Alaris and COVID-19: Letter from the CEO

Dear Stakeholders

By now, the dust is starting to settle down, after the working day started in a historic way for many South Africans on the 27th of March. All have  battened down the hatches and hopefully were able to do so healthy and safely.  

In South Africa, this all culminated – at least for now – on the evening of the 23rd of March 2020, when President Ramaphosa, in his address to the nation, implemented a national lockdown for 21 days, starting midnight on the 26th of March up to midnight 16 April 2020.

The last couple of days have been like a whirlwind, running from one challenge to the next. Several announcements have been made on the impact of the Covid-19 virus, the need to stay abreast with the COVID-situation in many jurisdictions, ensuring the health and safety of employees and even some staff just making it back home in time from international travel.

Alaris Antennas was affected by this decision and closed production for 21 days. The past week was very challenging for all staff at Alaris Antennas – a lot of effort was put in to get the last orders out to our customers before lockdown, making sure that the IT environment will run smoothly and setting staff up to work from home.

The management team under leadership of Gisela Heyman, did a superb job in addressing various challenges before having to close for the lockdown.  At least 60% of the staff were set up to continue to work from home.  Production staff worked diligently until late Thursday afternoon to still get orders out to customers in time. Production and manufacturing at the Alaris Antennas offices were closed due to the Government regulations.

All other operations at COJOT (including the contract manufacturers in Finland and Estonia) and mWave in the USA, are at present still fully operating. Best practices, like working from home and social distancing have however also been introduced.  With the cross-selling between Alaris and COJOT, COJOT is still in a position to deliver products to some of the Alaris customers and Alaris might be able to invoice the customer for those products. This diversification in the Group definitely adds value. 

Fortunately, modern technology allows us to continue in a number of areas – product developments, product management, sales, finance, etc. 

The Alaris Holdings Group Exco meets virtually twice a week at present to stay updated about the situation worldwide and specifically at all subsidiaries.  Should the situation change drastically, an emergency meeting will be called.

I would like to thank each customer and supplier for their understanding, effort and commitment to continue and make things work in these unprecedented times.

The ALH Group Interim Financial Results presentation, which was held by way of a teleconference call on the 24th of March, revealed excellent results. The ALH Group experienced the best first half ever, which we are very grateful for. This is assisting us to put all stakeholders’ minds at ease that our strong balance sheet will assist the company to weather the future impact of the Coronavirus.  

Words from Aristoteles fit very well to these trying and uncertain times: “We cannot change the wind, but we can set the sails differently”.

Please keep in mind that for a number of the business divisions, it is business as normal and members of the Alaris Antennas teams can be reached for business enquiries, developments and product information.

I wish to encourage everyone to stay healthy and safe in these extraordinary times.

Best regards

Juergen

mWAVE Custom Antenna Research, Design and Testing

mWAVE’s Custom Engineering Group are industry recognized professionals with decades of experience in developing antenna and component solutions to meet the rigorous RF, electrical, mechanical and environmental specification requirements needed in today’s most demanding applications.

As the worlds of terrestrial and satellite communication make advances on an almost daily basis, antenna selection for these applications plays an ever more critical role. In many cases, antennas employed are as unique and diverse as the applications that they support. In many instances these types of antennas do not exist as commercial off-the-shelf products and must be developed. This sets up the opportunity to leverage mWAVE’s expertise in a diverse set of antenna technologies to create innovative new designs to fulfill these customers’ needs.

A custom design and development engineering program may have mWAVE’s engineers working anywhere between 100 MHz to over 110 GHz. Terrestrial antenna apertures can range in size from a small patch antenna to 15 ft. [4.6 m] diameter, while satellite earth station can range up to 100 ft. [30 m] or larger.  Other programs may include multipoint, sector base-station, omni-directional or avionic antenna types. In cases when a client needs a solution to a complex issue, the custom team partners with them to develop a set of specifications that meet their system requirements. mWAVE may deliver antenna or component prototypes for trials and will maintain support through the delivery of the final production units and the full lifecycle of the program.

All antenna development programs are supported by mWAVE’s full set of CAD and RF modeling capabilities and are augmented by the indoor and outdoor antenna test facilities that help verify any RF specifications of a custom design solution. These facilities regularly support independent third-party test programs for commercial, governmental and military clientele.

