Module 10 − Introduction to Wave Propagation, Transmission Lines, and Antennas
...Pages 4-31 to 4-40
Figure 4-34 - Beverage antenna.
A Long-Wire Antenna is an antenna that is a wavelength or longer at the operating
frequency. In general, the gain achieved with long-wire antennas is not as great
as the gain obtained from the multielement arrays studied in the previous section.
But the long-wire antenna has advantages of its own. The construction of long-wire
antennas is simple, both electrically and mechanically, with no particularly critical
dimensions or adjustments. The long-wire antenna will work well and give satisfactory
gain and directivity over a frequency range up to twice the value for which it was
cut. In addition, it will accept power and radiate it efficiently on any frequency
for which its overall length is not less than approximately 1/2 wavelength. Another
factor is that long-wire antennas have directional patterns that are sharp in both
the horizontal and vertical planes. Also, they tend to concentrate the radiation
at the low vertical angles. Another type of long-wire antenna is the Beverage Antenna,
also called a Wave Antenna. It is a horizontal, long-wire antenna designed especially
for the reception and transmission of low-frequency, vertically polarized ground
waves. It consists of a single wire, two or more wavelengths long, supported 3 to
6 meters above the ground, and terminated in its characteristic impedance, as shown
in figure 4-34.
Q44. To radiate power efficiently, a long-wire antenna must have
what minimum overall length?
Q45. What is another name for the Beverage antenna?
Figure 4-35 - Basic "V" antenna.
Figure 4-36 - Formation of directional radiation pattern from
a resonant "V" antenna.
Figure 4-37 - Basic rhombic antenna.
A "V" Antenna is a bi-directional antenna used widely in military and commercial
communications. It consists of two conductors arranged to form a V. Each conductor
is fed with currents of opposite polarity.
The "V" is formed at such an angle that the main lobes reinforce along the line
bisecting the "V" and make a very effective directional antenna (see figure 4-35).
Connecting the two-wire feed line to the apex of the "V" and exciting the two sides
of the "V" 180 degrees out of phase cause the lobes to add along the line of the
bisector and to cancel in other directions, as shown in figure 4-36. The lobes are
designated 1, 2, 3, and 4 on leg AA', and 5, 6, 7, and 8 on leg BB'. When the proper
angle between AA' and BB' is chosen, lobes 1 and 4 have the same direction and combine
with lobes 7 and 6, respectively. This combination of two major lobes from each
leg results in the formation of two stronger lobes, which lie along an imaginary
line bisecting the enclosed angle. Lobes 2, 3, 5, and 8 tend to cancel each other,
as do the smaller lobes, which are approximately at right angles to the wire legs
of the V. The resultant waveform pattern is shown at the right of the "V" antenna
in figure 4-36.
Q46. What is the polarity of the currents that feed the "V" antenna?
The highest development of the long-wire antenna is the Rhombic Antenna (see
figure 4-37). It consists of four conductors joined to form a rhombus, or diamond
shape. The antenna is placed end to end and terminated by a noninductive resistor
to produce a unidirectional pattern. a rhombic antenna can be made of two obtuse-angle
"V" antennas that are placed side by side, erected in a horizontal plane, and terminated
so the antenna is nonresonant and unidirectional.
The rhombic antenna is Widely used for long-distance, high-frequency transmission
and reception. It is one of the most popular fixed-station antennas because it is
very useful in point-to-point communications.
The rhombic antenna is useful over a wide frequency range. Although some changes
in gain, directivity, and characteristic impedance do occur with a change in operating
frequency, these changes are small enough to be neglected.
The rhombic antenna is much easier to construct and maintain than other antennas
of comparable gain and directivity. Only four supporting poles of common heights
from 15 to 20 meters are needed for the antenna.
The rhombic antenna also has the advantage of being noncritical as far as operation
and adjustment are concerned. This is because of the broad frequency characteristics
of the antenna.
Still another advantage is that the voltages present on the antenna are much
lower than those produced by the same input power on a resonant antenna. This is
particularly important when high transmitter powers are used or when high-altitude
operation is required.
The rhombic antenna is not without its disadvantages. The principal one is that
a fairly large antenna site is required for its erection. Each leg is made at least
1 or 2 wavelengths long at the lowest operating frequency. When increased gain and
directivity are required, legs of from 8 to 12 wavelengths are used. These requirements
mean that high-frequency rhombic antennas have wires of several hundred feet in
length. Therefore, they are used only when a large plot of land is available.
