Antenna (radio)

A stack of "fishbone" and Yagi–Uda television antennas
Animation of a half-wave dipole antenna radiating radio waves, showing the electric field lines. The antenna in the center is two vertical metal rods connected to a radio transmitter (not shown). The transmitter applies an alternating electric current to the rods, which charges them alternately positive (+) and negative (−). Loops of electric field leave the antenna and travel away at the speed of light; these are the radio waves. In this animation the action is shown slowed down enormously.
Electronic symbol for an antenna
Antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array.
An automobile's whip antenna, a common example of an omnidirectional antenna.
Half-wave dipole antenna
Diagram of the electric fields ( blue ) and magnetic fields ( red ) radiated by a dipole antenna ( black rods) during transmission.
Cell phone base station antennas
Standing waves on a half wave dipole driven at its resonant frequency. The waves are shown graphically by bars of color ( red for voltage, V and blue for current, I ) whose width is proportional to the amplitude of the quantity at that point on the antenna.
Typical center-loaded mobile CB antenna with loading coil
Polar plots of the horizontal cross sections of a (virtual) Yagi-Uda-antenna. Outline connects points with 3 dB field power compared to an ISO emitter.
The wave reflected by earth can be considered as emitted by the image antenna.
The currents in an antenna appear as an image in opposite phase when reflected at grazing angles. This causes a phase reversal for waves emitted by a horizontally polarized antenna (center) but not for a vertically polarized antenna (left).
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Antenna or aerial is the interface between radio waves propagating through space and electric currents moving in metal conductors, used with a transmitter or receiver.

- Antenna (radio)
A stack of "fishbone" and Yagi–Uda television antennas

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UHF half-wave dipole

Dipole antenna

UHF half-wave dipole
Dipole antenna used by the radar altimeter in an airplane
Animated diagram of a half-wave dipole antenna receiving a radio wave. The antenna consists of two metal rods connected to a receiver R. The electric field ( E, green arrows ) of the incoming wave pushes the electrons in the rods back and forth, charging the ends alternately positive  (+)  and negative  (−) .  Since the length of the antenna is one half the wavelength of the wave, the oscillating field induces standing waves of voltage ( V, represented by red band ) and current in the rods. The oscillating currents (black arrows) flow down the transmission line and through the receiver (represented by the resistance R).
Cage dipole antennas in the Ukrainian UTR-2 radio telescope. The 8 m by 1.8 m diameter galvanized steel wire dipoles have a bandwidth of 8–33 MHz.
Real (black) and imaginary (blue) parts of the dipole feedpoint impedance versus total length in wavelengths, assuming a conductor diameter of 0.001 wavelengths
Feedpoint impedance of (near-) half-wave dipoles versus electrical length in wavelengths. Black: radiation resistance; blue: reactance for 4 different values of conductor diameter
Length reduction factor for a half-wave dipole to achieve electrical resonance (purely resistive feedpoint impedance). Calculated using the Induced EMF method, an approximation that breaks down at larger conductor diameters (dashed portion of graph).
"Rabbit-ears" VHF television antenna (the small loop is a separate UHF antenna).
Collinear folded dipole array
A reflective array antenna for radar consisting of numerous dipoles fed in-phase (thus realizing a broadside array) in front of a large reflector (horizontal wires) to make it uni-directional.

In radio and telecommunications a dipole antenna or doublet is the simplest and most widely used class of antenna.

Three-dimensional antenna radiation patterns. The radial distance from the origin in any direction represents the strength of radiation emitted in that direction. The top shows the directive pattern of a horn antenna, the bottom shows the omnidirectional pattern of a simple vertical antenna.

Radiation pattern

Three-dimensional antenna radiation patterns. The radial distance from the origin in any direction represents the strength of radiation emitted in that direction. The top shows the directive pattern of a horn antenna, the bottom shows the omnidirectional pattern of a simple vertical antenna.
Typical polar radiation plot. Most antennas show a pattern of "lobes" or maxima of radiation. In a directive antenna, shown here, the largest lobe, in the desired direction of propagation, is called the "main lobe".  The other lobes are called "sidelobes" and usually represent radiation in unwanted directions.
A rectangular radiation plot, an alternative presentation method to a polar plot.

In the field of antenna design the term radiation pattern (or antenna pattern or far-field pattern) refers to the directional (angular) dependence of the strength of the radio waves from the antenna or other source.

