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Module 10 - Introduction to Wave Propagation, Transmission Lines, and Antennas

Navy Electricity and Electronics Training Series (NEETS)
Chapter 4:  Pages 4-21 through 4-30

Module 10 - Introduction to Wave Propagation, Transmission Lines, and Antennas

Pages i, 1-1, 1-11, 1-21, 1-31, 1-41, 2-1, 2-11, 2-21, 2-31, 2-40, 3-1, 3-11, 3-21, 3-31, 3-41, 3-51, 4-1, 4-11, 4-21, 4-31, 4-41, 4-51, Index


Methods of Feeding Energy to an Antenna


Voltage and current distribution for the half-wave antenna (shown in figure 4-16) is the same as that for the antenna discussed earlier in this chapter. a point closely related to the voltage and current distribution on an antenna is the method of feeding the transmitter output to the antenna. The simplest method of feeding energy to the half-wave antenna is to connect one end through a capacitor to the final output stage of the transmitter. This method is often called the END-FEED or Voltage-FEED method. In this method the antenna is fed at a point of high voltage (the end).


Figure 4-16.—Standing waves of current and voltage - RF Cafe

Figure 4-16. - Standing waves of current and voltage.


Energy may also be fed to the half-wave antenna by dividing the antenna at its center and connecting the transmission line from the final transmitter output stage to the two center ends of the halved antenna. Since the antenna is now being fed at the center (a point of low voltage and high current), this type of feed is known as the CENTER-FEED or CURRENT-FEED method. The point of feed is important in determining the type of transmission line to be used.




As you have studied in the previous sections, a 1/2 wavelength antenna is the shortest antenna that can be used in free space. If we cut a half-wave antenna in half and then ground one end, we will have a grounded quarter-wave antenna. This antenna will resonate at the same frequency as the ungrounded half- wave antenna. Such an antenna is referred to as a QUARTER-WAVE or Marconi antenna. Quarter-wave antennas are widely used in the military. Most mobile transmitting and receiving antennas (fig. 4-17) are quarter-wave antennas.





Mobile antennas - RF Cafe

 Figure 4-17. - Mobile antennas.


As stated above, a grounded quarter-wave antenna will resonate at the same frequency as an ungrounded half-wave antenna. This is because ground has high conductivity and acts as an electrical mirror image. This characteristic provides the missing half of the antenna, as shown in the bottom part of figure 4-18. In other words, the grounded quarter-wave antenna acts as if another quarter-wave were actually down in the earth.


Grounded quarter-wave antenna image - RF Cafe

Figure 4-18. - Grounded quarter-wave antenna image.


Characteristics of Quarter-Wave Antennas


The grounded end of the quarter-wave antenna has a low input impedance and has low voltage and high current at the input end, as shown in figure 4-18. The ungrounded end has a high impedance, which causes high voltage and low current. The directional characteristics of a grounded quarter-wave antenna are the same as those of a half-wave antenna in free space.


As explained earlier, ground losses affect radiation patterns and cause high signal losses for some frequencies. Such losses may be greatly reduced if a perfectly conducting ground is provided in the




vicinity of the antenna. This is the purpose of a Ground SCREEN (figure 4-19, view A) and COUNTERPOIsE view B.


Groundscreen and counterpoise - RF Cafe

Figure 4-19. - Groundscreen and counterpoise.


The ground screen in view a is composed of a series of conductors buried 1 or 2 feet (0.3 to 0.6 meter) below the surface of the earth and arranged in a radial pattern. These conductors reduce losses in the ground in the immediate vicinity of the antenna. Such a radial system of conductors is usually 1/2 wavelength in diameter.


a counterpoise view B is used when easy access to the base of the antenna is necessary. It is also used when the earth is not a good conducting surface, such as ground that is sandy or solid rock. The counterpoise serves the same purpose as the ground screen but it is usually elevated above the earth. No specific dimensions are necessary in the construction of a counterpoise nor is the number of wires particularly critical. a practical counterpoise may be assembled from a large screen of chicken wire or some similar material. This screen may be placed on the ground, but better results are obtained if it is placed a few feet above the ground.


Q20.   Since the radiation pattern of a dipole is similar to that of a doublet, what will happen to the pattern if the length of the doublet is increased?


Q21.   What is the simplest method of feeding power to the half-wave antenna?




Q22.   What is the radiation pattern of a quarter-wave antenna?


Q23.   Describe the physical arrangement of a ground screen.




The use of parasitic elements and various stacking arrangements causes a reduction in the radiation resistance of a center-fed, half-wave antenna. Under these conditions obtaining a proper impedance match between the radiator and the transmission line is often difficult. a convenient method of overcoming these difficulties is to use a FOLDED DIPOLE in place of the center-fed radiator. (See views a and B of

figure 4-20).



