Paola Di Ninni, Pietro Bolli, Fabio Paonessa, Giuseppe Pupillo, Giuseppe Virone and Stefan J. Wijnholds, "Electromagnetic Analysis and Experimental Validation of the LOFAR Radiation Patterns," International Journal of Antennas and Propagation, V2019, no. 9191580, pp1-12, January 2019.

Low-frequency (<300 MHz) aperture array systems are one of the new trends in modern radio astronomy. Among the challenges they pose, the instrumental calibration is a key aspect requiring an accurate and reliable model of each element of such electrically large array. A full-wave electromagnetic analysis has been carried out for the lower frequency (30–80 MHz) array of the low frequency array (LOFAR) radio telescope taking into account the presence of soil ground, the mutual coupling between the antennas and the relevant receiver impedance loading effects. The impact of mutual coupling effects on the embedded element and array patterns is assessed for two subarray configurations with different degrees of sparseness. A simplistic array factor approach has been implemented as well to determine the accuracy in the antenna pattern evaluation with respect to the full-wave approach. Finally, results from an experimental campaign conducted by means of a micro hexacopter system show the reliability of the developed array numerical model.

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