7 Different Types of Antennas Explained

Different Types Of Antennas
Photo by Olivier Darbonville

In the telecommunications world, antennas come in all shapes and sizes. Antennas are an essential part of any wireless communication system, from cell phones to television signals to GPS devices.

There are hundreds of different types of antennas, each with its unique advantages and disadvantages.

With the growing demand for faster and more reliable wireless systems, antennas have become more critical than ever.

It’s helpful to understand the different types of antennas and their applications, but you may be surprised to learn that not all antennas are created equal!.

However, with so many different types of antennas on the market, how do you know which one you should use? This brief guide will explain how every 7 different types of antennas work while highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

Table of Contents

What Is Antenna?

Antennas are an extremely important component of any wireless communication system, from simple radios to complex radar systems. The history of antennas dates back more than 100 years.

An antenna is a device that converts electromagnetic energy into an electrical current. It works by converting energy into either radio waves or microwaves through oscillation.

Achieving oscillation requires some form of feedback loop that causes electrons to vibrate back and forth along its length at very high speeds, so they radiate electromagnetic energy.

The different types of antennas are categorized into the following:

  • Omni-directional antennas (used to receive or transmit waves in all directions).
  • Directional antennas (used to receive or transmit waves from a specific direction).
  • Indoor TV antennas, also known as rooftop Antennas. Indoor TV antennas usually look like small metal boxes with two terminals on one end.
  • A home outdoor antenna (aerial) is mounted on a mast or rooftop for increased range, signal strength, or signal purity. An outdoor TV antenna is usually located on top of a building or house pole but can be installed on a roof.

7Different Types of Antennas

Here are the 7 different types of Antennas.

1. The Dipole

A dipole antenna is an excellent option for those who want to broadcast over large distances but don’t have access to much space.

The Antenna itself is very inexpensive and small, so you can easily mount it on something like a thin piece of wood or even plastic. You’ll probably need to attach it to an amplifier for broadcasting over long distances.

While it may not be as powerful as other antennas, it’s simple to create and has excellent reception even with limited construction skills. Both ends will always be active regardless of how they’re oriented.

2. The Loop Aerial

This type of Antenna takes its name from how it looks like a circular loop. It is a good option if you’re trying to receive AM radio broadcasts.

The downside is that, because they are smaller than other antennas, loop aerials tend to pick up less signal strength.

That is, they may need to be placed in an optimal location to perform well. You can also use loop aerials for transmitting FM signals.

However, if you have a large area to cover with your FM broadcast, consider using another type of aerial instead.

3. The Cylindrical Aerials

The antennas have low gain, but they are omnidirectional. These antennas are popular in mobile installations since they need a small amount of space to work.

These different types of antennas typically work at frequencies below 100 MHz, and you can use the wideband versions for frequencies as high as 500 MHz.

Due to their shape, these antennas cannot be used for UHF frequency ranges, except with some modifications in feeder lines. These antennas operate using medium wave (AM radio) signals around 540 kHz to 1600 kHz.

It is often referred to as stick or fishing pole antennas, their name derives from their unique appearance and flexible mountings, which resemble a fishing rod’s handle or reel with a wire connected to it.

4. The Monopole

A monopole antenna, also known as a half-wave dipole, has a single rod that transmits or receives signals.

Half-wave antennas are generally not used in modern applications because they only perform well over short distances. However, it’s still essential to understand how they work so you can troubleshoot them if necessary.

The main advantage of a monopole antenna is its simplicity—it consists of one piece of metal wire or rod with no coils attached to it.

This design makes it easy to create an effective antenna for lower frequencies. Monopoles have high impedance at their feed point and low impedance at their ends (or tip).

It would be best to match their feed point impedance with that of a coaxial cable to function correctly. When you connect an unbalanced load like an end-fed wire to a balanced transmission line like a coaxial cable.

You’ll create standing waves on your transmission line—and those standing waves will cause problems for your signal transmission and reception.

5. Shortened Monopoles

This type of Antenna is commonly used in cellular phones, wifi modems, baby monitors, and other wireless devices. It is a half-wavelength wire or loop attached to the ground, and it can be vertical or horizontal.

While installing one, it must be close to the ground for maximum performance. Other than that, shortened monopoles provide directivity and high gain when compared to whip antennas.

The radiation pattern is omnidirectional; therefore, if you want directionality, you have to combine them with patch antennas for better performance.

If they are placed on rooftops or chimneys, there is an increase in elevation above average terrain (EAT) over isotropic radiated power (dBi).

6. The Ground Plane

A ground plane antenna is built to connect directly to an electronic circuit with its ground side. Most common RF/microwave antennas use a coaxial cable as an electromagnetic wave conductor. Thus they are considered dipole antennas.

It is one of the best options for transmitting on VHF and UHF bands, where it has been used since World War II.

The simplest form of dipole antenna is just two wires connected to each end of a transmission line, which provides impedance matching between the feedline and load impedance.

It’s called dipole because it looks like a stick figure drawing: two legs connected by a body. Dipoles come in all shapes and sizes but typically consist of a one-quarter wavelength long at whatever frequency you want to operate them at.

Other varieties can work over a wide frequency range if appropriately mounted, such as panel antennas (also known as phased arrays). But for point-to-point communications, nothing beats a simple dipole antenna.

Ground planes provide additional gain at low frequencies because most of their area is conductive metal.

At higher frequencies, ground planes act more like capacitors, so their usage decreases past about 50 MHz in many applications.

7. Cloverleaf Antenna

The cloverleaf antenna is an omnidirectional antenna commonly used in mobile phones. It’s an omnidirectional antenna due to its patch shape and flexibility, which can be bent in any direction without damaging it.

Since there are no wires on a cloverleaf antenna, it also reduces signal loss compared to other antennas that have wires on them.

The biggest drawback is that you’ll often get dropped calls using a cloverleaf antenna because they’re effortless to break.

Many people have reported that their cloverleaf antennas tend to work well until they step on them or bend them too far.

Why Antenna Maintenance Is Important

Your Antenna, just like any other component on your wifi network, can become faulty or damaged.

When it comes to repairing them or replacing them if they have broken, that’s not something you can do on your own—it requires professional expertise.

Plus, if you have a faulty antenna, your internet connection will suffer, making it incredibly important to keep everything in good shape.

If you notice any issues with your internet connection when browsing online (especially slow connectivity or interrupting service), that could be a sign that you need to get an expert in to take a look at things for you—and replace a component like an antenna is easy for someone who knows what they’re doing.

Here Are Some Tips for Choosing an Appropriate Material And Length for Your Antenna.

If you want a highly directional antenna for military use or something less particular for general broadcasting, you should choose an appropriate material and length for your cloverleaf antenna.

In general, longer antennas are more efficient than shorter ones because they don’t have to work as hard.

Material choice matters in some applications; aluminum and copper are both perfectly acceptable options depending on what type of radio waves you’re trying to catch.

With that being said, however, there is one type of material that’s often used in handheld devices and much other electronic equipment: carbon fiber.

This strong but lightweight material is frequently used to ensure it doesn’t interfere with other systems in your device.

Conclusion

There are several different types of antennas, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. It’s essential to understand what type you need so that you can buy an antenna that will work best for your situation.

Proper care and maintenance are also essential to ensure your Antenna continues working as intended. Knowing how each antenna works will help you decide whether to buy one for yourself. Please research them and see which one best fits your needs.

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