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The Traveling-Wave LinearAntenna

Summary-It i s shown experimentally that an essentially travelINTRODUCTION ing-wave distribution of current can be produced on a linear antenna H E properties of the linear antenna have been inby inserting a resistance of suitable magnitude one-quarter wavelength from the end of the antenna. A theory for the resistivelyvestigated in considerable detail by King.l I t has loaded dipole antenna is formulated on the basis that the inserted been shown theoretically and verified experiresistors (one in each a r m ) can be replaced by equivalent generators mentally that an essentially standing-wave distribution and that the resulting triply-driven antenna can be solved by the of current exists on short antennas of this type. This superposition of singly- and doubly-driven dipoles. Approximately 50 report deals with a linear antenna very much like the per cent of the power is dissipated in theseresistors. With a traveling-wave distribution of current on an antenna conventional one, except that it has beenmodified so available, the properties of this antenna are then investigated and t h a t a traveling-wave distribution of current exists on compared with those of the conventional linear antenna. It isfound all but its end quarter-wavelength, which has a standthat the inputimpedance of the traveling-wave antenna remains essentially constant a s a function of antenna length, whereas that of ing-wave. The traveling wave is produced on the anthe conventional linear antenna varies considerably. It is also shown tenna very much as a traveling wave is produced on a that the input impedance of the traveling-wave antenna varies only transmission line. According to transmission-line theory, slightly over a 2 to 1 frequency band. The directional properties of the a pure traveling wave can be created by terminating the traveling-wave and conventional dipole are compared, and it is line in its characteristic impedance. If the line isasshown that a minor lobe does not appear in the radiation pattern of a pure sumed lossless, its characteristic impedance is the traveling-wave dipole until it is much longer than the conventional dipole. Also, it is shown that where the directional properties resistance. If the line were terminated in an open cirof the conventional dipole are quite sensitive to a change in fre- cuit, one could produce a traveling wave by placing a quency, those of the traveling-wave dipole are not. resistor equal to the characteristic resistance of the line by the PGAP, June 30, 1960; revised manuscripts received, October 3, 1960, and January 1, 1961. This research was made possible by support extended to Harvard Cniv. by ;\FCRL under Contract No. AF19(604)4118. t Electromagnetic Rad. Lab., AF Cambridge Res. Labs., Laurence G. Hanscom Field, Bedford, Mass. Formerly with Cruft Lab., Han-ard University, Cambridge, Mass.

* Received

inserieswiththelineone-quarterwavelengthfrom its end.

1 R. I f . P. King, The Theory of Linear Antennas, Hanrard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.; 1956.

theorem of networktheor)., which statesthat a 1 1 imX linear antelma is i n two ~ . a \ - ssimilar to an openended transmission line. First, i t ends i n an open circuit pedance i n which a current I is flowing c;m be replaced since the boundary conditions state that t h e axial cur- b>-a potential difference equal to - I Z , without changrent must go to zero at the end of the antenna. Sec- ing the electrical behavior of the network. I n replacing obondly, a standing-wave distributionof current exists on each resistor by a constant-voltage generator, one ! , three separate generators. Due the antenna. It seems reasonable that i t may therefore tains a dipole driven b be possible to create a traveling n-ave 011 a linear an- to the linearitv of hiaswellsequations,onecansitntenna by placing a resistor one-quarter wavelength from plify the problem still further b\- applying the superpositiontheorem, which states that if severalsources the end. are present i n a linear electrical network, the network Unfortunately, the antenna does not have a characteristic resistance associated with it i n the TEM sense mal- be solved by finding the currents or voltages in the of the transmission line. Therefore, the correct valueof network resulting from the presence of one source a t a time, and then superimposing the results. The voltage resistance is not immediately obvious. However, by considering simple antenna theory,i t can be shown t h a t generators omitted are replaced by connections of zero arelationexistsbetweenthecharacteristicresistance resistance. This enables one to treat the three-generator R,of a transmission line aud the expansion parameter $ antenna as thesuperposition of twosymmetricallyof an antenna. The input impedance of an ideal, open- driven antennas; one driven by a single generator a t t h e circuited transmission line is center, the other driven b>-two generators, each located to anaone-quarter wavelength from the end. In order lyze the doubly-driven dipole, superposition may be apis thesuperposition of two where h is the length of the line and Po is the free space plied again.Thistimeit asymmetric dipoles. The asymmetric dipole can be phase constant. Ihe zeroth-order input impedance of a solved approximately by treating its top and bottom dipole is parts separately, as if each were a base-driven antenna zi,,= - j t o I) cot $ o h , over an infinite, perfectly conducting plane. The cur277 a loaded anrent distribution has been calculated for h = 3 Xj4.3 tenna of half-length where h is the half-length of the dipole and j-, is the Once a sound experimental setup is available, it is posfree-space characteristic impedance. Therefore, X, cora traveling-wave distribution of current sible to produce responds to l0/2r$. on a linear antenna by inserting a series resistance oneT h e expansion parameter is a somewhat arbitrarily of the antenna. The quarter wavelength from the end defined quantit\T which is related to the ratioof the vecimpedance, current distribution and radiation tor potential a t a n ycross section on the outside surface input of the antenna to the total axial current in the conduc- field of this antenna then can be measured. From these tor at thatcross section. It can be shown that this ratio data, the behaviorof the traveling-wave linear antenna is reasonably constant over all parts of the antenna, ex- can be completely described. I t is found that it differs cept where the current is veq- small or zero. I t can be significantly from the corresponding standing-wave anshown further that $ A 0 - 2, where G 2 I n 2hja, where tenna. I n ordertoshowthesedifferences,numerous are made between the results obtained h is the half-length of a dipole, and a is its radius.? Since comparisons the expansion parameter j s a function of the length of from the two antennas. the antenna? while the characteristic resistance is indeline, i t is obvipendent of the length of the tra~zsn~ission ous that this correspondence is not precise. I t does suggest, however, an order of magnitude of the resistance required to approximate a traveling-wave distribution on the antenna, namely 60 $ ohms. Since the quantity Q - 2 has a value in the range of 9 to 15 for reasonably thindipoles, a resistance of theorder of magnitude 6 X lo2 ohmsmightbeexpected, for example.when G = 12. Thetheoreticaldistribution of current on the resisti\:e-loaded antenna is calculated as follons. The resistor is first replaced by a constant-voltage generator. This is made possible by applJ-ingthecompensation
Ibid., p. 77.

