Learn About Antennas with New Book and Software

Most of you probably get any new knowledge from the Internet.  I have asked dozens of engineers how they learn something they need to know and almost 100% say they do Internet searches until they find what they are looking for.  As it turns out, I do this too.  But I also still rely on books as you get the greater depth and fundamentals I need.  It takes a long time to write and publish a book so books tend to be a bit behind the times on hot areas of interest that are changing fast.  Nevertheless they do a splendid job of packaging the fundamentals and giving the theory and practical information you need to apply the knowledge.  And publishers are better than ever in getting new books out the door.

A good example is a new antenna book that I can recommend to those of you needing to design an antenna or specify one.  Its title is Introduction to Antenna Analysis Using EM Simulators by Hiroake Kogure, Yoshie Kogure, and James C. Rautio.  The book is published by Artech House Publishers.   Not only is this a good antenna book but also it comes with some electromagnetic (EM) simulation software you can use to build, model and test various antenna designs.

I liked this book as it covers most of the basic fundamentals of antennas and the transmission lines that feed them.  And for once in your wireless life you will be able to actually understand the difference between the near field and the far field.  The book presents Maxwell’s equations in a form you can understand and use.  It also includes good background information on the basic types like dipoles, ground planes and Yagis.

Here is a quickie chapter summary to give you a feel for the content.

Chapter 1        The Antennas Around Us – Good understandable basics with examples.

Chapter 2        Antennas and Radio Waves – How Hertz discovered wireless. Lots of discussions about fields.  Dipole antennas are analyzed.  Introduction to EM simulators.

Chapter 3        Wire Antennas – More on dipoles.  Loop antenna fundamentals.  Details on the Yagi-Uda antenna.  The importance of impedance matching.

Chapter 4        Antennas on Substrates – How to make antennas on PCBs and other substrates. Dipoles, the patch antenna and the inverted L.  Microstrip lines.

Chapter 5        Traveling Wave Antennas – Transmission lines into antennas.  The tapered slot antenna.  The biconical antenna.  Bow tie antennas.  Bandwidth considerations.

Chapter 6        Antennas for RFID Systems – How RFID really works.  Induction, coil antennas and 13.56 MHz designs.  UHF RFID antennas.  Circular polarization with a patch.

Chapter 7        Determination of Antenna Characteristics by Using EM simulators – Radiation efficiency, gain, and bandwidth.  Examples using patch antennas.

Chapter 8        Practical Antennas – UWB antennas, pulse excitation, log-periodic antennas, meander line antennas.  Examples of cell phone antennas, TV antennas and others.  Impedance matching.

The EM software is called Sonnet Lite.  It is a subset of the full Sonnet software that is commercial EDA software for RF electromagnetic analysis.  It is designed predominantly for planar and 3D planar antennas that include microstrip, stripline, coplanar waveguides, PCB single and multiple layer antennas, and other forms.  The editor lets you enter an antenna configuration graphically then analyze it.  Outputs can include field response plots, graphs, or Smith charts.

If you are not an antenna expert, this is a pretty good book to have around.  So many antenna books are math heavy and mind-numbing.  This one is pretty practical and a good fit to the VHF, UHF and low microwave antenna designs needed today.  It sells for $109 but worth every penny if you are under the gun to design an antenna for your project.


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