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Fundamental Limitations of Small Antennas

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1 Author(s)
H. A. Wheeler ; Consulting Radio Physicist, Great Neck, N.Y.

A capacitor or inductor operating as a small antenna is theoretically capable of intercepting a certain amount of power, independent of its size, on the assumption of tuning without circuit loss. The practical efficiency relative to this ideal is limited by the "radiation power factor" of the antenna as compared with the power factor and bandwidth of the antenna tuning. The radiation power factor of either kind of antenna is somewhat greater than (1/6π) (Ab/l2) in which Ab is the cylindrical volume occupied by the antenna, and l is the radianlength (defined as 1/2π wavelength) at the operating frequency. The efficiency is further limited by the closeness of coupling of the antenna with its tuner. Other simple formulas are given for the more fundamental properties of small antennas and their behavior in a simple circuit. Examples for 1-Mc. operation in typical circuits indicate a loss of about 35 db for the I.R.E. standard capacitive antenna, 43 db for a large loop occupying a volume of 1 meter square by 0.5 meter axial length, and 64 db for a loop of 1/5 these dimensions.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IRE  (Volume:35 ,  Issue: 12 )