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Polarization, also called wave polarization, is an expression of the orientation of the lines of
electric flux in an electromagnetic field ( EM field ). Polarization can be constant -- that is,
existing in a particular orientation at all times, or it can rotate with each wave cycle.

Polarization is important in wireless communications systems. The physical orientation of a

wireless antenna corresponds to the polarization of the radio waves received or transmitted by
that antenna. Thus, a vertical antenna receives and emits vertically polarized waves, and a
horizontal antenna receives or emits horizontally polarized waves. The best short-range
communications is obtained when the transmitting and receiving (source and destination)
antennas have the same polarization. The least efficient short-range communications usually
takes place when the two antennas are at right angles (for example, one horizontal and one
vertical). Over long distances, the atmosphere can cause the polarization of a radio wave to
fluctuate, so the distinction between horizontal and vertical becomes less significant.
ome wireless antennas transmit and receive EM waves whose polarization rotates 360 degrees
with each complete wave cycle. This type of polarization, called elliptical or circular
polarization, can be either clockwise or counterclockwise. The best communications results are
obtained when the transmitting and receiving antennas have the same sense of polarization (both
clockwise or both counterclockwise). The worst communications usually takes place when the
two antennas radiate and receive in the opposite sense (one clockwise and the other

Polarization affects the propagation of EM fields at infrared ( IR ), visible, ultraviolet ( UV ), and

even X-raywavelength s. In ordinary visible light, there are numerous wave components at
random polarization angles. When such light is passed through a special filter, the filter blocks
all light except that having a certain polarization. When two polarizing filters are placed so a ray
of light passes through them both, the amount of light transmitted depends on the angle of the
polarizing filters with respect to each other. The most light is transmitted when the two filters are
oriented so they polarize light in the same direction. The least light is transmitted when the filters
are oriented at right angles to each other.

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Kight in the form of a plane wave in space is said to be linearly polarized.
Kight is a transverse electromagnetic wave, but natural light is generally
unpolarized, all planes of propagation being equally probable. If light is
composed of two plane waves of equal amplitude by differing in phase by
90°, then the light is said to be circularly polarized. If two plane waves of
differing amplitude are related in phase by 90°, or if the relative phase is
other than 90° then the light is said to be elliptically polarized.



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V plane electromagnetic wave is said to be linearly polarized. The transverse
electric field wave is accompanied by a magnetic field wave as illustrated.



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Vertical polarization is most often used when it is desired to radiate a radio signal in all
directions such as widely distributed mobile units. Vertical polarization also works well in the
suburbs or out in the country, especially where hills are present. Vs a result, nowadays most two-
way Earth to Earth communications in the frequency range above 30 MHz use vertical

Horizontal polarization is used to broadcast television in the U V. ome say that horizontal
polarization was originally chosen because there was an advantage to not have TV reception
interfered with by vertically polarized stations such as mobile radio. Vlso, man made radio noise
is predominantly vertically polarized and the use of horizontal polarization would provide some
discrimination against interference from noise.

In the early days of FM radio in the 88-108 MHz spectrum, the radio stations broadcasted
horizontal polarization. However, in the 1960's, FM radios became popular in automobiles which
used vertical polarized receiving whip antennas. Vs a result, the FCC modified Part 73 of the
rules and regulations to allow FM stations to broadcast RHC or elliptical polarization to improve
reception to vertical receiving antennas as long as the horizontal component was dominant.

Circular polarization is most often use on satellite communications. This is particularly desired
since the polarization of a linear polarized radio wave may be rotated as the signal passes
through any anomalies (such as Faraday rotation) in the ionosphere. Furthermore, due to the
position of the Earth with respect to the satellite, geometric differences may vary especially if the
satellite appears to move with respect to the fixed Earth bound station. Circular polarization will
keep the signal constant regardless of these anomalies.


Circularly polarized light consists of two perpendicular electromagnetic
plane waves of equal amplitude and 90° difference in phase. The light
illustrated is right- circularly polarized.



