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The planar inverted-F antenna (PIFA) is popular for portable wireless devices because of its compact size and low profile. The PIFA is designed to operate with a ground plane and the ground plane is an integral part of the antenna assembly. In fact, the ground plane size is the limiting factor for the PIFA in many applications. Some work has been reported on the performance of PIFAs mounted on a conducting box of fixed size; however, what is lacking is a parametric study on the antenna behaviour as a function of geometry or antenna position and orientation on a finite ground plane. The paper presents results from a comprehensive investigation on the performance of a conventional PIFA mounted on ground planes of various sizes and shapes. The orientation and position of the antenna on a fixed-size ground plane is analysed. The influence of ground plane geometry on resonant frequency, bandwidth, gain, and radiation patterns are presented. These results are very useful in the design of a PIFA for applications requiring a small ground plane. Specifically, the results show the trade-offs between PIFA geometry and ground plane size with electrical performance. Both numerical simulation and experimental data are presented.