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Questions tagged [antenna]

Questions about the design, selection, building, testing, mounting, or properties of antennas. See also specific tags: [antenna-theory], [antenna-construction], [dipole], etc.

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33
votes
7answers
31k views

Using a balun with a resonant dipole

I am preparing to construct a resonant, center-fed, horizontal dipole. I have seen people use baluns at the feedpoint of the antenna, and some people swear by them, but I have never gotten a ...
32
votes
2answers
44k views

Effect of different metals for antenna elements

Other than rust, corrosion, and other reactions with air that would make the use of a metal unfavorable, how do different metals affect the performance? Let's give Yagi an example: Let's say I use 4 ...
28
votes
6answers
28k views

Can I reduce RFI/noise at the antenna?

Recently, the power was out in my neighborhood for an extended period of time. I fired up my HF rig using battery power and was amazed at the lack of noise across the HF bands. When the power grid ...
26
votes
11answers
26k views

What's a cost-effective way to boost the range of my cheap 2m/70cm handheld?

I'm a very casual/beginner level ham and as such have mostly avoided committing too much in the way of financial resources - I have a UV-5R for a personal radio, anything else I do I've used others' ...
23
votes
4answers
8k views

What is the relationship between SWR and receive performance?

If an antenna analyzer shows 1:1, does that mean it's an ideal receiver as well? And what about the converse, will a well performing receive antenna show a 1:1 SWR? I've wondered this for a while, ...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I build a radio telescope out of a parabolic TV satellite dish?

I have the possibility to buy a very inexpensive 2.4m parabolic satellite dish and I would like to build a radio telescope from it. Originally this dish was designed to be a satellite TV antenna. ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

How do Handheld antennas work without ground?

Dipoles have the 2 wires going to each leg of the antenna completing the circuit. Big AM towers use the second wire as a ground plane But how to handheld rigs transmit and recieve with just one wire ...
19
votes
10answers
83k views

What antenna on a BaoFeng UV-5R Pro will give me better reception? [closed]

I am happy with my BaoFeng UV-5R Pro but the local UHV VHF repeater and simplex reception is terrible, even for contacts less than 50 kilometers. I assume that it's because the rubber-ducky antenna on ...
19
votes
4answers
4k views

How does the signal know where the cable ends and the antenna starts?

I know very little about antennas. I know, that for a certain frequency the antenna needs a certain lengths for good sending/receiving conditions. Often the antenna is at the end of a cable. Why doesn'...
19
votes
2answers
9k views

What makes a 5/8 wavelength vertical desirable?

An ordinary 1/4 wavelength vertical is smaller and resonant without any loading coil or matching network. What's the advantage to a 5/8 wavelength vertical? Why 5/8 in particular, and not something ...
18
votes
3answers
7k views

Why do I need to tune an antenna?

I've heard that when an antenna is set up, it needs to be tuned to reduce reflective power back into the radio. Is this always necessary, and if so how would I go about tuning it?
18
votes
1answer
3k views

How does moving a feedpoint off-center in a dipole affect the resonant frequency and resistive load?

Specifically, I understand that OCF dipoles change the SWR, but does it do this via reactance or resistance, or both?
17
votes
8answers
24k views

Should I chose a vertical or a horizontal HF antenna?

If I only have the budget for one HF antenna, should I chose a vertical or a horizontal antenna?
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a “random wire antenna”?

Some antenna tuners claim to match any “random wire” to any HF frequency. Can one really use a random wire as a practical antenna system? From everything I have heard, the resonance of the antenna (...
16
votes
1answer
18k views

How does a mag mount antenna achieve a ground plane?

I've been thinking for some time about magnet mount mobile antennas and wondering how they establish their ground plane. Consider that many mag mount antennas have some kind of protective coating on ...
16
votes
8answers
14k views

Are there any real advantages to an aftermarket NA-701 over the Baofeng stock antenna? [closed]

I have a Baofeng UV-5R HT radio that I have been using for about a month now and I really like it because it was very inexpensive and portable. It currently has the stock antenna on it and I have ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

Are there federal laws (US) protecting antenna installation?