I m p e d a m e a n d ildnzittan.ce
T h e first experimental task was to determine which value of resistance, when placed one-quarter wavelength from the end of the antenna, produced a distribution of current which most closelq. resembled a traveling wave. Carbofilm resistors having dc values ranging from 3 ohms to 1 megohmwere selected. The inlpedances of these resistors were measured a t 600 >IC, and it was found that as the value of resistance increased, the dc and R F values began to differ. For resistances poor. greater than 500 ohms, the correlation was very T h e microwave impedance of the resistor was measured
E. E. Altshuler, The Traveling \\-a\-e Linear Antenna, Cruft Lab., Ham-ard University, Cambridge, Mass. Sci. Rept. S o . 7 ; 1960.

by locating the resistor at the endof the center conductor of a coaxial line in series with a short circuit, and then measuring the input impedance. -1s has been previously mentioned, the input impedance of a traveling-wave transmission line is independent of the line length. I t therefore seems reasonable to of a traveling-wave assume that the input impedance of itslength. antenna is alsoessentiall>-independent of a Therefore, b ! . measuring the input impedance traveling-wave antenna as a function of its length, it is possible to determine Ivhich value of resistance, n-hen placed one-quarter wavelength from the end of the anof current so thatit tenna,changesthedistribution most closel!. resembles a traveling wave, without having to actuall?, measure the distribution of current that exists for each resistor. Xfter extensive measurements whichinvolved the use of numerousresistors, it was found that the insertion of aresistorhavingadc resistance of 240 ohms produced an antenna that had an input impedance which was almost independent of ! . less length. The R F value of the resistance differed b than a few per cent from the dc value. It was also discovered that the impedance characteristics of this antenna were not sensitive to a small change from the optimum resistance. i37ith a 240-ohm resistor fixed a t a distance of onequarter wavelength from the end of the antenna, the input impedance of the antenna was measured a t 600 YIc asthe half-length h was changedfrom0.5 X to

1.5 X in 0.05 X increments. Thenormalized input impedance of the monopole above an image screen is plotted i n Fig. 1. For the purpose of comparison, the measured impedance of the corresponding standing-wave antenna is also plotted on the same graph. The actual measured impedance of the monopole can be obtained by multipl!.ing the normalized value by123.6 ohms. The impedance of the corresponding dipole is simply twice that of the Inonopole. I t is interesting to note that the impedance of thetraveling-wavedipolehasavalue of api t seems proximatel!. (32O+jllO) ohms. Therefore, reasonable to assume that the input impedance of the unloaded dipole should approach this value as the dipole length approaches infinity. I n order to investigate the broad-band properties of the traveling-wave antenna, the input impedanceof an antenna of half-length, Jz = 31.25 cm, was measured over a frequency range from 300 3Ic to 900 l l c in 100 1Ic increments. The result is shown in Fig. 2. T h e 240ohm resistor was located 12.50 cm from the end of the antenna whichcorresponded to one-quarter h at 600 >IC. Once again, the impedance of the corresponding standing-wave antenna is plotted on the same graph.

