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A TRANSMISSION LINE is a device des igned
to guide electrical energy from one point to another.
It is us ed, for example, to transfer the output rf energy
of a transmitter to an antenna. This energy will not
travel through normal electrical wire without great
Although the antenna can be connected
los s es .
directly to the transmitter, the antenna is us ually
located s ome dis tance away from the transmitter. On
board s hip, the transmitter is located ins ide a radio
room, and its as s ociated antenna is mounted on a mas t.
A transmission line is us ed to connect the transmitter
and the antenna.

c a p a c it iv e re a c t a n c e o f t h e lin e d e p e n d o n t h e
frequenc y applie d .
no dielectric is perfect,
electrons manage to move from one conductor to the
other through the
dielectric. Each type of two-wire
trans mis s ion line als o has a conductance value. This
conductance value repres ents the value of the current

The trans mis s ion line has a s ingle purpos e for both
the transmitter and the antenna. This purpos e is to
transfer the energy output of the transmitter to the
antenna with the least pos s ible power los s . How well
this is done depends on the s pecial phys ical and
electrical characteristics (impedance and res is tance)
of the transmission line.



Th e
e le c t ric a l c h a ra c t e ris t ic s o f a t wo -wire
transmission line
depend primarily on the cons truction
of the line.
The two-wire line acts like a long
capacitor. The change of its capacitive reactance is
noticeable as the frequency applied to it is changed.
Since the long conductors have a magnetic field about
them when electrical energy is being pas s ed through
them, they
als o exhibit the properties of inductance.
The values of inductance and capacitance pres ented
depend on the
various phys ical factors that we
dis cus s ed earlier. For example, the type of line us ed,
the dielectric in the line, and the length of the line
mus t be cons idered. The effects of the inductive and

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of the circuit is lumped into the one component. Two

metal plates s eparated by a s mall s pace, can be us ed
to s upply the required capacitance for a circuit. In
s uch a cas e, mos t of the capacitance of the circuit is
lumped into this one component. Similarly, a fixed
res is tor can be us ed to s upply a certain value of circuit
res is tance as a lumped sum. Ideally, a transmission
line would als o have its cons tants of inductance,
capacitance, and resistance lumped together, as s hown
in figure 3-1. Unfortunately, this is not the cas e.
Trans mis s ion line constants are as described in the
follo win g paragraphs.

flow that may be expected through the insulation,

If the line is uniform (all values equal at each unit
length), then one s mall s ection of the line may
represent s everal feet. This illustration of a two-wire
trans mis s ion line will be us ed throughout the dis cus s ion
of transmission lines ; but, keep in mind that the
principles pres ented apply
to all trans mis s ion lines .
We will explain the theories us ing LUMPED CONSTANTS and DISTRIBUTED CONSTANTS to further
s impli fy thes e princip les .



A trans mis s ion line has the properties of inductance, capacitance, and resistance just as the more
have. Us ually,
however, the
cons tants in conventional circuits are lumped into a
single device or component. For example, a coil of
wire has the property of inductance. When a certain
amount of inductance is needed in a circuit, a coil of
the proper dimens ions is inserted. The inductance


Trans mis s ion line

constants, called distributed
cons tants , are s pread along the entire length of the
transmission line and cannot be dis tinguis hed s eparately. The
of inductance, capacitance, and
res is tanc e depends on the length of the line, the s ize
of the conducting

wires ,

the s pacing between



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Figure 3-1.Two-wire trans mis s ion line.

wires, and the dielectric (air or insulating medium)

between the wires . The following paragraphs will
be us eful to you as you s tudy dis tributed cons tants
on a transmission line.
Figure 3-2.Dis tributed inductance.
Inductance of a T ransm ission L ine
When current flows through a wire, magnetic lines
of force are set up around the wire. As the current
increas es and decreas es in amplitude, the field around
expands and
collaps es accordingly. The
energy produced by the
magnetic lines
of force
collaps ing back into the wire tends to keep the current
flowing in the same direction. This represents a certain
a m ount o f in d u c t a n c e , wh ic h is e xp re s s e d in
microhenrys per unit length. Figure 3-2 illustrates
the inductance and magnetic fields of a transmission
C apacitance of a T ransm ission L ine
Capacitance als o exis ts between the transmission
line wires , as illustrated in figure 3-3. Notice that
the two parallel wires act as plates of a capacitor and
that the air between them acts as a dielectric. The
capacitance between the
wires is us ually expres s ed
picofarads per
unit length. This
electric field
between the wires is s imilar to the field that exis ts
between the two plates of a capacitor.

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Figure 3-3.Dis tributed



Since any dielectric, even air, is not a perfect

ins ulator,
s mall current known as
CURRENT flows between the two wires . In effect,
the ins ulator acts as a resistor, permitting current to
pas s
between the two wires . Figure 3-5 s hows this
leakage path as res is tors in parallel connected between
two lines . This property is called
CONDUCT A NCE (G) an d is t h e o p p o s it e o f re s is t a n c e .
Conductance in trans mis s ion lines is expres s ed as the
reciprocal of
res is tance and
is us ually given
micro mhos per unit length.

R esistance of a T ransm ission L ine

The transmission line s hown in figure 3-4
has electrical resistance along its length. This
resistance is us ually expres s ed in ohms per unit
length and
is s hown as
exis ting continuous ly
from one end of the line to the other.

Figure 3-4.Dis tributed

Figure 3-5.Leakage in a trans mis s ion line.
res is tance. L eakage C urrent


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The dis tributed cons tants of res is tance, inductance,

capacitance are bas ic properties common to all



You can describe a transmission line in terms of

its impedance. The ratio of voltage to current (E /I )

trans mis s ion lines and exis t whether or not any current
flow exis ts . As s oon as current flow and voltage exis t
in a transmission line, another property becomes quite
evident. This
is the pres ence of an electromagnetic
fie ld , o r lin e s o f fo rc e , a b o u t t h e wire s o f the
transmission line. The lines of force themselves are
not vis ible; however, unders tanding the force that an
electron experiences while in the field of thes e lines
is very important to your unders tanding of energy
There are two kinds of fields ; one is as s ociated
with voltage and the other with current. The field
as s ociated with
voltage is called the ELECTRIC (E)
FIELD. It exerts a force on any electric charge placed
in it. The field as s ociated with current is called a
MAGNETIC (H) FIELD, becaus e it tends to exert a
force on any magnetic pole placed in it. Figure 3-6
illustrates the way in which the E fields and H fields
to orient thems elves between conductors of a
typical two-wire trans mis s ion
line. The illustration
s hows a cros s s ection of the transmission lines. The
E field is repres ented by s olid lines and the H field
by dotted lines . The arrows indicate the direction of
the lines of force. Both fields normally exis t together
and are s poken of collectively as the electromagnetic


at the input end is known as the INPUT IMPEDANCE

(Z ). This is the impedance presented to the transmitter by the transmission line and its load, the antenna.
The ratio of voltage to current at the output (E /I )
end is known as the OUTPUT IMPEDANCE (Z ).




This is the impedance pres ented to the load by the

transmission line and its source. If an infinitely long
trans mis s ion line could be us ed, the ratio of voltage
to current at any point on that transmission line would
be s ome particular value of impedance. This impedance
maximum (and most efficient) transfer of
electrical energy takes place when the s ource impedance is matched to the load impedance. This fact is
very important in the s tudy of transmission lines and
antennas .
If the
characteristic impedance of the
transmission line and the load impedance are equal,
energy from the transmitter will travel down the
trans mis s ion line to the antenna with no power los s
caus ed by reflection .


The dis cus s ion of transmission lines so far has not

directly addres s ed LINE LOSSES; actually s ome los s es
occur in all lines . Line los s es may be any of three
types COPPER,
NOTE: Transmission lines are sometimes referred
to as rf lines . In this text the terms are us ed interchangeab ly.
C opper L osses

Figure 3-6.Fields between conductors .

One type of copper los s is I R LOSS. In rf lines

the res is tance of the conductors is never equal to zero.
Whenever current flows through one of these conductors , s ome energy is dis s ipated in the form of heat.
This heat los s is a POWER LOSS. With copper braid,
which has a resistance higher than s olid tubing, this

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power loss is higher.


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Another type of copper los s is due to SKIN

EFFECT. When dc flows
through a conductor, the
movement of electrons through the conductors cros s
s ection is uniform, The situation is s omewhat different
when ac is applied. The expanding and
collaps ing
fields about each
encircle other electrons .
called SELF INDUCTION, retards
movement of the encircled electrons . The flux
dens ity at the center is s o great that electron movement
at this point is reduced. As frequency is increas ed,
the oppos ition to the flow of current in the center of
the wire increas es . Current in the center of the wire
becomes s maller and mos t of the electron flow is on
the wire s urface. When the frequency applied is 100
megahertz or higher, the electron movement in the
center is s o s mall that the center of the wire could
be removed without any noticeable effect on current.
You s hould be able to see that the effective cros s s ectional area decreas es as the frequency increas es .
res is tance is
invers ely proportional to
cros s -s ectional area, the res is tance will increas e as the
freq u en c y is incre as e d.
A ls o , s in c e p o we r lo s s
increas es as res is tance increas es , power los s es increas e
with an increas e in frequency becaus e of s kin effect.


more energy, introduc ing

a power los s .

