What You Should Know About Microwave Antennas

What You Should Know About Microwave Antennas

Microwave antennas are “physical transmission devices used to broadcast microwave transmission between two or more locations.” These devices are a crucial part of microwave networks and are commonly used in radio and communication systems. They’re very important to these systems and as they become more efficient, demand for them is increasing.

Of course, because these antennas use microwaves, they’re using a subset of RF energy and SAR regulations need to be taken into account when these antennas are manufactured. In this article, we’ll be discussing these different types of microwave antennas and what they’re used for.

Microwave Antennas

MIMO Antenna

The MIMO part of MIMO antennas stands for multiple inputs and multiple outputs. When multiple inputs and multiple outputs are used in antennas, this means that multiple antennas are used for transmitting as well as receiving signals. This improves the communication performance of these microwave antennas. MIMO antennas are considered a smart antenna technology.

The multiple antennas that are part of MIMO can be used in two different ways: creating highly effective antenna directivity and transmitting parallel data streams to increase their system capacity. These antennas are usually used as part of mesh networks and RFID systems.

Airborne Antenna

These microwave antennas are used for airborne platforms like radio navigation and communication systems. Airborne antennas are designed to withstand difficult surroundings for years of efficiency and trouble-free operation. They’re also used in many custom-frequency bands like military, scientific, and standard commercial bands. These antennas are also used as part of data link systems for communications on aircraft.

Tracking Antenna

This type of antennas is specifically designed to automatically stabilize and align itself. Tracking antennas also maintain their point-to-point path when the movement of a platform in unstable surroundings is involved. These microwave antennas are most commonly used in aviation, offshore drilling, marine, and mobile platforms.

Plasma Antenna

Plasma antennas, of course, use plasma instead of metal elements for their development device. These microwave antennas also use ionized gas for conduction. The gas used in plasma antennas is ionized when reception or transmission occurs. While these antennas have a cutoff of high frequency, they can operate up to 90 GHz frequency range. This allows them to be used in the reception and transmission of signals from radios.

Plasma antennas also can transmit low- and high-frequency signals without interacting with high-frequency signals. They’re usually used for 4G and radar systems, RFID, electronic intelligence, and high-speed digital communication.

Microstrip Patch Antenna

Microstrip patch antennas are a type of microwave antenna used for radiating. These antennas are usually connected to a ground plane on one side and a dielectric substrate on the other side. This type of antenna is usually made with metal conductors like copper or gold and operates on frequencies between 100 MHz to 100 GHz.

Microstrip patch antennas are great for mass-production because of their low volume, low weight, and their low cost of production. This, along with their efficiency and versatility, makes them a very popular type of microwave antenna. These antennas are most commonly used in paging devices, communication systems, cellphones, and global positioning satellites.

Omnidirectional Antenna

These antennas both receive and transmit energy equally in all horizontal directions. These antennas provide a solution for any uses that might require good all-around coverage. Omnidirectional antennas are sometimes used to adapt to a down tilt to gain near field coverage.

Parabolic Antenna

Parabolic antennas use parabolic reflectors to direct radio waves. These antennas are known for their dish shape and are very recognizable. These types of microwave antennas are particularly beneficial for uses that require high directivity, point-to-point communication, and radio telescopes due to their high-end gain. These antennas are also used for radar by transmitting a narrow beam wave of radio to machineries like ships and airplanes.

microwave antennas


This antenna makes use of a driven element and is very versatile. Yagi antennas have a reflector behind their driven element with a director or multiple directors in front of it. The design of this antenna makes it easy to optimize for components like bandwidth, front-to-back ratio, and output using modern antenna design software.

Some designs of this antenna involve placing a corner reflector at the back of the driven element to enhance performance. These antennas are also very easy to construct and are a good option when a directional application is urgently needed.

Horn Antenna

Horn antennas consist of a waveguide made with end walls that are flared out to create a structure similar to a megaphone. These types of microwave antennas are most commonly used at very high frequencies as well as microwave frequencies above 300 MHz. Their output generally ranges up to 25 dB.

This type of antenna is used to measure the output power of other antennas that are used as calibrating and directive antennas for devices such as automatic door openers and microwave-radio meters. 

Horn antennas also have many advantages like moderate directivity, low-standing wave ratio, and broad bandwidth. They’re also largely used when the output power needed is moderate.

How RF Exposure Lab Can Help

If you’re in the business of manufacturing any of these microwave antennas, SAR testing standards are the key to successfully manufacturing these products, starting with the design of the antenna. Output power, antenna gain, and more are all factors that affect testing requirements for these devices. Understanding these factors from the very beginning will help you avoid the headache of product redesigns or an inability to pass SAR testing.

At RF Exposure Lab, we go above and beyond to make sure our clients understand what we do and assist them in understanding how SAR testing standards influence the design process. Through our unique expertise and commitment to our clients, we guarantee accurate SAR testing and results.

We offer SAR testing services for a variety of wireless devices including cell phones, laptops, tablets, medical products, and much more. If you’re looking for SAR testing help provided with speed, accuracy, expertise, and integrity, contact us to get a quote for our services.