Animation showing how a phased array works. It consists of an array of antenna elements (A) powered by a transmitter (TX). The feed current for each element passes through a phase shifter (φ) controlled by a computer (C). The moving red lines show the wavefronts of the radio waves emitted by each element.  The individual wavefronts are spherical, but they combine (superpose) in front of the antenna to create a plane wave, a beam of radio waves travelling in a specific direction.  The phase shifters delay the radio waves progressively going up the line so each antenna emits its wavefront later than the one below it.  This causes the resulting plane wave to be directed at an angle θ to the antenna's axis.  By changing the phase shifts the computer can instantly change the angle θ of the beam.  Most phased arrays have two-dimensional arrays of antennas instead of the linear array shown here, and the beam can be steered in two dimensions. The velocity of the radio waves shown have been slowed down in this diagram.

Phased array

Animation showing how a phased array works. It consists of an array of antenna elements (A) powered by a transmitter (TX). The feed current for each element passes through a phase shifter (φ) controlled by a computer (C). The moving red lines show the wavefronts of the radio waves emitted by each element.  The individual wavefronts are spherical, but they combine (superpose) in front of the antenna to create a plane wave, a beam of radio waves travelling in a specific direction.  The phase shifters delay the radio waves progressively going up the line so each antenna emits its wavefront later than the one below it.  This causes the resulting plane wave to be directed at an angle θ to the antenna's axis.  By changing the phase shifts the computer can instantly change the angle θ of the beam.  Most phased arrays have two-dimensional arrays of antennas instead of the linear array shown here, and the beam can be steered in two dimensions. The velocity of the radio waves shown have been slowed down in this diagram.
Animation showing the radiation pattern of a phased array of 15 antenna elements spaced a quarter wavelength apart as the phase difference between adjacent antennas is swept between −120 and 120 degrees. The dark area is the beam or main lobe, while the light lines fanning out around it are sidelobes.
Ferdinand Braun's 1905 directional antenna which used the phased array principle, consisting of 3 monopole antennas in an equilateral triangle. A quarter-wave delay in the feedline of one antenna caused the array to radiate in a beam. The delay could be switched manually into any of the 3 feeds, rotating the antenna beam by 120°.
BMEWS & PAVE PAWS Radars
Mammut phased array radar World War II
Active Phased Array Radar mounted on top of Sachsen-class frigate F220 Hamburg's superstructure of the German Navy
AN/SPY-1A radar installation at National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma. The enclosing radome provides weather protection.
The radiation pattern of a phased array in polar coordinate system.
An antenna tower consisting of a fixed phase collinear antenna array with four elements

In antenna theory, a phased array usually means an electronically scanned array, a computer-controlled array of antennas which creates a beam of radio waves that can be electronically steered to point in different directions without moving the antennas.

Pyramidal microwave horn antenna, with a bandwidth of 0.8 to 18 GHz. A coaxial cable feedline attaches to the connector visible at top. This type is called a ridged horn; the curving fins visible inside the mouth of the horn increase the antenna's bandwidth.

Horn antenna

Pyramidal microwave horn antenna, with a bandwidth of 0.8 to 18 GHz. A coaxial cable feedline attaches to the connector visible at top. This type is called a ridged horn; the curving fins visible inside the mouth of the horn increase the antenna's bandwidth.
The first modern horn antenna in 1938 with inventor Wilmer L. Barrow.
Pyramidal horn antennas for a variety of frequencies. They have flanges at the top to attach to standard waveguides.
Corrugated conical horn antenna used as a feed horn on a Hughes Direcway home satellite dish. A transparent plastic sheet covers the horn mouth to keep out rain.
Horn antenna types
Stack of sectoral feed horns for air search radar antenna
Corrugated horn antenna with a bandwidth of 3.7 to 6 GHz designed to attach to SMA waveguide feedline. This was used as a feedhorn for a parabolic antenna on a British military base.
Exponential feed horn for 85 ft Cassegrain spacecraft communication antenna at NASA's Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex.
Large pyramidal horn used in 1951 to detect the 21 cm (1.43 GHz) radiation from hydrogen gas in the Milky Way galaxy. Currently on display at the Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, U.S.

A horn antenna or microwave horn is an antenna that consists of a flaring metal waveguide shaped like a horn to direct radio waves in a beam.

A portable battery-powered AM/FM broadcast receiver, used to listen to audio broadcast by local radio stations.

Radio receiver

Electronic device that receives radio waves and converts the information carried by them to a usable form.

Electronic device that receives radio waves and converts the information carried by them to a usable form.

