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RF and Microwave Antenna: - Design, Types, Application, and Selection spec:

An RF and microwave antenna is a device used for the reception or transmission of RF and microwave signals between two locations. RF and microwave antennas are mainly used in broadcasting stations, radar systems, Satellite communication systems, radio astronomy, electronic warfare systems and other wireless communication systems.

  • An RF and microwave antenna is available with different characteristics to make it suitable for different applications.

To learn more about RF and wireless communication systems, we recommend you to check the following article.

To understand the antenna in-depth, we recommend understanding the following components, which are associated with RF antennas.

In this RF and Microwave antenna article, we will cover,

  • What is an RF antenna?
  • How does antenna communication work?
  • Applications of RF and Microwave antenna:
  • What are the specifications that need to consider in the selection of antennas?
  • RF and microwave antenna Manufactures.

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Design and Application

How does Antenna communication work?

An RF antenna is mainly used in wireless communication systems for electronic transmission over the air. An RF antenna takes an electrical signal and propagates it through the air as radio frequency signals.

There are many types of antennas are available, in that, two most common types are monopole and dipole RF antennas. Both are originated from the RF transmission line theory.

Dipole Antenna:

A dipole antenna is a half wavelength, open-ended transmission line. The signal which is fed at the midpoint of the dipole antenna will radiate into the open air.

Monopole Antenna:

A monopole antenna is an open-ended quarter wavelength fed transmission line used to radiate the signal through the air.

When RF and microwave (Alternating current) signal is fed into the dipole or monopole antenna at a defined resonant frequency, it passes through the transmission line (Antenna). As the transmission lines (Dipole or Monopole) are open-ended all the RF signal is reflected, and a standing wave of energy is created in the transmission line.

  • Due to this generated high standing wave signal in dipole, it radiates the energy orthogonal to the direction of the current in it. Dipoles and monopoles antenna is used mainly for the applications like cell tower broadcasting, radio transmission etc.

To position an antenna in a particular direction, a positioner is used in association with the antenna. The positioner can be turned either manually or electro-mechanically using a motor and its control system. For the perfect operation and alignment of the RF antenna, the Rotational Speed and motor type of the positioner need to consider.

Types of RF Antenna:

As microwave antennas are crucial elements for any RF and microwave network as it is needed for the transmission of a signal between two locations over the air. There are basically five types of microwave antennas design are used in the wireless communication domain, each will have its characteristic and specific purpose:


A hone antenna is also known as a microwave horn. These antenna has flared waveguide end walls for radiating the RF and microwave signal. It is mainly used in frequencies ranging above 300MHz to ultra-high RF frequencies. One of the prime applications of horn antennas is for the calibration of other antennas due to its ability to estimate the gain of other nearby antennas.


Microstrip patch antennas are manufactured using a conducting metal like gold and copper patch to radiate the RF and microwave signals. These antennas are used to transmit frequencies ranging between 0.1 GHz and 100 GHz. These antennas are low weight antennas and can easily fix with any system.


Omnidirectional RF antennas are used to transmit and receive RF signals in all directions around the antenna. Omnidirectional antennas are the perfect antennas for applications needed all-around coverage. They are mainly used in near field coverage communication systems like Wi-Fi.


Multiple inputs and multiple outputs (MIMO) RF antennas are commonly used in radio communication due to their highly effective antenna directivity. MIMO microwave antenna provides efficient transmission and reception of RF and microwave signals as it works parallel. MIMO RF antennas are the best choice for smart antenna technology because of their parallel data streaming capability.


Parabolic antennas will have an RF signal radiating antenna and a parabolic reflector (curved metal sheet in parabolic shape) to direct the RF waves. Parabolic antennas are especially used in applications that require very high directivity. Prime applications are point-to-point Radio, satellite communication and radio telescopes due to their high-end gain.

These listed are just a few selected out of many available different kinds of RF antennas designed for specific applications.  

Applications of RF and Microwave antenna:

There are different types of antennas with various characteristics, specially designed for specific applications like wireless communication (where needs wider bandwidth), Radars transmitters are receivers (where needed narrow beam), Radio Communication (where Omnidirectional radiation of signal is needed) etc.

RF and microwave antennas are used in all aspects of communication systems like One-way signal transmission like television broadcasting and two-way communication application like satellite communication.

Industrial applications of RF Antenna:

  • Terrestrial microwave telecommunications networks like cellular networks
  • Radio astronomy and Navigation.
  • Communications links.
  • Electronic warfare systems
  • Communicate to radio equipment in ships and aeroplanes.

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Basics & Selection Feature

Main specifications need to consider in the selection of RF antenna: 

When selecting an RF antenna for communication system design, the below are the few prime factors that need to consider to establish a proper communication link.

Frequency and bandwidth of antenna: 

The actual frequency range on which the antenna characteristics is tuned for operation is the frequency of an antenna. It is always expressed in bands. Different forms of antennas are available in wider and narrow bandwidth range.

RF antenna Gain:

Gain of the RF antenna indicates in dB. In antenna, gain in the signal is achieved by the beamforming in the direction of signal transmission. Gain is the measure of how well the antenna converts the input power of an RF signal into radio waves.

Polarization of antenna:

RF antennas are available with the horizon and vertical polarizations. Gain of the antenna will be maximum in the polarized direction.

VSWR antenna:

VSWR of the antenna indicates the capability to withstand the reflection from the RF porta without varying the performance. Lower the VSWR values, better the performance of the antenna.

Weight and size of antenna:

Antenna weight and size can be varied on the base of the material used for its design. Weight may not be a concern for the ground station antennas, however, for the air-bone, ship bone, systems weight is a critical factor as it added to the weight of the entire system.

RF antenna Interfaces:

RF interface to the antenna needs to select as per the requirement in such a way as to avoid the additional use of an adapter to connect to the remaining chain of transmitters and receivers. Additional components cause to compromise the efficiency of the overall communication link.


Antenna and antenna positioners are now used in all types of remote control and communication application in Radio, Satellite, air-bone systems like UAVs, ships etc.

  • Now there are many antenna manufactures are available with various capabilities in designing antennas with various characteristics and in range. The selection of the correct type of antenna will help to optimize the entire communication chain.

If you would like to add any characteristics of the antenna to this antenna page, please feel free to inform us over the contact us or article submission page.

Thanks & Regards

RFMWC:- RF & Microwave Community

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