An end-fire array looks similar to a broadside array. The ladder-like appearance is characteristic of both (fig. 4-28, view A). The currents in the elements of the end-fire array, however, are usually 180 degrees out of phase with each other as indicated by the arrows. The construction of the end-fire array is like that of a ladder lying on its side (elements horizontal). The dipoles in an end-fire array are closer together (1/8-wavelength to 1/4-wavelength spacing) than they are for a broadside array.
Figure 4-28. - Typical end-fire array.
Closer spacing between elements permits compactness of construction. For this reason an end-fire array is preferred to other arrays when high gain or sharp directivity is desired in a confined space. However, the close coupling creates certain disadvantages. Radiation resistance is extremely low, sometimes as low as 10 ohms, making antenna losses greater. The end-fire array is confined to a single frequency. With changes in climatic or atmospheric conditions, the danger of detuning exists.
RADIATION PATTERN. - The radiation pattern for a pair of parallel half-wave elements fed 180 degrees out of phase is shown in figure 4-29, view A. The elements shown are spaced 1/2 wavelength apart. In practice, smaller spacings are used. Radiation from elements L and M traveling toward point P begins 180 degrees out of phase. Moving the same distance over approximately parallel paths, the respective wavefronts from these elements remain 180 degrees out of phase. In other words, maximum cancellation takes place in the direction of P. The same condition is true for the opposite direction (toward P1). The P to P1 axis is the line of least radiation for the end-fire array.
Figure 4-29. - Parallel elements 180 degrees out of phase.
Consider what happens along the QQ1 axis. Energy radiating from element M toward Q reaches element L in about 1/2 cycle (180 degrees) after it leaves its source. Since element L was fed 180 degrees out of phase with element M, the wavefronts are now in the same phase and are both moving toward Q reinforcing each other. Similar reinforcement occurs along the same axis toward Q1. This simultaneous movement towards Q and Q1 develops a bidirectional pattern. This is not always true in end-fire operation. Another application of the end-fire principle is one in which the elements are spaced 1/4 wavelength apart and phased 90 degrees from each other to produce a unidirectional pattern.
In figure 4-29, view A, elements A and B are perpendicular to the plane represented by the page; therefore, only the ends of the antennas appear. In view B the antennas are rotated a quarter of a circle in space around the QQ1 axis so that they are seen in the plane of the elements themselves. Therefore, the PP1 axis, now perpendicular to the page, is not seen as a line. The RR1 axis, now seen as a line, is perpendicular to the PP1 axis as well as to the QQ1 axis. The end-fire array is directional in this plane also, although not quite as sharply. The reason for the greater broadness of the lobes can be seen by following the path of energy radiating from the midpoint of element B toward point S in view B. This energy passes the A element at one end after traveling slightly more than the perpendicular distance between the dipoles. Energy, therefore, does not combine in exact phase toward point S. Although maximum radiation cannot take place in this direction, energy from the two sources combines closely enough in phase to produce considerable reinforcement. A similar situation exists for wavefronts traveling toward T. However, the wider angle from Q to T produces a greater phase difference and results in a decrease in the strength of the combined wave.
Directivity occurs from either one or both ends of the end-fire array, along the axis of the array, as shown by the broken arrows in figure 4-28, view A; hence, the term end-fire is used.
The major lobe or lobes occur along the axis of the array. The pattern is sharper in the plane that is at right angles to the plane containing the elements (figure 4-29, view A). If the elements are not exact half-wave dipoles, operation is not significantly affected. However, because of the required balance of phase relationships and critical feeding, the array must be symmetrical. Folded dipoles, such as the one shown in figure 4-20, view A, are used frequently because the impedance at their terminals is higher. This is an effective way of avoiding excessive antenna losses. Another expedient to reduce losses is the use of tubular elements of wide diameter.
GAIN AND DIRECTIVITY. - In end-fire arrays, directivity increases with the addition of more elements and with spacings approaching the optimum. The directive pattern for a two-element, bidirectional system is illustrated in figure 4-29. View A shows radiation along the array axis in a plane perpendicular to the dipoles, and view B shows radiation along the array axis in the plane of the elements. These patterns were developed with a 180-degree phase difference between the elements. Additional elements introduce small, minor lobes.
With a 90-degree phase difference in the energy fed to a pair of end-fire elements spaced approximately 1/4 wavelength apart, unidirectional radiation can be obtained. The pattern perpendicular to the plane of the two elements is shown in figure 4-30, view A. The pattern shown in view B, taken in the same plane, is for a six-element array with 90-degree phasing between adjacent elements. Since both patterns show relative gain only, the increase in gain produced by the six-element array is not evident. End-fire arrays are the only unidirectional arrays wholly made up of driven elements.
Figure 4-30. - Unidirectional end-fire arrays.
Q.35 What are some disadvantages of the end-fire array?