Dielectric provides AI-based software to improve data measurement at FM broadcast antennas

Dielectric has investigated how FM broadcast antenna manufacturers validate directional pattern studies for new FM broadcast antennas. The research is part of a FCC (Federal Communications Commission, USA) Petition of Rulemaking to be approved this fall and it is written by Merrill Weiss Group. The rule will upgrade the system from physical to AI-driven simulated modeling. The objective is to provide FM broadcasters with a more efficient and economical antenna modeling process.

FM broadcast antenna manufacturers today build physical models and collect measured data to verify antenna patterns. Dielectric’s petition proposes that the FCC allow FM antenna manufacturers to transition to computer-based antenna modeling using computational methods. In fact, this technique has been used for TV station antenna modeling since 2017.

“FM is the only FCC service that still requires a physical range measurement, and anyone who has worked with range measurements knows that accurately measuring radiation patterns is extremely difficult. Simulated pattern verification is much more economical with less chance of error — it just makes sense”, said Dielectric’s Vice President of Engineering, John Schadler.

The use of software also eliminates the lengthy set-up and take down time of models, as well as the need for a technician to adjust the model and take data points by hand. This removes mechanical tolerances and human error affecting the data.

“Another fallout of Repack is that we created a new crop of engineers – HFSS computer simulation super users. ANSYS HFSS is 3D electromatic simulation software tool for designing, simulating and evaluating high-frequency components. New opportunities such as FM pattern studies will take advantage of our engineers’ new expertise”, said Schadler.

HFSS also brings great efficiency to the measurement process. The software can make small changes very efficiently to fully optimise the radiation patterns and not be limited by time and material. This replaces trial and error procedures.

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