Avionics FAQ

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The issue of HF antenna installation on an aircraft can be generalized with 2 considerations:
  • Type of aircraft
  • Location of antenna coupler
Since there are numerous types of aircraft with varying installation requirements, there are several HF antenna configurations. Whatever the case may be, the antenna is a major factor for maximum performance of the HF system.

More or less, HF antenna configurations fall into four categories:

“V” and long wire configuration

The “V” and long wire antenna configuration is the optimal HF antenna configuration. It provides consistent performance and efficiency. This configuration should not be used on very high speed fixed wing aircraftand helicopters.

The wing “V” configuration is an effective HF antenna configuration for slow and moderate speed aircraft. This configuration provides an omnidirectional radiation Pattern. It has has the disadvantages of high drag and on low wing aircraft is prone to being walked into.

Wing Tip V Antenna

The inverted “V” antenna is recommended when a wing "V" is not practical and the antenna coupler is mounted in the back of the aircraft. The inverted “V” antenna will produce maximum signal strength off the side of the aircraft and provide good efficiency at most frequencies. The inverted “V” produces a moderate amount of drag.

Inverted V Antenna

The long wire antenna is used when the HF coupler is located in the forward part of the aircraft. The long wire provides maximum signal radiation off the sides of the aircraft and exhibit good efficiency even at the lower frequencies. Nulls in signal strength may be experienced off the nose and tail of the aircraft.

Long Wire Antenna

Short grounded wire configuration

Short grounded wire antennas are primarily used on higher speed and/or high altitude aircraft. The short wire antenna have minimum drag and do not develop as high of RF voltages as the longer wire antennas. However the efficiency of the short antenna will be lower, especially at the low frequencies.

Short Wire Antenna

Shunt configuration

There a generally 2 types of shunt antennas. A towel bar style includes a rod or tube mounted on the airframe usually suited for helicopters.

Shunt Antenna - Towel Bar Style

The other type of shunt antenna is designed by the aircraft manufacturer as a part of the airframe structure on the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer. Leading edge antennas are ideal for Larger, high altitude jet aircraft.

Shunt Antenna - Aircraft

Probe configuration

Probe HF antennas are ideal on aircraft where a long antenna is not suitable. It should be noted that probe antennas provide poor efficiency at lower frequencies as is the case with most short style antennas.

Probe Antenna