Copper los s es can be minimized and conductivity

increas ed in an rf line by plating the line with s ilver.
Since s ilver is a better conductor than copper, mos t
of the current will flow through the silver layer. The
tubing then serves primarily as a mechanical support.

D ielectric L osses

DIELECT RI C LOSSES res ult from

effect on the dielectric material between the conductors .
Power from the source is us ed in heating the dielectric.
The heat produced is dis s ipated into the s urrounding
there is no potential difference
mediu m .
between two conductors , the atoms in the dielectric
material between them are normal and the orbits of
the electrons are circular. When there is a potential
difference between two conductors , the orbits of the
electrons change. The exces s ive negative charge on
one conductor repels electrons on the dielectric toward
the pos itive conductor and thus dis torts the orbits of
the elect ron s . A change in the path of elect ro ns

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The atomic structure of rubber is more difficult

to dis tort than the structure of s ome other dielectric
materials . The atoms of materials, such as polyethylene,
dis tort eas ily. Therefore, polyethylene is often
us ed as a dielectric becaus e les s power is cons umed
when its electron orbits are distorted.

In an electric circuit, energy is stored in electric

and magnetic fields . Thes e fields
mus t be brought
to the load to transmit that energy. At the load, energy
contained in the fields is converted to the des ired form
of energy.
T ransm ission of E nergy

R adiation and Induction L osses

When the load is connected directly to the s ource

of energy, or when the transmission line is s hort,
problems concerning current and voltage can be s olved
by applying Ohms law. When the transmission line
becomes long enough s o the time difference between
a change occurring at the generator and a change
appearing at the load becomes appreciable, analys is
of the transmission line becomes important.

an d
s imilar in that both are caus ed by the fields s urrounding the conductors . Induction los s es occur when the
electromagnetic field about a conductor cuts through
any nearby metallic object and a current is induced
in that object. As a result, power is dis s ipated in the
object and is los t.
Radiation los s es occur becaus e s ome magnetic lines
of force about a conductor do not return to the
conductor when the cycle alternates. Thes e lines of
force are projected into s pace as radiation, and this
results in power los s es .
That is , power is s upplied
by the s ource, but is not available to the load.

Dc A pplied to a T ransm ission L ine

In figure 3-7, a battery is connected through a
relativ e ly long two-wire trans mis s ion line to a load
at the far end of the line. At the instant the s witch



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is clos ed, neither current nor voltage exis ts on the line.

When the s witch is clos ed, point A becomes a pos itive
potential, and point B becomes negative. Thes e points
o f d iffe re n c e in p o t e n t ia l mo v e d o wn t h e lin e .
However, as the initial points of potential leave points
A and B, they are followed by new points of difference in
potential, which the battery adds at A and B. This is
merely s aying that the battery maintains a constant
potential difference between points A and B. A short
time after the s witch is clos ed, the initial points of
difference in potential have reached points A and B;
the wire s ections from points A to A and points B
to B are at the s ame potential as A and B, res pectively. The points of charge are repres ent ed by plus
(+) and minus (-) s igns along the wires , The directions

Figure 3-7.Dc voltage applie d to a line.

of the currents in the wires are repres ented by the

arrowheads on the line, and the direction of travel is
indicated by an arrow below the line. Conventional
lines of force represent the electric field that exis ts
between the oppos ite kinds of charge on the wire
s ections from A to A and B to B. Cros s es (tails of
arrows ) indicate the magnetic field created by the
electric field
moving down the line.
The moving
electric field
the accompanying magnetic field
constitute an electromagnetic wave that is moving from
the generator (battery) toward the load. This wave
travels at approximately the
s peed of light in free
s pace. The energy reaching the load is equal to that
developed at the battery (as s uming there are no los s es in
the trans mis s ion line). If the load abs orbs all of the
energy, the
current and
voltage will be evenly
dis tribute d along the line.
Ac A pplied to a T ransm ission L ine
When the battery of figure 3-7 is replaced by an
ac generator (fig. 3-8), each s ucces s ive ins tantaneous
value of the generator voltage is propagated down the

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In this illus tration the conventional lines of force

represent the
electric fields . For
s implicity, the
magnetic fields are not s hown. Points of charge are
indicated by plus (+) and minus (-) s igns , the larger
s igns
indicating points of higher amplitude of both
voltage and current. Short arrows indicate direction
of current (electron flow). The waveform drawn below
the trans mis s ion line represents the voltage (E) and
current (I) waves . The line is as s umed to be infinite
in length so there is no reflection. Thus , traveling
s inus oidal voltage and current waves continually travel
in phase from the generator toward the load, or far
end of the line. Waves traveling from the generator
to the load are called INCIDENT WAVES. Waves
traveling from the load back to the generator are called
REFLECTED WAVES and will be explained in later
paragra p hs .

Figure 3-8.Ac voltage applie d to a line.

line at the s peed of light. The action is s imilar to the
wave created by the battery, except the applied voltage
is s inus oidal ins tead of cons tant. As s ume that the
s witch is clos ed at the moment the generator voltage
is pas s ing through zero and that the next half cycle
makes point A pos itive. At the end of one cycle of
generator voltage, the current and voltage dis tribution
will be as s hown in figure 3-8.



The meas urement of s tanding waves on a trans mis s ion line yields information about equipment operating


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conditions . Maximum power is abs orbed by the load

wh e n Z = Z . If a line has no standing waves , the
termination for that line is correct and maximum power
transfer takes place.

You have probably noticed that the variation of

s tanding waves s hows how near the rf line is to being
terminated in Z . A wide variation in voltage along
the length means a termination far from Z . A small
variation means termination near Z . Therefore, the
ratio of the maximum to the minimum is a measure
of the perfection of the termination of a line. This
ratio is called the STANDING-WAVE RATIO
(s wr)
and is always expres s ed in whole numbe rs .
example, a ratio of 1:1 describes a line terminated in
its characteristic impedance (Z ).

voltage. Since
power is proportional to the square
of the voltage, the ratio of the s quare of the maximum
minimum voltages is called the power s tanding-wave ratio.
In a sense, the name is mis leading
becaus e the power along a trans mis s ion line does not
C urrent Standing-Wave R atio

The ratio of maximum to minimum current along

a transmission line
is called CURRENT STANDING- WAVE RATIO (is wr). Therefo re :

V oltage Standing-Wave R atio

ratio of maximum voltage to minimum voltage
on a line is called the VOLTAGE STANDING-WAVE
RATIO (vs wr). There fo re :

The vertical lines in the formula indicate that the

enclos ed quantities are abs olute and that the two values
are taken without regard to polarity, Depending on
the nature of the standing waves, the numerical value
of vs wr ranges from a value of 1 (Z = Z , no standing
waves ) to an infinite value for theoret ic a lly complet e
reflection. Since there is always a small los s on a
line, the minimum voltage is never zero and the vs wr
is always s ome finite value. However, if the vs wr
is to be a useful quantity. the power los s es along the
line must be small in comparis on to the transmitted

This ratio is the same as that for voltages. It can be

us ed where meas urements are made with loops that
s ample the magnetic field along a line. It gives the
same results as vswr measurements.


The Navy uses many different types of TRANSMISSION MEDIUMS in its electronic applications .
medium (line
or waveguide) has a certain
impedance value,
capacity, and phys ical s hape and is des igned to meet
a particular requirement.


The five types of transmission mediums that we

dis cus s in this topic
LINE, and WAVEGUIDES. The us e of a particular
line depends , among other things , on the applied
frequency, the
power-handling capabilities , and
type of installation.

Pow er Standing-Wave R ati o

Parallel L ine

The s quare of the vs wr is called the POWER

STANDING-WA VE RATIO (ps wr). There f o re :

One type of paralle l line is the TWO-WIRE OPEN

LINE , illus trat ed in figure 3-9. This line cons is ts of
two wires that are generally s paced from 2 to 6 inches
apart by ins ulating s pacers . This type of line is mos t
often us ed for power lines , rural telephone lines, and
telegraph lines. It is s ometim es us ed as a transmission

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line between a transmitter and an antenna or between

This ratio is useful because the instruments used to

detect standing waves react to the square of the

an antenna and a receiver. An advantage of this type


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Figure 3-11.Twis ted pair.

Figure 3-9. Two-wire open line.
The principa l
of line is its s imp le cons truc t ion .
dis advantages of this type of line are the high radiation
los s es and electrical nois e pickup becaus e of the lack
of s hielding. Radiation los s es are produced by the
changing fields created by the changing current in each

Shielded Pair
Figure 3-10.Two-wire ribbon line.

