November has been a busy month for the Maltese team, who have been focused on the arrival of more than 100m2 of mid-frequency antennas to be assembled in the field and tested. Figure 1 shows the print-screen of the antennas and the sheets of antennas being printed.

Figure 1: Print screen of the FR-ORA array to be deployed in Malta.

The assembly of the antennas onto a polystyrene base is shown in Figure 2. This is done to provide a mechanical support for the antenna array, which is then placed onto a chicken-wire ground plane and assembled on top of metallic frame.

Figure 2: Antennas assembled onto polystyrene base to give support to the structure.

The assembly of the structure is shown in Figure 3. The entire array is then placed within a dome structure to protect the array from wind and rain. The team then carried out electromagnetic simulations on the metallic frame and the dome structure to understand the effect of these support structures on the array’s electromagnetic performance.

Figure 3: Antenna array assembled inside the dome structure with the ground plane (chicken wire) visible.

Throughout December, the team will be working on taking beam measurements of the array using a UAV system, coupled with GPS, to determine the array’s exact performance and compare it with the electromagnetic simulations.

Figure 4: Dome structure being erected to protect antenna array from the elements.

Report provided by Kristian Adami