Basic Antenna Theory and Concepts

ICS 620 Communication Technologies Class #11


An antenna is an electrical conductor or system of conductors  

Transmission - radiates electromagnetic energy into space Reception - collects electromagnetic energy from space 

In two-way communication, the same antenna can be used for transmission and reception

Antenna Definition 

An antenna is a circuit element that provides a transition form a guided wave on a transmission line to a free space wave and it provides for the collection of electromagnetic energy.

Antenna research from Miller & Beasley, 2002

Antenna Definition-cont d   In transmit systems the RF signal is generated. modulated and applied to the antenna In receive systems the antenna collects electromagnetic waves that are cutting through the antenna and induce alternating currents that are used by the receiver . amplified.

Reciprocity   An antenna ability to transfer energy form the atmosphere to its receiver with the same efficiency with which it transfers energy from the transmitter into the atmosphere Antenna characteristics are essentially the same regardless of whether an antenna is sending or receiving electromagnetic energy .

Polarization  Polarization is the direction of the electric field and is the same as the physical attitude of the antenna  A vertical antenna will transmit a vertically polarized wave  The receive and transmit antennas need to possess the same polarization .

Types of Antennas  Isotropic antenna (idealized)  Radiates power equally in all directions Half-wave dipole antenna (or Hertz antenna) Quarter-wave vertical antenna (or Marconi antenna)  Dipole antennas    Parabolic Reflective Antenna .


Directional Antenna beamwidth Max power ‡ A Radiated energy is focused in a specific direction antenna Pf2 dipole Power 3dB down from maximum point A .

Beamwidth  Beamwidth is the angular separation of the half-power points of the radiated pattern .




Hertz antennas are not found at frequencies below 2MHz because of the physical size needed of the antenna to represent a half-wave .Half-wave Dipole (Hertz) Antenna  An antenna having a physical length that is one-half wavelength of the applied frequency is called a Hertz antenna or a half-wave dipole antenna.

It uses a conducting path to ground that acts as ¼ wavelength portion the antenna above the ground.Vertical (Marconi) Antenna  Vertical Antennas are used for frequencies under 2 MHz. The above ground structure represents a P/4 wavelength .

This problem is alleviated by installing a counterpoise .Vertical (Marconi) Antenna ± cont¶d  Poor grounding conditions of the earth/soil surrounding the antenna can result in serious signal attenuation.

Counterpoise  Counterpoise is a grounding grid established where the earth grounding cannot satisfy electrical requirements for circuit completion. It is designed to be non-resonant at the operating frequency .

Counterpoise-cont d radius = ¼ P antenna supports .

equal elements in a regular geometry are usually used.Antenna Array  Antenna array is a group of antennas or antenna elements arranged to provide the desired directional characteristics. Generally any combination of elements can form an array. . However.

Yagi-Uda Antenna  The Yagi-Uda antenna is a simple form of a directional antenna based off of a reflector placed P/4 from the dipole antenna s placement. Complex analysis to define the radiated patterns are experimental rather than theoretical calculations .

Yagi-Uda Antenna-cont d reflector P/4 dipole antenna .

Radiated Directed Signal antenna Pf2 dipole radiated signal without reflector Pf2 dipole radiated signal with reflector .

The Antenna Formula
P ! cfh ! 186,000 mifsec frequency of the signal

‡c is the speed of light P is the wavelength of the signal P use 3 x 108 when dealing in meters for the speed of light

The Antenna Formula - applied 

If a half-wave dipole antenna needed to be constructed for a 60 Hz signal, how large would it need to be?

P ! cfh !

186,000 mifsec = 3100 mi 60

Pf2 = 1550 miles!

Radiation & Induction Fields 

The mechanics launching radio frequencies from an antenna are not full understood. The RF fields that are created around the antenna have specific properties that affect the signals transmission. The radiated field field is known as the (surprisingly!) radiation field

They are known as the near field and far field. The distance that antenna inductance has on the transmitted signal is directly proportional to antenna height and the dimensions of the wave R " 2D P 2 .Radiation & Induction Fields-cont¶d  There are two induction fields or areas where signals collapse and radiate from the antenna.

Radiation & Induction Fields-cont¶d R " 2D P R = the distance from the antenna D = dimension of the antenna P = wavelength of the transmitted signal 2 Where: .

