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International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT)

Volume 3 Issue 7, July 2015, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

246

Design and Fabrication of Tunable Frequency Magnetic Loop Antenna

Aadil Rafeeque KP 1 , Jitendra Kumar Sinha 2 , Mohammed Maaz Kampli 3 , Ruchita 4 , Shanthi P 5 R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore-59

Abstract

In the short-wave range, size of the antenna becomes large and therefore is a major constraint. Magnetic Loop Antenna (MLA) provides an advantage over other antennas in terms of a smaller size, higher quality factor and better signal to noise ratio. It works on the principle of resonance with the inductor and capacitor operating like a tank circuit. The tunable MLA is designed to work in the frequency range of 3-30MHz. It consists of a circular copper pipe, an inductive feed and a variable capacitor. The antenna is tuned using a split-stator variable capacitor which is tuned using a stepper motor interface. The antenna design is simulated using High Frequency Structure Simulator (HFSS). The simulated antenna has an efficiency of 87% and the quality factor varies between 500 and 1500 depending on the working frequency with a gain of 0.66. The real life testing of the antenna is done using a ham Radio.

Index Terms Magnetic loop antenna, resonance, high quality factor, small loop, frequency, gain.

I.

INTRODUCTION

A Magnetic Loop Antenna is a closed circuit antenna composed of one more turns with its ends joined together. The loop antenna is circular in shape and classified into two types based on its dimension and size. The first type is the one in which the total length of the conductor must not be greater than 0.1 λ where λ is the operating wavelength. The phase and amplitude of the current distribution will be the same at every single point in the loop at any particular instant of time. The second type is the one in which the length of the antenna and its other loop dimensions are of comparable size as compared with the wavelength at which it is working with its amplitude and phase being different at different points in the antenna at the same instant of time. The magnetic loop antenna is a small length antennas used for the communication within the short wave range. As one moves higher into the frequency of operation, say, in GHz range, the size of the antenna to be used decreases considerably. Smaller the size of the antenna, higher is the complexity. The increase in the complexity in turn makes the design more sophisticated and also increases the chances of error during the process of fabrication. The antennas used for operations within the MHz range are generally the dipole antennas. The dipole antenna has high gain factor but one needs to compromise in its size when the operating frequency is

as low as 1 100 MHz. The dipole can be as long as 50 meters which makes it very difficult to port from one point to another [1]. The magnetic loop antenna provides a solution in this scenario with a considerably smaller size requirement for the same frequency of operation. The magnetic loop antenna due to its high quality factor is a highly tuned resonant frequency antenna with a narrow bandwidth but a high signal to noise ratio thereby increasing the reception quality [2]. As this antenna does not use the line-of-sight principle, it can be used for both short and long distance communications. It works on the principle of reflection from the ionization layer in the atmosphere thereby making it possible to communicate around the globe with a single pair of antenna. Moreover, the simple design and high cost effectiveness favor its use over the conventional dipole antennas. The problems faced in the early design of MLAs are overcome by certain improvements made on the basic functionalities of the MLA. The operating frequency is increased to 55 MHz by introducing an amplifier that separates both the magnetic loop [3]. Agilent’s High Frequency Structure Simulator (HFSS) [4] is a simulation software which produces finite element models of equivalent sized antennas. The generic magnetic loop antenna is strictly designed to resonate at a particular frequency based on the tank circuit as shown in eq.1.

f =

frequency based on the tank circuit as shown in eq.1. f = (1) In order to

(1)

In order to increase tunability, a tuning circuit has to be installed. A control system of FPGA based three-axis stepper motor with the hybrid stepper motor as the control object is devised. The entire control system uses an external keyboard to control the start, stop, jog, acceleration, deceleration of the stepper motor [5]. This interface is used to control the value of the capacitor which in turn decides the resonant frequency of the antenna.

which in turn decides the resonant frequency of the antenna. Figure 1: Equivalent circuit of a

Figure 1: Equivalent circuit of a magnetic loop antenna

International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT)

Volume 3 Issue 7, July 2015, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

II. DESIGN ANTENNA

OF

MAGNETIC

LOOP

The equivalent circuit of the generalized loop antenna is shown in figure 1. The antenna consists of a copper loop having an inductance of L. The circular loop is attached to a tuning capacitor that is used to change the resonating frequency. The distributed capacitance is the capacitance between the loops in case of a multiple loop antenna. The predominant component of the entire circuit is the loop inductive reactance, which is large compared with the sum of the radiation resistance and the loss resistance . It is because of the high ratio between reactance and resistance, the Q (Quality factor) is extremely high, in the order of many hundreds, and often greater than 1000. Eq. 2 gives the quality factor of the magnetic loop antenna.