Another type of parallel line is the TWO-WIRE

RIBBON (TWIN LEAD) LINE, illustrated in figure
3-10. This type of transmission line is commonly us ed
to connect a televis ion receiving antenna to a home
televis ion s et. This line is es s entially the s ame as the
two-wire open line except that uniform s pacing is
as s ured by embedding the two wires in a low-los s
dielectric, us ually polyethylene. Since the wires are
embedded in the thin ribbon of polyethylene, the
dielectric s pace is partly air and partly polyethylen e .
Twis te d Pair
The TWISTED PAIR trans mis s ion line is illus trated
in figure 3-11. As the name implies , the line cons is ts
of two ins ulated wires twis ted together to form a
flexible line without the us e of s pacers . It is not us ed
for transmitting high frequency becaus e of the high
dielectric los s es that occur in the rubber ins ulation.
When the line is wet, the los s es increas e greatly .

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The principal advantage of the s hielded pair is that
the conductors are balanced to ground; that is , the
capacitance between the wires is uniform throughout
This balance is due to the
the length of the line.
uniform s pacing of the grounded s hield that s urrounds
the wires along their entire length. The braided copper
s hield is olates the
conductors from s tray magnetic
fields .


in figure 3-12,
cons is ts of parallel conductors separated from each
s urrounded
a s olid
e conductors
contained within
copper tubing that acts as an electrical s hield. The
a rubber or
as s embly is covered
compos ition coating that
protects the
and mechanical
Outwardly, it
mois ture
much like the
cord of a was hing
machine or refrig e rato r.

C oaxial L ines
There are two types of COAXIAL LINES, RIGID
COAXIAL LINE. The phys ical cons truction of both
types is bas ically the s ame; that is , each contains two
conductors .

Figure 3-12.Shielded pair.


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The rigid coaxial line cons is ts of a central, ins ulated

wire (inner conductor) mounted ins ide a tubular outer
conductor. This line is shown in figure 3-13. In s ome
applications , the inner conductor is als o tubular. The
inner conductor is insulated from the outer conductor
by insulating spacers or beads at regular intervals.
The s pacers are made of Pyrex, polys tyrene, or s ome
other material that has good insulating characteris tics
and low dielectric los s es at high frequencies .

it is firs t ins talled and pres s ure is maintained to ens ure

that no moisture enters the line.

Figure 3-13.Air coaxial line.

The chief advantage of the rigid line is its ability

to minimize radiation los s es . The electric and magnetic
fields in a two-wire parallel line extend into s pace for
relatively great dis tances and radiation los s es
However, in a coaxial line no electric or magnetic
fields extend outs ide of the outer conductor. The fields
are confined to the s pace between the two conductors ,
res ulting in a perfectly s hielded coaxial line. Another
advantage is that interference from other lines is
The rigid line has the following dis advantages :
(1) it is expens ive to cons truct; (2) it mus t be kept
dry to prevent exces s ive leakage between the two
conductors ; and
(3) although high-frequency los s es
are s omewhat les s than in previous ly mentioned lines ,
they are s till exces s ive enough to limit the practical
length of the line.
Leakage caus ed by the condens ation of mois ture
is prevented in s ome rigid line applications by the us e
of an inert gas , s uch as nitrogen, helium, or argon.
It is pumped into the dielectric s pace of the line at a
pressure that can vary from 3 to 35 pounds per
square inch. The inert gas is us ed to dry the line when

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over a wide range of temperatures . It is
unaffected by s eawater, gas oline, oil, and mos t other
liquids that may be found aboard s hip. The us e of
p o ly e t h y le n e a s a n in s u la t o r re s u lt s in gr e a te r
high-frequency los s es than the us e of air as an
ins ulator. However, thes e los s es are still lower than
the los s es as s ociated with mos t other s olid dielectric
materials .

Flexible coaxial lines (fig. 3-14) are made with

inner conductor that cons is ts of flexible wire
in s u la t e d fro m t h e o u t e r c o n d u c t o r b y a s o lid ,
continuous insulating material. The outer conductor
is made of metal braid, which gives the line flexibility.
attempts at gaining flexibility involved us ing
ru b b e r in s u la t o r s b e t we e n t h e t wo c o n d u c t o rs .
However, the rubber ins ulators caus ed exces s ive los s es
at high frequencies.

This concludes our s tudy of transmission lines .

The res t of this chapter will be an introduction into
the s tudy of waveguides .


The two-wire trans mis s ion line us ed in conventional

circuits is inefficient for transferring electromagnetic
energy at microwave frequencies . At thes e frequencies ,
energy es capes by radiation becaus e the fields are not
confined in all directions , as illus trated in figure 3-15.
Coaxial lines
are more efficient than two-wire lines
for transferring electromagnetic energy becaus e the
fields are completely confined by the conductors , as
illus trat ed in figure 3-16. Waveguides are the mos t

Figure 3-14.Flexible coaxial line.

Becaus e of the high-frequency los s es as s ociated

rubber ins ulators , polyethylene
plas tic was
developed to replace rubber and eliminate thes e los s es .
Polyethylene plas tic is a s olid substance that remains


Page 16

s urface area of waveguides

greatly reduces COPPER
(1 R)
LOSSES. Two-wire trans mis s ion lines have large
copper los s es becaus e they have a relatively small

efficient way
WAVEGUIDES are es s entially
Th ey
center conduct o rs .

coaxial lines without
ar e c o n s t ru c t e d fro m

s urface area. The s urface area of the outer conductor

conductive material and may be rectangular, circular,

or ellipt ic a l in s hape, as s hown in figure 3-17.

Figure 3-15.Fields confined in two directions only.

Figure 3-16.Fields confined in all directions .




Waveguides have s everal advantages over two-wire

coaxial trans mis s ion lines . For example, the large

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s mall s ize of the center conductor is even further

reduced by
skin effect, and energy trans mis s ion by
coaxial cable
becomes les s
efficient than by
waveguides . DIELECTRIC LOSSES are als o
waveguides than
lines . Dielectric los s es in two-wire and
trans mis s ion
are caused by the heating of the
ins ulation between the conductors . The
behaves as the dielectric o f a c a pa c itor fo rme d b y
t h e t wo wire s o f the transmission line. A voltage
potential acros s the two wires causes heating of the
dielectric and results in a power los s . In practical
applications ,
the actual breakdown of the ins ulation
between the
conductors of a transmission line is
frequently a problem than
the dielectric
los s .

Figure 3-17.Waveguide s hapes .

This breakdown is us ually caus ed by s tationary
voltage s pikes or nodes , which are caus ed by s
Standing waves are stationary and
tanding waves .
occur when part of the energy travelin g down the line

of a coaxial cable is large, but the s urface area of the

inner conductor is relativ e ly s mall. At micro wav e
frequenc ies , the current-c arry in g area of the inner conductor is restricted to a very small layer at the
surface of the conductor by an action called SKIN
Skin effect tends to increas e the effective res is tance
of the conductor. Although energy transfer in coaxial
cable is caus ed by electromagnetic field motion, the
magnitude of the field is limited by the s ize of the
current-carrying area of the
inner conductor. The


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is reflected by an impedance mis match with


voltage potential

of the s tanding




at the

points of greatest magnitude can become large enough


break down


the insulation between



dis advantages that


them practical for

us e
frequenc ies .



conductors .

dielectric in

waveguides is

much lower dielectric los s

materials .

However, waveguides




waves in

decreas es
s evere ly

caus ed





als o


the efficiency of energy

dama ge

air, which has a

than conventional insulating

caus e





Als o

s ince


are completely

the waveguide , radiation


waves .


wavegu id e.


s ubject

s tanding



los s es are kept very low.

Power-handling capability is
of waveguides . Waveguides can

another advantage
handle more power


c o a xia l lin e s
o f t h e s a me s ize b e c a u s e
power-handling capability is directly related to the

dis tance between conductors . Figure 3-18 illustrates

t h e g re a t e r d is t a n c e b e t we e n c o n d u c t o r s in a
waveguide .

Figure 3-18.Comparis on of s pacing in coaxial cable

and a circular waveguide .




the advantages

of waveguides , you

think that waveguides s hould be the only type

of trans mis s ion lines

us ed. However, waveguides have

Page 19






limitation of waveguides . The width of a waveguide

wavelength at the
mus t be approximately a


frequency of the wave to be transported. For example, a

wavegu id e for us e at 1 megah e rt z would be about
700 feet wide. This makes the us e of waveguides at

waveguide from a two-wire transmission line. Figure

fre q u e n c ie s

line, the ins ulators mus t pres ent a very high impedance

Phys ical


s ize


b e lo w





m e ga he r t z

lower frequency

us ing waveguides is


better understand the transition from

trans mis s ion

t h e o rie s



c o n s id e rin g

in c re a s in g ly




phys ical dimens ions



to ground, and

is tics of

Waveguides are difficult to install becaus e of their

s hape.

joints are required









reduce skin

increas e

practicality of
micro wav e




cos ts

los s es . Thes e


decreas e the

s ys tems at any

ins ulator



dis play the





frequency increases, the


section of transmission

s horted at one end. Such an insulator is s hown





the two-wire


of a s horted quar-

at the open-end junction

transmission line.





and may be placed anywhere




a capacitor formed by

As the

insulator is known


obvious ly s hort-circuit

ins ulators

ter-wave s ection is very

other than

frequenc ies .


d e v e lo p me n t

overall impedance decreas es . A better

plated with



wire and ground.


operation. Als o,

the ins ide s urfaces of waveguides are often

s ilver



this is what happens at very high

frequencies . Ordinary




proper operation of the line. A low

impedance ins ulator

of the waveguides .



