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Title:
MULTI-BAND CONCENTRIC HELICAL ANTENNA
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1997/042682
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A Multi-Band, Concentric Helical Antenna (20) operating in a conical mode which produces a uniform radiated flux within a footprint is disclosed. This antenna offers substantial benefits for satellite communication systems, since the size and volume of the antenna are compact, and is well suited for use on a spacecraft.

Inventors:
Grybos, David P.
Hung, Charles C.
Application Number:
PCT/US1997/006810
Publication Date:
November 13, 1997
Filing Date:
May 01, 1997
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Leo One IP. L.
, C.
International Classes:
H01Q1/28; H01Q11/08; H04B7/185; (IPC1-7): H01Q11/08
Foreign References:
FR1204354A1960-01-26
US4148030A1979-04-03
FR2091927A11971-01-21
US3599220A1971-08-10
US5255005A1993-10-19
EP0666612A21995-08-09
US2611868A1952-09-23
Other References:
CARDOSO J C ET AL: "A SPHERICAL HELICAL ANTENNA" PROCEEDINGS OF THE ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM (APSIS), ANN ARBOR, JUNE 28 - JULY 2, 1993, vol. 3, - 28 June 1993 INSTITUTE OF ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS, pages 1558-1561, XP000452569
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. = What is claimed is An antenna (20) comprising a first helix (22), a second helix (24), said second helix (24) being disposed generally concentrically within said first helix (22), characterised in that said first helix (22) is excited by radiant energy at a first frequency (f,) and said second helix (24) is excited by radiant energy at a second frequency (f2) .
2. An antenna (20) as claimed in claim I , wherein radiant energy used to excite said second helix (24) is at a frequency (f2) more than twice the frequency (f,) of radiant energy used to excite said first helix (22).
3. An antenna (20) as claimed in claim I or 2, wherein said first helix (22) includes N helical elements (22ad), where N is greater than two, each one of said N helical elements (22ad) being connected at a first end (34) to a feed line (28) and a phasing network (26) through which said radiant energy at a first frequency (f,) is fed at successive phase angles (0 of 360 degrees divided by N. respectively to each one of said N helical elements (22ad).
4. An antenna (20) as claimed in claim 3, wherein N = 4 and the four helical elements (22ad) are fed said radiant energy at a phase angle of zero degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees and 270 degrees, respectively.
5. An antenna (20) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said first frequency (f,) is in a very high frequency (VHF) band.
6. An antenna (20) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said second helix (24) includes M helical elements (24ad), where M is greater than two, each one of said M helical elements (24ad) being connected at a first end (36) to a feed line (32) and phasing network (30) through which said radiant energy at a second frequency (f2) is fed at successive phase angles (f) of 360 degrees divided by M, respectively to each one of said M helical elements (24ad) 7 An antenna (20) as claimed in claim 6, wherein M=4 and the four helical elements (24ad) are fed said radiant energy at a phase angle of zero degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees and 270 degrees, respectively.
7. An antenna (20) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said second frequency (f2) is in an ultra high frequency (UHF) band.
8. An antenna (20) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said first helix (22) has a pitch spacing (P,), a diameter (D,) and a length (AL,), said second helix (24) has a pitch spacing (P2), a diameter (D2) and a length (AL,), said first helix (22) and said second helix (24) are wound in the same spiral direction and have the same polarization, and said first helix (22) pitch spacing (P,), diameter (D,) and length (AL,), and said second helix (24) pitch spacing (P2), diameter (D,) and length (AL2) are adjusted such that said first helix (22) and said second helix (24), when excited by said radiant energy, radiate in a pattern generally characterized as a conical mode of propagation.
9. An antenna (20) as claimed in claim 9, wherein said conical mode of propagation includes radiated energy which is maximum at an outer edge of a farfield footprint (40) of a projected beam (42) and varies, approximately as the distance squared along a path from said first helix (22) and said second helix (24) to said farfield footprint (40), to a minimum at a nearest point to said first helix (22) and said second helix (24) in said farfield footprint (40), said radiation pattern having nearly uniform radiated flux at all points within said farfield footprint (40).
10. An antenna (20) as claimed in any of claims 1 to 8, wherein said first helix (22) and said second helix (24) are wound in opposite spiral directions.
11. An antenna (20) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said first helix (22) and said second helix (24) are airwound spring coils, compressed flat prior to launch on board a satellite (12) and deployed to full length in flight.
12. An antenna (20) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said first helix has a diameter (D,), which is nonuniform over its length, and/or said second helix has a diameter (D,) which is nonuniform over its length.
13. An antenna (20) as claimed in claim 13, wherein said first helix (22) and said second helix (24) are wound with increasing coil diameters with respect to the antenna input end.
14. An antenna (20) as claimed in claim 13, wherein said first helix (22) and said second helix (24) ate wound with decreasing coil diameters with respect to the antenna input end.
15. An antenna (20) as claimed in claim 13, wherein said first helix (22) and said second helix (24) are wound with increasing and decreasing coil diameters to increase bandwidth.
16. An antenna (20a, b) as claimed in any preceding claim, comprising a third helix (25) disposed generally concentrically within said first helix (22), said third helix being fed by radiant energy.
17. An antenna (20a, b) as claimed in claim 17, wherein said third helix (25) has a pitch spacing (P,), a diameter (D,) and a length (AL,), and is fed by radiant energy at a third frequency (f,), and said first helix (22), said second helix (24) and said third helix (25) are wound in the same spiral direction, and radiate in a pattern generally characterized as a conical mode of propagation.
18. An antenna (20a, b) as claimed in claim 17 or 18, wherein said third helix (25) is fed by radiant energy at a frequency which is at least twice as great as the frequency ofthe radiant energy supplied to said second helix.
19. An antenna (20a, b) as claimed in any of claims 17 to 19, wherein said third helix (25) is disposed end toend on a common axis with said second helix (24).
