Antenna Patterning for Military Communications


Military customers need antennas with strong, reliable patterning for dependable communications with land, sea, and airborne systems. Antenna patterning, the graphical representation of antenna radiation as a function of space, describes the direction in which antennas send or receive radio waves. Directional antennas have a horizontal or vertical radiation pattern that’s characterized by a main lobe in one direction. Omnidirectional antennas have both a broader horizontal radiation pattern that is donut-shaped and a broader vertical radiation pattern is hemispheric.

Directional vs. Omnidirectional Antennas

Unlike omnidirectional antennas, directional antennas radiate or receive greater power in specific directions. This supports increased performance under line-of-sight (LOS) conditions, such as when a military helicopter communicates with a troop carrier directly below. Yet, most military communications occur under non-line-of-sight conditions (NLOS). In these challenging environments, physical obstructions cause radio waves to bounce-off so that signals don’t reach the target directly. For example, a soldier who launches a drone may send the unmanned system over a chain of mountains or between buildings. 

Multi-Path and Phase Cancellation

When radio waves bounce-off obstructions, significant variations in the received signal can occur. Known as multi-path,  this phenomenon can disrupt or degrade military communications. Phase cancellation, the failure of two signals of the same frequency to reach a receiving antenna at the same time, can also occur. That’s a problem with mobile military assets that need to receive instructions or navigational information and communicate operational status and location. Unmanned systems that lose communications are especially at-risk, but so are crewed craft under battlefield conditions.

Made in USA Military Antennas

MP Antenna of Elyria, Ohio (USA) designs and manufactures MIL-STD-810G complaint antennas with directional or omnidirectional radiation patterns. Because these military antennas are multi-polarized, they help to mitigate the reflections that are common when signals travel in all directions and encounter man-made or natural obstacles. At military bases and other locations where vehicles and equipment can absorb signals or cause them to bounce off, these reflections can be significant. Yet, reflections and NLOS conditions are also common wherever the military is deployed.

To learn more about MP Antenna’s solutions for military communications, contact us.