Dipole Antenna / Aerial Tutorial
- the dipole antenna or dipole aerial is a key element in the antenna environment. It can be used on its own or as part of another antenna system.
Dipole antenna tutorial includes:
The dipole antenna or dipole aerial is one of the most important and commonly used types of RF antenna. It is widely used on its own, and it is also incorporated into many other RF antenna designs where it forms the radiating or driven element for the antenna.
The dipole is a simple antenna to construct and use, and many of the calculations are quite straightforward. However like all other antennas, the in-depth calculations are considerably more complicated.
Dipole antenna basics
As the name suggests the dipole antenna consists of two terminals or "poles" into which radio frequency current flows. This current and the associated voltage causes and electromagnetic or radio signal to be radiated. Being more specific, a dipole is generally taken to be an antenna that consists of a resonant length of conductor cut to enable it to be connected to the feeder. For resonance the conductor is an odd number of half wavelengths long. In most cases a single half wavelength is used, although three, five, . . . . wavelength antennas are equally valid.
The current distribution along a dipole is roughly sinusoidal. It falls to zero at the end and is at a maximum in the middle. Conversely the voltage is low at the middle and rises to a maximum at the ends. It is generally fed at the centre, at the point where the current is at a maximum and the voltage a minimum. This provides a low impedance feed point which is convenient to handle. High voltage feed points are far less convenient and more difficult to use.
When multiple half wavelength dipoles are used, they are similarly normally fed in the centre. Here again the voltage is at a minimum and the current at a maximum. Theoretically any of the current maximum nodes could be used.
Dipole polar diagram
The polar diagram of a half wave dipole antenna that the direction of maximum sensitivity or radiation is at right angles to the axis of the RF antenna. The radiation falls to zero along the axis of the RF antenna as might be expected.
If the length of the dipole antenna is changed then the radiation pattern is altered. As the length of the antenna is extended it can be seen that the familiar figure of eight pattern changes to give main lobes and a few side lobes. The main lobes move progressively towards the axis of the antenna as the length increases.
The dipole antenna is a particularly important form of RF antenna which is very widely used for radio transmitting and receiving applications. The dipole is often used on its own as an RF antenna, but it also forms the essential element in many other types of RF antenna. As such it is the possibly the most important form of RF antenna.
By Ian Poole
| Next >>
Popular radio antenna types . . . . .
|• Dipole||• Discone||• Ferrite rod||• 5/8λ vertical|
|• Horn antenna||• J antenna||• Log periodic||• Loop antenna|
|• Parabolic reflector||• λ/4 vertical||• Yagi|