Their youthful energy, inquisitive minds and contemporary learning is a welcome addition to the office – that’s right, we’ve got Interns!
EM Solutions has a long history of providing internships to some of the country’s brightest minds and this year is no different. We currently have four promising engineers-in-the-making integrated into our workforce, cutting their teeth alongside our technological leaders in industry. Their current projects are outlined below:
Sabin Karibasic, University of Queensland (UQ), is working on the new Flat Panel Antenna (FPA). Sabin’s work is concerned with optimising the FPA’s electromagnetic (EM) patterns and size by using 3D EM Software. This will allow us to gauge the size of the FPA and also the different trade-offs relating to antenna performance. Sabin also writes scripts that read raw data produced in the FPA measurement lab, and translates these to legible plots describing the antenna’s performance. These scripts can generate simple plots comparing gain over frequency, but also complex plots that compare EM patterns produced by the FPA to particular satellite specifications, such as gain or Emitted Spectral Density (ESD) masks. This allows us to check that our FPA prototypes meet relevant satellite standards imposed by the certification authorities.
Shanna Scougall, Defence Industry Internship Program and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) student, is working on the development, design and control of a Cartesian-based drive system for a flat panel antenna terminal, that centres upon the need to translate a moving layer in the x and y directions within a height constrained environment in order to locate and track Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.
Eugene Ofori, BE/ME UQ student, is automating the process of tuning control systems in tracking antenna terminals to reduce vibrations. Through assessing the control implementation and investigating changes, improvements can be made to overall antenna tracking performance. The end goal is a button that triggers the terminal system to automatically tune itself. Eugene is also making comparisons of other control implementations for long term suitability.
Tom Nugent, UQ, is developing software that affixes to a custom-built jig that tests antenna feed and horn performance before final integration. Because of the complexities of the manufacturing process, testing these specific parts individually before installation enables us to make more efficient use of resources by eliminating a degree of rework.
The software controls and automates the sweeping of the jig, and provides the communication interface between various instruments, including signal generators, spectrum and network analysers. A custom GUI enables input of all test parameters and has options to perform single sweeps over a certain angle range about Elevation (EL), Cross-elevation (XEL) and Azimuth axes.
Another feature of Tom’s work is the ability to take “heat maps” of power readings against both cross-elevation and elevation axes, as well as estimating the gain of the antenna feed and horn based on calculations from numerous automated signal readings.