These are many reasons why mWAVE is… Your Partner in Antenna Technology

For additional information and questions, contact mWAVE.

COVID-19 Update

Dear Alaris Antennas Client

On the evening of 23rd March, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, implemented a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown for all South Africans and non-essential companies for 21 days. Operations must stop at the end of Thursday, 26th of March and will start again on Friday, the 17th of April.

Alaris is therefore left with no alternative but to shut our factory and cease manufacturing for this time period. This will also affect all South African suppliers.

For the full document, click here

COVID-19 Safety Precautions and Business Continuity

Dear Alaris Antennas Client

We are closely monitoring the Corona Virus developments and are taking all possible precautions to support the health and safety of our staff and community.

For the full document, click here

COJOT Product Spotlight: Tactical VHF/UHF Vehicle Antennas

COJOT is introducing a new vehicle antenna type for the 30 – 512 MHz frequency range. The brand new WD30512M is a dipole solution that doesn’t require a ground plane, making it ideally suited for vehicle and mast mountings. 

With this new development COJOT is extending its diversified range of high-performance C3I antennas, offering its clients to choose between dipole and monopole as well as actively and passively matched VHF/UHF wideband antennas.

NEW: Dipole C3I Antenna

The new WD30512M provides effective coverage over the complete 30 – 512 MHz frequency range, without the need for a ground plane.

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The antenna’s removable radiator supports COJOT’s multi-use concept (see white paper).

Features:

  • Dipole antenna – no ground plane required
  • Detachable radiator – without the need for tools
  • Multi-use concept allows quick & easy mounting to different platforms

Read more

Low Profile Monopole C3I Antenna

The C30512M is a monopole vehicle antenna that is an ideal choice for latest JTRS and modern SDRs. The radiator of the antenna can be easily detached by rotating it at its spring .

Features:

  • Covert and rugged mechanical design with flexible steel whip
  • Optimal performance over the 30 – 512 MHz frequency range

Read more

Adaptive Wideband VHF/UHF Antenna

The TA30512M is an actively matched vehicle antenna for the 30 – 520 MHz frequency band. The antenna can be tuned by remote control to use the optimum matching circuitry at the required frequency.

Features:

  • Low profile steel whip antenna with adaptive matching
  • Provides superior performance over traditionally matched wideband antennas
  • Fast tuning to new frequency bands

Read more

Adaptive VHF/UHF Antenna

The TA3925M is an actively matched antenna with a steel whip radiator that has been optimized for the 30 – 90 MHz and 225 – 450MHz bands. Its extremely fast tuning ability makes the antenna suitable for most of the conventional modulation types.

Features:

  • Low profile steel whip antenna with superior gain performance
  • Provides superior performance over traditionally matched wideband antennas
  • Supports also very wide transmission bandwidths

Read more

For more information, visit www.cojot.com

Alaris Group Band 3 & 4 MIMO Products

The Alaris Group of Companies has a wide range of single polarised and MIMO / dual polarised antennas designed to perform in the Band 3 (1350 – 2310 MHz) / 3+ (1350 – 2690 MHz) and 4 (4400 – 5000 MHz) / 4+ (4400 – 5850 MHz) frequency bands.

Mounting Method Key:


OMNI-A0241
Omni Antenna

Gain: > 5.5 dBi typical
Dimensions: 120 x 1100 mm

OMNI-A0290
Omni Antenna

Gain: 3 dBi typical
Dimensions: 120 x 640 mm

PANL-A0056-01
Panel Antenna

Gain: 15 dBi average
Isolation: -35 dB
Dimensions: 600 x 322
x 80 mm

RPPD2-18W
Perforated Parabolic
Dish Antenna

Gain: 16.4 to 21.1 dBi
Dimensions: 600 mm
(2 ft)

RPPD3-18W
Perforated Parabolic
Dish Antenna

Gain: 19.9 to 24.6 dBi
Dimensions: 900 mm (3 ft)

RPPD4-18W
Perforated Parabolic
Dish Antenna

Gain: 22.4 to 27.1 dBi
Dimensions: 1200 mm (4 ft)

