Exploring Antenna Varieties and Their Roles in Modern Communication Systems

Antennas & Radomes
By Ahmed Khebir | 21/03/2024

Antennas are crucial components in communication systems, enabling the transmission and reception of radio frequency signals. With the vast array of applications ranging from broadcast television to mobile communications and GPS, different types of antennas have been developed to meet specific requirements. This blog explores some of the most common antenna types, their characteristics, and their applications.  All models and results in this blog are obtained using EMWorks-HFWorks, the high frequency simulation suite.

Dipole Antenna

Often referred to as the simplest form of antenna, the dipole antenna consists of two identical conductive elements such as metal wires or rods, which receive and transmit radio frequency energy. This type of antenna is known for its straightforward design and is commonly used as the reference point for measuring the gain of other antennas. Dipole antennas are widely used in various applications, including FM radio broadcasting and as simple receivers.

 

CAD Model of a simple dipole antenna


 

Radiation Pattern of a dipole antenna


Clearly, the radiation pattern of a dipole antenna features an omnidirectional spread in the horizontal plane and a figure-eight shape in the vertical plane, with distinct nulls along the antenna’s axis. These characteristics make the dipole antenna versatile for wide-area coverage while allowing for precise placement to avoid interference by utilizing the directional nulls to minimize unwanted radiation.


 

Near electric field animation around the dipole antenna

The near electric field around the dipole antenna is characterized by non-uniform, rapidly varying distributions within a few wavelengths of the antenna. Dominated by reactive, non-radiative fields, it's crucial for applications like NFC and wireless power transfer, requiring careful design consideration to minimize interactions and optimize performance.

Monopole Antenna

A monopole antenna is essentially a dipole antenna cut in half, with one end connected to the ground or a ground plane. This design makes it more compact than a dipole, making it a popular choice for mobile and vehicle-mounted applications, such as car radios and portable communication devices.

 

CAD Model of a simple monopole antenna


 

Radiation Pattern of a monopole antenna

As shown in the above figure, the monopole antenna’s radiation pattern is omnidirectional around its axis in the horizontal plane, forming a hemispherical shape due to the reflective ground plane that simulates the other half of a dipole. This design is efficient for applications needing broad coverage in the space above the ground plane, making monopole antennas ideal for ground-based communications, mobile devices, and vehicles.


 

Near electric field animation around the monopole antenna


The near electric field distribution around the monopole antenna, like a dipole but with a single element typically mounted over a ground plane, shows a complex pattern of reactive fields close to the antenna. Within a few wavelengths, these fields are strong and non-radiative, rapidly varying with distance and angular position relative to the antenna. This area is marked by electric field lines that loop back to the ground plane, indicating energy oscillation between the antenna and its near field rather than radiation away.

Yagi-Uda Antenna

The Yagi-Uda antenna, commonly known as the Yagi antenna, is a directional antenna consisting of multiple parallel elements in a line, including a single driven element, reflectors, and directors. It offers high gain and directivity, making it ideal for television reception, point-to-point radio communication, and amateur radio.

 

CAD Model of a Yagi antenna