When readers e-mail me, I often turn around and ask them what topics they would like me to write about here on KB6NU.Com. Well, yesterday, I got this reply:
I think it would definitely be useful to cover antennas and RF transmission theory. I have a small bit of experience in electronics…completed an AAS EET degree years ago (actually 2 decades – YIKES), but looking at my old textbooks I see that we really did very little with radio. Once basic AC/DC theory was done, it was all about computers.
I think antennas are such foreign things to us nowadays, that I’m probably not in the minority when I say that’s the thing I struggled with the most. Dipoles are pretty easy, but once you get beyond that, it gets a lot more complicated. For example, E9C02: What is the radiation pattern of two 1/4-wavelength vertical antennas spaced 1/4-wavelength apart and fed 90 degrees out of phase? I know that it’s a cardioid, but I’m not entirely sure I understand why. I can visualize the patterns, but I don’t feel like I GET it.
Antenna theory is my weakest area, too. Some people just seem to get it, but I struggle like you do. I think one way to overcome this is to play around with antenna modeling software. I think that by modeling some simple antennas, you’ll see that patterns that result, and after a while, get a more intuitive feel for them.
One program that many use is called MMANA-GAL. It’s free, and apparently, a very good program. If you do download it and play around with it, I’d like to get your impressions of it. Heck, I’d even post that to my blog. I think a review like that from a new user would be very valuable to other new users.
So, now, I have a couple of questions for the rest of you:
- Do you use antenna modeling software?
- If so, which program?
- Do you find it easy to use or hard to use?
- Do you find it useful to you in learning how antennas work?