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The Effect of Antenna Shape on Signal Strength

Stuart Coles and Francois Corpel

Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center




18 December 2017
The Effect of Antenna Shape on Signal Strength

In modern western society, the world economy and large portions of people’s

personal lives are driven by wireless communications found in cell phones, radios, GPS,

and many other devices and services. These technologies make use of antennas to

communicate information across large distances of empty space. The design of an

antenna can have an impact on its ability to transmit signal. In search of an ideal design,

three different shapes (loop, monopole, and dipole) were tested to determine their

relative signal strengths. One antenna was connected to a frequency generator to act as

a transmitter, and another antenna (which was manipulated in shape) was connected to

a multimeter that measured the voltage generated inside the receiving antenna when the

frequency generator was turned on.

After many trials, an ANOVA statistical test was carried out on the data to

determine which shape of an antenna yielded the highest signal strength. The loop

antenna demonstrated the highest signal strength, while the monopole and dipole were

roughly the same, and much lower. The ANOVA test had a p-value of less than 0.0001,

which is less than 0.05, the standard barrier of statistical significance, leading, after

further analysis using t tests, to the conclusion that the loop antenna had a significantly

higher ability to receive signal in the existing experimental conditions.

Table of Contents

Introduction......................................................................................................................... 1

Review of Literature............................................................................................................ 3

Problem Statement............................................................................................................. 8

Experimental Design..........................................................................................................9

Data and Observations.....................................................................................................11

Data Analysis and Interpretation.......................................................................................16

Conclusion........................................................................................................................ 22

Acknowledgements.......................................................................................................... 25

Appendix A: Monopole and Dipole Antenna Construction.................................................26

Appendix B: Loop Antenna Construction..........................................................................27

Appendix C: Randomization.............................................................................................28

Appendix D: Sample Calculations.....................................................................................29

Appendix E: Professional Contact Email...........................................................................34

Works Cited...................................................................................................................... 35
Coles – Corpel 1


Electromagnetic waves govern many parts of society’s daily tasks. From listening

to the radio, to using cell phones for communication, to using Wi-Fi for internet access,

electromagnetic waves are essential for both the business and the social worlds.

Because of their ubiquity, it becomes exceedingly important to be able to harness these

waves and maximize their strength and quality.

To produce a signal, electromagnetic waves are transported between two

antennas, one of which transmits the wave and another that receives it. The shapes of

the antennas in question can impact the ability of the antenna to receive or send signals.

Three such shapes are the dipole, monopole, and loop antennas.

Figure 1. Diagrams of Antenna Shapes

As shown in Figure 1, the dipole antenna has two equally long “arms” on either side of

the central feed, the portion where the signal is input into the antenna from its source

(Poole). The monopole antenna is nearly identical to the dipole save for the fact that the

feed is connected to one end of the antenna rather than in the middle

(Phongcharoenpanich et al.). The loop antenna is formed by creating a cylindrical

formation of a wire antenna in which there are many circular loops parallel to one

another (Phongcharoenpanich et al.).

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This experiment set to find out if there was a difference between these three

shapes in terms of reception strength and if so, which shape performed the best.

In the experiment, the dependent variable being analyzed was the voltage within the

receiving antenna, which was measured in millivolts (mV). To find this value, the

transmitting antenna (which was kept as a dipole antenna throughout all the trials) was

connected to a frequency generator creating a frequency of 100 kilohertz (kHz). Parallel

to this antenna lay the receiving antenna, which varied in shape. When the frequency

generator was switched on, a multimeter, connected to the receiving antenna, was used

to measure the voltage.

In certain cases, like building a radio transmission antenna, getting the optimal

design is critical to allow the device to transmit to as large an area as possible. In other

cases, such as home radio reception devices, the portability of the device is much more

important than receiving the strongest possible signal. As so much of modern society is

built on antenna technology, poor decisions in antenna shape can have far reaching

implications for the efficiency of the society, crippling human ability to communicate. This

research will allow for easier determination of the shape most ideal for each antenna

application to avoid these inefficiency issues.

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Review of Literature

The science of antenna transmission is a seemingly simple, yet deeply

complicated one. In determining the impact of the shape of an antenna on that antenna’s

ability to transmit and receive signals, numerous scientific principles were applied,

including the principles of electromagnetic waves and electrical conductivity.

