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A wideband and compact microstrip grid array antenna is presented. The antenna is printed on a dielectric substrate, backed by a metal board, and directly fed from a 50 ?? coaxial cable. It adopts elliptical radiation elements to enhance its impedance and gain bandwidths, and sinusoid lines to reduce its size. Structural parameters of a proposed antenna with 7 radiation elements were optimized by a parallel genetic algorithm (GA) on a cluster system. A prototype antenna was fabricated and tested. Results of simulation and measurement agree well and show the antenna exhibits encouraging properties, e.g., S11 < -10 dB bandwidth of 25% and a 3 dB gain-drop bandwidth of 16.3%, both of which are much wider than that of conventional grid array antennas, as well as a maximum gain of approximately 13.7 dBi with an area-reduction factor of 47%.