If light is composed of two plane waves of equal amplitude but differing in

phase by 90°, then the light is said to be circularly polarized. If you could
see the tip of the electric field vector, it would appear to be moving in a
circle as it approached you. If while looking at the source, the electric vector
of the light coming toward you appears to be rotating counterclockwise, the
light is said to be right-circularly polarized. If clockwise, then left-circularly
polarized light. The electric field vector makes one complete revolution as
the light advances one wavelength toward you. Vnother way of saying it is
that if the thumb of your right hand were pointing in the direction of
propagation of the light, the electric vector would be rotating in the direction
of your fingers.

Circularly polarized light may be produced by passing linearly polarized

light through a quarter-wave plate at an angle of 45° to the optic axis of the

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Elliptically polarized light consists of two perpendicular waves of unequal - 
amplitude which differ in phase by 90°. The illustration shows right- "" 
elliptically polarized light.

If the thumb of your right hand were pointing in the direction of propagation
of the light, the electric vector would be rotating in the direction of your

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V variety of antenna types are used in satellite communications. The most widely used narrow beam antennas are
reflector antennas. The shape is generally a paraboloid of revolution. For full earth coverage from a geostationary
satellite, a horn antenna is used. Horns are also used as feeds for reflector antennas.

In a direct feed reflector, such as on a satellite or a small earth terminal, the feed horn is located at the focus or may
be offset to one side of the focus. Karge earth station antennas have a subreflector at the focus. In the Cassegrain
design, the subreflector is convex with anhyperboloidal surface, while in the Gregorian design it is concave with an
ellipsoidal surface.

The subreflector permits the antenna optics to be located near the base of the antenna. This configuration reduces
losses because the length of the waveguide between the transmitter or receiver and the antenna feed is reduced. The
system noise temperature is also reduced because the receiver looks at the cold sky instead of the warm earth. In
addition, the mechanical stability is improved, resulting in higher pointing accuracy.

Phased array antennas may be used to produce multiple beams or for electronic steering. Phased arrays are found on
many nongeostationary satellites, such as the Iridium, Globalstar, and ICO satellites for mobile telephony.


The fundamental characteristics of an antenna are its gain and half power beamwidth. Vccording to the reciprocity
theorem, the transmitting and receiving patterns of an antenna are identical at a given wavelength

The gain is a measure of how much of the input power is concentrated in a particular direction. It is expressed with
respect to a hypothetical isotropic antenna, which radiates equally in all directions. Thus in the direction (D , ), the
gain is

A D    

wherein is the total input power and is the increment of radiated output power in solid angle . The gain is
maximum along the boresight direction.

The input power is in = 2 / Kv0 where is the average electric field over the area of the aperture, v0 is the
impedance of free space, and K is the net antenna efficiency. The output power over solid angle is = 22 /
v0, where is the electric field at distance . But by the Fraunhofer theory of diffraction, = /  along the
boresight direction, where  is the wavelength. Thus the boresight gain is given in terms of the size of the antenna
by the important relation

A = K (4  / 2)

This equation determines the required antenna area for the specified gain at a given wavelength.

The net efficiency K is the product of the aperture taper efficiency K , which depends on the electric field
distribution over the antenna aperture (it is the square of the average divided by the average of the square), and the
total radiation efficiency K * = /in associated with various losses. These losses include spillover, ohmic heating,
phase nonuniformity, blockage, surface roughness, and cross polarization. Thus K = K K *. For a typical antenna, K
= 0.55.

For a reflector antenna, the area is simply the projected area. Thus for a circular reflector of diameter O, the area is
= O2/4 and the gain is

which can also be written


since = , where  is the speed of light (3 ë 108 m/s),  is the wavelength, and  is the frequency. Consequently, the
gain increases as the wavelength decreases or the frequency increases.