PANL-A0056
Panel Antenna

Gain: 15 to 18 dBi
Isolation: -25 dB
Dimensions: 600 x 322 x 80 mm

SBA1327B
Switched Beam Antenna

Gain: 15 to 19 dBi
Dimensions: 350 x 500 mm

OMNI-A0137
Omni Antenna

Gain: 4 to 5 dBi
Dimensions: 180 x 22 mm

SBA4450B
Switched Beam Antenna

Gain: 15 dBi
Dimensions: 390 x 270 mm

DP4-44ASE
Standard Parabolic Dish Antenna

Gain: 32.1 to 33.2 dBi
Dimensions: 1200 mm
(4 ft)

DP6-44ASE
Standard Parabolic Dish Antenna

Gain: 35.8 to 36.9 dBi
Dimensions: 1800 mm
(6 ft)

DP8-44ASE
Standard Parabolic Dish Antenna

Gain: 38.3 to 39.4 dBi
Dimensions: 2400 mm
(8 ft)

SRD6-44SE
High Performance Antenna

Gain: 32.1 to 33.2 dBi
Dimensions: 1200 mm
(4 ft)

SRD8-44SE
High Performance Antenna

Gain: 38.2 to 39.3 dBi
Dimensions: 2400 mm
(8 ft)

RPPD2-47-N
Perforated Parabolic Dish
Antenna

Gain: 26.7 to 27.8 dBi
Dimensions: 600 mm
(2 ft)

RPPD3-47-N
Perforated Parabolic Dish
Antenna

Gain: 30.2 to 31.5 dBi
Dimensions: 900 mm
(3 ft)

RPPD4-47-N
Perforated Parabolic Dish
Antenna

Gain: 32.7 to 33.8 dBi
Dimensions: 1200 mm
(4 ft)

UHG6-44SE
Ultra High Performance
Antenna

Gain: 35.6 to 36.7 dBi
Dimensions: 1800 mm
(6 ft)

UHG8-44SE
Ultra High Performance
Antenna

Gain: 38.1 to 39.2 dBi
Dimensions: 2400 mm
(8 ft)

RPPD2-51W
Perforated Parabolic Dish
Antenna

Gain: 26.7 to 29.1 dBi
Dimensions: 600 mm
(2 ft)

RPPD3-51W
Perforated Parabolic Dish
Antenna

Gain: 30.2 to 32.6 dBi
Dimensions: 900 mm
(3 ft)

RPPD4-51W
Perforated Parabolic Dish
Antenna

Gain: 32.7 to 35.1 dBi
Dimensions: 1200 mm
(4 ft)

RPD2-48-N
Solid Parabolic Dish Antenna

Gain: 25.9 to 27.0 dBi
Dimensions: 600 mm
(2 ft)

RPD3-48-N
Solid Parabolic Dish Antenna

Gain: 29.1 to 30.3 dBi
Dimensions: 900 mm
(3 ft)

RPD4-48-N
Solid Parabolic Dish Antenna

Gain: 31.9 to 33.3 dBi
Dimensions: 1200 mm
(4 ft)


RPD6-48-N
Solid Parabolic Dish Antenna

Gain: 34.9 to 36.0 dBi
Dimensions: 1800 mm (6 ft)

For more information please contact [email protected]

COJOT Product Spotlight: Wideband Dual Port Antennas

New Wideband Dual Port Antenna

COJOT is introducing a new dual port vehicle antenna that combines the advantage of a low visual signature, like in the WBC2300, with the capability for an extended frequency range from 20 to 6000 MHz, like in the WBC256. This new antenna, called WBC2600M, has been developed to provide a more cost-effective ultra wideband solution with enhanced robustness and improved lead time requirements.

Wideband Dual Port Vehicle Antenna (20 – 6000 MHz)

The WBC2600M is targeted towards high power ECM and C3I applications. This antenna is well suited for applications where a multiple antenna set-up is not possible, or antenna co-location problems may occur. 

