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Antennas For Everyone

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ECE Education and Engineering Mathematics

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.206.1 - 7.206.6

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Paper Authors

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Jefferson Lindsey

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Frances Harackiewicz

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Lizette Chevalier

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Antennas for Everyone

Frances J. Harackiewicz, Jefferson F. Lindsey III, Lizette R. Chevalier

College of Engineering, Southern Illinois University Carbondale


For several years the Electrical Engineering Technology program’s senior level co mmunications course has run an antenna contest where students must design and build their own antenna for reception of a specified UHF television channel. With modifications, the same contest has recently been used for an engineering freshmen orientation program and for Master’s students in Electrical Engineering. The contest has become a great success with both the seniors and graduate students who design their own antennas and with the freshmen that follow directions to construct and test the antenna. Low-cost building materials are provided for the freshmen. In addition, they are able to complete the contest in a few hours. In contrast, upper-class students purchase their own supplies and take a few weeks to complete the building, although testing for a class of ten to twenty can be completed in one hour. The contest is extremely versatile in terms of student level and equipment needed. For testing, the minimum equipment needed is a modified TV and voltmeter. For advanced testing, the equipment needed would be an expensive RF vector network analyzer and a spectrum analyzer. Freshmen students learn about the basic antenna parameters such as polarization and frequency of operation. The advanced students learn about efficiency, directivity and gain, and have time to study the practical concepts of creating a low loss match. Graduate students find the building and creative aspect of the contest quite different from many of their computationally intensive antenna assignments. Over the years, someone in the senior class has tried nearly every antenna type. Most students walk away with at least a working antenna they can use in their home.


Hands-on and laboratory experiences are highly emphasized in the SIUC Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as in the Department of Technology. Both of these departments teach senior-level and/or graduate-level courses on antennas or on communications where antennas are a significant part of the course. Many antenna types are introduced in these courses, which use standard textbooks 1, 2. Many of the antenna types introduced can be fairly inexpensive to build at certain frequencies, requiring copper tubing or wires and connectors. There was a need for the students to have experience designing, building and testing their own antennas. Yet, because of the expense of antenna laboratory equipment, the College of Engineering at SIUC had Vector Network Analyzers for measuring antenna impedance for years before it had a near-field or far-field antenna pattern measurement system. As lack of equipment can bring inspiration3, it was during that time that an antenna contest was developed for seniors.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Lindsey, J., & Harackiewicz, F., & Chevalier, L. (2002, June), Antennas For Everyone Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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