A portable battery-powered AM/FM broadcast receiver, used to listen to audio broadcast by local radio stations.
A modern communications receiver, used in two-way radio communication stations to talk with remote locations by shortwave radio.
Girl listening to vacuum tube radio in the 1940s. During the golden age of radio, 1925–1955, families gathered to listen to the home radio receiver in the evening
A bedside clock radio that combines a radio receiver with an alarm clock
Symbol for an antenna
Symbol for a bandpass filter used in block diagrams of radio receivers
Symbol for an amplifier
Symbol for a demodulator
Envelope detector circuit
How an envelope detector works
Block diagram of a tuned radio frequency receiver. To achieve enough selectivity to reject stations on adjacent frequencies, multiple cascaded bandpass filter stages had to be used. The dotted line indicates that the bandpass filters must be tuned together.
Block diagram of a superheterodyne receiver. The dotted line indicates that the RF filter and local oscillator must be tuned in tandem.
Block diagram of a dual-conversion superheterodyne receiver
Guglielmo Marconi, who built the first radio receivers, with his early spark transmitter (right) and coherer receiver (left) from the 1890s. The receiver records the Morse code on paper tape
Generic block diagram of an unamplified radio receiver from the wireless telegraphy era
Example of transatlantic radiotelegraph message recorded on paper tape by a siphon recorder at RCA's New York receiving center in 1920. The translation of the Morse code is given below the tape.
Coherer from 1904 as developed by Marconi.
Experiment to use human brain as a radio wave detector, 1902
Magnetic detector
Electrolytic detector
A galena cat's whisker detector from a 1920s crystal radio
Marconi's inductively coupled coherer receiver from his controversial April 1900 "four circuit" patent no. 7,777.
Radio receiver with Poulsen "tikker" consisting of a commutator disk turned by a motor to interrupt the carrier.
Fessenden's heterodyne radio receiver circuit
Unlike today, when almost all radios use a variation of the superheterodyne design, during the 1920s vacuum tube radios used a variety of competing circuits.
During the "Golden Age of Radio" (1920 to 1950), families gathered to listen to the home radio in the evening, such as this Zenith console model 12-S-568 from 1938, a 12-tube superheterodyne with pushbutton tuning and 12-inch cone speaker.
De Forest's first commercial Audion receiver, the RJ6 which came out in 1914. The Audion tube was always mounted upside down, with its delicate filament loop hanging down, so it did not sag and touch the other electrodes in the tube.
Block diagram of regenerative receiver
Circuit of single tube Armstrong regenerative receiver
Armstrong presenting his superregenerative receiver, June 28, 1922, Columbia University
Hazeltine's prototype Neutrodyne receiver, presented at a March 2, 1923 meeting of the Radio Society of America at Columbia University.
Block diagram of simple single tube reflex receiver
The first superheterodyne receiver built at Armstrong's Signal Corps laboratory in Paris during World War I. It is constructed in two sections, the mixer and local oscillator (left) and three IF amplification stages and a detector stage (right). The intermediate frequency was 75 kHz.
A Zenith transistor based portable radio receiver
A modern smartphone has several RF CMOS digital radio transmitters and receivers to connect to different devices, including a cellular receiver, wireless modem, Bluetooth modem, and GPS receiver.

It is used with an antenna.

A modern high-gain UHF Yagi television antenna with 17 directors, and one reflector (made of four rods) shaped as a corner reflector.

