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Introduction to Antenna

Antennas are important in radio communication system design and designing an antenna
is surrounded by a lot of mystery in mathematics. To tell how antenna works, we should first
review some fundamentals, and we probably know that when there is electron current flowing in
a wire, there is magnetic field surrounding the wire. Radio waves is the combination of magnetic
and electrical fields. James Maxwells equations say that the magnetic field is made to change
very rapidly and will produce electric field that also varying rapidly because of the varying
magnetic field that produced it. Maxwells equations also say that if the electric field is varied
quite rapidly itll produce another magnetic field. Whole process continues with these fields
extending and expanding further at the speed of light. This is how radio waves produced.

To start the process, rapidly varying current is made to flow in a wire and produces the
first magnetic field so that wire is the transmitting antenna. To receive a radio wave, either the
electric field or the magnetic field portion the radio wave can be used, and most commonly in
mobile radio work, the electrical field is used. If a wire is placed on the same direction and there
is an electrical field around, there will be difference in voltage from one end of the wire and the
other and the current will flow since there are electrons free to move in the wire. If the receiver is
connected somewhere in the circuit, current will flow in the receiver circuit and the receiver will
respond to the radio. The magnetic field can also be used if there is a coil placed in the direction
of the magnetic field. The magnetic field of radio wave will induce a voltage in this coil which
can be used to operate a receiver.

One example of the antenna is half-wave dipole antenna. Connections of the dipole are
usually made in the center although its possible to feed it from one end with some suitable
impedance matching device. Antennas are made to be attuned or resonant lengths for best
efficiency. In case of transmitting antenna, to get the strongest possible radio wave, we wish to
have the maximum possible current flowing in the antenna but the natural inductance of the
antenna may raise the impedance. If the antenna has made a certain length, its inductance and
capacitance will form a resonant circuit, and this will allow the maximum radio frequency
current to flow in the antenna.

Why not using full-wave antenna? Because the full-wave antenna radiates in different
phases along its length and this causes the radiation pattern to break up. So if the antenna is
vertical, the minimum radiation is straight out horizontally and so its not very useful for mobile
communication. Antennas longer than one wavelength have the radiation pattern separate and
even additional maximum and minimum. So this is the reason why you normally wont find
individual antenna longer than one wavelength.