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In telecommunications and radar engineering, antenna boresight is the axis of maximum gain (maximum radiated power) of a directional antenna. For most antennas the boresight is the axis of symmetry of the antenna. For example, for axial-fed dish antennas, the antenna boresight is the axis of symmetry of the parabolic dish, and the antenna radiation pattern (the main lobe) is symmetrical about the boresight axis. Most antennas boresight axis is fixed by their shape and cannot be changed. However phased array antennas can electronically steer the beam, changing the angle of the boresight by shifting the relative phase of the radio waves emitted by different antenna elements, and even radiate beams in multiple directions (multiple boresights).
Telecommunication is the transmission of signs, signals, messages, words, writings, images and sounds or information of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems. Telecommunication occurs when the exchange of information between communication participants includes the use of technology. It is transmitted either electrically over physical media, such as cables, or via electromagnetic radiation. Such transmission paths are often divided into communication channels which afford the advantages of multiplexing. Since the Latin term communicatio is considered the social process of information exchange, the term telecommunications is often used in its plural form because it involves many different technologies.
Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. A radar system consists of a transmitter producing electromagnetic waves in the radio or microwaves domain, a transmitting antenna, a receiving antenna and a receiver and processor to determine properties of the object(s). Radio waves from the transmitter reflect off the object and return to the receiver, giving information about the object's location and speed.
In electromagnetics, an antenna's power gain or simply gain is a key performance number which combines the antenna's directivity and electrical efficiency. In a transmitting antenna, the gain describes how well the antenna converts input power into radio waves headed in a specified direction. In a receiving antenna, the gain describes how well the antenna converts radio waves arriving from a specified direction into electrical power. When no direction is specified, "gain" is understood to refer to the peak value of the gain, the gain in the direction of the antenna's main lobe. A plot of the gain as a function of direction is called the radiation pattern.
The term boresight came from high-gain antennas such as parabolic dishes, which produce narrow, pencil-shaped beams which are difficult to aim accurately at a distant receiving antenna. These often are equipped with optical boresights to assist in aiming.
Boresighting is a method of adjustment to an optical firearm sight or iron sights, to align the firearm barrel and sights. This method is usually used to pre-align the sights, which makes zeroing much faster. The process can be accomplished with the naked eye, or with a specialized device called a boresighter. It consists of an optical head and a bore-diameter arbor which is inserted into the muzzle of the rifle. The optical head is then attached to the protruding end of the rod. A grid pattern on the optical head is then used to align the sights with the barrel.
In telecommunications and radar, a Cassegrain antenna is a parabolic antenna in which the feed antenna is mounted at or behind the surface of the concave main parabolic reflector dish and is aimed at a smaller convex secondary reflector suspended in front of the primary reflector. The beam of radio waves from the feed illuminates the secondary reflector, which reflects it back to the main reflector dish, which reflects it forward again to form the desired beam. The Cassegrain design is widely used in parabolic antennas, particularly in large antennas such as those in satellite ground stations, radio telescopes, and communication satellites.
In antenna theory, a phased array usually means an electronically scanned array, a computer-controlled array of antennas which creates a beam of radio waves that can be electronically steered to point in different directions without moving the antennas. In an array antenna, the radio frequency current from the transmitter is fed to the individual antennas with the correct phase relationship so that the radio waves from the separate antennas add together to increase the radiation in a desired direction, while cancelling to suppress radiation in undesired directions. In a phased array, the power from the transmitter is fed to the antennas through devices called phase shifters, controlled by a computer system, which can alter the phase electronically, thus steering the beam of radio waves to a different direction. Since the array must consist of many small antennas to achieve high gain, phased arrays are mainly practical at the high frequency end of the radio spectrum, in the UHF and microwave bands, in which the antenna elements are conveniently small.
In the field of antenna design the term radiation pattern refers to the directional (angular) dependence of the strength of the radio waves from the antenna or other source.
In geometry, a paraboloid is a quadric surface that has (exactly) one axis of symmetry and no center of symmetry. The term "paraboloid" is derived from parabola, which refers to a conic section that has the same property of symmetry.
In radio engineering, an antenna is the interface between radio waves propagating through space and electric currents moving in metal conductors, used with a transmitter or receiver. In transmission, a radio transmitter supplies an electric current to the antenna's terminals, and the antenna radiates the energy from the current as electromagnetic waves. In reception, an antenna intercepts some of the power of a radio wave in order to produce an electric current at its terminals, that is applied to a receiver to be amplified. Antennas are essential components of all radio equipment.
A parabolicreflector is a reflective surface used to collect or project energy such as light, sound, or radio waves. Its shape is part of a circular paraboloid, that is, the surface generated by a parabola revolving around its axis. The parabolic reflector transforms an incoming plane wave traveling along the axis into a spherical wave converging toward the focus. Conversely, a spherical wave generated by a point source placed in the focus is reflected into a plane wave propagating as a collimated beam along the axis.
A satellite dish is a dish-shaped type of parabolic antenna designed to receive or transmit information by radio waves to or from a communication satellite. The term most commonly means a dish used by consumers to receive direct-broadcast satellite television from a direct broadcast satellite in geostationary orbit.