20. An antenna (20a, b) as claimed in any of claims 17 to 19, wherein said third helix (25) is disposed generally concentrically within said second helix (24).
21. A multiband antenna (50) according to any preceding claim and compπsing a first inflatable, non¬ conducting support (52), having a mounting surface at a first end, a second inflatable, nonconducting support (58) concentrically disposed within said first inflatable, nonconducting support (52) and having a mounting surface at a first end, in common with said first inflatable, nonconducting support (52), a plurality of first conducting tapes (54ad), a plurality of second conducting tapes (56ad), said plurality of first conducting tapes (54ad) wound to form said first helix (54) upon said first inflatable, nonconducting support (52) and having N helical elements (54ad), where N is greater than two, said plurality of second conducting tapes (56ad) wound to form said second helix (56) upon said second inflatable nonconducting support (58) and having M helical elements (56ad), where M is greater than two, said first inflatable non conducting support (52) being arranged to be deployed in space to form said first helix (54), said second inflatable, nonconducting support (58) being arranged to be deployed in space to form said second helix (56).
22. A multiband antenna (50) according to claim 22, wherein each of said N helical elements (54ad) is coupled at a first end to an antenna feed line through a first phasing network, and each of said M helical elements (56ad) is coupled at a first end to an antenna feed line through a second phasing network.
23. A method of operating a multiband antenna (20) comprising the steps of supplying a first helix (22) having a pitch spacing (P,), a diameter (D,) and length (AL,) and winding said first helix (22) in a spiral direction, supplying a second helix (24) having a pitch spacing (P2), a diameter (D2) and a length (AL2) and winding said second helix (24) in the same spiral direction as said first heiix (22), placing said second helix (24) within said first helix (22) generally concentrically, driving said first helix (22) with radiant energy at a first frequency (f,), driving said second helix (24) with radiant energy at a second frequency (f2), said second frequency (f,) being higher than said first frequency (f,), and adjusting said first helix pitch spacing (P ,), diameter (D,) and length (AL,), and second helix (24), pitch (P2), diameter (D2) and length (AL2) for an antenna radiation pattern generally characterized as a conical mode of propagation .
24. A method of operating a multiband antenna (20) as claimed in claim 24, in which said second frequency (f2) is at least twice said first frequency (f,).
25. A method of operating a multiband antenna (20) as claimed in claim 24, in which said first frequency (f,) is in a very high frequency (VHF) band and said second frequency (f,) is in an ultra high frequency (UHF) band.
26. A method of operating a multiband antenna (20) as claimed in any of claims 24 to 26, wherein said step of supplying a first helix (22) and a second helix (24) further includes the steps of winding said first helix (22) with N helical elements (22ad), where N is greater than two, coupling each one of said N helical elements (22ad) at a first end (34) to a feed line (28) through a phasing network (26), winding said second helix (24) with M helical elements (24ad), where M is greater than two, and coupling each one of said M helical elements (24ad) at a first end (36) to a feed line (32) through a phasing network (30) .
27. A method as claimed in claim 27, wherein said N helical elements (22ad) include four helical elements, and said M helical elements (24ad) include four helical elements.
28. A method as claimed in claim 28, wherein the steps of driving said first helix (22) with radiant energy at a first frequency (f,) and driving said second helix (24) with radiant energy at a second frequency (f,) further include the steps of driving each of said N helical elements (22ad) with said radiant energy at said first frequency (f,) at a phase angle of zero degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees and 270 degrees, respectively, and driving each of said M helical elements (24ad) with said radiant energy at said second frequency (f,) at a phase angle of zero degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees and 270 degrees, respectively .
29. A method of operating a multiband antenna (20) as claimed in any of claims 24 to 29, wherein said conical mode of propagation includes radiated energy which is maximum at an outer edge of a farfield footprint (40) of a projected beam (42) and varies, approximately as the distance squared along a path from said first helix (22) and said second helix (24) to said farfield footprint (40), to a minimum at a nearest point to said first helix (22) and said second helix (24) in said farfield footprint (40); said radiation pattern having nearly uniform radiated flux at all points within said farfield footprint (40).
30. A method of operating a multiband antenna (20) as claimed in any of claims 24 to 30, further including the steps of: supplying a third helix (25) having a pitch spacing (P,), a diameter (D,) and a length (AL3); said third helix (25) being wound in the same spiral direction as first helix (22) and said second helix (24); placing said second helix (24) and said third helix (25) generally concentrically within said first helix (22); feeding said third helix (25) with said radiant energy at a third frequency (f3); said second frequency (f2) being at least twice said first frequency (f,); said third frequency (f3) being at least twice said second frequency (f2); and adjusting said first helix pitch spacing (P,), diameter (D,) and length (AL,); said second helix (24) pitch spacing (P2), diameter (D,) and length (AL,) and said third helix pitch spacing (P,), diameter (D3) and length (AL,) such that said first helix (22) and said second helix (24), when driven by said radiant energy, radiate in a pattern generally characterized as a conical mode of propagation.
31. A method of operating a multiband antenna (20) as claimed in claim 31 , further including the step of placing said third helix (25) endtoend with said second helix (24) on a common axis.
32. A method of operating a multiband antenna (20) as claimed in claim 31 , further including the step of placing said third helix (25) generally concentric within said second helix (24).
33. A method of operating a multiband antenna (20) as claimed in any of claims 24 to 33, wherein the helices (22, 24, 25; 54, 56) are originally in a compressed state and are subsequently expanded when deployed into their operational state.
34. A method of operating an antenna (20; 20a, 20b; 50) as claimed in any preceding claim, for communications between a ground station and a satellite.
Description:
Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna

