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Spectrum sensing for cognitive radio is studied, using an electronically steerable parasitic antenna receptor (ESPAR), which relies on a single RF front end, and therefore meets the demanding low cost, power and size requirements of modern wireless terminals. We develop a strategy whereby the angular domain is divided into sectors, that are accessed via beamforming on a time division basis, to detect signals from primary users. We study the performance of detection metrics based on energy received per beam, and also eigenvalue-based detection statistics through considering the covariance matrix across the various directional beams. The ESPAR is able to achieve over 6dBi SNR improvement due to its beamforming capability. Further, once primary users' signals have been detected, directional transmit opportunities which do not interfere with active PUs become available, and we develop an adaptive beamforming algorithm to capitalise on these to efficiently utilise the spatial domain, which numerically optimises the beampattern and antenna efficiency using a convex formulation. The resulting beampatterns give between -20dB and -30dB nulls in the primary user direction.