  • Two antennas integrated in the same mechanics
  • High band, ground plane independent antenna positioned at the top for optimum coverage
  • High power rating, more than 300 W in total

Read more…

Our broad range of dual port and multiband antennas provide a reliable solution for various frequency bands and different platforms:

  • WBC3924: VHF/UHF Tactical Dual Port Vehicle Antenna (30-108 MHz and 225-512 MHz) Read more »
  • WB226H: Handheld UHF and LTE Dual Band Antenna (225-450 MHz and 760-2600 MHz) Read more »  
  • HD921Q:  High Gain Triband Manpack Antenna GSM/ 3G  Read more »          
  • SBA2458XDB: High Power Dual Band Switched Beam Antenna for 2.4 and 5.8 GHz Read more »   

Expecting the Unexpected: Jamming Antennas on Vehicles

Written by Johan Fuhri

Introduction

Many of the Alaris Antennas products are used in vehicle-based jamming systems, a typical application being the protection of convoys or VIP transport vehicles against remotely triggered improvised explosive devices (IED)s. 

Since the performance of the antenna will directly influence the effectivity of the jamming system, choosing the correct antenna and placing it in the correct position is vital.  Unfortunately, antennas tend to be heavily influenced by their environment, and vehicles are especially antenna-unfriendly installation locations.

Let’s discuss a couple of issues that a Systems Engineer might unexpectedly stumble into when placing antennas on a vehicle.

Dipoles and Monopoles

There are two major types of antennas that are commonly used on vehicles.  The first is a dipole-type antenna that consists of two similar elements which are fed by connecting the “positive” and “negative” terminals to the two respective elements.  These antennas do not require a ground plane to work, and they are often said to be “ground-plane independent”, since the ability of the antenna to radiate energy into space is generally unaffected by the presence (or lack thereof) metallic or conducting surfaces below it.

Figure 1: The dipole antenna, on the left, consists of two symmetrical conductors attached to the radio, whereas the monopole antenna (right) has only one conductor over a ground plane that acts as a “mirror”.

The second antenna type used in jamming systems is the monopole antenna.  These are highly ground plane dependent, as they are effectively half a dipole with the conducting mounting surface acting like a “mirror” of sorts.  These antennas are mostly used at low frequencies where it is not practical to use full sized dipole antennas. 

Monopole-type antennas on a vehicle

Monopole antennas, like the MONO-A0062, are often used at HF frequencies where the wavelengths are 10m or longer, making the vehicle electrically small.  By electrically small, we imply that the metallic parts and panels of the vehicle are much smaller compared to the wavelength of the signal, and they can no longer act as a proper ground plane “mirror” for the monopole antenna.

While the too-small ground plane issue is problematic, most System Engineers will already be aware of this and will already consider the higher than advertised VSWR that comes with using a monopole antenna on a small ground plane.  The VSWR, however, is only one part of the equation.  Hidden beyond our ability to easily measure, lurks a potentially problematic change to the shape of the radiation pattern.

Monopole antennas will typically have an omni-directional radiation pattern under ideal conditions, and a vehicle installation by no means qualifies as an ideal environment.  Below is an example of a monopole antenna that was mounted on the front corner of a large vehicle, and the radiation pattern measured.  Instead of the beautiful circular pattern you would expect to measure, there are certain directions that have gain holes as deep as -18dB.

Figure 2: A vehicle with two whip antennas (MONO-A0062) on the front corners of a vehicle being measured.  The other antennas on the roof (OMNI-A0281, OMNI-A0266) are all dipole-type antennas.
Figure 3: Measured radiation patterns of the MONO-A0062 mounted on the front corner of a large passenger vehicle.  Notice the deep gain holes.

 To make things even worse, moving the antenna by even a small amount will significantly change the resulting radiation pattern.  Even mounting two antennas exactly symmetrical on two sides of the vehicle will not guarantee symmetrical radiation patterns, as it turns out that the quality of the electrical continuity between the metallic panels of the vehicle (among other things) will also influence the final radiation pattern.

This leaves the System Engineer with a major problem in practical applications regarding predicting the range and, consequently, the effectivity of a jamming system.  Unfortunately, short of installing and measuring the performance of the system, predicting real-life performance is dubious at best for monopole antennas in the HF band.

Dipole-type antennas on a vehicle

Fortunately, the ability to predict performance improves drastically as the frequency of operation increases.  Above roughly 100MHz we can start making use of dipole antennas, such as the OMNI-A0266 or OMNI-A0281, which are not as dependent on the vehicle.  This does not, however, imply that the vehicle has no influence on the radiation pattern.  Below, is an example of the measured radiation pattern of an OMNI-‑A0281 antenna installed on a roof-rack of a Toyota Land-Cruiser (see Figure 2).