Another disadvantage is that the horizontal and vertical patterns depend on each
other. If a rhombic antenna is made to have a narrow horizontal beam, the beam is
also lower in the vertical direction. Therefore, obtaining high vertical-angle radiation
is impossible except with a very broad horizontal pattern and low gain. Rhombic
antennas are used, however, for long-distance sky wave coverage at the high frequencies.
Under these conditions low vertical angles of radiation (less than 20 degrees) are
desirable. With the rhombic antenna, a considerable amount of the input power is
dissipated uselessly in the terminating resistor. However, this resistor is necessary
to make the antenna unidirectional. The great gain of the antenna more than makes
up for this loss.
Figure 4-38 - Formation of a rhombic antenna beam.
Figure 4-38 shows the individual radiation patterns produced by the four legs
of the rhombic antenna and the resultant radiation pattern. The principle of operation
is the same as for the "V" and the half-rhombic antennas.
The terminating resistor plays an important part in the operation of the rhombic
antenna. Upon it depend the unidirectivity of the antenna and the lack of resonance
effects. An antenna should be properly terminated so it will have a constant impedance
at its input. Terminating the antenna properly will also allow it to be operated
over a wide frequency range without the necessity for changing the coupling adjustments
at the transmitter. Discrimination against signals coming from the rear is of great
importance for reception. The reduction of back radiation is perhaps of lesser importance
for transmission. When an antenna is terminated with resistance, the energy that
would be radiated backward is absorbed in the resistor.
Q47. What is the main disadvantage of the rhombic antenna?
Figure 4-39 - Turnstile antenna radiation pattern.
Figure 4-40 - Stacked turnstile antennas.
Figure 4-41 - Ground-plane antennas.
Figure 4-42 - Corner-reflector antennas.
The Turnstile Antenna is one of the many types that has been developed primarily
for omnidirectional vhf communications. The basic turnstile consists of two horizontal
half-wave antennas mounted at right angles to each other in the same horizontal
plane. When these two antennas are excited with equal currents 90 degrees out of
phase, the typical figure-eight patterns of the two antennas merge to produce the
nearly circular pattern shown in figure 4-39, view A. Pairs of such antennas are
frequently stacked, as shown in figure 4-40. Each pair is called a BAY. In figure
4-40 two bays are used and are spaced 1/2 wavelength apart, and the corresponding
elements are excited in phase. These conditions cause a part of the vertical radiation
from each bay to cancel that of the other bay. This results in a decrease in energy
radiated at high vertical angles and increases the energy radiated in the horizontal
plane. Stacking a number of bays can alter the vertical radiation pattern, causing
a substantial gain in a horizontal direction without altering the overall horizontal
directivity pattern. Figure 4-39, view B, compares the circular vertical radiation
pattern of a single-bay turnstile with the sharp pattern of a four-bay turnstile
array. a three-dimensional radiation pattern of a four-bay turnstile antenna is
shown in figure 4-39, view C.
A vertical quarter-wave antenna several wavelengths above ground produces a high
angle of radiation that is very undesirable at vhf and uhf frequencies. The most
common means of producing a low angle of radiation from such an antenna is to work
the radiator against a simulated ground called a Ground Plane. a simulated ground
may be made from a large metal sheet or several wires or rods radiating from the
base of the radiator. An antenna so constructed is known as a Ground-Plane Antenna.
Two ground-plane antennas are shown in figure 4-41, views a and B.
When a unidirectional radiation pattern is desired, it can be obtained by the use of a corner reflector with a half-wave dipole. a Corner-Reflector Antenna is
a half-wave radiator with a reflector. The reflector consists of two flat metal
surfaces meeting at an angle immediately behind the radiator. In other words, the
radiator is set in the plane of a line bisecting the corner angle formed by the
reflector sheets. The construction of a corner reflector is shown in figure 4-42.