Eq. 2 gives the quality factor of the magnetic loop antenna. Q= (2) The antenna to
Eq. 2 gives the quality factor of the magnetic loop antenna. Q= (2) The antenna to
Eq. 2 gives the quality factor of the magnetic loop antenna. Q= (2) The antenna to
Eq. 2 gives the quality factor of the magnetic loop antenna. Q= (2) The antenna to

Q=

2 gives the quality factor of the magnetic loop antenna. Q= (2) The antenna to be

(2)

The antenna to be designed is made of four main parts

[6]:

Inductor The loop is made up of a hollow copper tube that acts as the inductor. The value of the inductor depends on the number of loops, length and the thickness of the tube. In this design, a circular hollow copper tube of length 2.3 m is taken which has a fixed inductance. The inductance of the loop is calculated based on the eq. 3, where represents the relative permeability of the copper pipe, represents the absolute permeability, is the radius of the pipe and is the total length of the loop

[7].

radius of the pipe and is the total length of the loop [7]. L = (3)
radius of the pipe and is the total length of the loop [7]. L = (3)

L =

of the pipe and is the total length of the loop [7]. L = (3) Capacitor

(3)

Capacitor The capacitor used is a variable split-stator capacitor whose capacitance is varied by changing the area between the plates. The capacitance is varied by rotating the rotor which in turn varies the area between the plates. The capacitance is calculated based on the eq. 4, where is the absolute permittivity, is the area between the plates and is the distance between the plates.

between the plates and is the distance between the plates. (4) Antenna Feed The feed converts
between the plates and is the distance between the plates. (4) Antenna Feed The feed converts
between the plates and is the distance between the plates. (4) Antenna Feed The feed converts
between the plates and is the distance between the plates. (4) Antenna Feed The feed converts

(4)

Antenna Feed The feed converts the incoming radiation to an electric current and vice versa that can be detected by the trans-receiver. As the magnetic loop antenna operates using the magnetic field surrounding the loop unlike the other dipole antennas that makes use of electric field

around it in order to transmit or receive a signal. An inductive shielded Faraday feed is therefore used in the design of magnetic loop antenna to provide effective coupling required for the efficient operation of the antenna. The feed is made up of same material as that of the antenna with a lesser thickness in order to prevent any losses due to the magnetic field generated by the feed.

Stepper Motor The rotor present in the split stator capacitor can be controlled by using a stepper motor interfaced to a microcontroller that defines its movement. The stepper motor setup automates the capacitance variation by providing two push buttons to the user. In this antenna design, a stepper motor controlled by a 8051 microcontroller and L298d motor driver is used which provides the clockwise as well as anticlockwise movement with a step angle of 1.8 degrees. Figure 2 shows the simulated design of the magnetic loop antenna in HFSS.

the simulated design of the magnetic loop antenna in HFSS. Figure 2: HFSS simulation design of

Figure 2: HFSS simulation design of the MLA

The proposed magnetic loop antenna is made tunable by varying its capacitance to work in the desired frequency range. In order to bring that tunability, the variable capacitor is interfaced with the stepper motor using 8051 microcontroller.

with the stepper motor using 8051 microcontroller. Figure 3: Block diagram of stepper motor interfacing The

Figure 3: Block diagram of stepper motor interfacing

The microcontroller, stepper motor and its associated components are connected as shown in the

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International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT)

Volume 3 Issue 7, July 2015, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

figure 3. The microcontroller AT89S52 is programmed with an embedded C using KEIL software. Port 1.4, Port 1.5, Port 1.6 and Port 1.7 are connected to the motor driver with the sequence 0X66, 0X99, 0XCC and 0X33 which lets the programmer to use the first or last bits of microcontroller [8]. Port 2.6, Port 2.7 is interfaced with two push buttons. Push buttons are used to rotate the motor in the forward direction and the backward direction with the step angle of 1.8 degree of a normal stepper motor. Motor driver L298d is used to drive the stepper motor with the high current amplification factor, which can also be used with stepper with high torque. The port 1.4 to 1.7 are connected with the IN-A and IN-B of L298d, when there is an input from the push button, then desired motor is enabled and the output of L298d is energized and in turn make the motor rotate. Stepper motor used is a unipolar motor with 6 leads, in which the output of the l298d motor driver is connected with the data pins and the 2 common pins are connected to the 5 volts power supply in the development board [9].

