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The helix is a fundamental form of antenna of which loops and straight wires are limiting cases. When the helix is small compared to the wavelength, radiation is maximum normal to the helix axis. Depending on the helix geometry, the radiation may, in theory, be elliptically, plane, or circularly polarized. When the helix circumference is about 1 wavelength, radiation may be maximum in the direction of the helix axis and circularly polarized or nearly so. This mode of radiation, called the axial or beam mode, is generated in practice with great ease, and may be dominant over a wide frequency range with desirable pattern, impedance, and polarization characteristics. The radiation pattern is maintained in the axial mode over wide frequency ranges because of a natural adjustment of the phase velocity of wave propagation on the helix. The terminal impedance is relatively constant over the same frequency range because of the large initial attenuation of waves on the helix. The conditions for circular polarization are analyzed, and the importance of the array factor in determining the radiation pattern of a long helix is discussed.