TECHNICAL FIELD 1 he present invention relates to the field of antennas More particularly, this invention provides a multi-frequency, concentric helical or spiral antenna which produces a novel conical mode radiation pattern and whose compact configuration provides significant advantages for communications These antennas have general use in multi-frequency, two-way radio communications and are particularly useful for communications between ground stations and non-geostationary satellites Opportunities for use may be found in satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), medium Earth Orbit (MEO), highly elliptical orbit (HEO) or geostationary orbit (GEO) and for communication between ground-based stations

BACKGROUND ART Simple helical antennas appear to have been investigated thoroughly by many persons skilled in the antenna art, and are currently used in many different applications The helical antenna represents a transition between linear-element antennas and loop antennas

The Antenna Handbook edited by Y T Lo and S W Lee, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, NY, 1988, describes helical circularly polarized antennas in figure 6 at page 3-31, pages 27- 15 through 27-17 and in figures 14 through 19 Single helices and multiple (bifilar) helices for single antennas are illustrated

A detailed presentation of the basic concepts and analysis of the helical antenna is supplied in Antennas Second Edition, by J D Kraus, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, 1988, in Chapter 7 Satellite- borne arrays of side-by-side helices are shown Kraus also depicts a number of antenna configurations including a driven helix having a parasitic helix of about the same diameter wound over it for producing increased gain He also describes end-to-end helices The Antenna Engineering Handbook R C Johnson, Editor, Third Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, 1993, Chapter 13, King et al present a detailed description of the performance of helical antennas King et al describe single or multiple conductors wound into a helical shape They describe the axial, normal and higher order modes of operation Helices with uniform diameter, non-uniform diameter and tapering diameters are discussed The latter types of helices exhibit greater broad-band frequency response and better circular polarization over a wide band than does the helix with uniform diameter King et al discuss short axial mode helices as single antenna elements and in side-by-side arrays They describe helical windings of circular wire and of ribbon-like flat windings on dielectric material As discussed by Kraus and King et al , the helical antenna has different modes of energy propagation which are controlled by its geometry The most common are axial mode and normal mode Axial mode, used most widely, provides maximum radiation along the helix axis Dm mode occurs when

the helix circumference is of the order of one wavelength ofthe propagated energy The normal mode occurs when the helix diameter is small with respect to one wavelength, and yields radiation generally directed broadside, that is, 90 degrees from the helix axis Such helices are commonly used in flexible antennas for hand held transceivers and provide shorter antennas When a satellite communicates with Earth stations in very high frequency (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) bands, two different helices having different geometry are generally required One helix operates at VHF and the other smaller helix operates at UHr The two helices are usually mounted separately, either linearly end-to-end, or side-by-side However, there are disadvantages to each of these methods ot mounting End-to-end mounting produces a very long antenna which requires a large stowage space or folding the antenna Deployment on orbit becomes more difficult when the antenna is folded for stowage Side-by-side mounting often results in asymmetric coverage by the two radiated beams If an array of helical elements is needed for increased gain, this configuration can become too unwieldy to stow and deploy because of the volume it occupies It would be a significant commercial advantage for a multi-band antenna to be constructed with the higher frequency helix mounted concentrically within the lower frequency helix Such a system would offer a much more compact antenna than those currently available For example, as a result ofthe reduced length, the antenna could be compressed, "spring-like," for stowage aboard a launch vehicle and easily deployed to full length on orbit by releasing the restraint on the spring Moreover, the helical elements could be sized to produce radiation in a novel conical mode which produces a radiation pattern with significant advantages for satellite-to-Earth station communications

The inventors believe that persons skilled in the antenna arts have worked with designs that generally teach away from concentric helices Others have proposed to use concentric helices with different polarization at the same frequency for uplink and downlink A right hand helix might be used for uplink and a left hand helix for downlink It is the inventors' understanding that this method proved unsuccessful in simulations

Originally the inventors believed that mutual electric field coupling between concentric helices was much smaller than generally thought and pursued concentric helices operating at different frequencies Successful designs were subsequently discovered when the frequency difference between concentric helices was at least two to one

The development of a multi-band, concentric helical antenna would constitute a major technological advance and would satisfy a long felt need in the satellite and telecommunications industries

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION "*

The present invention is a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna which operates in a novel conical mode A higher frequency helical element is placed concentrically inside a lower frequency helix The helix dimensions are selected so that each helix radiates energy in the conical mode The conical mode is a higher order radiation mode, and can provide maximum radiation between zero degrees and 90 degrees from the helix axis The radiation pattern produced in the conical mode is advantageous for communication between non-geostationary satellites, particularly those in low Earth orbit (LEO), and ground stations This radiation pattern is beneficial because it is maximum at the outer edge of the radiation pattern in the far-field plane and decreases, approximately according to the distance squared along the path from the antenna to the far-field plane The radiation pattern produces nearly uniform radiated flux at all points on the Earth's surface within the footprint of a radiated beam

Other opportunities for use of the Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna may be found in satellites in medium Earth orbit (MEO), highly elliptical orbit (HEO) or geostationary orbit (GLO) Multi- band communication between ground-based stations is also facilitated In the preferred embodiment, maximum radiation occurs around 60 degrees from the helix axis

Any length, diameter and pitch dimensions can be used so long as desired conical mode of operation results Both the inner and outer helices can operate in the conical mode when concentrically located as described below When used aboard a LEO satellite for satellite-to-ground communication, maximum radiation occurs at the edge of the radiated beam footprint on the Earth Radiation decreases approximately according to the distance squared along the path from the satellite to the Earth to a minimum at the satellite's nadir As a result, the radiated flux at all points on the Earth's surface within the beam footprint is nearly the same The Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna is smaller than known linear, end-to-end, or side-by-side mounted, dual helices and yet performs, in the conical mode, equally well as these other antennas at all angles in azimuth from the helix axis The preferred number of helical elements (N) in the outer helix is a number equal to or greatei than three The start of the helical windings of all elements begins at the radiant energy-input end of the antenna In the preferred embodiment, the N helical elements ofthe outer helix are connected at the start of their windings through a phase shifter to an antenna feed line which supplies radio frequency energy The phase shifter supplies energy to each of the elements at phase angles of (360°/N )*(ι- l ), wheie I equals 1 , 2 N