Distribution of Carrent
The distributionof current on the 240-ohm loaded anfor half-lengths ranging from tenna was measured h = X ; 2 to h = 11 X/4.3 The relative amplitude I1 / T ~ c ,

I ,I 1 4+



e ,1



240 fl









E40 i l

Fig. 1-RIeasured normalized impedances of tral-eling- and standing-wave linear antennas a t 600 hIc.

Fig. 2-Measured normalized impedances of traveling- and standing-wave linear antennas ( h =31.25 cm).

phase 0 = tar1I:I, and real and imaginar>. compoare plotted for antennas of nents I/ l-oaand I!,! half-length h = 5 X18 and 11 h:4 i n Figs. 3 and 4 along xvith BT, which is a reference phase that varies linearly m:ith distance along theantennaandtherebl-corresponds to the phase of a pure traveling \vave. Since the relative amplitude decreases almost exponentiall\- with distance, and since the phase varies aloi most linearl\; with distance, the resultant distribution


l l c .f <011

Fig. .l-Distribution

of current for h = 5 X/S.

current up to the resistor can be approsin~ated by an esponentially attenuated traveling wave. AAtthe resistor, the current amplitude remains continuous and then decreases nearl!- cosinusoidally to zero a r the end of the ante~ma. The phase undergoes a change i n slope a t t h e resistor,sinceitchanges from a linearvariationwith distance along the antenna to an almost constant value n-hich is independent of distance. Therefore. the distribution of current 011 the end quarter-\~-avelellgtll of the loaded antenna behaves ver). murh like t h a t 011 the unloaded antenna. I t is interesting to observe the behavior of the current i n itstransition from a standing wave to a traveling n-ave. This is illustrated i n Fig. 5 for h = 7 X14. -4s the inserted resistance is increasedfromzero ohms to 240 ohms, the standing-\va\Te pattern of the relative current amplitude tends toward a standing-w-ave ratio of unit>-. &is the resistance is incrcased above 240 ohms. the standing-u:ave ratio begins to increase. For the limiting case of K = x , one n.ould expect the current distribution to resemble rhat of a11 alltenlla of half-length h = 3 X;?. I t is for this reason that the standing-\~--a\,,e patter11 shifts by 90 ;IS the resistance is increased from below 240 ohms to above 240 ohms. The phase of the unloaded antenna oscillates somewhat sinusoidall>As the resistance about the linear traveling-\vave phase. is increased, the amplitude of the sinusoidal oscillation decreases until a t 240 ohms i t is essentiallJ- zero. LAs the resistance is increased above 240 ohms, the amplitude begins to increase. The shift that the sinusoidal-phase pattern undergoes \\-hen the resistance is increased from below 240 ohms to abo\Fe 240 ohms is 180. This corresponds to the shift that the phase pattern of an un-

Fig. 4-Distribution

of current for k =2$ X:

Fig. 5-Distribution

of current for lz=7 A ! 4 .




loaded antenna undergoes when it is reduced in length which were calculated earlier.3 I t seems that the null, which ordinarily appears in the radiation pattern of the from h=7 X/4 to h = 3 X/2. I t is expected that the standing-wave distribution of conventional dipole, is essentially filled in for the travelcurrent on the unloaded antenna eventually approaches ing-wave case. Therefore, the sidelobe in the convent h a t of a traveling wave, as the antenna is made longer tional dipole pattern becomes part of the main lobe in the corresponding traveling-wave dipole pattern. I t is and longer. The current distributions of the unloaded interesting to note that some traveling-wave dipoles and 240-ohm loaded antennas of half-length h= 11 X/4 loo", have half-power beamwidths of approximately (the longest antenna that could be measured with the which is considerably larger than the beamwidths that availableequipment)areshown in Fig. 4. rls canbe seen, there is little indication that the unloaded antenna can be obtained with conventional dipoles. Theradiationpatterns of traveling-andstandingis beginning to approach a traveling-wave distribution. as a function of freTherefore, it seems reasonable to assume that, as in the wave dipoles were also measured of half-length h = 32.6 cm. Thepower case of the open-circuited transmission line, the antennaquency for dipoles patterns of these dipoles are shown in Figs. 8 and 9. I t must be extremely long before a traveling-wave distribution comparable to that obtained by the insertion of can be seen t h a t where the directional properties of the a change in standing-wave dipole are quite sensitive to a 240-ohm resistor is produced. frequency, those of the traveling-wave dipole are relatively insensitive. Therefore, the traveling-wave dipole, Radiation Field in addition to having a broad-band impedance, also has The relative power patterns of traveling- and stand- a broad-band radiation pattern. Naturally, as the freing-wave dipoles are shown in Figs. 6 and 7. -4s is ex- quency is changed from600 Mc, the frequencyat which the resistor is at an optimum distance of one-quarter X pected,thedirectionalpropertiesdonotdiffervery from the end of the antenna, the traveling-wave distrimuch for short dipoles, since the current distributions a bution of currentuptotheresistortendstoward aresomewhatalike.However,asthedipolebecomes standing-wavedistribution.Therefore,onewould exi n the respective longer, a significant difference arises patterns. A minor lobe does not appearin the radiation pect the directional properties of both loaded and unloaded dipoles to be very similar a t 1200 Mc, the frei t ismuch pattern of thetraveling-wavedipoleuntil quency a t which the resistor is t X from the end of the longerthanthecorrespondingstanding-wavedipole. antenna. This behavior is in agreement with the power patterns