For example, an antenna with a diameter of 2 m and an efficiency of 0.55 would have a gain of 8685 at the C-band
uplink frequency of 6 GHz and wavelength of 0.050 m. The gain expressed in decibels (dB) is
10 log(8685) = 39.4 dB. Thus the power radiated by the antenna is 8685 times more concentrated along the
boresight direction than for an isotropic antenna, which by definition has a gain of 1 (0 dB). Vt Ku-band, with an
uplink frequency of 14 GHz and wavelength 0.021 m, the gain is 49,236 or 46.9 dB. Thus at the higher frequency,
the gain is higher for the same size antenna.

The boresight gain A can be expressed in terms of the antenna beam solid angle r that contains the total radiated
power as


which takes into account the antenna losses through the radiation efficiency K *. The antenna beam solid angle is the
solid angle through which all the power would be concentrated if the gain were constant and equal to its maximum
value. The directivity does not include radiation losses and is equal to A / K *.

The half power beamwidth is the angular separation between the half power points on the antenna radiation pattern,
where the gain is one half the maximum value. For a reflector antenna it may be expressed

HPBW = = /O

where is a factor that depends on the shape of the reflector and the method of illumination. For a typical antenna,
= 70` (1.22 if is in radians). Thus the half power beamwidth decreases with decreasing wavelength and increasing

For example, in the case of the 2 meter antenna, the half power beamwidth at 6 GHz is approximately 1.75` . Vt 14
GHz, the half power beamwidth is approximately 0.75` . Vs an extreme example, the half power beamwidth of the
Deep pace Network 64 meter antenna in Goldstone, California is only 0.04 ` at X-band (8.4 GHz).

The gain may be expressed directly in terms of the half power beamwidth by eliminating the factor O/ . Thus,

A = K ( / )2

Inserting the typical values K = 0.55 and = 70` , one obtains

A Ê`

where ` is expressed in degrees. This is a well known engineering approximation for the gain (expressed as a
numeric). It shows directly how the size of the beam automatically determines the gain. Vlthough this relation was
derived specifically for a reflector antenna with a circular beam, similar relations can be obtained for other antenna
types and beam shapes. The value of the numerator will be somewhat different in each case.
For example, for a satellite antenna with a circular spot beam of diameter 1` , the gain is 27,000 or 44.3 dB. For a
Ku-band downlink at 12 GHz, the required antenna diameter determined from either the gain or the half power
beamwidth is 1.75 m.

V horn antenna would be used to provide full earth coverage from geostationary orbit, where the angular diameter of
the earth is 17.4` . Thus, the required gain is 89.2 or 19.5 dB. Vssuming an efficiency of 0.70, the horn diameter for
a C-band downlink frequency of 4 GHz would be 27 cm.


For the RF link budget, the two required antenna properties are the equivalent isotropic radiated power (EIRP) and
the "figure of merit" A/. These quantities are the properties of the transmit antenna and receive antenna that appear
in the RF link equation and are calculated at the transmit and receive frequencies, respectively.

The equivalent isotropic radiated power (EIRP) is the power radiated equally in all directions that would produce a
power flux density equivalent to the power flux density of the actual antenna. The power flux density  is defined as
the radiated power  per unit area , or  = /. But = K * in , where in is the input power and K * is the
radiation efficiency, and
 = 2r ,where  is the slant range to the center of coverage and r is the solid angle containing the total power.
Thus with some algebraic manipulation,

 = K * (4 / r )(in / 42) = Ain / 42

ince the surface area of a sphere of radius  is 42, the flux density in terms of the EIRP is

 = EIRP / 42

Equating these two expressions, one obtains

EIRP = Ain

Therefore, the equivalent isotropic radiated power is the product of the antenna gain of the transmitter and the power
applied to the input terminals of the antenna. The antenna efficiency is absorbed in the definition of gain.

The "figure of merit" is the ratio of the antenna gain of the receiver A and the system temperature . The system
temperature is a measure of the total noise power and includes contributions from the antenna and the receiver. Both
the gain and the system temperature must be referenced to the same point in the chain of components in the receiver
system. The ratio A/ is important because it is an invariant that is independent of the reference point where it is
calculated, even though the gain and the system temperature individually are different at different points.