Folded-dipole antennas - RF Cafe

Figure 4-20. - Folded-dipole antennas.


A FOLDED DIPOLE is an ordinary half-wave antenna that has one or more additional conductors connected across its ends. Additional conductors are mounted parallel to the dipole elements at a distance equal to a very small fraction of a wavelength. Spacing of several inches is common.


The feed-point impedance can be further increased by using three or four properly spaced parallel conductors. Standard feed-line SPREADERS are used to maintain this spacing when required. In any folded dipole, the increase of impedance is the square of the number of conductors used in the radiator. Thus, a three-wire dipole has nine times (32) the feed-point impedance of a simple center-fed dipole. a second method of stepping up the impedance of a folded dipole is to use two conductors with different radii, as shown in view B.


The directional characteristics of a folded dipole are the same as those of a simple dipole. However, the reactance of a folded dipole varies much more slowly as the frequency is varied from resonance. Because of this the folded dipole can be used over a much wider frequency range than is possible with a simple dipole.




Q24.   What is the difference in the amount of impedance between a three-wire dipole and a simple center-fed dipole?


Q25.   Which has a wider frequency range, a simple dipole or a folded dipole?


ARRAY Antennas


An array antenna is a special arrangement of basic antenna components involving new factors and concepts. Before you begin studying about arrays, you need to study some new terminology.




An array antenna is made up of more than one ELEMENT, but the basic element is generally the dipole. Sometimes the basic element is made longer or shorter than a half-wave, but the deviation usually is not great.


A DRIVEN element is similar to the dipole you have been studying and is connected directly to the transmission line. It obtains its power directly from the transmitter or, as a receiving antenna, it delivers the received energy directly to the receiver. a PARASITIC ELEMENT is located near the driven element from which it gets its power. It is placed close enough to the driven element to permit coupling.


A parasitic element is sometimes placed so it will produce maximum radiation (during transmission) from its associated driver. When it operates to reinforce energy coming from the driver toward itself, the parasitic element is referred to as a DirectOR. If a parasitic element is placed so it causes maximum energy radiation in a direction away from itself and toward the driven element, that parasitic element is called a Reflector.


If all of the elements in an array are driven, the array is referred to as a DRIVEN ARRAY (sometimes as a CONNECTED ARRAY). If one or more elements are parasitic, the entire system usually is considered to be a PARASITIC ARRAY.


MULTIELEMENT ARRAYS frequently are classified according to their directivity. a BIDirectIONAL ARRAY radiates in opposite directions along the line of maximum radiation. a UNIDirectIONAL ARRAY radiates in only one general direction.


Arrays can be described with respect to their radiation patterns and the types of elements of which they are made. However, you will find it useful to identify them by the physical placement of the elements and the direction of radiation with respect to these elements. Generally speaking, the term BROADSIDE ARRAY designates an array in which the direction of maximum radiation is perpendicular to the plane containing these elements. In actual practice, this term is confined to those arrays in which the elements themselves are also broadside, or parallel, with respect to each other.


a COLLINEAR ARRAY is one in which all the elements lie in a straight line with no radiation at the ends of the array. The direction of maximum radiation is perpendicular to the axis of the elements.


An END-FIRE ARRAY is one in which the principal direction of radiation is along the plane of the array and perpendicular to the elements. Radiation is from the end of the array, which is the reason this arrangement is referred to as an end-fire array.


Sometimes a system uses the characteristics of more than one of the three types mentioned. For instance, some of the elements may be collinear while others may be parallel. Such an arrangement is




often referred to as a Combination ARRAY or an ARRAY of ARRAYS. Since maximum radiation occurs at right angles to the plane of the array, the term broadside array is also used.


The FRONT-to-BACK RATIO is the ratio of the energy radiated in the principal direction compared to the energy radiated in the opposite direction for a given antenna.




Various reflected and refracted components of the propagated wave create effects of reinforcement and cancellation. At certain distant points from the transmitter, some of the wave components meet in space. Reception at these points is either impaired or improved. If the different components arrive at a given point in the same phase, they add, making a stronger signal available. If they arrive out of phase, they cancel, reducing the signal strength.


