap manufacturing
method. Thirdly, because the legs 13 of the T-probes are direct'^ away from the ground plane 7, the distance between the
ground plane and the rings 10,11 can easily be varied by adjusting the length of the legs 13. It has been found that the
bandwidth of the antenna can be improved by increasing this distance.
In a second alternative proximity-coupled arrangement (not shown), the MAR may have a single ring 11, or a pair of stacked
rings 10,11, and the T-probes may be replaced by L-probes. The L-probes have a leg similar to the leg 13 of the T-probe,
but only a single coupling arm which extends radially towards the centre of the ring. The second alternative embodiment
shares the same three advantages as the first alternative embodiment. However, the use of radially extending L-probes
makes it difficult to arrange a number of L-probes around the ring for a dual-polarized feed, due to interference between
inner edges of the coupling arms. The inner parts of the L-probes would also reduce the volume available for the CDEs 3.
Note that the concave inner sides 51 of the arms of the T-probes cannot be seen within the inner periphery of the ring when
viewed in plan perpendicular to the ring, as shown in Rgure 2d This leaves this central volume (that is, the volume of
projection of the inner periphery of the ring, projected onto the ground plane) free to accommodate the CDE. It also ensures
that the T-probes are spaced apart to minimize interference.
The "concavo-convex" shape of the arms 15 of the T-probes conforms to the shape of the lower ring, thus maximising the
coupling area whilst leaving the central volume free.
The upper ring 10 has a larger outer diameter than the lower ring 11 (although in an alternative embodiment it could be
smaller). However the inner diameter, and shape, of each of the rings, is the same. Specifically, the inner periphery of the
rings is circular with four notches 19 formed at 90 degree intervals. Each notch has a pair of straight angled sidewalls 17
and a base 18. As can be seen in the Figure 1, and the plan view of Rgure 6a, the diameter of the CDE 3 is greater than
the minimum inner diameter of the rings. The provision of rushes 19 enables the inner diameter of the rings to be
minimised, whilst providing sufficient clearance for the arms of the CDE 3. Minimising the inner diameter of the rings
provides improved performance, particularly at high frequencies.
The lower ring 11 has a minimum outer diameter b, a maximum inner diameter a, and the ratio b/a is approximately 1.36.
The upper ring 12 has a minimum outer diameter b', a maximum inner diameter a', and the ratio b'/a' is approximately 1.40.
The ratios may vary but are typically lower than 10, preferably less than 2.0, and most preferably less than 1.5. A relatively
low b/a ratio maximizes the central volume available for locating the CDE.
Referring to Figures 3a-e, the CDE 3 is formed in three parts: namely a first dipole part 20, a second dipole part 21, and a
plastic alignment clip 22. The first dipole part comprises an insulating PCB 23 formed with a downwardly extending slot 24.
The front of the PCB 23 carries a stub feedline 25 and the back of the PCB 23 carries a dipole radiating element comprising
a pair of dipole legs 26 and arms 27. The second dipole part 2r is similar in structure to the first dipole part 20, but has an
upwardly extending slot 28. The CDE 3 is assembled by slotting together the dipole parts 20,21, and mounting the clip 22
to ensure the dipole parts remain locked at right-angles.
The PCB 23 has a pair of stubs 29 which are inserted into slots (not shown) in the PCB 4. The feedline 25 has a pad 30
formed at one end which is soldered to the microstrip feedline network 6.
The small footprint of the MAR 2 prevents shadowing of the CDE 3. By centring the CDE 3 in the MAR 2, a symmetrical
environment is provided which leads to good port-to-port isolation for the high band. The MAR is driven in a balanced
manner, giving good port-to-port isolation for the low band.
A dual antenna module 35 is shown in Figure 4. The dual module 35 includes a module 1 as shown in Figure 1. An
additional high frequency CDE 36 is mounted next to the module ft. The microstrip feedline network 6 is extended as shown
to feed the CDE 36. The CDE 36 may be identical to the CDE 3. Alternatively, adjustments to the resonant dimensions of
the CDE 36 may be made for tuning purposes (for instance adjustments to the dipole arm length, height etc).
An antenna for use as part of a mobile wireless communications network in the interior of a building may employ only a
single module as shown in Rgure 1, or a dual module as shown in Rgure 4. However, in most external base station
applications, an array of the form shown in Rgure 5 is preferred. The array of Rgure 5 comprises a line of five dual modules
35, each module 35 being identical to the module shown in Rgure 4. The PCB is omitted in Rgure 5 for clarity. The
feedlines are similar to feedlines 5,6, but are extended to drive the mc Jules together.
Different array lengths can be considered based on required antenna gain specifications. The spacing between the CDEs is
half the spacing between the MARs, in order to maintain array uniformity and to avoid grating lobes.