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ince electromagnetic energy propagates in the form of waves, it spreads out through space due to the phenomenon
of diffraction. Individual waves combine both constructively and destructively to form a diffraction pattern that
manifests itself in the main lobe and side lobes of the antenna.

The antenna pattern is analogous to the "Viry rings" produced by visible light when passing through a circular
aperture. These diffraction patterns were studied by ir George Biddell Viry, Vstronomer Royal of England during
the nineteenth century, to investigate the resolving power of a telescope. The diffraction pattern consists of a central
bright spot surrounded by concentric bright rings with decreasing intensity.
The central spot is produced by waves that combine constructively and is analogous to the main lobe of the antenna.
The spot is bordered by a dark ring, where waves combine destructively, that is analogous to the first null. The
surrounding bright rings are analogous to the side lobes of the antenna pattern. Vs noted by Hertz, the only
difference in this behavior is the size of the pattern and the difference in wavelength.

Within the main lobe of an axisymmetric antenna, the gain A(D ) in a direction D with respect to the boresight
direction may be approximated by the expression


whereA is the boresight gain. Here the gains are expressed in dB. Thus at the half power points to either side of the
boresight direction, where D = /2, the gain is reduced by a factor of 2, or 3 dB. The details of the antenna,
including its shape and illumination, are contained in the value of the half power beamwidth . This equation would
typically be used to estimate the antenna loss due to a small pointing error.

The gain of the side lobes can be approximated by an envelope. For new earth station antennas with
O/o 100, the side lobes must fall within the envelope 29  25 log D by international regulation. This envelope is
determined by the requirement of minimizing interference between neighboring satellites in the geostationary arc
with a nominal 2` spacing.

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The gain pattern of a reflector antenna depends on how the antenna is illuminated by the feed. The variation in
electric field across the antenna diameter is called the antenna taper.

The total antenna solid angle containing all of the radiated power, including side lobes, is

r = K * (4 / A) = (1/K ) (2 / )

whereK is the aperture taper efficiency and K * is the radiation efficiency associated with losses. The beam
efficiency is defined as

 = rh / r

whererhis thesolid angle for the main lobe. The values of K and are  calculated from the electric field distribution
in the aperture plane and the antenna radiation pattern, respectively.

For a theoretically uniform illumination, the electric field is constant and the aperture taper efficiency is 1. If the
feed is designed to cause the electric field to decrease with distance from the center, then the aperture taper
efficiency decreases but the proportion of power in the main lobe increases. In general, maximum aperture taper
efficiency occurs for a uniform distribution, but maximum beam efficiency occurs for a highly tapered distribution.

For uniform illumination, the half power beamwidth is 58.4` /O and the first side lobe is 17.6 dB below the peak
intensity in the boresight direction. In this case, the main lobe contains about 84 percent of the total radiated power
and the first side lobe contains about 7 percent.

If the electric field amplitude has a simple parabolic distribution, falling to zero at the reflector edge, then the
aperture taper efficiency becomes 0.75 but the fraction of power in the main lobe increases to 98 percent. The half
power beamwidth is now 72.8` /O and the first side lobe is 24.6 dB below peak intensity. Thus, although the
aperture taper efficiency is less, more power is contained in the main lobe, as indicated by the larger half power
beamwidth and lower side lobe intensity.
If the electric field decreases to a fraction · of its maximum value, called the edge taper, the reflector will not
intercept all the radiation from the feed. There will be energy spillover with a corresponding efficiency of
approximately 1 ·2. However, as the spillover efficiency decreases, the aperture taper efficiency increases. The
taper is chosen to maximize the illumination efficiency, defined as the product of aperture taper efficiency and
spillover efficiency.

