One of the most critical parts of a ham radio setup is the antenna. You can have the most expensive and the most powerful rig on the market today but your signal goes nowhere without a good properly setup antenna system. I will give you a basic introduction to Ham Radio Antennas.
There are many different types of antennas for the ham radio operator. There are directional antennas such as the yagi and quad and nondirectional antennas such as the vertical. Each of these types of antennas have their place. There are wire antennas of all types and sizes depending on the frequency being used and how much room you have to put one up. Wire antennas for the most part are semi-directional and usually radiate their signals in a figure eight, broadside to the plane of the wire. Wire antennas can be made directional depending on the design and configuration. So can vertical antennas but it requires more than one antenna and adequate space to erect them.
The yagi type of antenna is directional and has several elements that are generally designed for one frequency. There are those that will tune to two or three amateur frequency bands but lose some power and bandwidth in the design. These antennas are designed to be mounted on a tower or pole type of support with a means of turning them in the direction that you want the signals to go. They are very popular with the serious hams because of their ability to receive and transmit radio signals in the desired direction.
Wire antennas are for the most part designed with a specific frequency in mind. They can be very simple in design such as a dipole, which is two pieces of wire insulated in the center and installed between two supports and relatively flat or supported by one pole and the sides sloping like an inverted vee shape or supported by a single pole with the wire sloping in the direction that you want the signal to go. These antennas are very simple to design, tune and install and are very popular with beginning ham radio operators. Wire antennas can be very complex also with many pieces of wire, signal traps, coils, insulators and tuner components.
These antennas are the most used types of Ham Radio Antennas. Antenna design, tuning and installation can consume a lot of the ham radio operators time, but it is very rewarding when those signals come in and go out where you want them to, with the maximum transfer of power.
Source by William Weaver