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I am using STK to show antenna gain contours on the ground from a transmitter on a sensor on a geo bird that is tracking a receiver on the ground. With good resolution I can create great images that show side lobes.

I would like to turn those contours into a heat map. I have tried to do this using a coverage definition/figure of merit but have not had any luck.

Has anyone done this before? If so, what steps did you take to accomplish this?

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I know of one way to (almost) do it, but it's clunky and annoying, so you may do better to just plot a hundred contour lines (the maximum allowed) and fill in the colors between them with an image manipulation program.

To approach purely through STK, try following the steps in https://help.agi.com/stk/index.htm#training/Volumetrics_VisualizingCN.htm , which I summarize as:

It wants you to use a CommSystem object, which requires you to define two constellation objects, one for receivers and one for transmitters, even if you only have one element in each. After populating these extra objects, you run the carrier to noise vs time report on the system, so that it will exist to be chosen from a menu later.

Then you define another object — a volume grid — in cartographic coordinates with only one vertical layer (but make sure to put it at 5 km up, not zero elevation, or terrain will stick through it and look terrible), use the spatial analysis tool to create a new "scalar at location" from the CommSystem's transmitter-to-receiver link, wire them together in the object properties, run the calculation over the grid, and last set your color levels for it to fill between.

The reason I say "almost" is that C/N is not quite antenna gain (but might be more useful if you have two antenna models, one for send and the other for receive), it only plots on the 3D globe, not the 2D map, and I haven't been able to make it semi-transparent. If you or anyone else find a better way to do it, (for example, convince the tool to use an area target definition rather than a volumetric one), I'd like to hear it!

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