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Typically, the result of the calculation or measurement of the radiated electric field on

an antenna can be always cast as a complex vector depending on the two spherical

angles , and having two transverse components, typically also along the spherical

, directions:

( , ) ( , ) E E

= +

E e e

where :

( , ) ( , )exp[ ( , )]

( , ) ( , )exp[ ( , )]

E A

E A

=

=

with

,

A

being real amplitudes and

,

real phases.

Of course, many other alternatives are possible where, for instance, the field can be

projected into a different set of components, expressed through its real and imaginary

parts, or a logarithmic scale (dBs) be used for the amplitudes.

The easiest way to graphically represent this field is to consider two-dimensional

cuts. The most commonly used are meridian cuts. Those are defined in spherical

coordinates by the combination of the following values:

0 0

; [0, ] ; [0, ] = = + U

In order to cover the full cut with a single span of the angle , engineers dont

hesitate to introduce negative angles and define a meridian cut by a single value:

0

; [ , ] =

but it is well understood that when is negative we use in the formulas its absolute

value and replace

0

by

0

+ .

The two important meridian cuts correspond to the xz and yz planes:

1) Meridian cut in the xz-plane: 0; [ , ]

2) Meridian cut in the yz-plane: / 2; [ , ]

=

=

To these two it could be added an equatorial cut:

3) Equatorial cut in the xy-plane: / 2; [0,2 ] =

Now, it is easy to plot standard Cartesian 2D plots with the angle in the horizontal

axis and any quantity of interest (real part, imaginary part, amplitude, phase, squared

field values) in the vertical axis.

For instance, consider a radiated field whose angular dependence is given by:

[(sin3 /sin ) sin cos ] sin (1 sin ) = + +

E e e +

And we want to study the cut 0 =

To plot a Cartesian 2D plot of the squared field components and of their sum (power

densities along theta, phi and total) we just write:

PLOTTING RADIATION PATTERNS, J uan R. Mosig, LEMA-EPFL Nov. 2004 - 1 -

phideg=0 % Define the phi-cut in degrees

stepdeg=2 % Increment in degrees of theta angle

thetadeg=[-180:stepdeg:180]+eps; % Theta values in degrees

% Mathematical spherical angles in radians

theta=abs(thetadeg)*pi/180+eps;

phi=ones(size(thetadeg))*phideg*pi/180+(thetadeg<0)*pi;

% Introduce formulas for field components:

etheta=sin(3*theta)./sin(theta)+sin(theta).*cos(phi);

ephi=j*2*sin(theta).*(1+sin(phi));

power=abs(etheta).^2+abs(ephi).^2;

% Linear cartesian plots

plot(thetadeg,abs(etheta).^2,'b',thetadeg,abs(ephi).^2,'r',thetadeg,

power,'k','LineWidth',2)

grid on

And the graphical result is:

-200 -150 -100 -50 0 50 100 150 200

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

PLOTTING RADIATION PATTERNS, J uan R. Mosig, LEMA-EPFL Nov. 2004 - 2 -

While a simple polar 2D-plot is obtained with the additional statements

% Linear polar plots

latitude_angle=thetadeg*pi/180+pi/2;

polar(latitude_angle,abs(etheta).^2,'b')

hold on

polar(latitude_angle,abs(ephi).^2,'r')

It must be pointed out that with this programming strategy, the angle 0 = is on the

top of the diagram (North Pole) as expected. However, Matlab default labeling of the

angles is the typical one for polar coordinates and dont correspond to theta values.

But this can be corrected with some formatting cosmetic.

2

4

6

8

10

30

210

60

240

90

270

120

300

150

330

180 0

PLOTTING RADIATION PATTERNS, J uan R. Mosig, LEMA-EPFL Nov. 2004 - 3 -

Now, lets try some logarithmic (decibels) 2D Cartesian plots. Matlab has also a

plotting instruction to produce semilogarithmic graphs, namely (only the theta-

component is plotted)

% Decibel plots in cartesian coord.

figure

semilogy(thetadeg,abs(etheta).^2)

grid on

But this will produce a disappointing figure from the antenna engineer point of view.

-200 -150 -100 -50 0 50 100 150 200

10

-5

10

-4

10

-3

10

-2

10

-1

10

0

10

1

PLOTTING RADIATION PATTERNS, J uan R. Mosig, LEMA-EPFL Nov. 2004 - 4 -

What is the standard practice is to plot dBs in a linear scale. For instance:

figure

etheta_db=20*log10(abs(etheta));

ephi_db=20*log10(abs(ephi));

power_db=10*log10(power);

plot(thetadeg, etheta_db,'b','LineWidth',2)

grid on

The vertical scale of resulting figure represents now automatically decibel values.