3-19 s hows a s ection of a two-wire transmission line

s upported on two insulators. At the junction with the

range of any s ys tem

by the



along a two-wire line.


Page 20





Figure 3-19.Two-wire trans mis s ion line.

Figure 3-20.Quarter-wave s ection of trans mis s ion

line s horted at one end.

Note that quarter-wave s ections are ins ulators at only

frequency. This severely limits the
efficiency, and application of this
type of two-wire
Figure 3-21 shows several metallic insulators on
each s ide of a two-wire trans mis s ion line. As more
ins ulators are added, each s ection makes contact with
the next, and a rectangular waveguide is formed. The
lines become part of the walls of the waveguide, as
illus trated in figure 3-22.
Th e e n e rg y is t h e n
conducted within the
hollow waveguide ins tead of
along the two-wire trans mis s io n line.
The comparis on of the way electromagnetic fields
work on a transmission line and in a waveguide is
not exact. During the change from a two-wire line

Page 21

Figure 3-21.Metallic ins ulator on each s ide of a twowire line.

Figure 3-22.Forming a waveguide by adding

quarter-wave s ections .
a two-wire line that is completely shunted by
quarter-wave s ections . If it did, the us e of a waveguide would be limited to a s ingle-frequency wave
length that was four times the length of the quarterwave s ections . In fact, waves of this length cannot
pas s effic ie nt ly through waveguides . Only a s mall
range of frequencies of s omewh at s horter wavele ngt h
(higher frequency) can pas s efficient ly .

als o undergo many changes . As a result of these

changes, the waveguide does not actually operate


Page 22

As s hown in figure 3-23, the wides t dimens ion

of a waveguide is called
the a dimens ion and
determines the
range of operating frequencies . The
narrowes t
dimens ion determines the
capability of the waveguide and is called the b
dimens i on .



Since energy is transferred through waveguides

by electromagnetic fields , you need a bas ic unders tanding
of field theory. Both electric (E FIELD) and
magnetic fields (H FIELD) are pres ent in waveguides ,
and the interaction of thes e fields caus es energy to
travel through the waveguide. This action is bes t
unders tood by first looking at the properties of the
two individu a l fields .
E Field

Figure 3-23.Labeling waveguide dimens ions , NOTE:

This method of labeling waveguid es is

not standard in all texts , Different methods may be
us ed in other texts on microwave principles , but this
method is in accordance with Navy Military Standards
theory, a waveguide could
function at an
infinite number
des igned frequency; however, in
practice, an upper
frequency limit is caus ed by modes
of operation,
which will be dis cus s ed later.

An electric field exis ts when

a difference of
potential caus es a s tres s in the dielectric between two
points . The s imples t electric field is one that forms
between the plates of a capacitor when one plate is
made pos itive compared to the other, as s hown in view A
of figure 3-24. The s tres s created in the dielectric is
an electric field.
Electric fields are repres ented by arrows that point
from the pos itive toward the negative potential. The
number of arrows s hows the relative strength of the
field. In view B, for example, evenly s paced arrows
indicate the field is evenly dis tributed. For eas e of
explanation, the electric field is abbreviated E field,
and the lines of stress are called E lines .
H Field

If the frequency of a signal is decreas ed s o much

that two quarter-wavelengths are longer than the wide
dimens ion of a waveguide, energy will no longer pas s
through the waveguide. This is the lower frequency
limit , o r
o f a g iv e n
wavegu id e .
practical applications , the
dimens ion of a waveguide is us ually 0.7 wavelength
at the operating frequency. This allows the waveguide
to handle a s mall range of frequencies both above and
below the operating frequency. The b dimens ion

The magnetic field in a waveguide is made up of

magnetic lines of force that are caus ed by current flow
through the
conductive material of the waveguide.
Magnetic lines of force, called H lines , are continuous
clos ed loops , as s hown in figure 3-25. All of the H
as s ociated with current are collectively called
a magnetic field or H field. The strength of the H
field, indicated by the number of H lines in a given
area, varies direct ly with the amount of current.

is g o v e rn e d b y t h e b re a kd o w n p o t e n t ia l o f the
dielectric, which is us ually air. Dimens ions ranging
from 0.2 to 0.5 wavelen gth are common for the b
s ides of a waveguide.

Although H lines encircle a single, straight wire,

they behave differently when the wire is formed into
a coil, as s hown in figure 3-26. In a coil the individu a l

H lines tend to form around each turn of wire. Since

Page 23

Page 24

Figure 3-24.Simple electric fields .

waveguide is confined to the phys ical limits of the

Two c o n d it io n s , kn o wn a s BOUNDA RY
CONDITIONS, mus t be s atis fied for energy to travel
through a waveguide.
The firs t boundary

conditio n (illus t rat ed

in fig.

3-27, view A can be stated as follows :

The travel of energy down a wavegu ide is similar,
Figure 3-25.Magnetic field on a s ingle wire.

but not identical, to the travel of electromagnetic waves

in free s pace. The differenc e is that the energy in a

the H lines take oppos ite directions between adjacent

turns, the field between the turns is canceled. Ins ide
and outs ide the coil, where the direction of each H
field is the s ame, the fields join and form continuous
H lines around the entire coil. A similar action takes
place in a waveguide .

Figure 3-26.Magnetic field on a coil.



Page 25

For an electric field to exist at the surface

m ust
perpendicular to the conductor.

Figure 3-27.Efield boundary condition.

The oppos ite of this boundary condition, s hown
in view B, is als o true. An electric field CANNOT
exis t parallel to a perfect conductor.
The s econd boundary condition, which is illus trated
in figure 3-28, can be stated as follows :
For a varying magnetic field to exist, it mus t
form closed loops in parallel w ith the
conductors and be perpendicular to the
electric field.


Page 26

The combined electric and magnetic fields form

a wavefront that can be repres ent ed by alternate
negative and pos itive peaks at half-w av e l en g th

Figure 3-28.H field boundar y conditi on.

Since an E field causes a current flow that in turn

produces an H field, both fields always exis t at the
s ame time in a waveguide. If a s ys tem s atis fies one
of thes e boundary conditions , it must als o s atis fy the
other s ince neither field can exis t alone.


Electromagnetic energy trans mitted

s pace
cons is ts of electric and magnetic fields that are at right
angles (90 degrees ) to each other and at right angles
to the direction of propagation. A s imple analogy to
es tablis h this relations hip is by us e of the right-hand
ru le fo r e le c t ro ma g n e t ic e n e rg y , b a s e d o n t h e
a s crew
(right-hand thread) with its axis perpendicular to the
electric and
will advance in the
direction of propagation if the E field is rotated to
the right (toward the H field). This rule is illustrated
in figure 3-29.

Figure 3-29.The Poynting vector.

Page 27

wall, known as the angle of incidence

intervals, as illustrated in figure 3-30. Angle

the direction of travel of the wave with res pect to s ome
reference axis .

is the same

as the angle of reflection

An instant after particle
1 strikes the wall, particle 2 strikes the wall, as s hown

Figure 3-30.Wavefronts in s pace.

reflection of a s ingle wavefront off the b
wall of a waveguide is s hown in figure 3-31. The
wavefront is s hown in view A as s mall particles, In
views B and C particle 1 strikes the wall and is
bounced back from the wall without los ing velocity.
If the wall is perfectly flat, the angle at which it the

Figure 3-31.Reflection of a s ingle wavefront.


Page 28

in view C, and reflects in the same manner. Becaus e

all the particles are traveling at the s ame velocity,
particles 1 and 2 do not change their relative pos ition
with res pect to each other. Therefore, the reflected
wave has the s ame shape as the origina l.
remaining particles as s hown in views D, E, and F
reflect in the same manner. This proces s results in
a reflected wavefront identical in shape, but oppos ite
in polarity , to the incident wave.

Figure 3-32, views A and B, each illustrate the

direction of propagation of two different electromagnetic wavefronts of different frequencies being radiated
into a waveguide by a probe. Note that only the
direction of propagation is indicated by the lines and
arrowheads. The wavefronts are at right angles to
the direction of propagation. The angle of incidence

The velocity of propagation of a wave along a

waveguide is les s than its velocity through free s pace
(s peed of light). This lower velocity is caus ed by the
zig za g p a t h t a ke n b y t h e wa v e fro n t .
forward-progres s velocity of the wavefront
in a
wa ve guide is c a lle d GROUP VELOCIT Y an d is
s omewh at s lower than the s peed of light.

The group velocity of energy in a waveguide is

determined by the reflection angle of the wavefronts
off the b walls . The reflection angle is determined
by the frequency of the input energy. This bas ic
principle is illustrated in figure 3-33. As frequency
is decreas ed. the reflection angle increas es , caus ing
the group velocity to decreas e. The oppos ite is als o
true; increas ing frequency increas es the group velocity.

and the angle of reflect io n

of the wavefronts
vary in s ize with the frequency of the input energy,
but the angles of reflection are equal to each other
in a waveguide. The CUTOFF FREQUENCY in a
waveguide is a frequency that would caus e angles of
incidence and
reflection to be perpendicular to the
walls of the guide. At any frequency below the cutoff
frequency, the wavefronts will be reflected back and
forth acros s the guide (s etting up s tanding waves ) and
no energy will be conducted down the waveguide.

