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A method to derive an equivalent radiation source for planar antennas is presented. This method is based on spherical near-field (NF) data (measured or computed) to ascertain an equivalent set of infinitesimal dipoles placed over the main antenna aperture. These produce the same antenna radiation field, both inside and outside the minimum sphere enclosing the antenna. A spherical wave expansion (SWE) of the NF data is written in terms of infinitesimal dipoles using a transition matrix. This matrix expresses the linear relations between the transmission coefficients of the antenna and the transmission coefficients of each dipole. The antenna a priori information are used to set the spatial distribution of the equivalent dipoles. The translational and rotational addition theorems are exploited to derive the transmission coefficients of the dipoles. Once the excitation of each dipole is known, the field at any aspect angle and distance from the antenna is rapidly calculated. Computations with EM simulation data of an antenna array illustrate the reliability of the method.