The illumination efficiency reaches a maximum value for an optimum combination of taper and spillover. For a
typical antenna, the optimum edge taper · is about 0.316, or  10 dB (20 log ·). With this edge taper and a
parabolic illumination, the aperture taper efficiency is 0.92, the spillover efficiency is 0.90, the half power
beamwidth is 65.3` /O, and the first side lobe is 22.3 dB below peak. Thus the overall illumination efficiency is
0.83 instead of 0.75. The beam efficiency is about 95 percent.


The gain of a satellite antenna is designed to provide a specified area of coverage on the earth. The area of coverage
within the half power beamwidth is

where is the slant range to the center of the footprint and r is the solid angle of a cone that intercepts the half
power points, which may be expressed in terms of the angular dimensions of the antenna beam. Thus

| =ï 

where and  are the principal plane half power beamwidths in radians and ï is a factor that depends on the shape
of the coverage area. For a square or rectangular area of coverage, ï = 1, while for a circular or elliptical area of
coverage, ï =  /4.

The boresight gain may be approximated in terms of this solid angle by the relation

 K ï

where ` and ` are in degrees and K is an efficiency factor that depends on the the half power beamwidth.
Vlthough K is conceptually distinct from the net efficiency K , in practice these two efficiencies are roughly equal
for a typical antenna taper. In particular, for a circular beam this equation is equivalent to the earlier expression in
terms of if K = ( / 4)2K .

If the area of the footprint  is specified, then the size of a satellite antenna increases in proportion to the altitude.
For example, the altitude of Kow Earth Orbit is about 1000 km and the altitude of Medium Earth Orbit is about
10,000 km. Thus to cover the same area on the earth, the antenna diameter of a MEO satellite must be about 10
times that of a KEO satellite and the gain must be 100 times, or 20 dB, as great.

On the Iridium satellite there are three main mission K-band phased array antennas. Each antenna has 106 elements,
distributed into 8 rows with element separations of 11.5 cm and row separations of 9.4 cm over an antenna area of
188 cm ë 86 cm. The pattern produced by each antenna is divided into 16 cells by a two-dimensional Butler matrix
power divider, resulting in a total of 48 cells over the satellite coverage area. The maximum gain for a cell at the
perimeter of the coverage area is 24.3 dB.

From geostationary orbit the antenna size for a small spot beam can be considerable. For example, the spacecraft for
the Vsia Cellular atellite ystem (VCe ), being built by Kockheed Martin for mobile telephony in outheast Vsia,
has two unfurlable mesh antenna reflectors at K-band that are 12 meters across and have an offset feed. Having
different transmit and receive antennas minimizes passive intermodulation (PIM) interference that in the past has
been a serious problem for high power K-band satellites using a single reflector. The antenna separation attenuates
the PIM products by from 50 to 70 dB.


Often the area of coverage has an irregular shape, such as one defined by a country or continent. Until recently, the
usual practice has been to create the desired coverage pattern by means of a beam forming network. Each beam has
its own feed and illuminates the full reflector area. The superposition of all the individual circular beams produces
the specified shaped beam.

For example, the C-band transmit hemi/zone antenna on the Intelsat 6 satellite is 3.2 meters in diameter. This is the
largest diameter solid circular aperture that fits within an Vriane 4 launch vehicle fairing envelope. The antenna is
illuminated by an array of 146 Potter horns. The beam diameter for each feed is 1.6` at 3.7 GHz. By appropriately
exciting the beam forming network, the specified areas of coverage are illuminated. For 27 dB spatial isolation
between zones reusing the same spectrum, the minimum spacing  is given by the rule of thumb  1.4 , so that
 2.2` . This meets the specification of  = 2.5` for Intelsat 6.

Vnother example is provided by the H -376

dual-spin stabilized Galaxy 5 satellite, operated by PanVm at. The reflector diameter is 1.80 m. There are two linear
polarizations, horizontal and vertical. In a given polarization, the contiguous United tates (CONU ) might be
covered by four beams, each with a half power beamwidth of 3` at the C-band downlink frequency of 4 GHz. From
geostationary orbit, the angular dimensions of CONU are approximately
6`ë 3` . For this rectangular beam pattern, the maximum gain is about 31 dB. Vt edge of coverage, the gain is 3 dB
less. With a TWTV ouput power of 16 W (12 dBW), a waveguide loss of 1.5 dB, and an assumed beam-forming
network loss of 1 dB, the maximum EIRP is 40.5 dBW.