Figure 3-33.Reflection angle at various frequencies .




The waveguide analyzed in the previous paragraphs

an electric field configuration known as the
half-s in e electric distribution.
called a MODE OF OPERA T ION, is s hown in figure

Figure 3-32.Different frequencies in a wavegui de.

3-34. Recall that the strength of the field is indicated

by the spacing of the lines; that is , the clos er the lines ,
of maximum
the s tronger the field.
voltage in this field move continuous ly down the
waveguide in a s ine-wave pattern. To meet boundary

Page 29

conditions. the

field must


be zero at the "b"



Page 30

allowable value to ensure that only the dominant mode

will exis t. In practice, this dimension is us ually 0.7
wavelen gth .

Figure 3-34.Half-s ine E field dis tribution.

The half-s ine field is only one of many field

configurations , or modes , that can exis t in a rectangular
wavegu id e .
A full-s ine field can als o exis t in a
rectangular waveguide because, as s hown in figure
3-35, the field is zero at the b walls .

Figure 3-35.Full-s ine E field dis tribution.

The magnetic field in a rectangular waveguide is
in the form of clos ed loops parallel to the s urface of
the conductors. The strength of the magnetic field
proportional to the electric field.
Figure 3-36
illustrates the magnetic field pattern as s ociated with
a half-s ine electric field distribution. The magnitude
of the magnetic field varies in a sine-wave pattern
down the center of the waveguide in time phas e with
the electric field. TIME PHASE means that the peak
H lines and peak E lines occur at the same instant in
time, although not neces s arily at the s ame point along
the length of the waveguide.
The dominant mode is the mos t efficient mode.
Waveguides are normally des igned s o that only the
dominant mode
will be us ed. To operate in the
dominant mode, a waveguide must have an a (wide)
dimens ion of at leas t one half-wavelength of the
frequency to be propagated. The a dimens ion of
waveguide mus t be kept near the minimum

Page 31

rotate. Figure 3-37 illustrates the dominant mode of

a circular waveguide .
The cutoff wavelength of a
circular guide
is 1.71 times the diameter of the
waveguide. Since the a dimens ion of a rectangular
waveguide is approximately one
half-wavelength at
cutoff frequency, the diameter of an equivalent
circular wavegu id e mus t be 2/1.71, or approxi m at e ly

Figure 3-36.Magnetic field caus ed by a half-s ine

E field.

Of the pos s ible modes of operation available for a

given waveguide, the dominant mode has the lowes t
cutoff freque nc y .
high-frequency limit of a
rectangular waveguide is a frequency at which its a
dimens ion becomes large enough to allow operation
in a mode higher than that for which the waveguide
has been des igned.

Figure 3-37.Dominant mode in a circular

waveg ui de.

Circular waveguides are us ed in s pecific areas of

radar and communications systems, such as rotating
joints us ed at the mechanical point where the antennas

Page 32

1.17 t ime s t h e
waveguide .

a d ime n s io n o f a r e c ta ngula r


Figure 3-38.Dominant mode in a rectangular



So far, only the mos t bas ic types of E and H field

s hown. More complicated
arrangements are often neces s ary to make pos s ible
coupling, is olation, or other types of operation. The
field arrangements of the various modes of operation
are d iv id e d in t o t wo c a t e g o rie s : T RA NSVERSE
(T M ).
In the transverse electric (TE) m ode, the entire
electric field is in the transverse plane, w hich is
perpendicular to the waveguide, (direction of energy
travel). Part of the m agneti c field is parallel to
the length axis.
In the transverse m agnetic (TM) m ode, the
entire m agnetic field is in the transverse plane and
has no portion parallel to the length axis.
Sin c e t h e re are s e v e ra l T E an d T M mo d e s ,
s ubs cripts are us ed to complete the des cription of the
field pattern. In rectangular waveguides , the first
s ubs cript indicates the number of half-wave patterns
in the a dimens ion, and the s econd s ubs cript indicates
the number of half-wave patterns in the b dimens ion.
The dominant mode for rectangular waveguides
is s hown in figure 3-38. It is des ignated as the TE
mode becaus e the E fields are perpendicular to the
a walls . The first s ubs cript is 1, s ince there is only
one half-wave pattern acros s the a dimens ion. There

Page 33

are no E-field

is one full wave, s o the first subscript is 1. Along

the diameter, the E lines
go from zero through
maximum and
back to zero, making a half-wave
variation. The s econd s ubs cript, therefore, is als o 1.
TE is the complete mode des cription of the domin a nt
mode in circu la r waveg u id es . Severa l modes are
pos s ible in both circular and rectangular waveguides .
Figure 3-40 illustrates s everal different modes that
can be us ed to verify the mode numberin g s ys tem.

patterns acros s the b dimens ion, s o

Th e c o mp le t e mo d e
the s econd s ubs cript is 0.
des cription of the
dominant mode
in rectangular
Subs equent
des cription of
wa v e g u id e s is T E .
1 ,0

waveguide operation in this text will as s ume the

domina nt (TE ) mode unless otherwis e noted.

1 ,1

1 ,0

A s imilar s ys tem is us ed to identify the modes of

circular waveguides . The general clas s ification of TE
and TM is true for both circular and rectangular
waveguides . In
circular waveguides the
s ubs cripts
have a different meaning. The first s ubs cript indicates
the number of fill-wave patterns around the circumference of the waveguide. The s econd s ubs cript indicates
the number of half-wave patterns acros s the diameter.
In the circular waveguide in figure 3-39, the E
field is perpendicular to the length of the waveguide
with no E lines parallel to the direction of propagation.
Thus , it mus t be classified as operating in the TE
mode. If you follow the E line pattern in a counterclockwis e direction starting at the top, the E lines
go from zero, through maximum pos itive (tail of
arrows ), back
zero, through maximum negative
(head of arrows ), and then back to zero again. This

Figure 3-39.Counting wavelengths in a circular



Page 34

Figure 3-40.Various modes of operation for rectangular and circular waveguides .



(coupling) is maximum at this point. Note that the

quarter-wavelength s pacing is at the frequency required
to propagate the domin a nt mode.

A waveguide, as explained earlier in this topic,

operates differently from an ordinary trans mis s ion line.
Therefore, s pecial devices mus t be us ed to put energy
into a waveguide at one end and remove it from the
other end.
The three devices us ed to injector remove energy
from waveguides are
Slots may als o be called APERT U RE S or WINDOWS.
When a small probe is ins erted into a waveguide
and s upplied with microwave energy, it acts as a
quarter-wave antenna. Current flows in the probe and
s ets up an E field s uch as the one s hown in figure
3-41, view A. The E lines detach thems e lv es from
the probe. When the probe is located at the point of
highes t efficiency, the E lines set up an E field of
considerable intensity.
The mos t efficient place to locate the probe is in
the center of the a wall, parallel to the b wall, and
one quarter-wavelength from the s horted end of the
waveguide, as s hown
in figure 3-41, views B and
C. This is the point at which the E field is maximum
in the dominant mode. Therefore, energy trans fer

Page 35

broad-bandwid th probes are illus t rat ed in figure 3-41,

view D. Remova l of energy from a wavegu ide is
s imp ly a revers a l of the injection proces s us ing the
s ame type of probe.

In many applications a les s er degree of energy

transfer, called
loos e coupling, is des irable. The
amount of energy
trans fer can
reduced by
decreas ing the length of the probe, by moving it out of
the center of the E field, or by s hielding it. Where
the degree of coupling must be varied frequently,
the probe is made retractable s o the length can be
eas ily changed.

Another way of injecting energy into a waveguide

is by s etting up an H field in the waveguide. This
can be accomplis hed by inserting a s mall loop that
carries a high current into the waveguide, as s hown
in figure 3-42, view A. A magnetic field builds up
around the loop and expands to fit the waveguide, as
s hown in view B. If the frequency of the current in
the loop is within the bandwidth of the waveguide,

The s ize and s hape of the probe determines its

frequency, bandwidth, and
power-handling capability.
As the diameter of a probe increas es , the bandwidth
increas es . A probe s imilar in shape to a door knob
is capable of handling much higher power and a larger
bandwidth than a conventional probe. The greater
power-h an d ling capability is directly related to the
in c re a s e d

s u rfa c e a re a .


e xa m p l e s

energy will be trans fe rre d to the waveguide.


Page 36

Figure 3-41.Probe coupling in a rectangular waveguide.


Figure 3-42.Loop coupling in a rectangular

Page 37

c a p a b ilit y a ls o increas es .
Th e b a n d wid t h ca n
b e in c re a s e d b y increas ing the s ize of the wire us ed
to make the loop.
When a loop is introduced into a waveguide in
which an H field is present, a current is induced in
the loop.
condition exis ts , energy is
removed from the waveguide.