Yagi–Uda antenna

A modern high-gain UHF Yagi television antenna with 17 directors, and one reflector (made of four rods) shaped as a corner reflector.
Drawing of Yagi–Uda VHF television antenna from 1954, used for analog channels 2–4, 54–72 MHz (USA channels). It has five elements: three directors (to left) one reflector (to right) and a driven element which is a folded dipole (double rod) to match the 300 Ω twin lead feedline. The beam direction (direction of greatest sensitivity) is to the left.
Quartet of two-dipole Yagi arrays '(Hirschgeweih) of the German FuG 220 VHF-band radar on the nose of a late-World War II Bf 110 night fighter aircraft.
Yagi–Uda antenna with a reflector (left), half-wave driven element (centre), and director (right). Exact spacings and element lengths vary somewhat according to specific designs.
A portable Yagi–Uda antenna for use at 144 MHz (2 m), with segments of yellow tape-measure ribbon for the arms of the driven and parasitic elements.
Two Yagi–Uda antennas on a single mast. The top one includes a corner reflector and three stacked Yagis fed in phase in order to increase gain in the horizontal direction (by cancelling power radiated toward the ground or sky). The lower antenna is oriented for vertical polarization, with a much lower resonant frequency.
A Nakajima J1N1-S night fighter with quadruple Yagi radar transceiver antennas
Close-up of Yagi arrays of the ASV Mark II radar fitted beneath a Bristol Beaufort aircraft for anti-submarine warfare.
How the antenna works. The radio waves from each element are emitted with a phase delay, so that the individual waves emitted in the forward direction (up) are in phase, while the waves in the reverse direction are out of phase. Therefore, the forward waves add together, (constructive interference) enhancing the power in that direction, while the backward waves partially cancel each other (destructive interference), thereby reducing the power emitted in that direction.
Illustration of forward gain of a two element Yagi–Uda array using only a driven element (left) and a director (right). The wave (green) from the driven element excites a current in the passive director which reradiates a wave (blue) having a particular phase shift (see explanation in text, note that the dimensions are not to scale with the numbers in the text). The addition of these waves (bottom) is increased in the forward direction, but leads to partial cancellation in the reverse direction.

A Yagi–Uda antenna or simply Yagi antenna, is a directional antenna consisting of two or more parallel resonant antenna elements in an end-fire array; these elements are most often metal rods acting as half-wave dipoles.

Commercial FM broadcasting transmitter at radio station WDET-FM, Wayne State University, Detroit, USA. It broadcasts at 101.9 MHz with a radiated power of 48 kW.

Transmitter

Commercial FM broadcasting transmitter at radio station WDET-FM, Wayne State University, Detroit, USA. It broadcasts at 101.9 MHz with a radiated power of 48 kW.
A radio transmitter is usually part of a radio communication system which uses electromagnetic waves (radio waves) to transport information (in this case sound) over a distance.
Animation of a half-wave dipole antenna transmitting radio waves, showing the electric field lines. The antenna in the center is two vertical metal rods, with an alternating current applied at its center from a radio transmitter (not shown). The voltage charges the two sides of the antenna alternately positive  (+)  and negative   (−) .  Loops of electric field (black lines) leave the antenna and travel away at the speed of light; these are the radio waves.  This animation shows the action slowed enormously
Hertz discovering radio waves in 1887 with his first primitive radio transmitter (background).
Guglielmo Marconi's spark gap transmitter, with which he performed the first experiments in practical Morse code radiotelegraphy communication in 1895-1897
High power spark gap radiotelegraphy transmitter in Australia around 1910.
1 MW US Navy Poulsen arc transmitter which generated continuous waves using an electric arc in a magnetic field, a technology used for a brief period from 1903 until vacuum tubes took over in the 20s
An Alexanderson alternator, a huge rotating machine used as a radio transmitter at very low frequency from about 1910 until World War 2
One of the first vacuum tube AM radio transmitters, built by Lee De Forest in 1914. The early Audion (triode) tube is visible at right.
One of the BBC's first broadcast transmitters, early 1920s, London. The 4 triode tubes, connected in parallel to form an oscillator, each produced around 4 kilowatts with 12 thousand volts on their anodes.
Armstrong's first experimental FM broadcast transmitter W2XDG, in the Empire State Building, New York City, used for secret tests 1934–1935. It transmitted on 41 MHz at a power of 2 kW.
Transmitter assembly of a 20 kW, 9.375 GHz air traffic control radar, 1947. The magnetron tube mounted between two magnets (right) produces microwaves which pass from the aperture (left) into a waveguide which conducts them to the dish antenna.

In electronics and telecommunications, a radio transmitter or just transmitter is an electronic device which produces radio waves with an antenna.

A common type of array antenna, a reflective array UHF television antenna. This example consists of eight dipole driven elements mounted in front of a wire screen reflector. The X-shaped dipoles give it a wide bandwidth to cover both the VHF (174–216 MHz) and UHF (470–700 MHz) TV bands. It has a gain of 5 dB VHF and 12 dB UHF and an 18 dB front-to-back ratio.