The preferred number of helical elements (M) in the inner helix is also a number equal to or greater than three The M helical elements ofthe inner helix aie connected to a second antenna feed line through a second phase shifter The second phase shifter supplies energy to each of the inner helix elements at phase angles of (360°/M )*(ι- l ), where i equals 1 , 2 M However, the start of the helical windings ofthe inner helix are "clocked," that is rotated about the helix axis, by 360°/(2*M) from the start ofthe helical windings of the outer helix The inner helix may operate at a frequency greater than twice that ofthe outer helix

In one embodiment, which is particularly useful for LEO satellite communications, both innerlϊnd outer helix have four helical coils The coils may be wound on a cylindrical form or they may be wound with increasing, decreasing or both, diameters to increase bandwidth Each of the four coils ofthe outer element are fed at very high frequency (VHF) at phase angles of 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees, respectively Each ofthe four coils ofthe inner element are similarly fed at ultra high frequency (UHF) at phase angles of 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees, respectively 1 he windings ofthe inner helix are "clocked" 45 degrees from the windings of the outer helix All helical elements are preferably wound in the same direction so that they have the same polarization The pitch, diameter, and length of the helixes are chosen so that the antenna radiates in the conical mode The helical elements may be air wound spring coils, compressed flat prior to launch and deployed to full length in flight The elements may alternatively be attached to any non-conducting mateπal form that allows stowage and deployment

Another embodiment features helically wound tape disposed on inflatable, non-conducting supports and concentrically positioned The non-conducting supports are inflated in space to form the concentric helical antenna elements In another embodiment, three helices are mounted concentrically and each helix is operated at a different frequency Two inner helices may be disposed end-to-end, concentrically within an outer helix, the third inner helix being positioned at the free end of the second, inner helix Alternatively, the third inner helix may be positioned concentrically within the second inner helix

An appreciation of other aims and objectives of the present invention may be achieved by studying the following description of preferred and alternative embodiments and by referring to the accompanying drawings

A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Figure 1 is a schematic view of satellite communications using one ofthe preferred embodiments of the Multi-Band Concent) ic Helical Antenna Figure 1 A is a schematic diagram depicting the use ofthe Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna for communication between earth stations and satellites in low Earth orbit, medium Earth orbit, highly elliptical orbit and geostationary orbit

Figure 2 is a schematic representation of a helical antenna, known in the art, comprising four helical elements F igure 3 is a perspective view of a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite which utilizes one of the preferred embodiments of the Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna ofthe current invention

Figure 4 is a schematic, cut-away diagram of a preferred embodiment of the Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna revealing cylindπcally-wound, "quadπfilar" helical elements of outer and inner helices, and feedlmes and phase shifters which deliver phase-shifted, radio frequency energy to each one of the quadπfilar helical elements

Figure 5 is view A-A of Figure 4 depicting feed points 90 degrees apart at one end of each of the helices and revealing the inner helix feed points "clocked" at 45 degrees from the outer helix feed points

Figure 6 is a schematic view depicting a radio beam transmitted or received in conical mode by the Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna deployed on a LEO satellite, and showing the beam footprint on the Earth's surface

Figure 7A is a schematic diagram which reveals a concentric helical antenna for operation in at least three frequency bands, in which there are two inner helices, disposed end-to-end on the common axis

Figure 7B is a schematic diagram which reveals a concentric helical antenna for operation in at least three frequency bands in which there are two inner helices, disposed concentrically Tigure 7C is a schematic drawing of an alternative embodiment of the Multi-Band Concentric

Helical Antenna in which the helices are made from conducting tape disposed on a form which is inflated to the operating configuration upon deployment in space

Tigure 8 is a chart depicting a typical roll-off of gain for an "isoflux" beam transmitted or received by a satellite antenna in low Earth orbit of 950 km altitude Gain is shown from the nadir relative to an angle of 57 2 degrees from the nadir The gain is based on the square of the distance between the satellite and a point in the beam footprint

Tigure 9 is a chart on which is plotted directivity (no-loss gain) versus angle θ (angle from helix axis) of a single, quadπfilar, helical antenna, operating in conical mode, excited at a frequency of 137 MHz, at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree phase angles Figure 10 depicts the Axial Ratio versus angle θ for a single quadπfilar helix, excited at a frequency of 137 MHz and fed at phase angles of 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees, showing ratios near 0 dB which yield the best performance for a satelhte-to-ground antenna

Figure 1 1 is a plot of directivity versus angle from the helix axis (θ) for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna comprising two concentric quadπf ' ilar helices T he outer helix is excited at a frequency of 137 MHz, at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree phase angles Ihe outer helix is wound in a right-hand direction and the inner helix is also wound in a right-hand direction

Figure 12 displays the Axial Ratio versus angle θ for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna comprising two concentric quadπfilar helices, wound in the same direction, with the outer helix excited, as in Figure 1 1 Figure 13 is a plot, to be compared with Figures 9 and 1 1 , of directivity versus angle from the helix axis (θ) of the Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna comprising two concentric quadπfilar helices wound in the same direction The inner helix is excited at a frequency ot 400 MHz, at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree phase angles The outer helical elements are terminated in 50 ohm loads

Figure 14, to be compared with Figures 10 and 18, depicts the Axial Ratio at angles of θ for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna comprising two concentric quadπfilar helices, wound in the same direction, the inner helix excited as in Figure 13 It shows the satisfactory Axial Ratio for the inner helix when it is wound in the same direction as the outer helix

Figure 15 is a plot, to be compared with Figures 9 and 1 1 , of directivity versus angle from the helix axis (θ) for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices dimensionally the same as in Figure 1 1 and similarly excited. In this configuration, the outer helix is wound in a right-hand direction and the inner helix is wound in a left-hand direction. Figure 16 shows Axial Ratio versus θ (angle from helix axis) for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical

Antenna comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices, wound in opposite directions, dimensionally the same as in Figure 1 1 and with the outer helix excited as in Figure 1 1.