The shaped reflector represents a new technology. Instead of illuminating a conventional parabolic reflector with
multiple feeds in a beam-forming network, there is a single feed that illuminates a reflector with an undulating shape
that provides the required region of coverage. The advantages are lower spillover loss, a significant reduction in
mass, lower signal losses, and lower cost. By using large antenna diameters, the rolloff along the perimeter of the
coverage area can be made sharp. The practical application of shaped reflector technology has been made possible
by the development of composite materials with extremely low coefficients of thermal distortion and by the
availability of sophisticated computer software programs necessary to analyze the antenna. One widely used antenna
software package is called GRV P, produced by TICRV of Copenhagen, Denmark. This program calculates the
gain from first principles using the theory of physical optics.

The gain of an antenna is determined by the intended area of coverage. The gain at a given wavelength is achieved
by appropriately choosing the size of the antenna. The gain may also be expressed in terms of the half power

Reflector antennas are generally used to produce narrow beams for geostationary satellites and earth stations. The
efficiency of the antenna is optimized by the method of illumination and choice of edge taper. Phased array antennas
are used on many KEO and MEO satellites. New technologies include large, unfurlable antennas for producing small
spot beams from geostationary orbit and shaped reflectors for creating a shaped beam with only a single feed.


The dipole antenna or dipole aerial is one of the most important and also one of the most widely
used types of antenna. It can be used on its own, or there are many other types of antenna that
use the dipole as the basic element within the antenna.

The basic construction of a dipole is quite straightforward - a simple dipole antenna can be
constructed from a few simple pieces of wire. In this way antennas including FM dipole
antennas, or antennas for the short wave bands can easily be made. These antennas, while not
having the performance of other more complicated types of antenna can nevertheless prove very
effective and quite satisfactory in many applications.


The name dipole means two poles and the antenna does in fact consist of two "poles" or sections.
These are normally equal in length, making the antenna what is termed a centre fed antenna.
ometimes a dipole may not be fed in the centre, although this is not normally done in most
antenna designs.

The power is applied to the dipole antenna itself through a feeder. Conversely if the dipole
antenna is used for receiving, the received signals are taken away to the receiver through a
feeder. The feeder serves to transfer the power to or from the antenna with as little loss as

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The most common form of dipole has an electrical length of half a wavelength. Vs a result this
antenna is called a half wave dipole. Vs before the lengths of the wires are both the same. Vs the
total length of the dipole is a half wavelength, this makes each section or leg of the dipole a
quarter wavelength long.



In order that power flows into or out of an antenna that is transmitting or receiving, there must be
associated currents and voltages. The levels of current and voltage vary along the length of the
antenna, and it is found that the current distribution along a dipole is roughly sinusoidal. It falls
to zero at the end and is at a maximum in the middle. Conversely the voltage is low at the middle
and rises to a maximum at the ends. It is generally fed at the centre, at the point where the current
is at a maximum and the voltage a minimum. This provides a low impedance feed point which is
convenient to handle. High voltage feed points are far less convenient and more difficult to use.

When multiple half wavelength dipoles are used, they are similarly normally fed in the centre.
Here again the voltage is at a minimum and the current at a maximum. Theoretically any of the
current maximum nodes could be used.



Vll antennas have what is termed a feed impedance. This is the impedance that is seen at the
point in the antenna where the feeder is connected. The impedance is measured in ohms, and to
ensure that the maximum amount of power is transferred between the feeder and the antenna, it
is necessary to ensure that the antenna and feeder impedances are matched, i.e. they have the
same value.

The feed impedance of a dipole antenna is dependent upon a variety of factors including the
length, the feed position, the environment and the like. V half wave centre fed dipole antenna in
free space has an impedance 73.13 ohms making it ideal to feed with 75 ohm feeder.