Antenna array

A common type of array antenna, a reflective array UHF television antenna. This example consists of eight dipole driven elements mounted in front of a wire screen reflector. The X-shaped dipoles give it a wide bandwidth to cover both the VHF (174–216 MHz) and UHF (470–700 MHz) TV bands. It has a gain of 5 dB VHF and 12 dB UHF and an 18 dB front-to-back ratio.
Large planar array antenna of a VHF Russian mobile air defense radar, the Nebo-M. It consists of 175 folded dipole antennas. An early phased array, the antenna radiated a vertical fan-shaped beam which could be swept horizontally across the airspace in front of the antenna.
Animation showing how a phased array works.
A rooftop television antenna, an endfire parasitic array consisting of a combination of a Yagi and log periodic antenna
VHF collinear array of folded dipoles
Sector antennas (white bars) on cell phone tower. Collinear dipole arrays, radiating a flat, fan-shaped beam.
108 MHz reflective array antenna of an SCR-270 radar used during World War II consists of 32 half-wave dipole antennas in front of a reflecting screen.
US Air Force PAVE PAWS phased array 420 - 450 MHz radar antenna for ballistic missile detection, Alaska. The two circular arrays are each composed of 2677 crossed dipole antennas.
Some of the crossed-dipole elements in the PAVE PAWS phased array antenna, left
Batwing VHF television broadcasting antenna
Crossed-dipole FM radio broadcast antenna
Curtain array shortwave transmitting antenna, Austria. Wire dipoles suspended between towers
Turnstile antenna array used for satellite communication
Flat microstrip array antenna for satellite TV reception.
The Very Large Array, a radio telescope made of a Y-shaped array of 27 dish antennas in Socorro, New Mexico
HAARP, a phased array of 180 crossed dipoles in Alaska which can transmit a 3.6 MW beam of 3 - 10 MHz radio waves into the ionosphere for research purposes
Array of four helical antennas used as a satellite tracking antenna, Pleumeur-Bodou, France

An antenna array (or array antenna) is a set of multiple connected antennas which work together as a single antenna, to transmit or receive radio waves.

Schematic of a wave moving rightward down a lossless two-wire transmission line. Black dots represent electrons, and the arrows show the electric field.

Transmission line

Specialized cable or other structure designed to conduct electromagnetic waves in a contained manner.

Specialized cable or other structure designed to conduct electromagnetic waves in a contained manner.

Schematic of a wave moving rightward down a lossless two-wire transmission line. Black dots represent electrons, and the arrows show the electric field.
One of the most common types of transmission line, coaxial cable.
Variations on the schematic electronic symbol for a transmission line.
A transmission line is drawn as two black wires. At a distance x into the line, there is current I(x) travelling through each wire, and there is a voltage difference V(x) between the wires. If the current and voltage come from a single wave (with no reflection), then V(x) / I(x) = Z0, where Z0 is the characteristic impedance of the line.
Standing waves on a transmission line with an open-circuit load (top), and a short-circuit load (bottom). Black dots represent electrons, and the arrows show the electric field.
A type of transmission line called a cage line, used for high power, low frequency applications. It functions similarly to a large coaxial cable. This example is the antenna feed line for a longwave radio transmitter in Poland, which operates at a frequency of 225 kHz and a power of 1200 kW.
A simple example of stepped transmission line consisting of three segments.

Transmission lines are used for purposes such as connecting radio transmitters and receivers with their antennas (they are then called feed lines or feeders), distributing cable television signals, trunklines routing calls between telephone switching centres, computer network connections and high speed computer data buses.

In his 1880 British patent, Oliver Heaviside showed how coaxial cable could eliminate signal interference between parallel cables.

Coaxial cable

RG-59.jpg flexible coaxial cable composed of:1.

RG-59.jpg flexible coaxial cable composed of:1.

In his 1880 British patent, Oliver Heaviside showed how coaxial cable could eliminate signal interference between parallel cables.
Coaxial cable cutaway (not to scale)
Schematic representation of the elementary components of a transmission line
Schematic representation of a coaxial transmission line, showing the characteristic impedance Z_0
RG-6 coaxial cable
RG-142 coaxial cable
RG-405 semi-rigid coaxial cable
High-end coaxial audio cable (S/PDIF)
1+5/8 in flexible line
1-5/8" Heliax coaxial cable
Semi-rigid coax assembly
Semi-rigid coax installed in an Agilent N9344C 20GHz spectrum analyser
Early coaxial antenna feedline of 50 kW radio station WNBC, New York, 1930s
AT&T coaxial cable trunkline installed between East Coast and Midwest in 1948. Each of the 8 coaxial subcables could carry 480 telephone calls or one television channel.

It is used in such applications as telephone trunk lines, broadband internet networking cables, high-speed computer data busses, cable television signals, and connecting radio transmitters and receivers to their antennas.