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What Is Antenna Efficiency?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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"Antenna efficiency" is a term used to describe the relationship between the amount of power that is generated in the form of radiation resistance and the total amount of resistance that is generated by the antenna. Essentially, this type of ratio makes it possible to ascertain how much resistance is being lost during the use of the antenna, and how that loss is affecting the general performance of the device. Measuring the antenna efficiency can often help identify any issues inherent in the design of the antenna itself, as well as make it easier to determine any other factors that may be interfering with the ability of the antenna to efficiently receive signals.

The focus of antenna efficiency has to do with the amount of power that is being received into the device and what is happening with that power once it is being used by the antenna. Measuring the efficiency can help determine if there is some issue with the power supply, and also if there is some issue with the antenna proper that is causing most of that power to be lost or dissipated during the operation. Typically, high antenna efficiency means that the power supply is being used to best effect and the antenna is working at or near maximum efficiency. In the event that the efficiency is found to be low, this means that a considerable amount of the power is not being radiated properly and is being lost during operation.

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There are a number of factors that can affect adversely affect antenna efficiency. One has to do with the design of the antenna itself. If the design include flaws that prevent the power from flowing properly through the device, then the rate of efficiency will be lower. At the same time, factors such as a poor connection to a power source or even excessive wear and tear on the leads that provide a means of receiving the power from that source could be the reason for the less efficient operation of the antenna. Issues with coils and grounding may also have an adverse effect on the overall efficiency of the antenna, even if the design is considered one of the higher-quality efforts.

Measuring antenna efficiency is important, since the process can alert operators to developing issues in terms of the quality of reception and transmission. By taking the time to test the antenna on a regular basis and compare the changes in efficiency from one period to the next, it is possible to identify problems early on before there is a chance for those issues to cause any permanent damage to the equipment. Often, a simple repair or replacement of one or more components will restore the lost efficiency and make it possible to continue using the antenna for a longer period of time.

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