-200 -150 -100 -50 0 50 100 150 200

-50

-40

-30

-20

-10

0

10

PLOTTING RADIATION PATTERNS, J uan R. Mosig, LEMA-EPFL Nov. 2004 - 5 -

The problem with logarithmic scales and decibels is that field values close to zero will

result in a number of decibels close to minus infinity. Typically, we want to define a

meaningful dynamic range and a threshold below whom any value is irrelevant.

Therefore, we first look for the maximum value of the quantity to be represented and

then we introduce normalized values by dividing all the values by the maximum one.

Thus, the max. normalized value is 1 (or in decibels 0 dB). As a second step, we

introduce a threshold level (for instance -30 dB) and any value below the threshold is

raised to the threshold to limit the dynamic range. This is achieved with the following

lines:

figure

etheta_dbmax=max(etheta_db);

etheta_db_norm =etheta_db - etheta_dbmax;

level=-30

flag=etheta_db_norm <level;

etheta_db_sat=etheta_db_norm.*(1-flag)+level*flag;

plot(thetadeg, etheta_db_sat,'b','LineWidth',2)

grid on

And the result has now the relevant features of a professional antenna diagram:

-200 -150 -100 -50 0 50 100 150 200

-30

-25

-20

-15

-10

-5

0

PLOTTING RADIATION PATTERNS, J uan R. Mosig, LEMA-EPFL Nov. 2004 - 6 -

Finally to make a 2D logarithmic (decibel) plot in polar coordinates, we add to the

normalized values in decibels the threshold. This will result in all the values below the

threshold disappearing inside the origin of coordinates (like in a blackhole!).

% Decibel plots in polar coord.

figure

polar(latitude_angle,etheta_db_sat-level)

The graphical result is essentially correct but, as before, it would need some cosmetic

for labeling correctly the values of the angle . Also, traditionally the radial decibel

scale should vary from 0 dB (outer circle) to -30 dB (origin) rather than from +30 dB

to 0 dB.

10

20

30

30

210

60

240

90

270

120

300

150

330

180 0

Finally, it is obvious that all the above figures can be repeated for any other desired

phi-cut. Indeed it is typical to include the 0 = and 90 = cuts in the same figure.

But of course, we could also try 3D diagrams including all possible and values.

PLOTTING RADIATION PATTERNS, J uan R. Mosig, LEMA-EPFL Nov. 2004 - 7 -

For instance the following script will produce a 3D Cartesian plot, where the angle s

and are represented as x and y coordinates.

M=90

N=90

thetadeg=linspace(0,180,M+1);

phideg=linspace(-180,180,N+1);

theta=thetadeg*pi/180+eps;

phi=phideg*pi/180+eps;

[theta,phi]=meshgrid(theta,phi);

etheta=sin(3*theta)./sin(theta)+sin(theta).*cos(phi);

maxvalue=max(max(abs(etheta)));

etheta_norm=abs(etheta)/maxvalue;

surf(phideg,thetadeg,abs(etheta_norm))

PLOTTING RADIATION PATTERNS, J uan R. Mosig, LEMA-EPFL Nov. 2004 - 8 -

Matlab allows rotating this kind of graph, to change the angle of view and obtain, for

instance a birds eye view which correspond to a isolevel plot.

The big challenge will be to produce other 3D spherical plots that gives a more

intuitive and physical description of the radiated fields. An attempt to produce such a

plot is giving below. Here the field is represented as the radial coordinate as a

function of the true spherical angles and . The most evident drawback of this plot

is that the coloring code depends on the vertical z-coordinate, while it is obvious that

in this type of figures the coloring should depend on the radial coordinate.

PLOTTING RADIATION PATTERNS, J uan R. Mosig, LEMA-EPFL Nov. 2004 - 9 -

In the beginning of the 20

th

century, the first antenna engineers used to build solid

models of radiation patterns in the form of plaster casts!

I let the reader to decide whether this was funnier or not than developing his own

Matlab script.

1904-2004

PLOTTING RADIATION PATTERNS, J uan R. Mosig, LEMA-EPFL Nov. 2004 - 10 -

CHALLENGES:

1) Correct the obvious drawbacks of all the previous MatLab minicodes

(comments about cosmetic improvements).

2) Write the MatLab programme which produces the above 3D-graph with, if

possible the correct color code

3) Write a MatLab programme that produces 2D polar diagrammes with

coordinates ,

plot plot

r = = and the quantity under study is color-coded

and represented by isolevel lines in decibels. This is similar to the circular

diagrams obtained when the surface of a half-sphere is projected onto the

equatorial plane.

PLOTTING RADIATION PATTERNS, J uan R. Mosig, LEMA-EPFL Nov. 2004 - 11 -

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