Are there any federal laws or FCC guidelines that allow ham radio operators to install antennas? I live in an apartment building in a large city that bans outdoor antennas. I recall reading that the ...
15
votes
3answers
8k views

What is the peak voltage at the tips of a dipole antenna?

What is the peak voltage present at the very end tips of half-wave dipole antenna in free space, and how might this peak voltage relate to transmitter type, transmitter power, RF frequency vs. antenna ...
15
votes
4answers
12k views

Why do folded dipoles have greater bandwidth than ordinary resonant dipoles?

This is something I've read in passing, but never encountered an explanation of why. For example, Wikipedia says: Another common place one can see dipoles is as antennas for the FM band; these are ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

If I install a G5RV in my attic how could I be certain there are not harmful levels of RF in the shack, or my kids bedroom?

I assume that anyone who has a G5RV or G5RV junior in their attic has done so with ceramic spacers, and has zigzag or dog-leg installations, or otherwise has contorted the antenna to fit up there. My ...
14
votes
12answers
12k views

How can I safely transmit without an antenna tuner or SWR meter?

Just what the title says. An Antenna Tuner, henceforth AT, is almost a de facto piece of equipment in a shack; working the bands without one is tantamount to leaping off the diving board into a ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

What does the addition of a shield to a small loop accomplish?

A small shielded loop is an antenna with a loop of wire, smaller than 1/10th of a wavelength in diameter, also surrounded by a shield. Often, they are constructed from coax. There is a gap in the ...
13
votes
3answers
33k views

Good wire for wire antenna?

What properties should I look for in a good wire for building a wire antenna? Could anyone recommend something specific for me?
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Handheld Dipoles

A problem with handheld devices is poor grounding. I read from someone else's question that dipoles don't need a ground. Why don't they make little handhelds with two antennas instead of one, or a ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

How does a folded dipole work?

A folded dipole is like an ordinary dipole, but with the ends extended and folded back, until they meet. Although it looks like a loop, I'm told it behaves similarly to a dipole. How does this thing ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Is a vertical noisier than a dipole, and if so, why?

I've had people tell me, anecdotally, that a vertical is noisier than a dipole. Is this true, and if so, why? If it is true: Is this additional noise, such that SNR is degraded, or is the vertical ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does ice on a wire dipole affect the SWR?

We just had snow and ice overnight and my wire dipole was coated in ice. Why does the ice covering negatively affect the SWR of the antenna?
12
votes
6answers
20k views

Calculating Antenna Length on the FCC Exam vs. in Reality

I have seen the following formulas for calculating half and quarter wavelength antennas: Formula for $\frac{1}{2}$-wavelength antenna (in free space): \begin{equation} \mathrm{Length~(feet)} = \frac{...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Share antenna between receiver and transceiver?

I recently put up a fan dipole for 80/40/20/10. I'm looking for a way to share this antenna with a receive-only SDR and my shack transceiver. Obviously I can just switch this antenna between the two ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Are antennas circuits?

For an antenna to work, doesn’t charge have to flow through it? A current must be present. To me it indicates it must be a circuit, but how is a dipole a circuit? If they are not circuits, then how ...
11
votes
2answers
359 views

What kind of antenna is that one?

Yesterday I saw the following antenna: I am very puzzled, at first glance it seems a simple dish but: The mesh is really wide (low frequency?). It is pointing to Zenith. I think that most dish ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

Conductive boom vs non conductive boom: what's the difference on a Yagi?

I designed a Yagi antenna using 4nec2, assuming that I would use a non conductive boom. If I use an aluminum boom but I insulate the elements from the boom, can I keep the same design? How does it ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

While backpacking, is it worth mounting the antenna to the backpack frame (above my head)?

