Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 21

Parabolic Dish

By Kartik Gupta

Why I chose Parabolic Antenna

The most well-known reflector antenna is the parabolic
reflector antenna, commonly known as a satellite
dish antenna.
High-gain antennas are required for long-distance radio
communications (radio-relay links and satellite links),
high-resolution radars, radio-astronomy, etc.
Reflector systems are probably the most widely used
high-gain antennas.
Parabolic reflectors typically have a very high gain (30-40
dB is common) and low cross polarization.
They also have a reasonable bandwidth, with the
fractional bandwidth being at least 5% on
commercially available models, and can be very
wideband in the case of huge dishes (like the Stanford
"big dish", which can operate from 150 MHz to 1.5

Parabolic Reflector Theory

A parabolic reflector is formed from a shape known as a
paraboloid. This shape forms a reflective surface in the antenna
that enables waves reflected by the surface to retain their phase
In this way the whole signal remains in phase and there is no
cancellation. Conversely signals radiated from the focal point will
be reflected by the parabolic reflector and form a parallel
wavefront (in-phase) travelling outwards from the antenna.
Incoming waves add at the focal point, and outgoing waves
produce a single wavefront moving in parallel away from the

A paraboloid enables the

wavefronts to combine and not
be out of phase

A Brief History
The idea of using parabolic reflectors for radio antennas was taken from
optics, where the power of a parabolic mirror to focus light into a
beam has been known since classical antiquity.
German physicist Heinrich Hertz constructed the world's first parabolic
reflector antenna in 1888. Its aperture was 2 meters high by 1.2
meters wide, with a focal length of 0.12 meters, and was used at an
operating frequency of about 450 MHz
Italian radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi used a parabolic reflector
during the 1930s in investigations of UHF transmission from his
boat in the Mediterranean.
During the 1960s dish antennas became widely used in terrestrial
microwave relay communication networks, which carried telephone
calls and television programs across continents

The first parabolic antenna,

built by Heinrich Hertz in

The basic structure of a parabolic dish antenna is shown in figure. It consists
of a feed antenna pointed towards a parabolic reflector. The feed
antenna is often a horn antenna with a circular aperture.
The reflecting dish must be much larger than a wavelength in size. The dish
is at least several wavelengths in diameter, the distance between the
feed antenna and the reflector is typically several wavelengths as well.
The parabolic curve is the locus of points that are equidistant from a fixed
point known as the focus located on the X axis and a fixed line detailed
as AB which is known as the directrix. On this the length FP = PQ
wherever it is located on the parabolic curve.
The radio waves are emitted back toward the dish by the feed antenna and
reflect off the dish into a parallel beam. In a receiving antenna the
incoming radio waves bounce off the dish and are focused to a point at
the feed antenna, which converts them to electric currents which travel
through a transmission line to the radio receiver.

The following terminology is used in describing a
parabolic reflector:
The focus is where all the incoming radio waves
are concentrated.
The vertex is the innermost point at the center of
the parabolic reflector.
The focal length(f) of a parabola is the distance
from its focus to its vertex.
The aperture length of a parabolic reflector is its
opening and is described by its diameter(D).
The industrial practice is to use the f/D ratio to
specify the shape of the parabolic reflector and the
diameter D of its aperture.
For a given parabolic reflector, the focal length f
is directly obtained by multiplying its f/D ratio by
its diameter D.

Design and Analysis Parameters

The following design formulas are useful for designing a parabolic reflector.
Equation of a parabola:
The equation of a parabola in terms of focal length f is Y = ax2
Depth of a parabolic reflector (d):
In designing a parabolic reflector, it is frequently convenient to use its depth d instead of its focal length.
The formula for getting the depth is d=D2/16f
Conversely, given a parabolic dish and its measurements for the diameter D and the depth d, then its
focal length f is obtained with f=D2/16d
A dish antenna may be shallow or deep depending on the slice of the parabolic envisaged during