For the mos t efficient coupling to the

waveguide, the loop is ins erted at one of
s everal points where the magnetic field will
be of greatest strength. Four
of thos e
points are s hown in figure 3-42, view C.

Slots or apertures are s ometimes us ed when very

loos e (inefficient) coupling is des ired, as s hown in
figure 3-43. In this method energy enters through
a small s lot in the waveguide and the E field expands
into the waveguide. The E lines expand firs t acros s

les s
des ired, you can rotate or move the loop
until it encircles a s maller number of H
the diameter of the loop is
lines . When
in c re a s e d ,
it s
p o we r-h a n d lin g

the s lot and then acros s the interio r of the waveguide .


Page 38



Waveguide trans mis s ion s ys tems are

not always
perfectly impedance matched to their load devices .
The s tanding waves that res ult from a mismatch cause
a power los s , a reduction in power-handling capability,
increas e in frequency s ens itivity. Impedance-changing
devices are
therefore placed in the
waveguide to match the waveguide to the load. Thes e
devices are placed near the s ource of the standing
waves .
Figure 3-43.Slot coupling in a waveguide .
Minimum reflections occur
when energy is injected
or removed if the s ize of the s lot is properly proportioned to the frequency of the energy.
After learnin g how energy is coupled into and out
of a waveguide with s lots , you might think that leaving
the end open is the mos t s imple way of injecting or
removing energy in a wavegu id e . This is not the cas e,
however, becaus e when energy leaves a waveguid e ,
fields form around the end of the waveguide . Thes e
fields caus e an imped anc e mis matc h which, in turn,
caus es the development of s tanding waves and a dras tic
Various methods of impe da nc e
los s in efficiency.
matchin g and termin at ing wavegu id es will be covered
in the next s ection.

Figure 3-44 illus trates three devices , called iris es ,

that are us ed to introduce inductance or capacitance
into a waveguide. An iris is nothing more than a metal
plate that contains an opening through which the waves
may pas s . The iris is located in the transverse plane
of either the magnetic or electric field.
An inductive iris and its equivalent circuit are
illustrated in figure 3-44, view A. The iris places a
shunt inductive reactance across the waveguide that
is directly proportional to the s ize of the opening.
Notice that the inductive iris is in the magnetic plane.
The shunt capacitive reactance, illustrated in view
B, bas ically acts the s ame way. Again, the reactance
is directly proportional to the s ize of the opening, but
the iris is placed in the electric plane. The iris,
illus trat ed in view C, has portions in both the magnetic

Page 39

Figure 3-44. W avegu id e iris es .


Page 40

in figure 3-46. The type of horn us ed depends upon

and electric trans vers e planes and forms an equivalent

parallel-LC circuit acros s the
waveguide. At
resonant frequency, the iris acts as a high shunt
resistance. Above or below res onance, the iris acts
as a capacitiv e or inductive reactance.

the frequency and the des ired radiation pattern.

SCREW S made
from conductive
material can be us ed for impedance-changing devices
in waveg u id es .
Views A and
B of figure 3-45,
illustrate two bas ic methods of us ing pos ts and s crews .
A pos t or s crew that only partially penetrates into the
waveguide acts as a s hunt capacitive reactance. When
the pos t or s crew extends completely through the
waveguide, making contact with the top
and bottom
walls , it acts as an inductive reactance. Note that when
s crews are us ed, the amount of reactance can be varied.

Figure 3-45.Conducting pos ts and s crews .



Electro m agn et ic energy is often passed through

a waveguide to transfer the energy from a s ource into
As previous ly mentioned, the impedance of
s pace.
a waveguide does not match the impedance of s pace,
and without proper impedance matching s tanding waves
c a u s e a la rg e d e c re a s e in t h e e ffic ie n c y o f the
wavegu id e .
Any abrupt change in impedance caus es s tanding
waves , but when the change in impedance at the end
of a waveguide is gradual, almos t no s tanding waves
formed. Gradual changes in impedance can be
o b t a in e d b y t e rmin a t in g the wa v e g u id e wit h a
funnel-s haped HORN, s uch as the three types illus trated

Page 41

called a DUMMY LOAD, becaus e its only purpos e

is to abs orb all the energy in a waveguide without
caus ing s tanding waves .
There is no place on a waveguide to connect a
res is tor; therefore, s everal s pecial
arrangements are us ed to terminate waveguides . One
method is to fill the end of the waveguide with a
graphite and s and mixture, as illus trated in figure 3-47,
view A. When the fields enter the mixture, they
induce a current flow in the mixture that dissipates
the energy as heat. Another method (view B) is to
us e a high-res is tance rod placed at the center of the
E field. The E field caus es current to flow in the rod,
and the high res is tance of the rod dis s ipates the energy
as a power los s , again in the form of heat.
Still another method for terminating a waveguide
is the us e of a wedge of highly resistive material, as
s hown in view C of figure 3-47. The plane of the
wedge is placed perpendic u la r to the magnetic lines

Figure 3-46.Waveguide horns .

As you may have noticed, horns are really s imple
antennas. They have s everal advantages over other
devices , s uch
their large
bandwidth and s imp le cons truction .
A waveguide may als o be terminated in a res is tive
load that is matched to the characteristic impedance
of the waveguide. The res is tive load is mos t often


Page 42

plumbing. In light of this fact, the bending, twis ting,

joining, and ins tallation of waveguides is commonly
called waveguide plumb in g. Natura lly , wavegu id es
are different in des ign from pipes that are des igned

Figure 3-47.Terminating waveguides .

of force. When the H lines cut through the wedge,
current flows in the wedge and caus es a power los s .
As with the other methods, this los s is in the form
of heat. Since very little energy reaches the end of
the waveguide, reflections are min im u m .
All of the terminations dis cus s ed s o far are
des igned to radiate or abs orb the energy without
reflections . In many ins tances , however, all of the
e n e rg y mu s t b e re fle c t e d fro m the en d o f t h e
waveguide. The bes t way to accomplis h this is to
permanently weld a metal plate at the end of the
wavegu id e , as s hown in view D of figure 3-47.


Since waveguides are really only hollow metal

pipes , the ins tallation and the phys ical handling of
wa v e g u id e s h a v e ma n y s im ila r itie s t o o rd in a ry

Page 43

to carry liquids or other substances. The des ign of

a waveguide is determined by the frequency and power
level of the electromagnetic energy it will carry. The
following paragraphs
phys ical factors
involved in the des ign of waveguides .
W aveguide B ends

Figure 3-48.Gradual E bend.

s ize,
s hape, and dielectric material of a
waveguide mus t be constant throughout its length for
energy to move from one end to the other without
reflections . Any abrupt change in its s ize or shape
can caus e reflections and a los s in overall efficiency.
When s uch a change is necessary, the bends, twists,
joints of the
waveguides mus t meet certain
conditions to prevent reflect io ns.

Another common bend is the gradua l H bend (fig.

3-49). It is called an H bend becaus e the H fields
are dis torted when a waveguide is bent in this manner.
Again, the radius of the bend mus t be greater than
wavelengths to prevent reflections . Neither the
E bend in the a dimens ion nor the H bend in the
b dimens ion changes the norma l mode of operatio n .

Waveguides maybe bent in s everal ways that do

not caus e reflections . One way is the gradual bend
s hown in
figure 3-48. This gradual bend is known
as an E bend becaus e it dis torts the E fields . The E
bend mus t have a radius greater than two wavelengths
to prevent reflect io ns .
Figure 3-49.Gradual H bend.

Page 44

A s harp bend

in either dimens ion may be us ed

be molded into one piece, the waveguide mus t be

if it meets certa in require m en ts . Notice the two

45-degre e bends in figure 3-50; the bends are 1/ 4
apart. The reflections that occur at the 45-degree bends
cancel each other, leaving the fields as though no
reflections have occurred.

Figure 3-50.Sharp bends .

Sometimes the
electromagnetic fields
must be
rotated s o that they are in the proper phas e to match
the phas e of the load. This may be accomplis hed by
twis ting the waveguide as s hown in figure 3-51. The
twist must be gradual and greater than

Figure 3-51. W avegu id e twis t.

The flexible waveguide (fig. 3-52) allows s pecial

bends , which
s ome
applications might
require. It cons is ts of a s pecially wound ribbon of
conductive material, the mos t commonly us ed is brass,
with the
inner s urface plated with chromium. Power
los s es are greater in the flexible waveguide becaus e
the inner s urfaces are not perfectly s mooth. Therefore,
it is only us ed in s hort s ections where no other
reas onable s olution is availab le .
W aveguide Joints

an entire waveguide s ys tem cannot pos s ibly

Page 45

A cros s -s ectional view of a choke joint is s hown

in figure 3-53. The pres s ure gas ket s hown between
the two metal s urfaces forms an airtight s eal. Notice
in view B that the s lot is exactly
from the a
wall of the waveguide. The s lot is als o
as s hown in view A, and becaus e it is s horted at point
1, a high impedance results at point 2. Point 3 is
from point 2. The high impedance at point 2 results
in a low impedance, or short, at point 3. This effect
creates a good electrical connection between the two
s ections that permits energy to pas s with very little
reflect ion or los s .