Before a signal can be transmitted, it must first be understood what that signal is.

In the case of modern telecommunications, that signal is an electromagnetic wave

(Stankevicius). This electromagnetic wave is emitted by one antenna, which is a device

that converts electric charge into electromagnetic waves to be received by another

antenna in another location, which performs the inverse process. Receiving

transmissions works because electromagnetic waves moving through the material move

and excite the electrons in the antenna (“Propagation”).

Transmi Receiv
tter er

= direction of signal flow Signal

Figure 2. Basic Antenna Setup

Figure 2 shows an example of a basic antenna transmission setup, much like the

one in this research. In this system, electromagnetic signals are generated within an

antenna when a current is applied to the antenna, moving electrons, which causes the
Coles – Corpel 4

antenna to emit electromagnetic waves. The inverse process occurs in the receiving

antenna, wherein electromagnetic waves move the electrons in the receiving antenna,

generating a current identical to that of the current in the transmission antenna

(Macleish). The signal transmitted could be anything, as everything from radio to

wireless internet and television operates on this basic principle.

The efficiency of antennas is dependent on many factors, including length. For

ideal signal transmission and reception, an antenna with a length of ½λ, where λ is the

wavelength of the transmitted or received frequency, should be used (Aubin). The ½λ

antenna length is ideal because at this frequency the antenna is considered to be at

resonance. At resonance, the current sent through the antenna, which is sinusoidal in

nature, will be at a point where the amplitude is zero when it reaches the end of the wire

and bounces back towards the middle, avoiding any complications due to phase

cancellation (Gilchrist). Phase cancellation is the process by which two signal waves

meet at differing points in their wave cycle. The high peaks of one wave are “cancelled

out” by the low valleys of another, because frequencies are additive in nature. This

process is analogous to adding a positive number to a negative number.

This is incredibly convenient for high-frequency telecommunications devices

such as smartphones which use high frequencies with wavelengths measured in

millimeters. However, this is incredibly impractical for most communications, especially

radio, as many commonly-used radio frequencies (both AM and FM) have wavelengths

measured in kilometers. Instead, shorter, less efficient antennas are used for the same

purpose (Burgess). Another factor is placement. Placing antennas high above the area

where the signal is supposed to be received takes advantage of the omnidirectional,

spherical nature of most antennas signal paths for increased coverage (Lowes). Also, to

increase reception, obstructions should be minimized. A line-of-sight path from

transmitter to receiver is ideal (Talepour et al.). The reflection of radio waves off an
Coles – Corpel 5

obstruction or even the ground surface may lead to reflected and refracted waves which

may have a phase interaction with the original signal, leading to possible phase

cancellation and signal loss (Collins).

The goal of this research is to improve telecommunications ability. As this is a

rapidly growing field, there is much relevant research occurring. New antenna designs

for small devices are being proposed all the time, with devices like those proposed by

Elamaran and Srivatsun, members of the Departments of Electronics and

Communication at the University College of Engineering in Pattukkottai, India and the P.

S. G. College of Technology in Coimbatore, India respectively. However, these antennas

are often largely theoretical or tested only through simulation software, like that of

Elmaran and Srivatsun’s adaptable circular patch antenna, which was simulated and

never tested in a real-world environment. This research proposes a real-world test akin

to that done by Phongcharoenpanich, Polkaew, Luadeng, and Akkaraekthalin, scientists

from King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok in their exploration of a 3D

antenna for TV reception published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of

Antennas and Propagation. While Phongcharoenpanich and associates measured the

real-world response of their antenna from a signal source unmentioned in their research

and found it effective for their purpose, the experiment in this paper provides its own

signal source to control for the busy radio signals in the open air.

The shape of the antenna can impact more than just its operating frequency. By

changing the shape of the antenna, the shape of the signal is changed as well. The

standard antenna, known as a dipole, has a fairly evenly spherical frequency output.

