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Many electromagnetic propagation problems require tracking of fields radiated by large actual or induced aperture distributions through complicated environments before reaching the observer. For a systematic approach to this problem area, it is desirable to represent the aperture field in terms of basis functions which are physically informative and well adapted to traversing the propagation path. At high frequencies, Ganssian beam-type basis functions meet these requirements. After referring to a rigorous aperture discretization scheme, various quasi-Gaussian basis field profiles are examined, with a special view toward expressing their radiation properties in terms of complex rays; complex ray tracing is promising for field tracking in complicated surroundings. By comparing reference solutions from numerical integration of radiation integrals with complex ray asymptotics, it is concluded that the true Gaussian has the most favorable attributes for matching aperture discretization, propagation requirements, and complex ray tracing. Thus, the analysis here may point the way toward systematic treatment of the above-noted class of propagation problems.