I am planning a trip with a large group in 6 weeks. We will be spread out in small groups on a trail in a mostly desert plateau landscape perhaps 5 miles apart, but mostly in a straight line. I'm new ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Buddipole model comparison

Can anyone give me some insight into the different Buddipole models available? They look pretty similar to me except for the sizes. What would make you choose one over the other?
10
votes
3answers
398 views

Using MIMO in Amateur Radio?

MIMO, Multiple Input, Multiple Output, is used widely in commercial data transmission. 802.11n and LTE devices use it to increase throughput, link reliability, and channel usage without increasing ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How does a “chip antenna” work?

How does a tiny surface-mount "chip antenna" for the 2.x thru 5.x GHz frequency bands work? What allows such a tiny item to radiate or receive RF with some amount of efficiency? What allows a chip ...
10
votes
1answer
879 views

Can I have multiple inverted-vee antenna fed by a single coax?

A friend who recently received his call is planning to setup an inverted-vee for 40/20m bands. Our take is the signal will take the path of least impedance into the correct length antenna wire. ...
10
votes
1answer
208 views

What is body blocking, and does it work with a stock HT on a foxhunt?

I've heard that you might not need a special directional antenna to participate in a foxhunt, that some people are able to use their body to help determine the direction of a signal. How does this ...
10
votes
3answers
562 views

How to Evaluate Antenna Data

I found some data on antennas that had been tested for a specific radio. I'm trying to decipher what this data means and how one would go about gathering it. Are there any good resource for learning ...
10
votes
1answer
4k views

How to design a rubber ducky antenna

I am attempting to design an antenna for a 162.4 MHz omni receive only application and am confident it is going to be difficult if not impossible. I have very tight specs on space(6" diameter by 3" ...
10
votes
4answers
893 views

How does an antenna transform impedances along its length?

If I insert some impedance (like a loading coil, or a trap) at the base of a monopole antenna, the effect on the feedpoint impedance is easy to predict: the impedance is in series with the antenna, so ...
9
votes
6answers
26k views

What is a Gamma match in the context of the driven element of a Yagi antenna?

How (and why) does a Gamma match work, when used on the driven element of a Yagi antenna? As shown here: (source: http://www.iw5edi.com/ham-radio/?2-element-yagi-for-10-meters-band,49) The article ...
9
votes
5answers
25k views

Is there a simple, DIY, antenna suitable for HF receive only?

So the antenna I'm thinking about doing might be* way too large for my property. Is there another simple, cheap, DIY antenna I could try on my receiver? I know I'm going to want to hook it up and ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the effect of using different number of radials with ground plane antenna

I'm new to electronics and telecommunication at all, I having trouble with understanding the difference between 2, 3 and 4 radials, as I've searched online I've learned that I can use only 1 radial(...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Can every antenna be used both for transmit and receive?

Assuming I have an antenna for receiving GPS signals, can I use it also for transmit — to create a repeater in a tunnel (or some place with no reception)?
9
votes
3answers
635 views

Why does “Ethics and Operating Procedures” suggest tuning on a dummy load?

The seminal work "Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur" suggests in subsection II.8.1 to perform tuning only on a dummy load. Sometimes before transmitting it is necessary to tune (...
9
votes
2answers
721 views

If two antennas of 50 Ω and 377 Ω have VSWR=1:1, then which one is more efficient?

If there are two antennas of 50 Ω and 377 Ω (same as the intrinsic impedance of air) impedance with 0 $\Omega$ ohmic resistance, and they are exactly matched with their transmission line, then which ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What kind of antenna has a spiral connected to a reflector like this picture?

The description on the antenna says it is used for satellite communication, but it was taken in 1984. Is this an antenna style that is still in use? What is it called? What kind of gain should be ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

How much RF energy do trees and branches absorb?

For the 20m - 10m and 6m bands, will having my dipoles below the tops of trees (I live in redwood forests) drastically affect the RF power out or radiation patterns of my dipoles if I can still get ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Are satellites Left or Right hand circularly polarized?

I'm thinking of building some helical antennas for satellite work. I want to know which way to wind them. If satellites are spinning randomly, how can we know if they are left hand or right hand ...