The modules 35 are mounted, when in use, in a vertical line. The azimuth half-power beamwidth of the CDEs would be 70-
90 degrees without the MARs. The MARs narrow the azimuthal half-power beamwidth of the CDEs to 50-70 degrees.
An alternative antenna array is shown in Rgures 6a and 6b. The array is identical to the array shown in Rgure 5, except
that additional parasitic rings 40 have been added. One of the parasitic rings 40 is shown in detail in Rgures 7a-d. The ring
40 is formed from a single piece of stamped sheet metal, and comprises a circular ring 41 with four legs 42. A recess (not
labelled) is formed in the inner periphery of the ring where the ring meets each leg 42. This enables the legs 42 to be easily
bent downwardly by 90 degrees into the configuration shown. The legs 42 are formed with stubs (not labelled) at their distal
end, which are received in holes (not shown) in the PCB. In contrast to the legs 13 of the T-probes, the legs 42 of the
parasitic rings 40 are not soldered to the feed network 5, although they may be soldered to the ground plane 7. Hence the
rings 40 act as "parasitic" elements. The provision of the parasitic rings 40 means that the environment surrounding the
CDEs 36 is identical, or at least similar, to the environment-surrounding the CDEs 3. The outer diameter of the parasitic
rings 40 is smaller than the outer diameter of the MARs in order to fit the parasitic rings into the available space. However,
the inner diameters can be similar, to provide a consistent electromagnetic environment.
An alternative antenna is shown in Rgure 8. The antenna includes a singe piece radiating ring 45 (identical in construction to
the parasitic ring 40 shown in Rgure 7a-7d). The legs 46 of the ring are coupled to a feed network 47 on a PCB 48. In
contrast to the rings 40 in Rgure 6a and 6b (which act as parasitic elements), the ring 45 shown in Rgure 8 is coupled
directly to the feed network and thus acts as a radiating element. #
An air gap is provided between the ring 45 and the PCB 48. In an alternative embodiment (not shown), the air gap may be
filled with dielectric material.
An alternative electromagnetic probe 60 is shown in Rgures 9A-9C. The probe 60 can be used as a replacement to the T-
probes shown in Rgures 1 and 2. The probe 60 has a feed section formed by a leg 61 with a stub 62, and an arm 63 bent at
90 degrees to the leg 61. Extending from the arm 63 are six curved coupling aims, each arm having a distal end 64, a
concave inner side 65, a convex outer side 66, and a planar upper coupling surface 67. Although six coupling arms are
shown in Rgures 9A-9C, in an alternative embodiment only four arms may be provided. In this case, the probe would
appear H-shaped in the equivalent view to Rgure 9C.
An alternative antenna module 70 is shown in Rgure 10. In contrast to the circular MAR of Rgure 1, the module 70 has a
square MAR 71 with a square inner periphery 72 and a square outer periphery 73. The T-probes shown in the embodiment
of Rgures 1 and 2 are replaced by T-probes formed with a feed leg (not shown) and a pair of arms 74 extending from the
end of the feed leg. The arms 74 are straight, and together form a V-shape with a concave outer side 75 and a convex inner
side 76. A CDE 76 (identical to the CDE 3 of Rgure 1) is superposed concentrically with the ring 61, and its arms extend
into the diagonal comers of the square inner periphery 72. An antenna formed from an array of modules 70 is shown in
Figure 11. Interstitial high band CDEs 77 are provided between the modules 70. Although only three modules are shown in
Figure 11, any alternative number of modules may be used (for instance five modules as in Figure 5).
An alternative multiband antenna 100 is shown in Figures 12 and 13. In common with the antenna of Figure 5, the antenna
100 provides broadband operation with tow intermodulation and £a radiating elements have a relatively small footprint. The
antenna 100 can be manufactured at relatively low cost.
A sheet aluminium tray provides a planar reflector 101, and a pair of angled side walls 102. The reflector 101 carries five
dual band modules 103 on its front face, and a PCB 104 on its rear face (not shown). The PCB is attached to the rear face'
of the reflector 101 by plastic rivets (not shown) which pass through holes 105 in the reflector 101. Optionally the PCB may
also be secured to the reflector with double sided tape. The front face of the PCB, which is in contact with the rear face of
the reflector 101, carries a continuous copper ground plane layer. The rear face of the PCB carries a feed network (not
Coaxial feed cables (not shown) pass through cable holes 111,112 in the side walls 102 and cable holes 113 In the reflector
101. The outer conductor of the coaxial cable is soldered to the PQ.B copper ground plane layer. The central conductor
W passes through a feed hole 114 in the PCB through to its rear side, where it is soldered to a feed trace. For illustrative
purposes, one of the feed traces 110 of the feed network can be seen in Figure 13. Note however that in practice the feed
trace 110 would not be visible in the plan view of Figure 13 (since it is positioned on the opposite face of the PCB).