Fig. &Measured

power pattern of traveling-wave dipole a t 600 Mc.

Fig. 8-Measured power pattern of traveling-wave dipole ( h =32.6 cm).



Fig. 7-iMeasured power pattern of standing-wave

dipole a t 600 Mc,

Fig. 9-Measured power pattern of standing-wave dipole ( h= 32.6 cm).


Altshuler: The I'razding-JT*are Linear .Antenna


The input impedance of the traveling-wave antenna as a funchas been shown to remain essentially constant Let the efficient!. oi an antenna be defined asthe I t is for this reason that this antion of antenna length. ratio of the pon-er radiated by the antenna to the power tenna is very broad-band compared to the conventional supplied to the antenna. The real power t h a t is delivered to the artenna and is not radiated is usually dissipated linear antenna. A broad-band antennais i n practice very in the form oi heat. I n general, the conventional linear desirable since it allows a good impedance match to be antenna hasa radiating efficiencl; of close to 100 per cent. obtained over a wide band of frequencies. As has been pointedoutearlier,thebandwidthlimitationresults T h e onl!- losses which are present are those due to the from the fact that upon changing frequency, the electrifiniteconductivity of the antenna and the insulators of the antennais cal distance of the resistor from the end which may be used to support it. The 240-ohm loaded changed from its optimum length. Therefore, the esantenna is approxinmtely 50 per c e n t e f f i ~ i e n t . ~ sentiallyconstantinputimpedance of thetravelingwave antenna as a function of length tends to the variCoh-CI>vsroh-s able input impedance of the standing-wave antenna. The results which have been reported here represent The directional properties of the traveling-wave dian extensive investigation of the traveling-wave linear pole have been shown to be quite different from those of t h e corresponding standing-wave dipole. IYhether they its comparison with the conventional antenna and are more useful depends on the particular application linear antenna. It has been shown experimentally that an essentiallg; traxTeling-wave distribution of current for the antenna. The radiation properties of the travelto those of the convening-wave dipoles are superior Ilinear antennaof !!A 10, by insertcan be producedon ; 240 ohms one-quarter tional dipole in two respects. First, the traveling-wave ing a resistance of approximatelq~ wavelength from the end of the antenna. The radiation dipole can be operated over a relativel!? wide frequency only a smallvariationinitsdirectional resistance of the traveling-wave monopole above an irn- range with ageplane is approximately 160 ohms.Therefore,the properties. Secondly, it can be designed to have a halfamplitude of t h e current at the resistor must always be powerbeamwidth which is over 20" larger than that less than t h e amplitude at the input of the antenna, which can be obtained with a conventional dipole. 411 investigation directed toward improving the efsince more power must be delivered to the antenna than ficiency of this antenna is present]!, being conducted. I t can be dissipatedin the resistor. For this reason, the cura more rent amplitude on the traveling-wave antennais always may be possible to replace the carbon resistor bl; attenuated. X s the resistance is increased from its opti- useful resistive element, for example, a resonant antenna mum value of 240 ohmstowardinfinityordecreased n-ith theappropriateradiation resistance. Therefore, energy ordinarily dissipated in ohlnic losses will instead toward zero, the current distribution changes from an attenuatedtravelingwavetoastandingwave.This be radiated by the second antenna. transition is quite gradual. It is expected that the curACKNOWLEDGMENT rent distribution would undergo a similar transition The authoris indebted to Professor R. I T .P. King for when the resistor is moved, for example, from its optihis very helpful guidance and encouragement during the mum position of one-quarter wavelength from the end course of this research. of the antenna to 4 wax.-elength from the end.