What makes an excellent antenna?

Sometimes it seems like antennas and RF design are portrayed as some sort of black art, reserved exclusively for an initiated group of RF mystics, and beyond the reach of mortals. Although they have their difficult moments, it is actually possible to gain an understanding of the subject and that beginning is the subject of a video by [Andreas Speiss]. Entitled “How to Build a Good Antenna”, the design and setup of a simple quarter-wave baseplate antenna is used as a handle to introduce the viewer to key issues.

What makes this video so good is its focus on the practical rather than the theoretical. We receive advice on connectors and antenna materials and are introduced to math through online calculators rather than extensive formulas. Of course, prospective buyers need to learn the full calculations, but for many designers they can be a little daunting. We have shown a NanoVNA as a useful tool in the antenna manufacturer’s arsenal that offers a revolutionary window of performance compared to trial and error of the past. Even the ground plane is covered, examining the effects on impedance and gain, and how its angle is a critical power factor. We believe this approach effectively nullifies the mystique of the antennas, and we hope it will encourage viewers to keep experimenting.

With your appetite piqued, check out a Nano VNA in action.

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