Figure 17 is a plot of directivity versus θ for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna, comprising quadrifilar helical elements wound in opposite directions, in which the inner helix is excited at 400 MHz at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees phase angles and the outer helix is terminated with 50 ohm loads. This plot shows the inner helix does not work as desired when the helices are wound in opposite directions.

Figure 18 reveals the Axial Ratio versus angle θ for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices, wound in opposite directions, and the inner helix excited at 400 MHz, at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees phase angles and the outer helix terminated with 50 ohm loads.

This figure shows the degradation in Axial Ratio for the inner helix when it is wound opposite to the outer helix.

Figure 19 is a plot of cross polarization versus θ for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna in which both helices are wound in the same direction, excited as in Figure 17 at 400 MHz, showing significantly high cross polarization at 60 degrees off-axis.

Figure 20 is a chart on which is plotted directivity versus angle from the helix axis (θ) of a single, quadrifilar, helical antenna, excited at a frequency of 149 MHz at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree phase angles.

Figure 21 is the Axial Ratio versus θ for a single, quadrifilar helix, excited at a frequency of 149 MHz at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees phase angles. Figure 22 is a plot, to be compared with Figure 20, of directivity versus angle from the helix axis

(θ) for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices wound in opposite directions. The outer helix is excited at a frequency of 149 MHz, at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree phase angles and the inner helix is terminated with 50 ohm loads.

Figure 23 is a plot, to be compared with Figures 20 and 22, of directivity versus angle from the helix axis (θ) for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices wound in the same direction and similarly excited as in Figure 22. The inner helix is terminated with 50 ohm loads.

Figure 24, to be compared with Figure 21, reveals the Axial Ratio versus angle 0 for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna, in which the outer helix is excited at 149 MHz at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees phase angles, and in which both helices are wound in the same direction.

BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION Figure 1 is a schematic view of a satellite communications system which uses a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna of the present invention The invention may be utilized with any type of satellite system operating at any altitude The satellite 12, may for example, be operating in the Non- Voice, Non-Geosynchronous, Mobile Satellite Service In this service, satellites may typically communicate with user terminals 19 on an uplink 14a frequency in the 148 000 to 150 050 MHz band and a downlink 14b frequency in the 137 000 to 138 000 MHz band For better use of radio spectrum, it may be desirable that the satellite communicate with relay or gateway stations 18 on an uplink 16a frequency in the 399900 to 400050 MHz band and a downlink 16b frequency in the 400 150 to 401 000 MHz band Under such conditions, the compact, Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna of the present invention offers a significant commercial advantage over currently available antennas The reader should understand that the use of these frequency bands and the terms "VHF" and "UHF" as examples in the description of the following embodiments is illustrative of their operation and is not intended to limit the frequencies at which the invention may be used The invention is intended to be independent of the exact frequencies, lengths, diameters, and pitch dimensions used in the examples

Figure 1 A is a schematic diagram depicting the use ofthe Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna for communication between earth stations and satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), medium Earth orbit (MEO), highly elliptical orbit (HEO) and geostationary orbit (GEO) While particular attention has been paid in the following discussion to the compact Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna carried aboard satellites, the invention is not limited to such applications In addition to general use for the transmission and reception of signals, the invention may be used for satelhte-to-ground, ground-to-satellite and intersatellite communications Two-way communication between terrestrial stations and/or airborne stations is also facilitated by the Multi-Band Concentr ic Helical Antenna

Figure 2 is a schematic representation of a helical antenna H known in the prior art, comprising four or "quadπfilar" helical elements A reflector or ground plane R is positioned at the fed-end of the helix The antenna has a length AL, a diameter D, and a pitch spacing P for each helical element Each ofthe helical windings begins at a point rotated 90 degrees from the preceding winding The antenna is fed at the starting end ofthe helical windings with radio frequency energy f from a feed line FD A phase shifter p splits the energy f into four phase angles, f = 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees Each phase is fed to a correspondingly phased winding W, 4

Figure 3 is a perspective view of a low Earth orbit satellite 12, on the body 21 of which is mounted a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 Onboard communications are powered by solar panels An inner helix 24 is placed concentrically within a outer helix 22 As described below, both the inner and outer helix 22, 24 can operate in a novel conical mode when concentrically located A preferred embodiment of the Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 is shown schematically in Figure 4 The preferred number of helical elements (N) in the outer helix is a number equal to or greater than three The start ofthe helical windings of all helical elements begins at the input end ofthe antenna 20 In the coordinate system (X, Y, Z) of the antenna shown in Figure 3, the windings

begin at Z=0 This is more clearly seen in Figure 4 The N helical elements of the outer helix 22 are coupled at the start of their windings 34 through a phase shifter 26 to an antenna feed line 28 which supplies radio frequency energy f. The phase shifter 26 supplies energy to each ofthe N elements at phase angles f, determined according to Equation 1

f = (360°/N ) * (i- 1 ), where l equals 1 , 2 N (Equation 1 )