Efficiency ():
It is difficult to illuminate the dish uniformly with the feed inside the aperture plane. This is because
waves arriving from opposite directions tend to cancel through superposition. So our eye peers in one
direction only. And next, placing the focal point well outside the aperture plane modifies the chance of
receiving unnecessary signals and noise.
The feed point is not well protected, and this configuration increases the chance of loss. Signals from the
feed horn may lose the edge of the dish. The ratio of the focal distance to the dish diameter, denoted
f /D is a standard component parameter used by systems installers.
= f/D
= focal length/Diameter of dish
Parabolic antenna beam width calculation ():
The gain of the parabolic antenna, increases, so the beam width falls.
Normally the beam width is defined as the points where the power falls to half of the maximum, i.e. the
-3dB points on a radiation pattern polar diagram. This is called the Half Power Beamwidth (HPBW)
It is possible to estimate the beam width reasonably accurately from the following formula.
(in degrees) = 70 /D

Gain of a parabolic reflector (G):

Using the formula for the circle area, the aperture area of a parabolic reflector is
This area is used in calculating the gain of a parabolic reflector.
The gain G of a parabolic reflector is directly proportional to the ratio of the area of the aperture to the
square of the wavelength 1 of the incoming radio waves
G = 10 log10 (4A)
is the efficiency of the parabolic reflector and has a practical value of 50%.
In electrical engineering, it is common practice to express gain ratios such as G in terms of decibels
which is 10 times the common logarithm of the gain formula.
The unit of G is in dB.

Factors affecting parabolic reflector antenna gain:

There are a number of factors that affect the parabolic antenna gain. These factors include the following:

Diameter of reflecting surface: The larger the diameter of the reflecting surface of the antenna the
higher the parabolic reflector gain will be.

Antenna efficiency:

The efficiency of the antenna has a significant effect on the overall parabolic

reflector gain. Typical figures are between 50 and 70%. Further details are given below.

Operational wavelength: The parabolic reflector antenna gain is dependent upon the reflector size in
terms of wavelengths. Therefore if the same reflector is used on two different frequencies, the gain
will be different and inversely proportional to the wavelength.

Classification of Parabolic Antenna

A) Parabolic antennas are distinguished by their shapes:

1. Paraboloidal or dish The reflector is

shaped like a paraboloid truncated in a
circular rim. This is the most common type. It
radiates a narrow pencil-shaped beam along
the axis of the dish.
Shrouded dish Sometimes a cylindrical metal
shield is attached to the rim of the dish. The
shroud shields the antenna from radiation
from angles outside the main beam axis,
reducing the sidelobes.

(1) Paraboloidal

(1a) Shrouded

2. Cylindrical The reflector is curved in only one

direction and flat in the other. The radio waves
come to a focus not at a point but along a line.
The feed is sometimes a dipole antenna located
along the focal line. Cylindrical parabolic
antennas radiate a fan-shaped beam, narrow in
the curved dimension, and wide in the uncurved
3. Shaped-beam antennas Modern reflector
antennas can be designed to produce a beam
or beams of a particular shape. Two techniques
are used, often in combination, to control the
shape of the beam:

(2) Cylindrical

(3)Shaped Beam

B) Parabolic antennas are distinguished by the type of feed, that is, how the radio waves are
supplied to the antenna:

1. Axial or front feed This is the most

common type of feed, with the feed antenna
located in front of the dish at the focus, on
the beam axis, pointed back toward the dish.
A disadvantage of this type is that the feed
and its supports block some of the beam,
which limits the aperture efficiency to only
2. Off-axis or offset feed The reflector is an
asymmetrical segment of a paraboloid, so the
focus, and the feed antenna, are located to
one side of the dish. The purpose of this
design is to move the feed structure out of
the beam path, so it does not block the beam.
It is widely used in home satellite television

(1) Axial

(2) Off-axis

3. Cassegrain In a Cassegrain antenna, the

feed is located on or behind the dish, and
radiates forward, illuminating a convex
hyperboloidal secondary reflector at the focus
of the dish. The radio waves from the feed
reflect back off the secondary reflector to the
dish, which forms the outgoing beam. An
advantage of this configuration is that the
feed, with its waveguides and "front end"
electronics does not have to be suspended in
front of the dish, so it is used for antennas
with complicated or bulky feeds, such as large
satellite communication antennas and radio
telescopes. Aperture efficiency is on the order
of 6570%
4. Gregorian It is similar to the Cassegrain
design except that the secondary reflector is
concave, (ellipsoidal) in shape. Aperture
efficiency over 70% can be achieved.