Radiation resistance varies with antenna length.e. Resistance increases as the P increases . the effective resistance that is related to the power radiated by the antenna..Radiation Resistance  Radiation Resistance is the portion of the antenna s impedance that results in power radiated into space (i.

Effective Radiated Power (ERP)  ERP is the power input value and the gain of the antenna multiplied together   dBi = isotropic radiator gain dBd = dipole antenna gain .

Optimum signal strength occurs at right angles or 180° from opposite the antenna . Power radiated from a P/2 dipole occurs at right angles to the antenna with no power emitting from the ends of the antenna.Radiation Pattern  Radiation pattern is an indication of radiated field strength around the antenna.

Radiation Patterns    Radiation pattern  Graphical representation of radiation properties of an antenna  Depicted as two-dimensional cross section Beam width (or half-power beam width)  Measure of directivity of antenna Reception pattern  Receiving antenna¶s equivalent to radiation pattern .

Radiation Pattern for Vertical Antennas P/4 P/2 antenna .

in a particular direction. compared to that produced in any direction by a perfect omnidirectional antenna (isotropic antenna) Related to physical size and shape of antenna  Effective area  .Antenna Gain  Antenna gain  Power output.

Antenna Gain  Antenna gain is the measure in dB how much more power an antenna will radiate in a certain direction with respect to that which would be radiated by a reference antenna .

Antenna Gain  Relationship between antenna gain and effective area G!      4T 2 e 4Tf ! c2 2 e G = antenna gain Ae = effective area f = carrier frequency c = speed of light (» 3 ´ 108 m/s) P = carrier wavelength .


Propagation Modes    Ground-wave propagation Sky-wave propagation Line-of-sight propagation .

Ground Wave Propagation .

Ground Wave Propagation     Follows contour of the earth Can Propagate considerable distances Frequencies up to 2 MHz Example  AM radio .

Sky Wave Propagation .

back and forth between ionosphere and earth¶s surface Reflection effect caused by refraction Examples   Amateur radio CB radio .Sky Wave Propagation     Signal reflected from ionized layer of atmosphere back down to earth Signal can travel a number of hops.

Line-of-Sight Propagation .

speed changes Wave bends at the boundary between mediums .Line-of-Sight Propagation  Transmitting and receiving antennas must be within line of sight   Satellite communication ± signal above 30 MHz not reflected by ionosphere Ground communication ± antennas within effective line of site due to refraction  Refraction ± bending of microwaves by the atmosphere    Velocity of electromagnetic wave is a function of the density of the medium When wave changes medium.

57 /h    d = distance between antenna and horizon (km) h = antenna height (m) K = adjustment factor to account for refraction. or radio.57 h  Effective.Line-of-Sight Equations  Optical line of sight d ! 3. line of sight d ! 3. rule of thumb K = 4/3 .

Line-of-Sight Equations  Maximum distance between two antennas for LOS propagation: 3.57 /h1  /h2   .

h1 = height of antenna one h2 = height of antenna two .

LOS Wireless Transmission Impairments        Attenuation and attenuation distortion Free space loss Noise Atmospheric absorption Multipath Refraction Thermal noise .

Thermal Noise      Thermal noise due to agitation of electrons Present in all electronic devices and transmission media Cannot be eliminated Function of temperature Particularly significant for satellite communication .

Noise Terminology  Intermodulation noise ± occurs if signals with different frequencies share the same medium  Interference caused by a signal produced at a frequency that is the sum or difference of original frequencies   Crosstalk ± unwanted coupling between signal paths Impulse noise ± irregular pulses or noise spikes   Short duration and of relatively high amplitude Caused by external electromagnetic disturbances. or faults and flaws in the communications system .

Other Impairments    Atmospheric absorption ± water vapor and oxygen contribute to attenuation Multipath ± obstacles reflect signals so that multiple copies with varying delays are received Refraction ± bending of radio waves as they propagate through the atmosphere .

Multipath Propagation .

occurs at the edge of an impenetrable body that is large compared to wavelength of radio wave Scattering ± occurs when incoming signal hits an object whose size in the order of the wavelength of the signal or less .occurs when signal encounters a surface that is large relative to the wavelength of the signal Diffraction .Multipath Propagation    Reflection .

the signal level relative to noise declines. making detection more difficult One or more delayed copies of a pulse may arrive at the same time as the primary pulse for a subsequent bit  Intersymbol interference (ISI)  .The Effects of Multipath Propagation  Multiple copies of a signal may arrive at different phases  If phases add destructively.