Figure 3-52.Flexible waveguide.

cons tructed in s ections and the s ections connected with
joints . The three bas ic types of waveguide joints are
the PERMANENT, the
permanent joint
a factory-welded joint that requires no maintenance,
only the s emipermanent and rotating joints will be
dis cus s ed.

Whenever a s tationary
rectangular waveguide
to be connected to a rotating antenna, a rotating joint
must be us ed. A circular waveguide is normally us ed
in a rotating joint. Rotating a rectangular waveguide
caus e field
pattern dis tortion. The rotating
s ection of the joint, illus trated in figure 3-54, us es a
choke joint to complete the electrical connection with
The circula r waveguide is
the s tationary s ection.
des igned s o that it will operate in the TM mo d e .

Sections of waveguide mus t be taken apart for

maintenance and repair. A s emipermanent joint, called
mos t commonly us ed for this
purpos e. The choke joint provides good electromagnetic continuity between the s ections of the waveguide
with very little power los s .

0 ,1


Page 46

Figure 3-54.Rotating joint.

Figure 3-53.Choke joint.

Page 47

s urfaces can decreas e the efficiency of a s ys tem to

the point that it will not work at all. Therefore, you
must take great care when working with waveguides
to prevent phys ical damage. Since
waveguides are
made from a s oft, conductive material, s uch as copper
or aluminum, they are very eas y to dent or deform.
Even the s lightes t damage to the inner s urface of a
waveguide will
caus e s tanding waves
and, often,
internal arcing. Internal arcing caus es further damage
t o t h e wa v e g u id e in a n a c t io n tha t is o ft e n
s elf-s us taining until the waveguide is damaged beyond
us e. Part of your job as a technician will be to ins pect
waveguide s ys tem for
phys ical damage. The
previous ly mentioned dents are only one type of
phys ical damage that can decreas e the efficiency of
the s ys tem.
A n o t h e r p ro b le m o c c u rs b e c a u s e
waveguides are made from a conductive material s uch
as copper while the structures of mos t s hips are made
from s teel. When two dis s imilar metals , s uch as
copper and s teel, are in direct contact, an electrical
action called ELECTROLYSIS takes place
that caus es
very rapid corros ion of the metals . Waveguides can
be completely des troyed by electrolytic corros ion in a
relative ly s hort period of time if they are not is olated

The rectangular s ections are attached as shown in the

illustration to prevent the
circular waveguide from
operating in the wrong mode. Dis tance O is
that a high
impedance will be pres ented to any
unwanted modes . This
is the mos t common des ign
us ed for rotating joints , but other types may be us ed in
s pecific applicat ions .


The ins tallat io n of a waveg u id e s ys tem pres ents

proble m s that are not norma lly encountered when
dealing with other types of trans mis s ion lines . Thes e
proble ms often fall within the technician s area of
res pons ibility .
A b rie f d is c u s s io n o f wa v e g u id e
handlin g , ins tall at i o n , and main t en a n ce will help
prepare you for this maint e n an c e res pons ib il ity ,
Detaile d informat ion concerning waveguide maint e nance in a particular system may be found in the
technica l manua ls for the s ys tem.
Since a waveguide naturally has a low los s ratio,
mos t los s es in a waveguide s ys tem are caus ed by other
factors . Improperly connected joints or damaged inner

from direct contact with other metals . Any ins pection


Page 48

of a waveguide s ys tem s hould include a detailed

ins pection of all s upport points to ensure that electrolytic
corros ion is not taking place. Any waveguide
that is expos ed to the weather s hould be painted and
all joints s ealed.
Proper painting prevents natural
corros ion, and s ealing the joints prevents mois ture from
entering the waveguid e .

The directional coupler is a device that provides

a metho d of s ampling energy from within a waveguid e

Mois ture can be one of the wors t enemies of a

wa v e g u id e s y s t e m.
As previous ly dis cus s ed, the
dielectric in waveguides is air, which is an excellent
dielectric as long as it is free of mois ture. Wet air,
however, is a very poor dielectric and can caus e s erious
internal arcing in a waveguide s ys tem. For this reason,
care is taken to ens ure that waveguide systems are
pressurized with air that is dry. Checking the pres s ure
and mois ture content of the waveguide air may be one
of your daily s ys tem maintenance duties.
detailed waveguide ins tallation and maintenance information can be found
in the technical
manuals that apply to your particular s ys tem. Another
good s ource is the E l e c t r o n i c s In s t a l l a t i o n a n d
Maintenance Handbook s (EIMB) publis hed by Naval
Sea Sys tems Command. Installation Standards (EIMB)
Handbook , NAVSEA 0967-LP-000-0110, is the
that deals with waveguide ins tallation and maintenance.


The dis cus s ion of waveguides , up to this point,

has been concerned only with the transfer of energy
from one point to another. Many waveguide devices
have been developed, however, that modify the energy
in s ome fas hion during the transmission. Some devices
do nothing more than change the direction of the
energy. Others have been des igned to change the bas ic
characteris tics or power level of the electromagnetic
s ection will
principles of s ome of
d e v ic e s , s u c h

explain the bas ic operating

the more common waveguide

D irectional C ouplers

Page 49

for meas urement or us e

in another circuit. Mos t
couplers s ample energy traveling in one direction only.
However, directional couplers can be cons tructed that
directions . Thes e are called
s ample energy in both
BIDIRECTIONAL couplers and are widely
us ed
radar and communications s ys tems .
Direct ion a l couplers may be cons tructed in many
ways .
The couple r illus t ra t ed in figu re 3-55 is
cons tructed from an enclos ed waveguide s ection of
the s ame dimens ions as the waveguide in which the
energy is to be s ampled . The b wall of this enclos ed
s ection is mounted to the b wall of the waveguide
from which the s ample will be taken. There are two
holes in the b wall between the s ections of the
coupler. Thes e two holes are
apart. The upper
s ection of the direct ion a l coupler has a wedge o f
energy-abs o rb in g materia l at one end and a pickup
probe connected to an output jack at the other end.
The abs orbent materia l abs orbs the energy not directed
at the probe and a portion of the overall energy that
enters the s ection.

Figure 3-55.Directional coupler.

Figure 3-56 illustrates two portions of the incident

wavefront in a waveguide. The waves travel down
the waveguide in the direction indicated and enter the
coupler s ection through both holes . Since both portions
of the wave travel the s ame dis tance, they are in phase
arrive at the pickup probe. Becaus e the
waves are in phase, they add together and provide a
s ample of the energy traveling down the waveguide.
The s ample taken is only a s mall portion of the energy
that is traveling down the waveguide. The magnitude
the s a mp le , h o we v e r , is p ro p o rt io n a l t o the
mag n itu d e of the energy in the wavegu id e. The
abs orbent mate ria l is des igned to ens ure that the ratio


Page 50

between the s ample energy and the energy in the

waveguide is
cons tant. Otherwis e, the s ample would
contain no us eful information. The ratio is usually
s tamped on the coupler in the form of an attenuation

Figure 3-56.Incident wave in a directional coupler

des igned to s ample incident waves .

The effect of a directional coupler on any reflected

energy is illustrated in figure 3-57. Note that these
two waves do not travel the same dis tance to the
pickup probe. The
wave repres ented by the dotted
line travels
further and arrives at the probe 180
degrees out of phas e with the wave, repres ented by
the s olid line. Becaus e the waves are 180 degrees
out of phas e at the probe, they cancel each other and
no energy is induced into the pickup probe. When
the reflected energy arrives at the abs orbent material,
it adds and is abs orbed by the material.

and the probe

are in oppos ite pos itions from the
directional coupler des igned to s ample the incident
energy. This pos itioning caus es the two portions of
the reflected energy to arrive at the probe in phas e,
providing a
materia l.

s ample


reflected energy. The
abs orbed by the abs orbent

Figure 3-58.Directional coupler des igned to s ample

retlected energy.

A s imple bidirectional coupler for s ampling both

transmitted and reflected energy can be cons tructed
by mounting two directional couplers on oppos ite s ides
of a waveguide, as s hown in figure 3-59.

Figure 3-59.Bidirectional coupler.

Figure 3-57.Reflected wave in a directional


C avity R esonators
By definit io n, a res onant cavity is any s pace
A direction a l coupler des igned to s ample reflect ed

Page 51

energy is shown in figure 3-58. The absorbent material

completely enclosed by conducting walls that can

contain oscillating electromagnetic fields and possess
resonant properties. The cavity has many advantages


Page 52

and us es at microwave frequencies . Res onant cavities

have a very high Q and can be built to handle
relatively large amounts of power. Cavities with a
Q value in exces s of 30,000 are not uncommon. The
high Q gives thes e devices a narrow bandpas s and
allows very accurate tuning. Simple, rugged cons truction is an addition a l advantage .

