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Module 10 - Introduction to Wave Propagation, Transmission Lines, and Antennas

Navy Electricity and Electronics Training Series (NEETS)
Chapter 4:  Pages 4-41 through 4-50

Module 10 - Introduction to Wave Propagation, Transmission Lines, and Antennas

Pages i, 1-1, 1-11, 1-21, 1-31, 1-41, 2-1, 2-11, 2-21, 2-31, 2-40, 3-1, 3-11, 3-21, 3-31, 3-41, 3-51, 4-1, 4-11, 4-21, 4-31, 4-41, 4-51, Index


...Pages 4-31 to 4-40

Long-Wire Antenna

Beverage antenna - RF Cafe

Figure 4-34 - Beverage antenna.

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.


Q44.   To radiate power efficiently, a long-wire antenna must have what minimum overall length?

Q45.   What is another name for the Beverage antenna?

"V" Antenna

Basic V antenna - RF Cafe

Figure 4-35 - Basic "V" antenna.

Formation of directional radiation pattern from a resonant V antenna - RF Cafe

Figure 4-36 - Formation of directional radiation pattern from a resonant "V" antenna.

Basic rhombic antenna - RF Cafe

Figure 4-37 - Basic rhombic antenna.

A "V" Antenna is a bi-directional 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.


Q46.   What is the polarity of the currents that feed the "V" antenna?

Rhombic Antenna

The highest development of the long-wire antenna is the Rhombic Antenna (see figure 4-37). It consists of four conductors joined to form a rhombus, or diamond shape. The antenna is placed end to end and terminated by a noninductive resistor to produce a unidirectional pattern. a rhombic antenna can be made of two obtuse-angle "V" antennas that are placed side by side, erected in a horizontal plane, and terminated so the antenna is nonresonant and unidirectional.

The rhombic antenna is Widely used for long-distance, high-frequency transmission and reception. It is one of the most popular fixed-station antennas because it is very useful in point-to-point communications.


The rhombic antenna is useful over a wide frequency range. Although some changes in gain, directivity, and characteristic impedance do occur with a change in operating frequency, these changes are small enough to be neglected.

The rhombic antenna is much easier to construct and maintain than other antennas of comparable gain and directivity. Only four supporting poles of common heights from 15 to 20 meters are needed for the antenna.

The rhombic antenna also has the advantage of being noncritical as far as operation and adjustment are concerned. This is because of the broad frequency characteristics of the antenna.

Still another advantage is that the voltages present on the antenna are much lower than those produced by the same input power on a resonant antenna. This is particularly important when high transmitter powers are used or when high-altitude operation is required.


The rhombic antenna is not without its disadvantages. The principal one is that a fairly large antenna site is required for its erection. Each leg is made at least 1 or 2 wavelengths long at the lowest operating frequency. When increased gain and directivity are required, legs of from 8 to 12 wavelengths are used. These requirements mean that high-frequency rhombic antennas have wires of several hundred feet in length. Therefore, they are used only when a large plot of land is available.

Another disadvantage is that the horizontal and vertical patterns depend on each other. If a rhombic antenna is made to have a narrow horizontal beam, the beam is also lower in the vertical direction. Therefore, obtaining high vertical-angle radiation is impossible except with a very broad horizontal pattern and low gain. Rhombic antennas are used, however, for long-distance sky wave coverage at the high frequencies. Under these conditions low vertical angles of radiation (less than 20 degrees) are desirable. With the rhombic antenna, a considerable amount of the input power is dissipated uselessly in the terminating resistor. However, this resistor is necessary to make the antenna unidirectional. The great gain of the antenna more than makes up for this loss.

Radiation Patterns

Formation of a rhombic antenna beam - RF Cafe

Figure 4-38 - Formation of a rhombic antenna beam.

Figure 4-38 shows the individual radiation patterns produced by the four legs of the rhombic antenna and the resultant radiation pattern. The principle of operation is the same as for the "V" and the half-rhombic antennas.

