Microwave rotating joints for radar systems

| Industrial Sector News

Link Microtek has extended its design-and-build capabilities to encompass the large, rotating microwave joints that play a crucial role in S-band long-range radar systems for air-traffic control, weather forecasting or shipborne applications. Enabling microwave signals to be fed to and from the radar antenna, these rotating joints are complex assemblies that usually incorporate a waveguide channel for high-power transmissions, together with multiple coaxial channels for lower-power transmissions and slip-rings for feeding DC power to the antenna. The rotating joints can measure over a metre in length, depending on the number of channels, and have to be designed for continuous rotation at up to 60rpm in demanding environmental conditions. Link Microtek already carries out refurbishments of this type of rotating joint and has now developed that service into a complete design-and-build capability at its premises in the centre of Basingstoke. Using CST 3D electromagnetic simulation software and SolidWorks 3D CAD software, the microwave engineering team can design rotating joints to meet customers’ exact requirements. The company then generates the requisite bill of materials, sources any standard components, fabricates customised hardware, assembles the joints and undertakes full electrical testing of the finished units on a custom-built test rig, including phase matching of outputs, verification of insertion loss and checking for WOW. With decades of experience in this area, Link Microtek’s engineering team has the necessary expertise to ensure that the company’s rotating joints provide years of reliable service, despite the complexity of the designs and the demanding nature of both their duty cycle and the environments in which they are deployed.

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