Coles – Corpel 6


Figure 3. Dipole and Frequency Output

Figure 3 shows an example dipole, which has the signature layout of two “arms”

of equal length connected to a central source known as the feed (Poole). The frequency

range of a hypothetical perfect dipole is also shown, and it is largely spherical. Other

shapes, such as the monopole and loop antennas have different characteristics.
Coles – Corpel 7

(Phongcharoenpanich, Chuwong, et al)

Figure 4. Loop and Frequency Output

The loop antenna has a somewhat directional frequency output, as shown by the

solid line in Figure 4, which is an example of a real-world output graph from the

Phongcharoenpanich, Chuwong, et al. study on DTV antennas mentioned previously.

This directionality occurs because the nonlinear nature of the antenna leads to extreme

phase cancellation of the electromagnetic waves which make up the signal. This phase

cancellation leads to what are called lobes, or pockets where the signal is stronger than

the surrounding areas, as shown by the divot in the figure (“Antenna”). These lobes,

while useful for special applications, and of great concern in others such as radar

(Villano), are not incredibly relevant to this research and will not be studied.

The final type of antenna in this experiment, the monopole antenna, is like a

dipole antenna, but the feed is connected to one end instead of in the middle. This

configuration makes antenna design easier, but may be less efficient because current

must move farther in the antenna transmission material to reach the end from the

source, and all materials have slight resistance properties to them (Gilchrist). Because of

its similarities to the more-common dipole, it is less extensively studied and reliable

sources for the frequency range are difficult to find.

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Problem Statement

Problem Statement:

To determine the impact of the shape of an antenna on its ability to receive



The dipole antenna will have the greatest ability to receive electromagnetic


Data Measured:

The explanatory (independent) variable was the shape of the receiving antenna.

In this experiment, monopole, dipole, and loop antennas were tested. The response

(dependent) variable was the amount of voltage introduced in the receiving antenna by

the electromagnetic signal, measured in millivolts. A one-way ANOVA statistical analysis

test was run to determine the results, with thirty trials run for each variation of the

receiving antenna.
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Experimental Design


(2) Dipole Antenna (see Appendix A) (1 set) Alligator Clips

Monopole Antenna (see Appendix A) Multimeter
Loop Antenna (see Appendix B) Digital Frequency Generator
0.5 m Copper Wire Google Sheets Software
Meter Stick


1. Randomize trials with the Google Sheets randomization function (see Appendix

2. Ensuring frequency generator is off, connect frequency generator to the center of

the transmission antenna, which is a dipole, using the 0.5 m of copper wire.

3. Connect the multimeter to the receiving antenna using alligator clips. Ensure the
multimeter is set to read alternating current (AC) voltage by pointing the dial to
the appropriate setting.

4. Place the receiving antenna 15 centimeters from the transmitting antenna,

verifying that there are no obstacles in between the two antennas.

5. Set frequency generator to 100,000 Hz by twisting the range knob to “100 kHz.”

6. Turn the frequency knob until the screen reads approximately 100,000.

7. Log the amount of voltage in the current when the generator is off.

8. Turn on the frequency generator.

9. Log the immediate spike in voltage and the value that the voltage in the receiving
antenna settles to.

10. Turn off frequency generator.

11. Repeat step 4-8 for all trials, connecting the equipment to the proper antennas.
Coles – Corpel 10





Figure 5. Diagram of Experimental Setup

Figure 5 shows a picture of how the experimental design will be set up. The

frequency generator is in the background, the multimeter lies in the foreground, and the

antennas (which are the copper wires) lie parallel along the middle of the photograph.

The antennas shown in figure 5 are dipoles (See Appendix A), and the antenna furthest

to the right in this image, connected to the frequency generator, is the transmission

antenna. When the frequency generator is turned on, the radio waves are sent from the

transmitting antenna (the left antenna in the perspective of the image) to the receiving

antenna (the right antenna). Then, the researchers used the multimeter to measure the

voltage in the receiving antenna.