(3) Cassegrain

(4) Gregorian

MATLAB Simulation for Parabolic Reflector

function [w,x] = antenna(a,b,N)
if nargin==0;return; end
if nargin==2, N=16; end
P = legendre(N,0);
m = (0:N)';
P = (-1).^m .* P ./ gamma(m+1);
z = sort( roots(P) );
x = (z*(b-a) + a + b)/2;
k = (0:N-1)';
c = (1 + (-1).^k) ./ (k+1);
A = [ ];
for m=1:N,
A = [A, z(m).^k];
w = A\c * (b-a)/2;

function [w,x] = antennas(ab,N)

if nargin==0; return; end
if nargin==1, N=16; end
M = length(ab) - 1;
w = [ ];
x = [ ];
for i=1:M,
[wi,xi] = antenna(ab(i), ab(i+1), N);
w = [w; wi];
x = [x; xi];

Lmda = (3*1e+010)/(Fo*1e+09);
for JJ=1:N
c =( abs( 1 + cos(theta(JJ)) ) )^2;
z =(4*pi*f/Lmda)*sin(theta(JJ));
FA =(1 + y).*besselj(0,z*t).*t;
FB =(1 - y).*besselj(2,z*t).*t;
fA = w'*FA;
fB = w'*FB;
UE(JJ)= c*((fA-fB)^2);
UH(JJ)= c*((fA+fB)^2);

for JJ=1:N
if abs(UE(JJ))> 0.0
UE1(JJ)=10*log10( abs(UE(JJ)));
UE2(JJ)=10*log10( abs(UE(JJ)));
UE1(JJ)= -50.0;
if abs(UH(JJ))> 0.0
UH1(JJ)=10*log10( abs(UH(JJ)));
UH2(JJ)=10*log10( abs(UH(JJ)));
UH1(JJ)= -50.0;
for JJ=1:N
if abs (UE2(JJ))>=40.0
if abs (UH2(JJ))>=40.0

title('Normalized radiation pattern in dB')
xlabel('Elevation angle in degree')
ylabel('Normalized pattern in dB')
axis([-180 180 -40 0])
title('E-plane Normalized radiation pattern in
ylabel('Normalized pattern in dB')
title('H-Plane Normalized radiation pattern in
ylabel('Normalized pattern in dB')
clear all

This is a normalized antenna and produces a

pointed beam. The reflector has an elliptical
shape. It will produce a beam.
Radars use two different curvatures in the
horizontal and vertical planes to achieve the
required pencil beam in azimuth and the
classical beam in elevation.

Table. Constant focal length and diameter and variable frequency.

Frequency variation does not affect efficiency but give sharper beam width
with varying frequency to produce better beam width.


Mesh surface material provides one of the

most efficient RF reflective surfaces on the
planet and has expanded the frequency
range for unfurlable antennas to Ka band.
(Ka band is essential for two-way broadband
and networks that need to transmit large
volumes of data.)
Ka-band unfurlable antenna solutions
integrate easily into any spacecraft
configuration. Light, but strong, they can
accommodate small steerable spot beams
that help maximize frequency reuse.
High Throughput Satellites are helping to
meet todays urgent demand for increased
Bandwidth Capacity by using Ka Band and
applying frequency reuse technology.

J. J. Condon and S. M. Ransom. "Reflector Antennas". Essential Radio Astronomy. National Radio Astronomy Observatory.