Corner-reflector antennas are mounted with the radiator and the reflector in the
horizontal position when horizontal polarization is desired. In such cases the radiation
pattern is very narrow in the vertical plane, with maximum signal being radiated
in line with the bisector of the corner angle. The directivity in the horizontal
plane is approximately the same as for any half-wave radiator having a single-rod
type reflector behind it. If the antenna is mounted with the radiator and the corner
reflector in the vertical position, as shown in view A, maximum radiation is produced
in a very narrow horizontal beam. Radiation in a vertical plane will be the same
as for a similar radiator with a single-rod type reflector behind it.
Q48. What is the primary reason for the development of the turnstile
RF Safety Precautions
Although electromagnetic radiation from transmission lines and antennas is usually
of insufficient strength to electrocute personnel, it can lead to other accidents
and compound injuries. Voltages may be induced in ungrounded metal objects, such
as wire guys, wire cable (hawser), hand rails, or ladders. If you come in contact
with these objects, you could receive a shock or RF burn. This shock can cause you
to jump or fall into nearby mechanical equipment or, when working aloft, to fall
from an elevated work area. Take care to ensure that all transmission lines or antennas
are deenergized before working near or on them.
Either check or have someone check all guys, cables, rails, and ladders around
your work area for RF shock dangers. use working aloft "chits" and safety harnesses
for your own safety. Signing a "working aloft chit" signifies that all equipment
is in a nonradiating status. The person who signs the chit should ensure that no
rf danger exists in areas where you or other personnel will be working.
Nearby ships or parked aircraft are another source of RF energy that you must
consider when you check a work area for safety. Combustible materials can be ignited
and cause severe fires from arcs or heat generated by RF energy. Also, RF radiation
can detonate ordnance devices by inducing currents in the internal wiring of the
devices or in the external test equipment or leads connected to them.
Figure 4-43 - Examples of RF radiation warning signs.
Always obey RF radiation warning signs and keep
a safe distance from radiating antennas. The six types of warning signs for RF radiation
hazards are shown in figure 4-43.
Close or direct contact with RF transmission lines or antennas may result in
rf burns. These are usually deep, penetrating, third-degree burns. To heal properly,
these burns must heal from the inside to the skin's surface. To prevent infection,
you must give proper attention to all RF burns, including the small "pinhole" burns.
Petrolatum gauze can be used to cover these burns temporarily, before the injured
person reports to medical facilities for further treatment.
Dielectric Heating is the heating of an insulating material by placing it in
a high-frequency electric field. The heat results from internal losses during the
rapid reversal of polarization of molecules in the dielectric material.
In the case of a human in an RF field, the body acts as a dielectric. If the
power in the RF field exceeds 10 milliwatts per centimeter, a person in that field
will have a noticeable rise in body temperature. The eyes are highly susceptible
to dielectric heating. For this reason, you should not look directly into devices
radiating RF energy. The vital organs of the body also are susceptible to dielectric
heating. For your own safety, you must NOT stand directly in the path of RF radiating
Precautions When Working Aloft
When radio or radar antennas are energized by transmitters, you must not go aloft
unless advance tests show that little or no danger exists. a casualty can occur
from even a small spark drawn from a charged piece of metal or rigging. Although
the spark itself may be harmless, the "surprise" may cause you to let go of the
antenna involuntarily and you may fall. There is also a shock hazard if nearby antennas
Rotating antennas also might cause you to fall when you are working aloft. Motor
safety switches controlling the motion of rotating antennas must be tagged and locked
open before you go aloft near such antennas.
When working near a stack, you should draw and wear the recommended oxygen breathing
apparatus. Among other toxic substances, stack gas contains carbon monoxide. Carbon
monoxide is too unstable to build up to a high concentration in the open, but prolonged
exposure to even small quantities is dangerous.
This chapter has presented information on the various types of antennas. The
information that follows summarizes the important points of this chapter.
An Antenna is a conductor, or system of conductors, that radiates
or receives energy in the form of electromagnetic waves.
Hertz (half-wave) and Marconi (quarter-wave)
are the two basic classifications of antennas.
Reciprocity of antennas means that the various properties of
the antenna apply equally to transmitting and receiving.
Radiation Resistance is the amount of resistance which, if inserted
in place of the antenna, would consume the same amount of power that is actually
radiated by the antenna.
Radiation Patterns can be plotted on a rectangular- or polar-coordinate
graph. These patterns are a measurement of the energy leaving an antenna.
An Isotropic Radiator radiates energy equally in all directions.
Pages 4-41 to 4-50...
Posted August 4, 2021
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