A parabolic antenna is an antenna that uses a parabolic reflector, a curved surface with the cross-sectional shape of a parabola, to direct the radio waves. The most common form is shaped like a dish and is popularly called a dish antenna or parabolic dish. The main advantage of a parabolic antenna is that it has high directivity. It functions similarly to a searchlight or flashlight reflector to direct the radio waves in a narrow beam, or receive radio waves from one particular direction only. Parabolic antennas have some of the highest gains, meaning that they can produce the narrowest beamwidths, of any antenna type. In order to achieve narrow beamwidths, the parabolic reflector must be much larger than the wavelength of the radio waves used, so parabolic antennas are used in the high frequency part of the radio spectrum, at UHF and microwave (SHF) frequencies, at which the wavelengths are small enough that conveniently-sized reflectors can be used.
A directional antenna or beam antenna is an antenna which radiates or receives greater power in specific directions allowing increased performance and reduced interference from unwanted sources. Directional antennas provide increased performance over dipole antennas—or omnidirectional antennas in general—when greater concentration of radiation in a certain direction is desired.
Super high frequency (SHF) is the ITU designation for radio frequencies (RF) in the range between 3 and 30 gigahertz (GHz). This band of frequencies is also known as the centimetre band or centimetre wave as the wavelengths range from one to ten centimetres. These frequencies fall within the microwave band, so radio waves with these frequencies are called microwaves. The small wavelength of microwaves allows them to be directed in narrow beams by aperture antennas such as parabolic dishes and horn antennas, so they are used for point-to-point communication and data links and for radar. This frequency range is used for most radar transmitters, wireless LANs, satellite communication, microwave radio relay links, and numerous short range terrestrial data links. They are also used for heating in industrial microwave heating, medical diathermy, microwave hyperthermy to treat cancer, and to cook food in microwave ovens.
A horn antenna or microwave horn is an antenna that consists of a flaring metal waveguide shaped like a horn to direct radio waves in a beam. Horns are widely used as antennas at UHF and microwave frequencies, above 300 MHz. They are used as feed antennas for larger antenna structures such as parabolic antennas, as standard calibration antennas to measure the gain of other antennas, and as directive antennas for such devices as radar guns, automatic door openers, and microwave radiometers. Their advantages are moderate directivity, low standing wave ratio (SWR), broad bandwidth, and simple construction and adjustment.
An antenna reflector is a device that reflects electromagnetic waves. Antenna reflectors can exist as a standalone device for redirecting radio frequency (RF) energy, or can be integrated as part of an antenna assembly.
An offset dish antenna or off-axis dish antenna is a type of parabolic antenna. It is so called because the antenna feed is offset to the side of the reflector, in contrast to the common "front-feed" parabolic antenna where the feed antenna is suspended in front of the dish, on its axis. As in a front-fed parabolic dish, the feed is located at the focal point of the reflector, but the reflector is an asymmetric segment of a paraboloid, so the focus is located to the side.
Monopulse radar is a radar system that uses additional encoding of the radio signal to provide accurate directional information. The name refers to its ability to extract range and direction from a single signal pulse.
SODAR, also written as sodar, is a meteorological instrument used as a wind profiler to measure the scattering of sound waves by atmospheric turbulence. SODAR systems are used to measure wind speed at various heights above the ground, and the thermodynamic structure of the lower layer of the atmosphere.
A turnstile antenna, or crossed-dipole antenna, is a radio antenna consisting of a set of two identical dipole antennas mounted at right angles to each other and fed in phase quadrature; the two currents applied to the dipoles are 90° out of phase. The name reflects the notion the antenna looks like a turnstile when mounted horizontally. The antenna can be used in two possible modes. In normal mode the antenna radiates horizontally polarized radio waves perpendicular to its axis. In axial mode the antenna radiates circularly polarized radiation along its axis.
A focal cloud is the collection of focal points of an imperfect lens or parabolic reflector whether optical, electrostatic or electromagnetic. This includes parabolic antennas and lens-type reflective antennas of all kinds. The effect is analogous to the circle of confusion in photography.
An antenna array is a set of multiple connected antennas which work together as a single antenna, to transmit or receive radio waves. The individual antennas are usually connected to a single receiver or transmitter by feedlines that feed the power to the elements in a specific phase relationship. The radio waves radiated by each individual antenna combine and superpose, adding together to enhance the power radiated in desired directions, and cancelling to reduce the power radiated in other directions. Similarly, when used for receiving, the separate radio frequency currents from the individual antennas combine in the receiver with the correct phase relationship to enhance signals received from the desired directions and cancel signals from undesired directions. More sophisticated array antennas may have multiple transmitter or receiver modules, each connected to a separate antenna element or group of elements.
Angle deception jamming is an electronic warfare technique used against conical scanning radar systems. It generates a false signal that fools the radar into believing the target is to one side of the boresight, causing the radar to "walk away" from the target and break its radar lock-on. It is also known as angle walk-off, angle stealing, or inverse con-scan.
In radio systems, many different antenna types are used with specialized properties for particular applications. Antennas can be classified in various ways. The list below groups together antennas under common operating principles, following the way antennas are classified in many engineering textbooks.
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