What Are the Different Types of Antenna Designs?

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  • Written By: Toby Tate
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2014
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The different types of antenna designs are usually related to their usage, such as radio and television broadcasting, point-to-point radio communication, wireless local area networks (LAN), cell phones, radar, and spacecraft communication. Antennas, sometimes called aerials, are transducers designed to either transmit or receive electromagnetic waves and convert them to electrical current. Names for the different types of antennas include monopole, dipole, beam, zig-zag, horn, and parabolic.

Monopole antennas are the most common and simplest of antenna designs. Generally, they simply consists of a single antenna. An example of a monopole design would be the whip antenna used for Citizens Band (CB) radio applications.

Dipoles are also popular antenna designs. Typically, they consist of two wires that are pointed in opposite directions and can be arranged vertically or horizontally. One end of each wire usually is connected to a radio while the other end is allowed to hang freely. The dipole design is most commonly associated with the V-shaped rabbit ears or bunny ears used to help improve television (TV) reception.

Other antenna designs associated with television reception are Yagi-Uda antennas, also known as directional or beam antennas. Generally, these consist of an array of dipole antennas and reflectors that help to focus the signal for better reception. Usually attached to the roof, these antennas are also frequently used by amateur ham radio operators.


A random wire, or zig-zag, antenna typically is a simple wire that is hung with one end connected to a ground wire and a radio. The wire is then arranged in a way that promotes the best reception or transmission, such as being strung between two trees. Random wire is commonly used for temporary reception or transmission of long-, medium-, or short-wave bands.

Horn antenna designs are often used for transmitting high-gain, high-frequency sounds. Examples include megaphones and speakers used for live sound systems. They also are used in ultra high frequency (UHF) reception.

The parabolic antenna design, or dish antenna, can often be seen on rooftops or in yards where they are utilized in satellite TV reception. Parabolic antennas are a high-gain reflector antenna. They are also used for radio, data communications, and radar applications.

Patch antennas, or microstrip antennas, are popular antenna designs. These consist of a single metal patch suspended over a ground plane. Their highly portable design allows for use with Global Positioning Systems (GPS).


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