III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

The design of the magnetic loop antenna to be fabricated is first simulated in HFSS. The results obtained from the simulation are verified against the design specification. Figure 4 shows a plot of VSWR against the frequency. The dip in the curve at a frequency of 21.05 MHz shows that the antenna is highly tuned at that particular frequency with least formation of standing waves.

particular frequency with least formation of standing waves. Figure 4: VSWR vs frequency Figure 5: Return

Figure 4: VSWR vs frequency

formation of standing waves. Figure 4: VSWR vs frequency Figure 5: Return loss vs frequency Figure

Figure 5: Return loss vs frequency Figure 5 is a plot of return loss against frequency. The dip in the graph at a frequency of 21.05 MHz signifies that the antenna has a minimum reflection coefficient of -12.9 dB at that frequency and thus suffers minimum reflection.

dB at that frequency and thus suffers minimum reflection. Figure 6: Gain Figure 6 shows the

Figure 6: Gain

Figure 6 shows the graph of antenna gain plotted against polar coordinates phi and theta. The graph is circular owing the loop antenna being an omnidirectional antenna. The figure 7 shows the fabricated magnetic loop antenna setup.

figure 7 shows the fabricated magnetic loop antenna setup. Figure 7: Fabricated antenna setup Figure 8:

Figure 7: Fabricated antenna setup

loop antenna setup. Figure 7: Fabricated antenna setup Figure 8: Block Diagram of fabricated antenna testing

Figure 8: Block Diagram of fabricated antenna testing using Ham Radio

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International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT)

Volume 3 Issue 7, July 2015, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

249

The fabricated magnetic loop antenna has to be tested in real time using an amateur radio [10] as shown in Figure

8. The ham radio is connected to a power supply and

switched on in the receiving mode. The Amplitude Modulation (AM) testing was done by using the ham radio in the AM receiving mode. On receiving a signal with very low SNR, the stepper motor interface is used for fine tuning. The fabricated magnetic loop antenna successfully received signals of different frequencies, which are 9.3 MHz, 9.86 MHz, 15.185 MHz, 18.865 MHz and 20.125 MHz across the Asian subcontinent. The fabricated antenna thus provides a very good signal reception with a high signal quality.

IV. CONCLUSION

In this paper, the magnetic loop antenna is successfully designed and fabricated for an operational frequency range of 3 MHz 30 MHz. The antenna was initially simulated in HFSS with the dimensions obtained based on the theoretical equations. The obtained values were then further optimized. The software design gave the exact dimension for fabricating the antenna. The antenna is then fabricated based on the simulated results. In order to automate the tuning of the capacitor, a stepper motor interface controlled by a microcontroller is used. The final setup is tested in real time using a HAM radio.

REFERENCES

[1] Richard C. Johnson and Henry Jasik, “Antenna Engineering Handbook”, McGraw- Hill, 2009. [2] Moses Emetere, “Theoretical Modeling of a Magnetic Loop Antenna for Ultra Wide Band Application”, Telkomnika, Vol. 12, No. 10, pp. 7076 7081, October 2014. [3] P Guittienne, E Chevalier, C Hollenstein, “Towards an optimal antenna for helicon waves excitation”, Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 98, Issue. 083304,

2005.

[4] P. T. Bellett and C. J. Leat, “An Investigation of magnetic antennas for ground penetrating radar”, Progress In Electromagnetics Research, PIER 43, pp. 257271, 2003. [5] Juan Yu and Yuansheng Wang, “A Control System

of Three-axis Stepper Motor Based on the FPGA”, International Conference on Mechatronic Sciences, Electric Engineering and Computer (ICMEC), Shenyang, China, [Dec 20-22, 2013], pp. 315 - 321.

[6] Ichiro Yokoshima, “Absolute Measurements for Small Loop Antennas for RF Magnetic Field Standards”, IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, Vol. IM-23, No. 3, pp. 217-221, Sept

1974.

[7] Frederick Grover, “Inductance Calculations Working Formulas and Tables”, Dover Publications, 1946.

[8] Mazidi Muhammad Ali, “The 8051 Microcontroller and Embedded Systems”, Prentice Hall of India, 3rd Edition, New Delhi, India, 2007. [9] M. Zribi, H. Sira-Ramirez, and A. Ngai, “Static and dynamic sliding mode control schemes for a permanent magnet stepper motor,” International Journal of Control (IJC), vol. 74, no. 2, pp. 103117, January 2001. [10] Miroslav Skoric, “The Amateur Radio as a Learning Technology in Developing Countries”, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT), Finland, [2004], pp. 311 316.