The feed impedance of a dipole can be changed by a variety of factors, the proximity of other
objects having a marked effect. The ground has a major effect. If the dipole antenna forms the
radiating element for a more complicated antenna, then elements of the antenna will have an
effect. Often the effect is to lower the impedance, and when used in some antennas the feed
impedance of the dipole element may fall to ten ohms or less, and methods need to be used to
ensure a good match is maintained with the feeder. One method is to use the folded dipole,
outlined later on this page.

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If the length of the dipole antenna is changed then the radiation pattern is altered. Vs the length
of the antenna is extended it can be seen that the familiar figure of eight pattern changes to give
main lobes and a few side lobes. The main lobes move progressively towards the axis of the
antenna as the length increases.


The length of a dipole is the main determining factor for the operating frequency of the dipole
antenna. Vlthough the antenna may be an electrical half wavelength, or multiple of half
wavelengths, it is not exactly the same length as the wavelength for a signal travelling in free
space. There are a number of reasons for this and it means that an antenna will be slightly shorter
than the length calculated for a wave travelling in free space.

For a half wave dipole the length for a wave travelling in free space is calculated and this is
multiplied by a factor "V". Typically it is between 0.96 and 0.98 and is mainly dependent upon
the ratio of the length of the antenna to the thickness of the wire or tube used as the element. Its
value can be approximated from the graph:


In order to calculate the length of a half wave dipole the simple formulae given below can be

K "  #$%&'(

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Using these formulae it is possible to calculate the length of a half wave dipole. Even though
calculated lengths are normally quite repeatable it is always best to make any prototype antenna
slightly longer than the calculations might indicate. This needs to be done because changes in the
thickness of wire being used etc may alter the length slightly and it is better to make it slightly
too long than too short so that it can be trimmed so that it resonates on the right frequency. It is
best to trim the antenna length in small steps because the wire or tube cannot be replaced very
easily once it has been removed.


The standard dipole is widely used in its basic form. However under a number of circumstances
a modification of the basic dipole, known as a folded dipole provides a number of advantages
that can be used to advantage. This type of antenna is often used in the simple FM dipole
antennas that can be bought to use as temporary FM broadcast antennas. They are also used
within other larger antennas such as the Yagi.

In its basic form a dipole consists of a single wire or conductor cut in the middle to accommodate
the feeder. It is found that the feed impedance is altered by the proximity of other objects,
especially other parasitic elements that may be used in other forms of antenna. This can cause
problems with matching and because resistance losses in the antenna system can start to become

Vdditionally many antennas have to be able to operate over large bandwidths and a standard
dipole may be unable to fulfil this requirement adequately.


V variation of the dipole, known as a folded dipole provides a solution to these problems,
offering a wider bandwidth and a considerable increase in feed impedance. The folded dipole is
formed by taking a standard dipole and then taking a second conductor and joining the two ends.
In this way a complete loop is made as shown. If the conductors in the main dipole and the
second or "fold" conductor are the same diameter, then it is found that there is a fourfold increase
in the feed impedance. In free space, this gives a feed impedance of around 300 ohms.
Vdditionally the antenna has a wider bandwidth.
In a standard dipole the currents flowing along the conductors are in phase and as a result there is
no cancellation of the fields and radiation occurs. When the second conductor is added this can
be considered as an extension to the standard dipole with the ends folded back to meet each
other. Vs a result the currents in the new section flow in the same direction as those in the
original dipole. The currents along both the half-waves are therefore in phase and the antenna
will radiate with the same radiation patterns etc as a simple half-wave dipole.

The impedance increase can be deduced from the fact that the power supplied to a folded dipole
is evenly shared between the two sections which make up the antenna. This means that when
compared to a standard dipole the current in each conductor is reduced to a half. Vs the same
power is applied, the impedance has to be raised by a factor of four to retain balance in the
equation Watts = I^2 x R.