The preferred number of helical elements (M) in the inner helix 24 is also a number equal to or greater than three The M helical elements ofthe inner helix 24 are connected to a second antenna feed line 32 through a second phase shifter 30 Energy is supplied to the inner helix 24 in the same manner as to the outer helix 22 The second phase shifter 30 supplies energy to each ofthe inner helix elements 24a- d at phase angles f, determined according to Equation 2 However, the start ofthe helical windings ofthe inner helix are "clocked," that is rotated about the helix axis, by an angle s from the start of the helical windings of the outer helix, which is determined by Equation 3

f = (3607M ) * (i- 1 ), where I equals 1 , 2 M (Equation 2)

s - 360°/(2*M) (Equation 3)

The inner helix 24 may be operated at a frequency at least twice that of the outer helix 22

Referring again to Figure 4, an antenna, when used for LEO satellite communications, would likely operate in the Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) bands Therefore, this embodiment of the antenna 20 has an outer VHF helix 22 and an inner UHF helix 24

There are four or "quadrifilar" helical elements 22a-d, 24a-d in each helix 22, 24 The helical elements in the embodiment depicted are cylmdπcally wound They may, however, be wound with a decreasing diameter to increase band width The cylmdncally-wound, "quadrifilar" helical elements 24a-d of the UHF helix 24 are concentric with and contained completely within the quadrifilar helical elements 22a-d ofthe VHF helix 22 Feedhne 28 delivers VHF energy to each one ofthe VHh quadrifilar helical elements 22a-d through a phase shifter 26 Feedlme 32 delivers UHF energy to each one of the UHF quadrifilar helical elements 24a-d through phase shifter 30

The helix dimensions may be selected so that each helix radiates energy in a novel conical mode in which mode radiation roll-off from the value at the helix axis may be made consistent with a desired pattern ofthe beam For example, the pitch (P, P 2 ), diameter (D,, D 2 ), and length (Al ,, AU) ofthe helices may be chosen so that the antenna 20 radiates with approximately equal flux at all points in a far-field plane Any appropriate length, diameter and pitch dimension can be used so long as desired conical mode of operation results When the far field lies on the Earth's surface, it is called the beam footprint

In one preferred embodiment, performance data for which is shown in Figures 1 1 through 19, 22, 23 and 24 the VHf helix 22 has a length Al , of about 254 cm ( 100 inches), a diameter D, of about 38 I

cm (15 inches), and a pitch spacing P, of about 1 14.3 (45 inches). The UHF helix 24 has a length AL 2 of about 87 cm (34.25 inches), a diameter D 2 of about 13 cm (5.14) inches, and a pitch spacing P 2 of about 39.12 cm (15.4 inches). In Figures 15-18 and 22, the quadrifilar helical elements 22a-d ofthe VHF helix 22 are wound in the opposite direction from the helical elements 24a-d ofthe UHF helix 24. In another embodiment, performance data for which is shown in Figures 12-14, 19, 23 and 24, the quadrifilar helical elements 22a-d of the VHF helix 22 are wound in the same direction as the elements 24a-d ofthe UHF helix 24. The length AL,, AL,, diameter D,, D, and pitch spacing P,, P 2 ofthe helices may be adjusted so that the antenna will radiate in a conical mode with a desired gain roll-off approximating that shown in Figure 8. To communicate at VHF with the embodiment shown in Figure 4, a radio signal f, is fed to the starting ends 34a-d of the quadrifilar windings 22a-d ofthe VHF helix 22 from the antenna feed line 28 through the phase shifter 26. As determined from Equation 2, the phase shifter 26 has outputs at four phase angles: f= 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees which are radiated from the VHF helical windings 22a-d. To obtain performance data relating to the VHF helix 22, shown in Figures 1 1 , 12, 15, 16 and 22-24, the quadrifilar windings 24a-d of the UHF helix are terminated in 50 ohm loads. This load is generally selected as a reference load because the characteristic impedance of commonly used antenna feed line is close to 50 ohms.

To communicate at UHF with the embodiment shown in Figure 4, a signal f, is fed to the starting ends 36a-d of the quadrifilar windings 24a-d of the UHF helix 24 from an antenna feed line 32 through a phase shifter 30. The phase shifter 30 has outputs at four phase angles: f- 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees which are radiated from the quadrifilar windings 24a-d. To obtain performance data shown in Figures 15, 16, 17, 21 and 22 relating to the UHF helix 24, the quadrifilar windings 22a-d of the VHF helix are terminated in 50 ohm loads.

For receiving VHF or UHF signals, of course, radiated energy is intercepted by the corresponding helix 22, 24 and passed through the appropriate phase shifter 26, 30 through the coupled antenna feed line

28, 32 to a receiver.

The performance of these embodiments may be compared to the performance of a single quadrifilar helix H, such as depicted in Figure 2, excited at VHF at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees phase angles. Data for one configuration of this helix H, which has the same dimensions as the VHF helix 22 described above, are shown in Figures 9, 10, 20 and 21.

Figure 5 is view A-A of Figure 4 and depicts feed points 90 degrees apart at the start-end of each ofthe quadrifilar helical windings 22a-d, 24a-d. The feed points 36a-d ofthe UHF helix 24 are clocked at an angle s from the feed points 34a-d ofthe VHF helix 22. In this embodiment, from Equation 2, s = 3607(2*4) = 45 degrees.