Terminating Resistor

The terminating resistor plays an important part in the operation of the rhombic antenna. Upon it depend the unidirectivity of the antenna and the lack of resonance effects. An antenna should be properly terminated so it will have a constant impedance at its input. Terminating the antenna properly will also allow it to be operated over a wide frequency range without the necessity for changing the coupling adjustments at the transmitter. Discrimination against signals coming from the rear is of great importance for reception. The reduction of back radiation is perhaps of lesser importance for transmission. When an antenna is terminated with resistance, the energy that would be radiated backward is absorbed in the resistor.


Q47.   What is the main disadvantage of the rhombic antenna?

Turnstile Antenna

Turnstile antenna radiation pattern - RF Cafe

Figure 4-39 - Turnstile antenna radiation pattern.

Stacked turnstile antennas - RF Cafe

Figure 4-40 - Stacked turnstile antennas.

Ground-plane antennas - RF Cafe

Figure 4-41 - Ground-plane antennas.

Corner-reflector antennas - RF Cafe

Figure 4-42 - Corner-reflector antennas.

The Turnstile Antenna is one of the many types that has been developed primarily for omnidirectional vhf communications. The basic turnstile consists of two horizontal half-wave antennas mounted at right angles to each other in the same horizontal plane. When these two antennas are excited with equal currents 90 degrees out of phase, the typical figure-eight patterns of the two antennas merge to produce the nearly circular pattern shown in figure 4-39, view A. Pairs of such antennas are frequently stacked, as shown in figure 4-40. Each pair is called a BAY. In figure 4-40 two bays are used and are spaced 1/2 wavelength apart, and the corresponding elements are excited in phase. These conditions cause a part of the vertical radiation from each bay to cancel that of the other bay. This results in a decrease in energy radiated at high vertical angles and increases the energy radiated in the horizontal plane. Stacking a number of bays can alter the vertical radiation pattern, causing a substantial gain in a horizontal direction without altering the overall horizontal directivity pattern. Figure 4-39, view B, compares the circular vertical radiation pattern of a single-bay turnstile with the sharp pattern of a four-bay turnstile array. a three-dimensional radiation pattern of a four-bay turnstile antenna is shown in figure 4-39, view C.

Ground-Plane Antenna

A vertical quarter-wave antenna several wavelengths above ground produces a high angle of radiation that is very undesirable at vhf and uhf frequencies. The most common means of producing a low angle of radiation from such an antenna is to work the radiator against a simulated ground called a Ground Plane. a simulated ground may be made from a large metal sheet or several wires or rods radiating from the base of the radiator. An antenna so constructed is known as a Ground-Plane Antenna. Two ground-plane antennas are shown in figure 4-41, views a and B.

 Corner Reflector

When a unidirectional radiation pattern is desired, it can be obtained by the use of a corner reflector with a half-wave dipole. a Corner-Reflector Antenna is a half-wave radiator with a reflector. The reflector consists of two flat metal surfaces meeting at an angle immediately behind the radiator. In other words, the radiator is set in the plane of a line bisecting the corner angle formed by the reflector sheets. The construction of a corner reflector is shown in figure 4-42. Corner-reflector antennas are mounted with the radiator and the reflector in the horizontal position when horizontal polarization is desired. In such cases the radiation pattern is very narrow in the vertical plane, with maximum signal being radiated in line with the bisector of the corner angle. The directivity in the horizontal plane is approximately the same as for any half-wave radiator having a single-rod type reflector behind it. If the antenna is mounted with the radiator and the corner reflector in the vertical position, as shown in view A, maximum radiation is produced in a very narrow horizontal beam. Radiation in a vertical plane will be the same as for a similar radiator with a single-rod type reflector behind it.


Q48.   What is the primary reason for the development of the turnstile antenna?

RF Safety Precautions

Although electromagnetic radiation from transmission lines and antennas is usually of insufficient strength to electrocute personnel, it can lead to other accidents and compound injuries. Voltages may be induced in ungrounded metal objects, such as wire guys, wire cable (hawser), hand rails, or ladders. If you come in contact with these objects, you could receive a shock or RF burn. This shock can cause you to jump or fall into nearby mechanical equipment or, when working aloft, to fall from an elevated work area. Take care to ensure that all transmission lines or antennas are deenergized before working near or on them.

Either check or have someone check all guys, cables, rails, and ladders around your work area for RF shock dangers. use working aloft "chits" and safety harnesses for your own safety. Signing a "working aloft chit" signifies that all equipment is in a nonradiating status. The person who signs the chit should ensure that no rf danger exists in areas where you or other personnel will be working.

