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Tech Support - Antennas

    Antenna Radiation Patterns: H-Plane, E-Plane, XY XZ YZ Planes

    This article explains radiation patterns, detailing how polarization (linear and vertical) relates to the E-Plane and H-Plane, and how XY, XZ and YZ planes correspond to E-Plane and H-Plane.

    A radiation pattern, or antenna pattern is a graphical representation of how a particular antenna radiates or receives energy. It is unique to an individual antenna and is made up by plotting its far field (normally radiating) radiation as charted coordinates.

    You can use an antenna pattern to aid visualization of how a proposed antenna will radiate or receive electromagnetic energy when mounted. Antenna patterns are measured plotted in the orientation antenna will be used in or mounted. This is essential for planning deployment of antennas for wireless networking.

    How 3D Radiation Patterns Are Represented in Two Dimensions

    Antennas radiate or receive energy in all directions, making their patterns 3 dimensional. However, it is more convenient to render the pattern on separate horizontal and vertical planes known as principal plane patterns. These are essentially slices through the three dimensional field generated by the antenna.

    The principal plane patterns

    • The azimuth plane is also known as the XY plane and refers to the horizontal plane.
    • The elevation plane is also known as the vertical or YZ plane.
    • The elevation plane is oriented at right angles to the azimuth plane.
    • A third perpendicular plane, the XZ plane also intersects the origin and provides data points.

    These intersecting planes create complementary polar plots that provide a reliable representation of the antenna's performance. For accuracy, these plots should be derived from a true cross-section of a 3D antenna pattern, rather than plotting data in each plane.

    Linearly Polarized Antennas

    Polarization relates to the orientation of the electrical and magnetic components of electromagnetic waves as they are generated from a radiating antenna. In the case of linearly polarized antennas, these antennas limit the radiation of electromagnetic waves to a single linear direction. In this case, the electrical field is always in a single plane.

    Depending on their orientation to the earth, antennas with linear polarization may have:

    • Vertical polarization is where the electrical component of the EM wave shifts in the vertical plane.
    • Horizontal polarization is where this movement is in the horizontal plane.

    When interpreting the radiation patterns of linearly polarized antennas, the following planes are used.

    E-PLANE (electric field plane)

    E-Plane is always the plane that contains the electric component of the EM radiation and the direction of maximum radiation. The E plane will dictate whether the linear polarization is horizontal or vertical

    • VERTICALLY POLARIZED antennas have an E plane that relates to the VERTICAL / YZ / ELEVATION plane.  
    • HORIZONTALLY POLARIZED antennas have an E plane that coincides with the HORIZONTAL / XY plane.  

    AZIMUTH PLANE:  the Magnetic H plane (or H aperture)

    This plane relates to the magnetic portion of the EM energy generated by a linearly polarized antenna. It will always be perpendicular to the E plane.

    • An antenna with vertical polarization will have an H plane that coincides with the azimuth plane
    • An antenna with horizontal polarization has an H plane that will coincide with the elevation plane.

    Radiation patterns that are labeled XY, XZ, YZ:  The following applies whether the antenna is Vertically Polarized or Linearly Polarized:

    • The XY radiation patterns are horizontal plane radiation patterns as they will be perpendicular to the E plane (and coincide with the H-plane of a vertically polarized antenna).
    • E plane will coincide with the vertical or YZ plane. The YZ patterns are vertical plane radiation patterns.

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    Maximum Input Power Rating of Antennas

    Maximum Input Power is defined as: The maximum amount of power (voltage given in Watts) that is able to be transmitted to a single antenna without damage to the antenna port from overloading.Maximum Input Power is a key parameter commonly seen on antenna specifications and datasheets. It may be termed ‘power handling’ or designated as [...]

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    Antenna Beamwidth

    Beamwidth is the angle from which the majority of the antenna’s power, as illustrated on the radiation pattern's main lobe, radiates. It may be measured in the horizontal or vertical planes and is the distance between two points where the power is less than half of the maximum.Beamwidth varies with the physical and electronic characteristics of [...]

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    Antenna Polarization: Vertical, Linear: Key Factor in Selection of an Antenna

    Polarity is a key electrical characteristic to be considered when selecting an antenna. Like-matched antennas in an RF set-up will have optimal power or signal transfer in point-to-point applications.  Polarity is as important as gain, radiation pattern and VSWR, in the selection of an antenna.Our article on radiation patterns is closely related to polarization and will be very helpful to more fully [...]

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    FPV (First Person View) Antennas for Drones

    FPV (First Person View), are remotely controlled vehicles from a pilot’s or drivers point of view. They include unmanned aerial vehicles such as drones and ground vehicles such as RC cars and land moving equipment. FPV video feed and control signals are transmitted across various frequency bands depending on desired range and application. Most FPV [...]

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    Front to Back Ratio: Directivity of Antenna to Reduce Interference

    Front to Back Ratio Applies to Directional Antennas OnlyFront to Back Ratio Defined and Explained:  The measure of directivity of a directional antenna:  It is dependent on the directivity of the antenna with the measurements taken on a 180 degree axis and measured in decibels (dB).A ratio of the magnitude of directional radiation in an antenna, directed [...]

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    45-degree Slant Antenna Polarization Overcomes Interference and Issue w/ Dual-Polarization

    Signals received at base station antennas are typically elliptically polarized in a way more like vertical polarization than horizontal polarization. This creates a common problem with dual polarized base station antennas (like the first generation of Ubiquiti dual-polarity antennas) since the vertically polarized antenna element generally maintains a stronger receive signal than the horizontally polarized [...]

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    VSWR: Impedance Matching in Antennas & Antenna Cables

    Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (V.S.W.R.) is a key Indicator of antenna performance (along with gain / dBi):  The lower the VSWR, the more efficient the antenna. VSWR is a measure of the efficiency of transfer of RF power from its source into an antenna (which may include transmission of RF power along an antenna cable, adapter, and connectors).VSWR and [...]

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    dBi, dB, dBm dB(mW): Defined, Explained and Differentiated

    dBi  = dB(isotropic): The forward gain of an antenna, nmeasured in decibels (dBi),  The dBi value reflects the antenna's directional / beamwidth characteristics, i.e., directional as opposed to omnidirectional:  Generally, the hIgher the gain (dBi), the narrower the beamwidth - the more directional the antenna.   The dBi value also reflects the antenna's electrical efficiency, differentiating [...]

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    Operate 2 Antennas from One Radio: Use a "Power Divider" or "Antenna Combiner" - NOT a T-adapter

    Do not use a "T connection" to get one AP to service two antennas: This causes many problems, further described below.  By "T connection," we mean T-adapter (see photo below) to combine two antennas onto the same antenna cable. A "T" is the incorrect way to split to antennas or transmitters. It results in a 2:1 [...]

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