Antenna Miniaturization

Antenna Miniaturization

As the phrase suggests, antenna miniaturization is the process of replicating an antenna’s functionality while reducing its physical size.

Over the past several decades, several studies have shown a direct correlation between the size of an antenna and its bandwidth and/or efficiency. Basically, it had been long since believed that the smaller the antenna, the smaller the bandwidth, and the lower the efficiencyIn more recent years, however, this idea has become somewhat of a fallacy.

Technological advancements have greatly impacted antenna design, making it possible to miniaturize antennas without sacrificing performance. For example, JEM Engineering’s MBA-0145 is essentially the miniaturized version of the MBA-0127. Both antennas are multi-band (or HexBand) box-type antennas. Size and weight differences aside, the antennas are very similar in specifications. 

  MBA-0127 MBA-0145
Dimensions (LxWxH)

16″ x 16″ x 2.3″

9″ x 9″ x 2.3″

Weight

9 lbs

3.6 lbs

VSWR

< 2.5 : 1

< 2.5 : 1

Frequency Band

410 – 500 MHz
820 – 960 MHz
1700 – 2200 MHz

410 – 500 MHz
820 – 960 MHz
1700 – 2200 MHz

Polarization

Right Hand Circular

Right Hand Circular

Power

50+ Watts

50+ Watts

Ground Plane

Independent

Independent

Connector

SMA Female

SMA Female

 

Why miniaturize? One of the more obvious reasons is that lower profile antennas are easier to conceal and transport. This can be useful in ISR SIGINT/ELINT applications.

 

While miniaturization has become more doable, there are still some limitations to this process. Just as it takes a combination of keen mechanical design and proficient electrical engineering to successfully miniaturize an antenna, it takes similar expertise to determine whether or not an antenna should be miniaturized or redesigned altogether, given its intended application. A trained team of experts usually performs a feasibility analysis before attempting to miniaturize an antenna.