Types of Fading       Fast fading Slow fading Flat fading Selective fading Rayleigh fading Rician fading .

Error Compensation Mechanisms    Forward error correction Adaptive equalization Diversity techniques .

no error occurred If error-correcting codes don¶t match.Forward Error Correction  Transmitter adds error-correcting code to data block  Code is a function of the data bits  Receiver calculates error-correcting code from incoming data bits   If calculated code matches incoming code. receiver attempts to determine bits in error and correct .

Adaptive Equalization  Can be applied to transmissions that carry analog or digital information   Analog voice or video Digital data. digitized voice or video    Used to combat intersymbol interference Involves gathering dispersed symbol energy back into its original time interval Techniques   Lumped analog circuits Sophisticated digital signal processing algorithms .

Ideal antenna height is usually based on trial and error procedures . Physical length and electrical length of most antennas are approximately 95% of the physical length.Antenna Height  Antenna height above the ground is directly related to radiation resistance. Ground reflections causing out-of-phase signals to be radiated to receiving antennas will degrade the transmission.

Smart Antennas .

. but adapts to the current radio conditions smart antennas have the possibility for a large increase in capacity: an increase of three times for TDMA systems and five times for CDMA systems has been reported.Smart Antennas   smart antennas are base station antennas with a pattern that is not fixed.

Smart Antennas-cont d  Major drawbacks and cost factors include increased transceiver complexity and more complex radio resource management .

but adapt to the current radio conditions. This can be visualized as the antenna directing a beam toward the communication partner only .Smart Antennas-cont d  The idea of smart antennas is to use base station antenna patterns that are not fixed.


namely by space. the quality of the communication link can be significantly improved .Smart Antennas-cont d   Smart antennas add a new way of separating users. through SDMA (space division multiple access) By maximizing the antenna gain in the desired direction and simultaneously placing minimal radiation pattern in the directions of the interferers.

a combining/dividing network and a control unit .Elements of a Smart Antenna  Smart antennas consists of a number of radiating elements.

Phased Array Antenna  Phased Array antennas are a combination of antennas in which there is a control of the phase and power of the signal applied at each antenna resulting in a wide variety of possible radiation patterns .

is chosen . It is the simplest technique.Types of Intelligent Antennas  Switched lobe (SL): This is also called switched beam. The setting that gives the best performance. usually in terms of received power. and comprises only a basic switching function between separate directive antennas or predefined beams of an array.

Intelligent Antennas-cont d  Dynamically phased array (PA): By including a direction of arrival (DoA) algorithm for the signal received from the user. continuous tracking can be achieved and it can be viewed as a generalization of the switched lobe concept .

g. In addition. a DoA algorithm for determining the direction toward interference sources (e.. The radiation pattern can then be adjusted to null out the interferers. These techniques will maximize the signal to interference ratio (SIR) . by using special algorithms and space diversity techniques.Intelligent Antennas-cont d  Adaptive array (AA): In this case. the radiation pattern can be adapted to receive multipath signals which can be combined. other users) is added.


SMDA  Space Division Multiple Access (SDMA) implies that more than one user can be allocated to the same physical communications channel simultaneously in the same cell. two users will be allocated to the same time slot and carrier frequency at the same time and in the same cell . In a TDMA system. only separated by angle.

and more monitoring by the network is necessary .SMDA-cont d  In systems providing full SDMA. there will be much more intracell handovers than in conventional TDMA or CDMA systems.

Antenna Installation Considerations    Safety  standard operating procedure priority Grounding  lightning strikes  static charges Surge protection  lightning searches for a second path to ground .

.Antenna Installation Considerationscont d  Adaptive array antenna placement needs to be considered differently than current technologies serving the mobile environment. Existing tower placement with close proximity to roads and highways would need to be reconsidered. They need to be place so they have a greater angular approach to the receiving units.


serviceability (access). federal. and municipal guidelines . mast. and supporting structure needs clearance. and complies with state.Antenna Installation Considerations  Base.

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