Antenna Engineering Handbook, 4th Edition

July 7, 2008
By John L. Volakis

Just recently I was writing an article on antennas and was looking for some details that were not familiar. I have been around wireless for quite a while and have designed and built many antennas myself, so I am no novice. But I sure as heck don’t know it all. In the arcane field of antennas, who can? Anyway, I did the usual Internet search and delved into my not-too-shabby personal library, but I was still missing a few things.

Then while I was at the IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium last month, I stopped in the McGraw Hill booth, and low-and-behold there in front of me was this monster handbook. This antenna handbook is one of many editions and has been published since 1961. This version has all the latest stuff in it, as you might expect.

I will be straight with you and say I have no idea how to write a review of a book like this. It does indeed fit the definition of the word “tome,” but I mean that in the best possible way. If you are looking for a master reference on antennas, this is certainly a great one. You will not be disappointed.

The pages in this book were not numbered, but it has got to be over 1000 for sure. There are 59 chapters, each written by an expert. There are obviously too many topics to list here, but trust me, all the relevant subjects are included, and some you probably didn’t even know about. All of the chapters are engineering oriented, so they are heavy on the math and analysis. But if you are just looking for general knowledge you can usually work around the math as I did for some topics.

What I liked about this book is that it contains all the basic information on antennas but covers all the newer subjects as well. I was able to find lots of material on small antennas used in portable devices. There is a small antenna chapter, one on loop antennas as well as chapters on microstrip (patch), dielectric, and ultra-wide antennas. Phased arrays are well covered in several chapters. These have been relegated to radar and other military applications in the past, but with technologies like millimeter waves coming on strong in commercial and consumer applications, we are going to be seeing more of the phased array as a solution. Smart antennas such as those with beamforming are also becoming more widespread in the cellular space. All this stuff is well covered. In fact, more than you may need to know. But isn’t that the measure of the quality of a good reference?

This book really digs into the specifics of different applications. Mobile handset antennas are given good coverage in light of their widespread use. Some other specific types are those for medical, automotive, aircraft, and satellite application.

The book also contains supplemental chapters on related topics like transmission lines, impedance matching, and propagation. Multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) antenna details are included.

If you are working with antennas and don’t consider yourself as an expert, do as I did and get this book as your reference. I have used it quite a few times recently. Definite thumbs up.

McGraw Hill

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