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The electrical field distribution over the focal region of a Gaussian beam, incident at 45° and focused onto a perfectly conducting infinite plane, is calculated numerically by summing the plane waves in an angular spectrum representation. The beam is plane‐polarized with the transverse electric field perpendicular to the plane of incidence. The configuration and parameters were chosen to agree with our experiments on plasma initiation near a metallic conductor by 35‐GHz/8.6‐mm microwave radiation. The results of the calculation show that the field distribution determines the ignition threshold, spatial location, and initial development of the microwave plasma at a metal surface.