In this section we will cover some special communications and radar antennas. Some of these antennas we touch on briefly since they are covered thoroughly in other courses.
Previously discussed antennas operate with standing waves of current and voltage along the wires. This section deals principally with antenna systems in which the current is practically uniform in all parts of the antenna. In its basic form, such an antenna consists of a single wire grounded at the far end through a resistor. The resistor has a value equal to the characteristic impedance of the antenna. This termination, just as in the case of an ordinary transmission line, eliminates standing waves. The current, therefore, decreases uniformly along the wire as the terminated end is approached. This decrease is caused by the loss of energy through radiation. The energy remaining at the end of the antenna is dissipated in the terminating resistor. For such an antenna to be a good radiator, its length must be fairly long. Also, the wire must not be too close to the ground. The return path through the ground will cause cancellation of the radiation. If the wire is sufficiently long, it will be practically nonresonant over a wide range of operating frequencies.
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.
Figure 4-34. - Beverage antenna.
A V ANTENNA is a bidirectional 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.
Figure 4-35. - Basic V antenna.
Figure 4-36. - Formation of directional radiation pattern from a resonant V antenna.