Antenna Principles

Graphic of satellite/earth communications system.

Antenna Principles

A tremendous amount of knowledge and information has been gained about the design of antennas and radio-wave propagation. Still, many old-time technicians will tell you that when it comes to designing the length of an antenna, the best procedure is to perform all calculations and try out the antenna. If it doesn't work right, use a cut-and-try method until it does.

Fortunately, enough information has been collected over the last few decades that it is now possible to predict the behavior of antennas. These tutorials will discuss and explain the basic design and operation of antennas.


After an rf signal has been generated in a transmitter, some means must be used to radiate this signal through space to a receiver. The device that does this job is the antenna.

The transmitter signal energy is sent into space by a TRANSMITTING ANTENNA; the rf signal is then picked up from space by a RECEIVING ANTENNA. The rf energy is transmitted into space in the form of an electromagnetic field. As the traveling electromagnetic field arrives at the receiving antenna, a voltage is induced into the antenna (a conductor). The rf voltages induced into the receiving antenna are then passed into the receiver and converted back into the transmitted rf information.

The design of the antenna principles in a system is very important in a transmitting station. The antenna must be able to radiate efficiently so the power supplied by the transmitter is not wasted.

An efficient transmitting antenna must have exact dimensions. The dimensions are determined by the transmitting frequencies. The dimensions of the receiving antenna are not critical for relatively low radio frequencies. However, as the frequency of the signal being received increases, the design and installation of the receiving antenna become more critical.

An example of this is a television receiving antenna. If you raise it a few more inches from the ground or give a slight turn in direction, you can change a snowy blur into a clear picture.

Typical Antennas

Current and Voltage

Radiation of Electromagnetic Energy

Antenna Characteristics

Antenna Polarization

Antenna Vertical Polarization

Radiation Resistance

Antenna Patterns

Anisotropic Radiation

Antenna Loading

Radiation Patterns

Antenna Feeding

Folded Dipole Antenna

Parasitic Arrays

(top) (return to homepage)