Yagi antenna (Yagi-Uda array)

A Yagi antenna, also known as a Yagi-Uda array or simply a Yagi, is a unidirectional antenna commonly used in communications when a frequency is above 10 MHz.

A Yagi antenna, also known as a Yagi-Uda array or simply a Yagi, is a directional antenna commonly used in communications when a frequency is above 10 MHz. This type of antenna is popular among Amateur Radio and Citizens Band radio operators. It is used at some surface installations in satellite communications systems.

A basic Yagi consists of two or three straight elements, each measuring approximately1/2 electrical wavelengths. The antenna can be balanced or unbalanced. The Yagi is inherently a balanced antenna, but it can be fed with coaxial cable and a device called a balunat the point where the feed line joins the driven element.

The driven element of a Yagi is the equivalent of a center-fed, half-wave dipole antenna. Parallel to the driven element, and approximately 0.2 to 0.5 wavelength on either side of it, are straight rods or wires called reflectors and directors. A reflector is placed behind the driven element and is slightly longer than 1/2 wavelength; a director is placed in front of the driven element and is slightly shorter than 1/2 wavelength. A typical Yagi has one reflector and one or more directors. The antenna propagates electromagnetic field energy in the direction running from the driven element toward the director(s), and is most sensitive to incoming electromagnetic field energy in this same direction.

The Yagi antenna not only has a unidirectional radiation and response pattern, but it concentrates the radiation and response. The more directors a Yagi has, the greater the so-called forward gain. As more directors are added to a Yagi, it becomes longer. Some Yagi antennas have as many as 10 or even 12 directors in addition to the driven element and one reflector. Long Yagis are rarely used below 50 MHz, because at these frequencies the structure becomes physically unwieldy.

This was first published in April 2005

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