Phase shifters (not shown) are mounted on a phase shifter tray 115. The tray 115 has a side wall running along the length
of each side of the tray. The side walls are folded into a C shape and screwed to the reflector 101.
In contrast to the arrangement of Figures 1, 4 and 8 (in which the feed network faces the radiating elements, with no
intervening shield), the reflector 101 and PCB copper ground plane provide a shield which reduces undesirable coupling
between the feed network and the radiating elements.
Each dual band module 103 is similar to the module 35 shown in Figure 4, so only the differences will be described below.
The annular rings and T-probe of the MAR are spaced apart amounted to the reflector by four dielectric clips 120, one of
the dips 120 being shown in detail in Figures 14-18.
Referring first to the perspective view of Figure 17, the clip 120 has a pair of support legs 121, a pair of spacer arms 122,
and an L-shaped body portion 123. Referring to Figure 15, the end of each support leg 121 carries a pair of spring clips
123, each spring clip having a shoulder 124. Each spacer arm 122 has a pair of lower, central and upper grooves 128,129,
and 130 respectively. A pair of lower, central and upper frustoconical ramps 125,126 and 127 are positioned next to each
pair of grooves. Each arm also has a pair of openings 131,132 which enable the ramps 128-130 to flex inwardly. A pair of
leaf springs 133 extend downwardly between the legs 121. The clip 120 is formed as a single piece of injection moulded
Delrin™ acetal resin. The body portion 123 is formed with an opening 134 to reduce wall thickness. This assists the
injection moulding process. Each module 103 includes an MAP Shown in detail in Figures 19-21. Note that for clarity the.
CDE is omitted from Figures 19-21. The MAR is assembled as follows.
Each T-probe is connected to a respective clip by passing the spacer arms through a pair of holes (not shown) in the T-
probe. The lower ramps 125 of the spacer arms 122 flex inwardly and snap back to hold the T-probe securely in the lower
groove 128 The MAR includes a lower ring 140 and upper ring 141. Each ring has eight holes (not shown). The holes in
the lower ring 140 are larger than the holes in the upper ring 141. This enables the upper ramps 127 of the spacer arm to
pass easily through the hole in the lower ring. As the lower ring 140 is pushed down onto the spacer arm, the sides of the
hole engage the central ramps 126 which flex inwardly, then snap back to hold the ring securely in the central grooves 129.
The upper ring 141 can then be pushed down in a similar manner into upper grooves 130, past ramp 127 which snaps back
to hold the upper ring securely in place After assembly, the MAR !s mounted to the panel by snap fitting the support legs 121 of each clip into holes (not shown) in the reflector 101, and soldering the T-probes 143 to the feed network. When the spring clips 123 snap back into place, the reflector 101 is held between the shoulder 124 of the spring clip and the bottom face of the leg 121. Any slack is taken up by the action of the leaf springs 133, which apply a tension force to the reflector 101, pressing the shoulder 124 against the reflector.
The clips 120 are easy to manufacture, being formed as a single piece. The precise spacing between the grooves 128-130 enables the distance between the elements to be controlled accurately. The support legs 121 and body portion 123 provide a relatively rigid support structure for the elements, and divert vibrational energy away from the solder joint between the T-probe and the PC8. A further alternative antenna is shown in Figure 22. The antenna of Figure 22 is identical to the antenna of Figure 12, except that the antenna is a single band apterna, having only MAR radiating elements (and no high frequency CDEs). Certain features of the dual band antenna shown in Figure 22 (for instance the shaped inner periphery of the MARs, the holes in the reflector for the CDEs) are unnecessary in a single band antenna, so may be omitted in practice. A typical field of use of the multiband antennas described above is shown in Figure 23. A base station 90 includes a mast 91 and multiband antenna 92. The antenna 92 transmits downlink signals 93 and receives uplink signals 94 in a low frequency band to/from terrestrial mobile devices 95 operating in the low band. The antenna 92 also transmits downlink signals 96 and receives uplink signals 97 in a low frequency band to/from mobile devices 98 operating in the high band. The down tilt of the high band and low band beams can be varied independently.
In a preferred example the low band radiators are sufficiently broadband to be able to operate in any wavelength band between 806 and 960 MHz. For instance the low band may be 806-869 MHz, 825-894 MHz or 870-960 MHz. Similarly, the high band radiators are sufficiently broadband to be able to operate in any wavelength band between 1710 and 2170 MHz. For instance the high band may be 1710-1880 MHz, 1850-1990 MHz or 1920-2170 MHz. However it will be appreciated that other frequency bands may be employed, depending on the intended application.