Radiation Pattern


Effects similar to those described in the preceding paragraph can be produced at the transmitting point itself. Consider the antennas shown in figure 4-21, views a and B. View a shows an unobstructed view of the radiation pattern of a single dipole. In view B two dipoles, shown as points 1 and 2, are perpendicular to the plane of the page. They are spaced 1/4 wavelength apart at the operating frequency. The radiation pattern from either antenna 1 or 2, operating alone, would be uniform in all directions in this plane, as shown in view A. Suppose that current is being fed to both antennas from the same transmitter in such a way that the current fed to antenna 2 lags the current in antenna 1 by 90 degrees. Energy radiating from antenna 1 toward receiving location X will reach antenna 2 after 1/4 cycle of operation. The energy from both antennas will add, and propagation toward X will be strong.


Phasing of antenna in free space - RF Cafe

Figure 4-21. - Phasing of antenna in free space.


Radiation from antenna 2 toward receiving location Y will reach antenna 1 after 1/4 cycle. The energy in antenna 1 was 1/4 cycle behind that of antenna 2 to begin with; therefore, the radiation from antenna 1 toward receiving point Y will be exactly 180 degrees out of phase with that of antenna 2. As a result, the radiation fields will cancel and there will be no radiation toward Y.


At receiving points away from the line of radiation, phase differences occur between 0 and 180 degrees, producing varying amounts of energy in that direction. The overall effect is shown by the




radiation pattern shown in view B. The physical phase relationship caused by the 1/4-wavelength spacing between the two elements, as well as the phase of the currents in the elements, has acted to change the radiation pattern of the individual antennas.


Stub Phasing


In the case just discussed, the currents fed to the two antennas from the same transmitter were 90 degrees out of phase. Sections of transmission line, called STUBS, are frequently used for this purpose. These stubs can be adjusted to produce any desired phase relationship between connected elements.


When two collinear half-wave elements are connected directly so their currents are in the same phase, the effect is the same as that of a full-wave antenna, as shown in figure 4-22, view A. The current in the first 1/2 wavelength is exactly 180 degrees out of phase with that in the second 1/2 wavelength.

This is the opposite of the desired condition. In the illustration, arrows are used to indicate the direction of current flow in the antenna. (Using arrows is a convenient means of determining the phase on more

complicated arrays.)


Phasing of connected elements - RF Cafe

Figure 4-22. - Phasing of connected elements.


When the two elements are connected by a shorted 1/4-wavelength stub, as shown in view B, current travels down one side of the stub and up the other. It travels a distance of a 1/2 wavelength in the stub itself. As a result, the current moves through 1/2 cycle of change. When the current reaches the second element, it is in the desired phase. Since the current on one side of the stub is equal and opposite to the current on the other side, the fields produced here cancel and no radiation is transmitted from the stub itself.






The DirectIVITY of an antenna or an array can be determined by looking at its radiation pattern. In an array propagating a given amount of energy, more radiation takes place in certain directions than in others. The elements in the array can be altered in such a way that they change the pattern and distribute it more uniformly in all directions. The elements can be considered as a group of antennas fed from a common source and facing different directions. On the other hand, the elements could be arranged so that the radiation would be focused in a single direction. With no increase in power from the transmitter, the amount of radiation in a given direction would be greater. Since the input power has no increase, this increased directivity is achieved at the expense of gain in other directions.


Directivity and Interference


In many applications, sharp directivity is desirable although no need exists for added gain. Examine the physical disposition of the units shown in figure 4-23. Transmitters 1 and 2 are sending information to receivers 1 and 2, respectively, along the paths shown by the solid arrows. The distance between transmitter 1 and receiver 1 or between transmitter 2 and receiver 2 is short and does not require high- power transmission. The antennas of the transmitters propagate well in all directions. However, receiver 1 picks up some of the signals from transmitter 2, and receiver 2 picks up some of the signals from transmitter 1, as shown by the broken arrows. This effect is emphasized if the receiving antennas intercept energy equally well in all directions.


Directivity and interference - RF Cafe

Figure 4-23. - Directivity and interference.


The use of highly directional arrays as radiators from the transmitters tends to solve the problem. The signals are beamed along the paths of the solid arrows and provide very low radiation along the paths of the broken arrows. Further improvement along these lines is obtained by the use of narrowly directed arrays as receiving antennas. The effect of this arrangement is to select the desired signal while discriminating against all other signals. This same approach can be used to overcome other types of radiated interference. In such cases, preventing radiation in certain directions is more important than producing greater gain in other directions.


Look at the differences between the field patterns of the single-element antenna and the array, as illustrated in figure 4-24. View a shows the relative field-strength pattern for a horizontally polarized single antenna. View B shows the horizontal-radiation pattern for an array. The antenna in view a




radiates fairly efficiently in the desired direction toward receiving point X. It radiates equally as efficiently toward Y, although no radiation is desired in this direction. The antenna in view B radiates strongly to point X, but very little in the direction of point Y, which results in more satisfactory operation.