Although cavity
res onators , built for different
frequency ranges and applications , have a variety of
s hapes , the bas ic principles of operation are the s ame
for all.
One example of a cavity res onator is the rectangular
box s hown in figure 3-60, view A. It may be thought
of as a s ection of rectangular waveguide clos ed at both
ends by conducting plates. The frequency at which
the resonant mode occurs is
of the dis tance
between the end plates . The magnetic field patterns
in the rectangu la r cavity are s hown in view B.
There are two variables that determine the primary
frequency of any res onant cavity. The first variable
general, the s maller the
cavity, the higher its resonant frequency. The s econd
controlling factor is the SHAPE of the cavity. Figure
3-61 illus trates s everal cavity s hapes that are commonly
us ed. Remember from the previous ly s tated definition
of a resonant cavity that any completely enclos ed
conductive s urface, regardles s of its s hape, can act
as a cavity resonator.
Energy can be ins erted or removed from a cavity
by the s ame methods that are us ed to couple energy
into and out of waveguides . The operating principles
of probes , loops , and s lots are the s ame whether us ed
in a cavity or a waveguide. Therefore, any of the three
methods can be us ed with cavities to inject or remove
The res onant frequency of a cavity can be varied
by changing any of the three parameters: cavity
volume, cavity
capacitance, or cavity
Changing the frequencies of a cavity is known as
TUNING. The mechanical methods of tuning a cavity
may vary with the applicat io n , but all methods us e
the s ame electrica l princip les .

Figure 3-60.Rectangular waveguide cavity

res onator.
W aveguide Junctions
You may have as s umed that when energy traveling
down a wavegu id e reaches a junction it s imply divides
and follows the junction. This is not strictly true.

Page 53

Page 54

Figure 3-61.Types of cavities .

Different types of junctions affect

the energy in
different ways . Since waveguide junctions are us ed
extens ively in mos t s ys tems , you need to understand
the bas ic operating principles of thos e mos t commonly
us ed.

divided into two bas ic types , the E TYPE and the H

more complicated
developments of the bas ic T junctions . The MAGIC-T
and the HYBRID RING are the two mos t commonly
us ed hybrid junctions .

The T JUNCT IO N is the mos t s imple of the

common ly us ed waveguide junctions . T junctions are

E-TYP E T JUNCTIO N. An E-type T junction

is illustrated in figure 3-62, view A.

Page 55

Figure 3-62.-E fields inanE-type T junction.


Page 56

It is called an E-type T junction becaus e the junction

arm extends from the main waveguide in the s ame
directio n as the E field in the waveguid e.

Figure 3-62,
B, illustrates cros s -s ectional
views of the E-type T junction with inputs fed into
various arms . For
s implicity, the magnetic lines
that are always pres ent with an electric field have been
omitted. In view K, the input is fed into arm b and
the outputs are taken from the a and c arms . When
the E field arrives between points 1 and 2, point 1
becomes pos itive and point 2 becomes negative. The
pos itive charge at point 1 then
induces a negative
charge on the wall at point 3. The negative charge
at point 2 induces a pos itive charge at point 4. Thes e
charges caus e the fields to form 180 degrees out of
phase in the main waveguide; therefore, the outputs
will be 180 degrees out of phas e with each other.
In view L, two in-phas e inputs of equal amplitu de are
fed into the a and c arms . The s ignals at points 1 and

2 have the s ame phas e and amplitude. No difference

of potential exis ts acros s the entrance to the b arm,
and no energy will be coupled out. However, when
the two s ignals fed into the a and c arms are 180
degrees out of phas e, as s hown in view M, points
1 and 2 have a differe nc e of potential. This differenc e
of potential induces an E field from point 1 to point

2 in the b arm, and energy is coupled out of this arm.

Views N and P illustrate two methods of obtaining
two outputs with only one input.

H-TYPE T JUNCTION. An H-type T junction

is illus trated in figure 3-63, view A. It is called an
H-type T junction becaus e the long axis of the b
arm is parallel to the plane of the magnetic lines of
force in the waveguide. Again, for s implicity, only
the E lines are s hown in this figure. Each X indicates
an E line moving away from the obs erver. Each dot
indicates an E line moving toward the obs erver.

Page 57

Figure 3-63.-Efield in an H-type T junction.


Page 58

In view 1 of figure 3-63, view B, the s ignal is fed

into arm b and in-phas e outputs are obtained from
the a and c arms . In view 2, in-phas e s ignals are fed
into arms a and c and the output s ignal is obtained
from the b arm becaus e the fields add at the junction
E lines
b arm.

potential differen ce exis ts acros s the mouth of the d


180-de g re e-out -o f-p has e s ignals are fed into arms a

and c, as s hown in view 3, no output is obtained from
the b arm becaus e the oppos ing fields cancel at the
junction. If a signal is fed into the a arm, as s hown
in view 4 , outputs will be obtained from the b and c
arms. The revers e is als o true. If a s ignal is fed
into the c arm, outputs will be obtained from the a
and b arms.
s implified vers ion of the magic-T hybrid junction is s hown
in figure 3-64. The magic-T is a combination of the
H-type and E-type T junctions . The mos t common
application of this type of junction is as the mixer
s ection for micro wav e radar receive rs .

Figure 3-64.Magic-T hybrid junction.

If a signal is fed into the b arm of the magic-T,
it will divide
into two out-of-phas e components . As
s hown in figure 3-65, view A, these two components
will move into the a and c arms. The signal entering
the b arm will not enter the d arm becaus e of the zero
potential exis ting at the entrance of the d arm. The
potential mus t be zero at this
point to s atis fy the
boundary conditions of the b arm. This abs ence of
potential is illus trated in views B and C where the
magnitude of the E field in the b arm is indicated by
the length of the arrows . Since the E lines are at
maximum in the center of the b arm and minimum
at the edge where the d arm entrance is located, no

Page 59

input. The s hape of the E fields in motion is s hown

by the numbered curved s lices . As the E field moves
down the d arm, points 2 and 3 are at an equal
potential. The energy divides equally into arms a and
c, and the E fields in both arms become identical in

s hape. Since the potentials on both s ides of the b arm

are equal, no potential difference exis ts at the entrance
to the b arm, resulting in no output.

Figure 3-65.Magic-T with input to arm b.

of the

s ummary, when an input is applied to arm b

magic-T hybrid junction, the output signals from

arms a and c are 180 degrees out of phase with each

other, and no output occurs at the d arm.
The action that occurs when a signal is fed into
the d arm of the magic-T is illustrated in figure 3-66.
As with the H-type T junction, the signal entering the d
arm divides and moves down the a and c arms as
outputs that are in phas e with each other and with the


Page 60

mea n s of imp ed a n c e mat c h in g that does not

Figure 3-66.Magic-T w ith input to arm d.

When an input signal is fed into the a arm as
s hown in figure 3-67, a portion of the energy is
coupled into the b arm as it would be in an E-type
T junction. An equal portion of the
s ignal is
coupled through the d arm becaus e of the action of
the H-type junction. The c arm has two fields
across it that are out of phas e with each other.
Therefore, the fields cancel, res ulting in no output
at the c arm. The revers e of this action takes place
if a signal is fed into the c arm, resulting in
outputs at the b and d arms and no output at the a

Figure 3-67.Magic-T w ith input to arm a.

Unfortunately, when a s ignal is applied to any
arm of a magic-T, the flow of energy in the output
arms is affected by reflections . Reflections are
caus ed
by impedance mismatching
at the
junctions . Thes e reflections are
the caus e of the
two major dis advantages of the magic-T. First, the
reflections represent a power los s s ince all the
energy fed into the junction does not reach the
load that the arms feed. Second, the reflections
produce s tanding waves that can result in internal
arcing. Thus , the
maximum power
a magic-T can
handle is great ly reduc ed .
Reflections can
be reduced by us ing s ome

Page 61

View B s hows , in wavelengths , the

dimens ions
requ ire d for a hybrid ring to operate prope rly .

des troy the s hape of the junctions . One method is

s hown in figure 3-68. A pos t is us ed to match the
H plane, and an iris is us ed to match the E plane.
Even though this
method reduces reflections , it
lowers the power-h an d lin g capabilit y even further.

hybrid ring is us ed primarily in highpowered radar
communications s ys tems
functions .
period, the
hybrid ring
couples microwave energy
from the transmitter to the antenna and allows no
energy to reach the
receiver. During the
cycle, the hybrid ring couples energy from the
antenna to the receiver and allows no energy to
reach the transmitter. Any device that performs
of thes e functions is called a DUPLEXER. A
duplexer permits a s ys tem to
us e
s ame
antenna for both trans mit t in g and rece iv in g .

Figure 3-68.Magic-T im pedance m atching.

This concludes our dis cus s ion on transmission
lines and waveguides . In this volume you have
a bas ic introd u ct io n
propag a t ion
the time
it leaves the
transmitter to the point of reception. In volume 8
you will be introduced to a variety of electronic
s upport s ys te ms .


of hybrid junction
that overcomes the power limitation of the magicT is the hybrid ring, als o called a RAT RACE. The
hybrid ring, illus trated in figure 3-69, view A, is
actually a modification of the
magic-T. It
cons tructed
into a circular pattern. The arms are joined to the
circular waveguide to form
E-type T junctions .

Page 62

Figure 3-69.Hybrid ring with wavelength

meas urements .

Page 63


Page 64