We do a lot of work with antennas and wireless devices. Everything we build has a wireless component to it. Every antenna is different in size, shape, and performance characteristics.
In our efforts to maximize the effectiveness of our antenna designs, we needed a test setup that would allow us to automatically sweep the antenna through multiple orientations. We couldn’t find any, so we decided to make one!
“Our needs were not met by what we could buy.” Says president, Mike Ciholas.
“We have to invent a lot of antennas that go on various devices. They need to be small, different frequencies, have different characteristics and in the process of doing that to test an antenna properly, you have to look at it in all of its directions.” Ciholas says.
In the past to test our antennas we had to manually change its position over and over. After going through various concepts, we finally settled on a device that is able to test our antennas by changing the elevation and angles in a systematic, automated way.
Mechanical Engineer Aidan Kunkle helped to bring Mike’s vision into reality.
“For radio signals, their path is deformed with the presence of metal so the goal was to make a device that had as little metal as possible.” Says Kunkle.
Our device is made out of plywood, plastic fasteners and glue. “These things seem old fashioned but they’re non-metallic.” He says.
Our antenna positioner can work in two orientations simultaneously and test various orientations without the presence of a person manually moving it. The results are recorded in a program that allows us to analyze the antenna and make decisions based on the recorded characteristics.
“We can set this up to measure the antenna pattern, measure the antenna delay, and measure all the antenna characteristics and we can have it run overnight so in the morning we have all this data that tells us how good the antenna is.” Says Ciholas.
The antenna positioner is currently in use at Ciholas for internal development. We are in the process of commercializing it to make it possible for other companies to use.