New Designs for Wideband Hemispherical Helical Antennas

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Virginia Tech

A unique property of spherical and hemispherical helical antennas is that they provide very broad half-power beamwdiths and circular polarization over a narrow bandwidth. In this thesis, new designs for hemispherical helical antennas are introduced that provide significant improvement in bandwidth, while maintaining the directivity and half-power beamwidth of the basic design. In the basic design, a simple wire of circular cross section is wound on the surface of a hemisphere, whereas in the proposed new designs a metallic strip forms the radiating element. Furthermore, the metallic strip may be tapered and tilted relative to the hemispherical surface, allowing wider bandwidth to be achieved. The antenna is fed by a coaxial cable with the inner conductor connected, through a matching section, to the radiating strip and its outer conductor connected to a ground plane.

Radiation properties of the proposed hemispherical helical antennas are studied both theoretically and experimentally. A commercial software, based on the method of moments, is used to perform the numerical analysis of these helices. Three-dimensional far-field patterns, axial ratio, directivity, and voltage standing-wave ratio (VSWR) are calculated for several designs. The impacts of tapering as well as tilting of the metallic strip on radiation characteristics are examined. Also, matching of the proposed hemispherical antennas to 50â ¦ transmission lines is addressed. A 4.5-turn hemispherical helix with tapered radiating element and zero degree tilt angle, (metallic strip is perpendicular to the hemisphere axis of symmetry) provides the largest overall bandwidth. A nonlinearly tapered matching section is incorporated into the design in order to reduce the VSWR. For this design, an overall measured bandwidth of about 24% at a center frequency of 3.35 GHz is achieved. Over this bandwidth, the axial ratio remains below 3 dB, the VSWR is less than 2, and the directivity is about 9 ±1 dB. A half- power beamwidth of 70° is also obtained.

A prototype of the best design was fabricated and tested using the VT indoor antenna range. Radiation patterns, the scattering parameter S₁₁, and the axial ratio were measured. The measured and simulated results agree reasonably well. In particular, agreements between measured and calculated far-field patterns and VSWR are quite remarkable. This compact, low profile antenna might find useful applications in avionics, global positioning systems (GPS), and high data rate wireless communication systems.

Hemispherical Helix, Helical Antenna, Wideband Antennas