Figure 4-1.Satellite/earth station communications system.
A tremendous amount of knowledge and information has been gained about the design of antennas
and radio-wave propagation. Still, many old-time technicians will tell you that when it comes to designing
the length of an antenna, the best procedure is to perform all calculations and try out the antenna. If it
doesn't work right, use a cut-and-try method until it does. Fortunately, enough information has been
collected over the last few decades that it is now possible to predict the behavior of antennas. This chapter
will discuss and explain the basic design and operation of antennas.
PRINCIPLES OF ANTENNA RADIATION
After an rf signal has been generated in a transmitter, some means must be used to radiate this signal
through space to a receiver. The device that does this job is the antenna. The transmitter signal energy is
sent into space by a TRANSMITTING ANTENNA; the rf signal is then picked up from space by a
The rf energy is transmitted into space in the form of an electromagnetic field. As the traveling
electromagnetic field arrives at the receiving antenna, a voltage is induced into the antenna (a conductor).
The rf voltages induced into the receiving antenna are then passed into the receiver and converted back
into the transmitted rf information.
The design of the antenna system is very important in a transmitting station. The antenna must be
able to radiate efficiently so the power supplied by the transmitter is not wasted. An efficient transmitting
antenna must have exact dimensions. The dimensions are determined by the transmitting frequencies. The
dimensions of the receiving antenna are not critical for relatively low radio frequencies. However, as the
frequency of the signal being received increases, the design and installation of the receiving antenna
become more critical. An example of this is a television receiving antenna. If you raise it a few more
inches from the ground or give a slight turn in direction, you can change a snowy blur into a clear picture.