Figure 4: Measured radiation pattern of an OMNI-A0281 antenna on the roof-rack of a Land-Cruiser vehicle.

The radiation pattern is significantly more omni-directional than when compared to the monopole antennas discussed in the previous section, but there can still be significant variations.  At higher frequencies, the gain holes can be as deep as -12 dBi or more and change rapidly as you move around the vehicle.  It is important to note that this fast-changing pattern is purely due to the signal interacting with the edges of the roof-rack. Other physically large objects on the roof (e.g. gun turrets on military vehicles) will also have a significant influence on the radiation pattern. On a moving vehicle, a rapidly changing radiation pattern will present itself as a rapidly changing E-field at a particular position around the vehicle, for instance, the target to be jammed. The System Engineers will need to take this into account in the design of the system. 

On a more positive note, it was found that simulations of complete systems (antennas on the vehicle) tend to agree relatively well with real-life measurements, and simulation studies could assist in identifying major potential problems with antenna placement before building expensive prototypes. 

Conclusion

When placing antennas on a vehicle, keep in mind that the physics and mechanics of the vehicle/antenna system could present you with nasty surprises in the shape of deep nulls and dead zones in the radiation patterns.  In many situations, a simulation study could assist in identifying potential problem areas and give insight into the performance of the system.

Relevant Products

Alaris Antennas offers a number of vehicle mount antennas which are suitable for use in most applications. Antennas such as the MONO-A0062, OMNI-A0266 and OMNI-A0081 are high power antennas which are typically used in counter-RCIED applications. When combined into a system, they cover the entire 20 MHz to 6000 MHz band.

Alaris also offers a complete range of communications antennas and spring bases which are designed for use in the harsh vehicular environment.

New Group CTO at Alaris Holdings

The Alaris Group has been expanding over the last few years and through this expansion, the need for a Group CTO role has become evident. This role will play a central role in providing guidance to the CTO roles in the subsidiaries and will coordinate and foster technical cooperation and synergies between the Alaris Group of companies R&D and technical efforts. It will establish the Group’s technical vision and lead aspects of the Group’s technological development.

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Dr Chris Vale, will fulfil the role of the Alaris Holdings Group CTO. Dr Vale joined Alaris Antennas in 2003 in the R&D department and has been with the Company for 16 years, during which time he has served in various capacities, proving himself to be a committed company advocate.

Due to Chris moving into a Group role, this leaves an opportunity and vacancy within Alaris Antennas for the CTO role. Dr Vale will be actively involved in discharging his current duties as CTO until his replacement is found. The Executive Board considered Chris’s loyalty to the company, the years of excellent service, enthusiasm and kind manner. We believe Chris represents and lives the Alaris values.

We wish Chris all the best in his new role.

mWAVE’s OQCL0-04-LC – High Powered CP Wideband Omni Antennas Delivers

mWAVE’s wideband omni antennas feature customizable configurations the most discriminating deployment applications can demand. These UHF FTS High Powered LHCP Wideband Omni Antennas – model number OQCL0-04-LC is designed for the commercial sector and for use in military applications. These antennas are designed and manufactured to support both fixed site and mobile applications.  All models provide hemispherical coverage over a frequency range of 370 MHz to 450 MHz and is capable of handling either 1,000 or 1,500 watts of continuous power (CW).  RF inputs are available with LC female, 7/8 EIA or 7/16 DIN female input connectors.  The connector input is situated at the base of the antenna.  Customizable alternate RF input options are available on request.  Input VSWR is 1.2:1 maximum.  The design of these antennas provides maximum life cycle over a broad temperature range in the most extreme environments including salt, sand, and radial ice. 

Other antenna model versions and frequency bands with various power handling options and polarizations are available on request.

mWAVE’s custom design team will design and manufacture antennas to meet your specific requirements. Our engineers have experience from 100 MHz to over 110 GHz, and with apertures ranging in size from a single patch to over 15 feet. Let us partner with you to develop a set of specifications that meet your system requirements.

For additional information and questions, contact mWAVE.