Tigure 6 is a schematic view depicting a radio beam 42 transmitted or received in conical nϊodc by the Multi-Band C oncentric Helical Antenna 20 deployed on a LEO satellite 12 For the antenna 20 shown, the helix axis pomts to the nadir The beam footprint 40 on the Earth's surface nominally subtends 57 2 degrees at an altitude of 950 km Figure 7A schematically depicts an alternative embodiment 20a ofthe Multi-Band Concentric

Helical Antenna 20 for operation in at least three frequency bands Two inner helices 24, 25 are disposed in tandem along the antenna axis The drawing has been simplified to show monofilar helical elements 22, 24, 25, but three or more elements can be used in the first outer helix 22, the second inner helix 24 and the third inner helix 25 For clarity, the feedlines for helices 22, 24 are not shown, however, the feed points 34, 36, 38 for each are shown at the feed-end of the helices 22, 24 Each helix is separately fed at feed points 34, 36, 38 As in Figure 5, the feed points 36, 38 ot the inner helices 24, 25 would be clocked at an angle s from the next outer helix

Tigure 7B schematically depicts an alternative embodiment 20b of the Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 for operation in at least three frequency bands Two inner helices are disposed in tandem along the antenna axis Each helix is separately fed at feed points 34, 36, 38 As in Tigure 5, the feed points ofthe inner helices would be clocked at an angle s from the next outer helix The drawing has been simplified to show monofilar helical elements 22, 24, 25, but three or more elements can be used in the first outer helix 22, the second inner helix 24 and the third inner helix 25 For clarity, the feedlines for the helices are not shown, however, the feed points 34, 36 38 for each are shown at the feed-end ofthe helices 22. 24, 25

Figure 7C is a schematic drawing of an alternative embodiment of a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 50 in which the helices 54, 56 are made from conducting tape 54a-d, 56a-d disposed on closed helix forms 52, 58 The forms 52, 58 are inflated to the operating configuration upon deployment in space In one preferred method known in the art, the helix forms 52, 58 are folded for stowage in accordion-bellows style structures at launch When in orbit the forms 52, 58 are expanded by pressure provided by an inflation gas from within a deployment mechanism in the satellite body 21 The helix forms 52, 58 may be made from a thin insulating material such as Mylar™ or Kapton™ Once inflated, the forms are πgidized to retain their inflated structure by either continuous gas pressure or by a chemical vapor which cures on the inner surface of the inflatable helix forms 52, 58 Figure 8 is a chart depicting the typical roll-off of gain for an isoflux beam transmitted or received by a satellite antenna in low Earth orbit, from the nadir to an angle of 57 2 degrees from the nadir In order tor the flux emitted from the antenna to be constant at all points in the beam footprint 40, the antenna gam must vary with the angle from the nadir θ as the square of the distance between the satellite and the point in the beam footprint Thus, at the nearest point to the satellite, the nadir antenna gain must be about 7 7 dB less than the antenna gain at the edge ofthe footprint 40 A helical antenna operating in conical mode can be designed to approximate this roll-off

Figure 9 illustrates the roll-off gain of a single helix In Figure 9, the antenna directivity (no-loss gain, right hand circular polarization) versus angle from the helix axis (0) is shown for a single quadrifilar

helical antenna H, such as that shown in Figure 2 It has a length AL of 254 cm (100 inches), a diameter D of 38 1 cm (15 inches) and a pitch spacing p of 1 14 3 (45 inches) The helix H is excited at one end by radio frequency energy at 137 MHz, at phase angles of 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees The chart indicates that the gam rol I -off between θ equals 57 degrees and θ equals zero degrees is somewhat less than the desired isoflux beam roll-off shown in Figure 5, but similar in shape Changes in helix dimensions can produce gain roll-off that even more closely approximate the typical isoflux profile

Figure 10 depicts Axial Ratio versus angle θ (angle from helix axis) for a single quadrifilar helix

H, excited at a frequency of 137 MHz and fed at phase angles of 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees The Axial

Ratio is the ratio ofthe two orthogonal components ofthe antenna's electric field It is a measure ofthe circular polarization ofthe antenna Axial Ratio near 0 dB, indicating good circular polarization, yields the best performance for a satellite-to-ground antenna

Figure 1 1 is a plot of directivity (no-loss gain, left hand circular polarization) versus angle from the helix axis (θ) of a Multi-Band Concent) it Helical Antenna 20 comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices The outer or VHF helix 22 has the same dimensions as the helix H of Figure 9 The VHF helix 22 is excited at a frequency of 137 MHz, at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree phase angles In this configuration, the VHF helix 22 is wound in a right-hand direction The inner or UHF helix 24 is also wound in a right- hand direction To obtain performance data, the UHF helix 24 is terminated at the inputs 36a-d to the helical elements 24a-d with 50 ohm loads Antenna feedlines commonly in use have a characteristic impedance of about 50 ohms Thus, loads of this impedance have been used in determining the antenna performance data The chart indicates that the gain roll-off between 6 " equals 57 degrees and θ equals zero degrees is essentially the same gain roll-off shown for the single helix H of Figure 9

In Figure 12, the Axial Ratio at angles of θ for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices, wound in the same direction is displayed The outer, VHF helix 22 is excited similarly as in Figures 10, 1 1 and 16 This configuration exhibits the same Axial Ratio characteristic as that of Figures 10, 1 1 and 16 The direction of winding ofthe inner helix 24 is seen to have no effect on the axial ratio of the outer helix 22

Figure 13 is a plot of directivity versus angle from the helix axis (θ) of a Multi-Band Concent) ic Helical Antenna 20 comprising two concentric quadπfilar helices The outer, VHT helix 22 is wound in a right-hand direction and the inner, UHF helix 24 is also wound in a right-hand direction The UHF helix 24 is excited at a frequency of 400 MHz, at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree phase angles To obtain performance data, the inputs 34a-d to the helical elements 22a-d ofthe VHF helix 22 are terminated in 50 ohm loads Comparing this data with that of Figures 8, 9, 1 1 and 23, conical-mode gam roll-off, similar to that of the desired isoflux roll-off, the single helix H and the outer, VHF helix 22, is exhibited

Figure 14 shows Axial Ratio versus angles of θ for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices, wound in the same direction 1 he inner, UFIF helix 24 is excited at 400 MHz as in Figure 13 The Axial Ratio characteristic is much more desirable than the helices of Figure 18 which are wound in opposite directions

-I I-

Figure 15 is a plot of directivity versus angle from the helix axis (θ) of a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices. The VHF helix 22 has the same dimensions as in Figure 1 1 and is similarly excited. In this configuration, however, the VHF helix 22 is wound in a right-hand direction and the UHF helix 24 is wound in a left-hand direction. The chart indicates that the gain roll-off for the VHF helix 22 between θ equals 57 degrees and θ equals zero degrees is the same as the gain roll-off for the single helix H in Figure 9 and the concentric helices wound in the same direction as shown in Figure 1 1.

