Definition

dish antenna

A dish antenna, also known simply as a dish, is common in microwave systems. This type of antennacan be used for satellite communication andbroadcast reception, space communications, radio astronomy, and radar.

A dish antenna consists of an active, or driven, element and a passive parabolic orspherical reflector. The driven element can be a dipole antenna or a horn antenna. If a horn is used, it is aimed back atthe center of the reflecting dish. The reflector has a diameter of at least several wavelengths. As the wavelength increases(and the frequency decreases), the minimumrequired dish diameter becomes larger.

When the dipole or horn is properly positioned and aimed, incoming electromagnetic fields bounce off the reflector,and the energy converges on the driven element. If the horn or dipole is connectedto a transmitter, the element emits electromagnetic waves that bounce off the reflectorand propagate outward in a narrow beam.

A dish antenna is usually operated with an unbalanced feed line. For satellite televisionreception, coaxial cable is used. Inapplications such as radar where a high-power signal is transmitted, a feed system is preferred.

This was last updated in April 2005

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