Single antenna versus array - RF Cafe

Figure 4-24. - Single antenna versus array.


Major and Minor Lobes


The pattern shown in figure 4-24, view B, has radiation concentrated in two lobes. The radiation intensity in one lobe is considerably stronger than in the other. The lobe toward point X is called a MAJOR LOBE; the other is a MINOR LOBE. Since the complex radiation patterns associated with arrays frequently contain several lobes of varying intensity, you should learn to use appropriate terminology. In general, major lobes are those in which the greatest amount of radiation occurs. Minor lobes are those in which the radiation intensity is least.


Q26.   What is the purpose of antenna stubs?


Q27.   What is the primary difference between the major and minor lobes of a radiation pattern?




You have already learned about radiation patterns and directivity of radiation. These topics are important to you because using an antenna with an improper radiation pattern or with the wrong directivity will decrease the overall performance of the system. In the following paragraphs, we discuss in more detail the various types of directional antenna arrays mentioned briefly in the "definition of terms" paragraph above.


Collinear Array


The pattern radiated by the collinear array is similar to that produced by a single dipole. The addition of the second radiator, however, tends to intensify the pattern. Compare the radiation pattern of the dipole (view a of figure 4-25) and the two-element antenna in view B. You will see that each pattern consists of two major lobes in opposite directions along the same axis, QQ1. There is little or no radiation along the




PP1 axis. QQ1 represents the line of maximum propagation. You can see that radiation is stronger with an added element. The pattern in view B is sharper, or more directive, than that in view A. This means that the gain along the line of maximum energy propagation is increased and the beam width is decreased. As more elements are added, the effect is heightened, as shown in view C. Unimportant minor lobes are generated as more elements are added.


Single half-wave antenna versus two half-wave antennas in phase - RF Cafe

Figure 4-25. - Single half-wave antenna versus two half-wave antennas in phase.


More than four elements are seldom used because accumulated losses cause the elements farther from the point of feeding to have less current than the nearer ones. This introduces an unbalanced condition in the system and impairs its efficiency. Space limitations often are another reason for restricting the number of elements. Since this type of array is in a single line, rather than in a vertically stacked arrangement, the use of too many elements results in an antenna several wavelengths long.


Radiation Pattern. - The characteristic radiation pattern of a given array is obtained at the frequency or band of frequencies at which the system is resonant. The gain and directivity characteristics are lost when the antenna is not used at or near this frequency and the array tunes too sharply. a collinear antenna is more effective than an end-fire array when used off its tuned frequency. This feature is considered when transmission or reception is to be over a wide frequency band. When more than two elements are used, this advantage largely disappears.


LENGTH and PHASING. - Although the 1/2 wavelength is the basis for the collinear element, you will find that greater lengths are often used. Effective arrays of this type have been constructed in which the elements are 0.7 and even 0.8 wavelength long. This type of array provides efficient operation at more than one frequency or over a wider frequency range. Whatever length is decided upon, all of the elements in a particular array should closely adhere to that length. If elements of different lengths are combined, current phasing and distribution are changed, throwing the system out of balance and seriously affecting the radiation pattern.


Q28.   What is the maximum number of elements ordinarily used in a collinear array?


Q29.   Why is the number of elements used in a collinear array limited?


Q30.   How can the frequency range of a collinear array be increased?


Q31.   How is directivity of a collinear array affected when the number of elements is increased?


SPACING. - The lower relative efficiency of collinear arrays of many elements, compared with other multi-element arrays, relates directly to spacing and mutual impedance effects. Mutual impedance is




NEETS Modules
- Matter, Energy, and Direct Current
- Alternating Current and Transformers
- Circuit Protection, Control, and Measurement
- Electrical Conductors, Wiring Techniques, and Schematic Reading
- Generators and Motors
- Electronic Emission, Tubes, and Power Supplies
- Solid-State Devices and Power Supplies
- Amplifiers
- Wave-Generation and Wave-Shaping Circuits
- Wave Propagation, Transmission Lines, and Antennas
- Microwave Principles
- Modulation Principles
- Introduction to Number Systems and Logic Circuits
- - Introduction to Microelectronics
- Principles of Synchros, Servos, and Gyros
- Introduction to Test Equipment
- Radio-Frequency Communications Principles
- Radar Principles
- The Technician's Handbook, Master Glossary
- Test Methods and Practices
- Introduction to Digital Computers
- Magnetic Recording
- Introduction to Fiber Optics
Note: Navy Electricity and Electronics Training Series (NEETS) content is U.S. Navy property in the public domain.
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