Nearby ships or parked aircraft are another source of RF energy that you must consider when you check a work area for safety. Combustible materials can be ignited and cause severe fires from arcs or heat generated by RF energy. Also, RF radiation can detonate ordnance devices by inducing currents in the internal wiring of the devices or in the external test equipment or leads connected to them.

Examples of RF radiation warning signs - RF Cafe

Figure 4-43 - Examples of RF radiation warning signs.

Always obey RF radiation warning signs and keep a safe distance from radiating antennas. The six types of warning signs for RF radiation hazards are shown in figure 4-43.  

RF Burns

Close or direct contact with RF transmission lines or antennas may result in rf burns. These are usually deep, penetrating, third-degree burns. To heal properly, these burns must heal from the inside to the skin's surface. To prevent infection, you must give proper attention to all RF burns, including the small "pinhole" burns. Petrolatum gauze can be used to cover these burns temporarily, before the injured person reports to medical facilities for further treatment.

Dielectric Heating

Dielectric Heating is the heating of an insulating material by placing it in a high-frequency electric field. The heat results from internal losses during the rapid reversal of polarization of molecules in the dielectric material.

In the case of a human in an RF field, the body acts as a dielectric. If the power in the RF field exceeds 10 milliwatts per centimeter, a person in that field will have a noticeable rise in body temperature. The eyes are highly susceptible to dielectric heating. For this reason, you should not look directly into devices radiating RF energy. The vital organs of the body also are susceptible to dielectric heating. For your own safety, you must NOT stand directly in the path of RF radiating devices.

Precautions When Working Aloft

When radio or radar antennas are energized by transmitters, you must not go aloft unless advance tests show that little or no danger exists. a casualty can occur from even a small spark drawn from a charged piece of metal or rigging. Although the spark itself may be harmless, the "surprise" may cause you to let go of the antenna involuntarily and you may fall. There is also a shock hazard if nearby antennas are energized.

Rotating antennas also might cause you to fall when you are working aloft. Motor safety switches controlling the motion of rotating antennas must be tagged and locked open before you go aloft near such antennas.

When working near a stack, you should draw and wear the recommended oxygen breathing apparatus. Among other toxic substances, stack gas contains carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is too unstable to build up to a high concentration in the open, but prolonged exposure to even small quantities is dangerous.


This chapter has presented information on the various types of antennas. The information that follows summarizes the important points of this chapter.

An Antenna is a conductor, or system of conductors, that radiates or receives energy in the form of electromagnetic waves.

Hertz (half-wave) and Marconi (quarter-wave) are the two basic classifications of antennas.

Reciprocity of antennas means that the various properties of the antenna apply equally to transmitting and receiving.

RECIPROCITY of antennas - RF Cafe

Radiation Resistance is the amount of resistance which, if inserted in place of the antenna, would consume the same amount of power that is actually radiated by the antenna.

Radiation Patterns can be plotted on a rectangular- or polar-coordinate graph. These patterns are a measurement of the energy leaving an antenna.

Radiation Patterns

An Isotropic Radiator radiates energy equally in all directions.

Pages 4-41 to 4-50...



Posted August 4, 2021

NEETS Modules
- Matter, Energy, and Direct Current
- Alternating Current and Transformers
- Circuit Protection, Control, and Measurement
- Electrical Conductors, Wiring Techniques, and Schematic Reading
- Generators and Motors
- Electronic Emission, Tubes, and Power Supplies
- Solid-State Devices and Power Supplies
- Amplifiers
- Wave-Generation and Wave-Shaping Circuits
- Wave Propagation, Transmission Lines, and Antennas
- Microwave Principles
- Modulation Principles
- Introduction to Number Systems and Logic Circuits
- - Introduction to Microelectronics
- Principles of Synchros, Servos, and Gyros
- Introduction to Test Equipment
- Radio-Frequency Communications Principles
- Radar Principles
- The Technician's Handbook, Master Glossary
- Test Methods and Practices
- Introduction to Digital Computers
- Magnetic Recording
- Introduction to Fiber Optics
Note: Navy Electricity and Electronics Training Series (NEETS) content is U.S. Navy property in the public domain.
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