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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What is Antenna?

What is Antenna
What is Antenna?
An antenna (or aerial) is an electrical device which couples radio waves in free space to an electrical current used by a radio receiver or transmitter. In reception, the antenna intercepts some of the power of an electromagnetic wave in order to produce a tiny voltage that the radio receiver can amplify. Alternatively, a radio transmitter will produce a large radio frequency current that may be applied to the terminals of the same antenna in order to convert it into an electromagnetic wave (radio wave) radiated into free space. Antennas are thus essential to the operation of all radio equipment, both transmitters and receivers. They are used in systems such as radio and television broadcasting, two-way radio, wireless LAN, mobile telephony, radar, and satellite communications.
Typically an antenna consists of an arrangement of metallic conductors (or "elements") with an electrical connection (often through a transmission line) to the receiver or transmitter. A current forced through such a conductor by a radio transmitter will create an alternating magnetic field according to Ampère's law. Or the alternating magnetic field due to a distant radio transmitter will induce a voltage at the antenna terminals, according to Faraday's law, which is connected to the input of a receiver. In the so-called far field, at a considerable distance away from the antenna, the oscillating magnetic field is coupled with a similarly oscillating electric field; together these define an electromagnetic wave which is capable of propagating great distances.
Light is one example of electromagnetic radiation, along with infrared and x-rays, while radio waves differ only in their much lower frequency (and much longer wavelength). Electronic circuits can operate at these lower frequencies, processing radio signals conducted through wires. But it is only through antennas that those radio frequency electrical signals are converted to (and from) propagating radio waves. Depending on the design of the antenna, radio waves can be sent toward and received from all directions ("omnidirectional"), whereas a directional or beam antenna is designed to operate in a particular direction.
The first antennas were built in 1888 by Heinrich Hertz (1857–1894) in his pioneering experiments to prove the existence of electromagnetic waves predicted by the theory of James Clerk Maxwell. Hertz placed dipole antennas at the focal point of parabolic reflectors for both transmitting and receiving. He published his work and installation drawings in Annalen der Physik und Chemie (vol. 36, 1889).


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