Quantcast Polar-coordinate graph for anisotropic radiator coordinates. The illustration of the flashlight beam in view B clearly indicates the shape of the flashlight beam. This is not evident in the radiation pattern plotted on the rectangular-coordinate graph. Now look at figure 4-12. The radiation pattern shown in this figure looks very much like the actual flashlight beam. The pattern in figure 4-12 is plotted using the same values as those of figure 4-11, view A, but is drawn using polar coordinates.">

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In figure 4-11, view A, the radiation pattern of the flashlight is graphed in rectangular coordinates. The illustration of the flashlight beam in view B clearly indicates the shape of the flashlight beam. This is not evident in the radiation pattern plotted on the rectangular-coordinate graph. Now look at figure 4-12. The radiation pattern shown in this figure looks very much like the actual flashlight beam. The pattern in figure 4-12 is plotted using the same values as those of figure 4-11, view A, but is drawn using polar coordinates.

Figure 4-12. - Polar-coordinate graph for anisotropic radiator.

The positions marked off on the two polar-coordinate graphs in figures 4-10 and 4-12 were selected and numbered arbitrarily. However, a standard method allows the positions around a source to be marked off so that one radiation pattern can easily be compared with another. This method is based on the fact that a circle has a radius of 360 degrees. The radius extending vertically from the center (position 0 in figure 4-10) is designated 0 degrees. At position 4 the radius is at a right angle to the 0-degree radius. Accordingly, the radius at position 4 is marked 90 degrees, position 8 is 180 degrees, position 12 is 270 degrees, and position 16 is 360 degrees. The various radii drawn on the graph are all marked according to the angle each radius makes with the reference radius at 0 degrees.

The radiation pattern in figure 4-12 is obtained by using the same procedure that was used for (figure 4-10, view B). The radiation measured at positions 1, 2, 3, and 4 is 0. Position 5 measures approximately 1 unit. This is marked on the graph and the rotating radius moves to position 6. At this position a reading of 5.5 units is taken. As before, this point is marked on the graph. The procedure is repeated around the circle and a reading is obtained from positions 6 through 11. At position 12 no radiation is indicated, and this continues on to position 16.

The polar-coordinate graph now shows a definite area enclosed by the radiation pattern. This pattern indicates the general direction of radiation from the source. The enclosed area is called a LOBE. Outside of this area, minimum radiation is emitted in any direction. For example, at position 2 the radiation is 0. Such a point is called a NULL. In real situations, some radiation is usually transmitted in all directions. Therefore, a null is used to indicate directions of minimum radiation. The pattern of figure 4-12 shows one lobe and one continuous null.


You will sometimes want to use one antenna system for transmitting and receiving on several different frequencies. Since the antenna must always be in resonance with the applied frequency, you may need to either physically or electrically lengthen or shorten the antenna.

Except for trailing-wire antennas used in aircraft installations (which may be lengthened or shortened), physically lengthening the antenna is not very practical. But you can achieve the same result by changing the electrical length of the antenna. To change the electrical length, you can insert either an inductor or a capacitor in series with the antenna. This is shown in figure 4-13, views A and B. Changing the electrical length by this method is known as LUMPED-IMPEDANCE TUNING, or LOADING. The electrical length of any antenna wire can be increased or decreased by loading. If the antenna is too short for the wavelength being used, it is resonant at a higher frequency than that at which it is being excited. Therefore, it offers a capacitive reactance at the excitation frequency. This capacitive reactance can be compensated for by introducing a lumped-inductive reactance, as shown in view A. Similarly, if the antenna is too long for the transmitting frequency, it offers an inductive reactance. Inductive reactance can be compensated for by introducing a lumped-capacitive reactance, as shown in view B. An antenna without loading is represented in view C.

Figure 4-13. - Electrically equal antenna.


Before you look at the various types of antennas, consider the relationship between the wavelength at which the antenna is being operated and the actual length of the antenna. An antenna does not necessarily radiate or receive more energy when it is made longer. Specific dimensions must be used for efficient antenna operation.

Nearly all antennas have been developed from two basic types, the Hertz and the Marconi. The basic Hertz antenna is 1/2 wavelength long at the operating frequency and is insulated from ground. It is often called a DIPOLE or a DOUBLET. The basic Marconi antenna is 1/4 wavelength long and is either grounded at one end or connected to a network of wires called a COUNTERPOISE. The ground or counterpoise provides the equivalent of an additional 1/4 wavelength, which is required for the antenna to resonate.


A half-wave antenna (referred to as a dipole, Hertz, or doublet) consists of two lengths of wire rod, or tubing, each 1/4 wavelength long at a certain frequency. It is the basic unit from which many complex antennas are constructed. The half-wave antenna operates independently of ground; therefore, it may be installed far above the surface of the Earth or other absorbing bodies. For a dipole, the current is maximum at the center and minimum at the ends. Voltage is minimum at the center and maximum at the ends, as was shown in figure 4-6.

Radiation Patterns

In the following discussion, the term DIPOLE is used to mean the basic half-wave antenna. The term DOUBLET is used to indicate an antenna that is very short compared with the wavelength of the operating frequency. Physically, it has the same shape as the dipole.

RADIATION PATTERN OF A DOUBLET. - The doublet is the simplest form of a practical antenna. Its radiation pattern can be plotted like the radiation pattern of the flashlight (fig. 4-12). Figure 4-14 shows the development of vertical and horizontal patterns for a doublet. This in NOT a picture of the radiation, but three-dimensional views of the pattern itself. In three views the pattern resembles a doughnut. From the dimensions in these views, two types of polar-coordinate patterns can be drawn, horizontal and vertical. The HORIZONTAL PATTERN view A is derived from the solid pattern view C by slicing it horizontally. This produces view B, which is converted to the polar coordinates seen in view A. The horizontal pattern illustrates that the radiation is constant in any direction along the horizontal plane.

Figure 4-14. - Development of vertical and horizontal patterns.

A VERTICAL PATTERN view E is obtained from the drawing of the vertical plane view D of the radiation pattern view C. The radiation pattern view C is sliced in half along a vertical plane through the antenna. This produces the vertical plane pattern in view D. Note how the vertical plane in view D of the radiation pattern differs from the horizontal plane in view B. The vertical pattern view E exhibits two lobes and two nulls. The difference between the two patterns is caused by two facts: (1) no radiation is emitted from the ends of the doublet; and (2) maximum radiation comes from the doublet in a direction perpendicular to the antenna axis. This type of radiation pattern is both NONDIRECTIONAL (in a horizontal plane) and DIRECTIONAL (in a vertical plane).

From a practical viewpoint, the doublet antenna can be mounted either vertically or horizontally. The doublet shown in figure 4-14 is mounted vertically, and the radiated energy spreads out about the antenna in every direction in the horizontal plane. Since ordinarily the horizontal plane is the useful plane, this arrangement is termed NONDIRECTIONAL. The directional characteristics of the antenna in other planes is ignored. If the doublet were mounted horizontally, it would have the effect of turning the pattern on edge, reversing the patterns given in figure 4-14. The antenna would then be directional in the horizontal plane. The terms "directional" and "nondirectional" are used for convenience in describing specific radiation patterns. A complete description always involves a figure in three dimensions, as in the radiation pattern of figure 4-14.

Q.17 What terms are often used to describe basic half-wave antennas? answer.gif (214 bytes)
Q.18 If a basic half-wave antenna is mounted vertically, what type of radiation pattern will be produced? answer.gif (214 bytes)
Q.19 In which plane will the half-wave antenna be operating if it is mounted horizontally? answer.gif (214 bytes)

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