The relatively compact nature of the MARs, which are operated in their lowest resonant mode (TMn), enables the MARs to be spaced relatively closely together, compared with conventional low band radiator elements. This improves performance of the antenna, particularly when the ratio of the wavelengths for the high and low band elements is relatively high. For instance, the antenna of Figure 12 is able to operate with a frequency ratio greater than 2.1:1. The CDEs and MARs have a spacing ratio of 2:1. In wavelength terms, the CDEs are spaced apart by 0.82D and the MARs are spaced apart by 0.750, at the mid-frequency of each band. Thus the ratio between the mid-frequencies is 2.187:1. At the high point of the frequency band, the CDEs are spaced apart by 0.920 and the MARs are spaced apart by 0.81D (the ratio between the high-point frequencies being 2.272:1).
While the present invention has been illustrated by the description of the embodiments thereof, and while the embodiments have been described in detail, it is not the intention of the Applicant to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. For example, the CDEs may be replaced by a patch element, or a "travelling-wave" element. The MARs, parasitic rings 40 or single piece radiating rings 45 may be square, diamond or elliptical rings (or any other desired ring geometry), instead of circular rings. Preferably the rings are formed from a continuous loop of conductive material (which may or may not be manufactured as a single piece).
Although the radiating elements shown are dual-polarized elements, single-polarized elements may be used as an alternative. Thus for instance the MARs, or single piece radiatinq rings 45 may be driven by only a single pair of probes on
opposite sides of the ring, as opposed to the dual-polarized configurations shown in Rgures 1 and 12 which employ four probes. Furthermore, although a balanced feed arrangement is shown, the elements may be driven in an unbalanced
manner. Thus for instance each polarization of the MARs or the single piece rings 45 may be driven by only a single probe, instead of a pair of probes on opposite sides of the ring.
Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the invention in its broader aspects is not limited to the specific details, representative apparatus and method, and illustrative examples shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departure from the spirit or scope of the Applicants general inventive concept.
1. An antenna element including a ring, and one or more feed probes extending from the ring, wherein the ring and feed probe(s) are formed from a unitary piece.
2. An antenna element according to claim 1 wherein the ring lies in a plane, and the feed probe(s) extend(s) out of the plane of the ring.
3. An antenna according to claim 1 wherein each feed probe is formed by bending the feed probe out of the plane of the ring.
4. An antenna element according to claim 1 wherein the unitary piece is stamped from a piece of sheet metal.
5. An antenna element according to claim 1 wherein each feed probe meets the ring at a periphery of the ring.
6. An antenna element according to claim 5 wherein the periphery is an inner periphery of the ring.
7. An antenna element according to claim 1 wherein each feed probe meets the ring at a recess formed in the periphery of the ring.
8. An antenna element according to claim 1, wherein the ring has a minimum outer diameter b, a maximum inner diameter a, and the ratio b/a is less than 1.5.
9. An antenna element according to claim 1 wherein the ring is a dual-polarized element.
10. An antenna including one or more antenna elements according to claim 1.
11. A communication system including a network of antennas according to claim 10.
12. A method of manufacturing an antenna element according to claim 1, the method including forming the ring and the feed probe(s) from a unitary piece.
13. A method according to claim 12 wherein the ring lies in a plane, and each feed probe is formed by bending the feed probe out of the plane of the ring.
14. A method according to claim 12 wherein the ring and feed probe(s) are formed by stamping from a piece of sheet metal.
15. A multiband antenna including one or modules, each module including a low frequency ring element; and a high frequency element superposed with the low frequency ring element, wherein the low frequency ring element has a non-circular inner periphery.
16. An antenna according to claim 15 wherein the inner periphery is formed with one or more notches which provide clearance for the high frequency element.
17. An antenna according to claim 15 wherein the inner periphery of the low frequency is substantially circular between the notches.
18. An antenna according to claim 15 wherein the or each notch has a base and a pair of non-parallel side walls.
19. An antenna according to claim 15 wherein the low frequency ring element has two or more notches distributed regularly around its inner periphery, each poteh providing clearance for a respective part of the high frequency element.
20. An antenna according to claim 15, wherein the inner periphery of the ring has a minimum diameter which is less than a maximum diameter of the high frequency element.
21. A communication system including a network of antennas according to claim 15.
22. A dual polarized antenna element including a ring; and two or more feed probes, each feed probe having a coupling section positioned proximate to the ring to enable the feed probe to electromagnetically couple with the ring.
Dated this 20,th day of November, 2006.
HIRAL CHANDRAKANT J0SHI AGENT FOR
|Indian Patent Application Number||1920/MUM/2006|
|PG Journal Number||19/2010|
|Date of Filing||20-Nov-2006|
|Name of Patentee||ANDREW CORPORATION|
|Applicant Address||10500 WEST 153RD STREET, ORLAND PARK, ILLINOIS 60462,|
|PCT International Classification Number||H01Q19/00|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|