Figure 16 shows Axial Ratio versus angle θ, for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices, wound in opposite directions, with the VHF helix 22 excited at a frequency of 137 MHz and fed at phase angles of 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees. The inputs 36a-d to the helical elements 24a-d of the UHF helix 24 are terminated in 50 ohm loads. The chart shows the same Axial Ratio characteristic for this embodiment of the invention as for the single quadrifilar helix H, depicted in Figure 10.

Figure 17 is a plot of directivity versus angle from the helix axis (θ) of a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices wound in opposite directions. The inner,

UHF helix 24 is excited at a frequency of 400 MHz, at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree phase angles. To obtain performance data, the inputs 34a-d to the helical elements 22a-d of the outer, VHF helix 22 are terminated in 50 ohm loads. The directivity is nearly equal to the normal polarized gain at θ between 0 and 25 degrees and drops off to a low value at 38 degrees, indicating unsatisfactory performance for satellite communications in which the VHF and UHF helices 22, 24 are wound in opposite directions.

Figure 18 shows Axial Ratio versus angle θ for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices 22 & 24, wound in opposite directions. The UHF helix 24 is excited at a frequency of 400 MHz and fed at phase angles of 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees. To obtain performance data, the inputs 34a-d to the helical elements 22a-d ofthe VHF helix 22 are terminated in 50 ohm loads. This chart shows the Axial Ratio characteristic for the UHF helix 24 rapidly falls off from a desired ratio of 0 db to more than 10 db down at 57 degrees. This result, compared with Figure 14, indicates that there is a considerable degradation in circular polarization and hence degraded performance ofthe antenna operating in conical mode when the two helices 22, 24 are wound in opposite directions.

Figure 19 depicts a plot of cross-polarization versus θ for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices wound in the same direction. The inner, UHF helix is excited at 400 MHz at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree phase angles. Cross-polarization in this configuration is generally suppressed for θ between 0 and 57 degrees, indicated by directivity of 10 dB or more down.

Figure 20 is a chart on which is plotted directivity versus angle from the helix axis (θ) of a single, quadrifilar, helical antenna H, dimensionally the same as the helical antenna FI for which the data in Figure

9 was plotted. It is excited at a frequency of 149 MHz at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree phase angles. Gain roll-off from θ equals 57 degrees to θ equals zero degrees is nearly the same as the gain roll-off shown for the isoflux beam in Figure 8 and the helix of Figure 9 excited at 137 MHz.

Figure 21 depicts the Axial Ratio versus angle θ for a single quadπfilar helix H, excited at a frequency of 149 MHz and fed at phase angles of 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees This chart shows nearly constant Axial Ratio of 0 dB from θ equals 0 degrees to θ equals 57 degrees, indicating good performance of the single helix in the conical mode While this performance is undesirable for satellite-ground communication, other useful types of communication are still possible

Figure 22 is a plot of directivity versus angle from the helix axis (θ) of a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 comprising two concentric quadrifilar helices wound in opposite directions The outer, VHF helix 22 is excited at a frequency of 149 MHz, at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree phase angles To obtain performance data, the inner, UHF helix 24 is terminated at the inputs 36a-d to the helical elements 24a-d with 50 ohm loads No appreciable difference is seen when comparing the data for the single helix H of

Figure 20

Figure 23 is a plot, to be compared with Figures 20 and 22, of directivity versus angle from the helix axis (θ) of a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna comprising two concentric quadπfilar helices wound in the same direction and similarly excited as in Figure 22 Comparing these charts, the direction of winding the inner, UHF, helix is seen to have no appreciable effect on gain of the outer, VHF helix 22

The Axial Ratio versus angle θ for a Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna 20 shown in Figure

24 may be compared to Figure 21 The antenna 20 comprises two concentric quadrifilar helices 22, 24 wound in the same direction The outer, VHF helix 22 is excited as in Figure 23 and the inner, UI IF helix

24 is terminated at its inputs 24a-d with 50 ohm loads The Axial Ratio characteristic compares almost exactly to the desirable characteristic ofthe single helix antenna H of Figure 21 When compared to Figure

12, the Axial Ratio characteristic is seen to have changed very little with frequency over the range of θ equals zero degrees to 0 equals 57 degrees

Although the various helices of the antenna of the present invention have been described as concentric, significant advantages are also obtained even if the axes of the helices are not precisely collinear or even parallel Thus the term "concentnc" should be interpreted so as to embrace any antenna in which the second helix is disposed within the first helix with its axis generally aligned Moreover, the cross-section of the individual helices may be non-circular

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY The Multi-Band Concentric Helical Antenna System generates a novel conical mode radiation pattern that provides uniform radiated flux within a footprint, offering significant advantages for communication systems. The present invention is especially useful for communications ground stations and non-geostationary satellites, since the size and volume of this antenna can be minimized for use onboard a satellite. Opportunities for use may be found in satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), medium Earth Orbit (MEO), highly elliptical orbit (HEO) or geostationary orbit (GEO) and for communication between ground-based stations.