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Data and Observations

Table 1
Dipole Trial Results
Initial Final Spike
Frequency Voltage Voltage Spike
Trial # Shape Reading Reading Difference
(kHz) Difference (mV)
(mV) (mV) (mV)
1 Dipole 99.944 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3
7 Dipole 99.876 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0
8 Dipole 99.959 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0
10 Dipole 99.910 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.1
13 Dipole 99.883 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0
14 Dipole 99.854 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.2
15 Dipole 99.834 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0
17 Dipole 99.811 0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.2 0.2
21 Dipole 99.777 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.2
22 Dipole 99.726 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.5 0.3
25 Dipole 99.734 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.1
26 Dipole 99.855 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.0
27 Dipole 99.807 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.2
28 Dipole 99.826 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.0
31 Dipole 99.764 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.2
32 Dipole 99.771 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.6 0.5
35 Dipole 99.771 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.1
36 Dipole 99.907 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.1
38 Dipole 99.526 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.0
40 Dipole 99.938 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.6 0.4
41 Dipole 99.941 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0
44 Dipole 99.797 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.2
45 Dipole 99.802 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0
47 Dipole 99.873 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.4 0.2
49 Dipole 99.828 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.0
50 Dipole 99.830 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.0
51 Dipole 99.840 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.2
54 Dipole 99.823 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.5 0.4
Initial Final Spike
Frequency Voltage Voltage Spike
Trial # Shape Reading Reading Difference
(kHz) Difference (mV)
(mV) (mV) (mV)
57 Dipole 99.790 0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.2 0.2
60 Dipole 99.966 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0
Average 99.832 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.1
Coles – Corpel 12

Deviation 0.088 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1

Table 2
Loop Results
Initial Final Voltage
Trial Frequency Voltage Spike
Shape Reading Reading Difference
# (kHz) Spike (mV) Difference
(mV) (mV) (mV)
61 Loop 99.840 1.2 1.6 0.4 1.6 0
62 Loop 99.867 1.2 1.6 0.4 2.1 0.5
63 Loop 99.855 1.2 1.6 0.4 2.1 0.5
64 Loop 99.857 1.2 1.5 0.3 2.3 0.8
65 Loop 99.843 1.2 1.7 0.5 2.3 0.6
66 Loop 99.843 1.2 1.5 0.3 2.4 0.9
67 Loop 99.838 1.2 1.4 0.2 2.3 0.9
68 Loop 99.818 1.4 1.5 0.1 1.7 0.2
69 Loop 99.813 1.2 1.6 0.4 2.1 0.5
70 Loop 99.799 1.2 1.4 0.2 2.2 0.8
71 Loop 99.798 1.2 1.4 0.2 2.2 0.8
72 Loop 99.791 1.2 1.7 0.5 2.2 0.5
73 Loop 99.905 1.2 1.6 0.4 1.6 0
74 Loop 99.784 1.2 1.6 0.4 1.6 0
75 Loop 99.779 1.3 1.5 0.2 2.3 0.8
76 Loop 99.773 1.2 1.5 0.3 1.6 0.1
77 Loop 99.786 1.2 1.4 0.2 2.2 0.8
78 Loop 99.805 1.4 1.6 0.2 2.4 0.8
79 Loop 99.818 1.2 1.7 0.5 2.4 0.7
80 Loop 99.817 1.2 1.5 0.3 1.6 0.1
81 Loop 99.815 1.2 1.5 0.3 2.4 0.9
Initial Final Spike
Trial Frequency Voltage Voltage
Shape Reading Reading Difference
# (kHz) Difference Spike (mV)
(mV) (mV) (mV)
82 Loop 99.806 1.3 1.7 0.4 2.3 0.6
83 Loop 99.811 1.2 1.6 0.4 2.3 0.7
84 Loop 99.800 1.2 1.8 0.6 2.4 0.6
85 Loop 99.803 1.2 1.6 0.4 1.7 0.1
86 Loop 99.808 1.2 1.7 0.5 2.3 0.6
87 Loop 99.813 1.2 1.6 0.4 2.2 0.6
88 Loop 99.850 1.2 1.6 0.4 2.4 0.8
89 Loop 99.842 1.2 1.4 0.2 2.2 0.8
90 Loop 99.854 1.2 1.6 0.4 2.4 0.8
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Average 99.821 1.2 1.6 0.3 2.1 0.5600

Deviation 0.030 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.3013

Table 3
Monopole Results
Initial Final
Frequency Voltage Spike
Trial # Shape Reading Reading Voltage Spike
(kHz) Difference Difference
(mV) (mV)
2 Monopole 99.845 0.1 0.1 0 0.3 0.2
3 Monopole 99.837 0.1 0.1 0 0.2 0.1
4 Monopole 99.787 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2 0
5 Monopole 99.611 0.1 0.1 0 0.5 0.4
6 Monopole 99.600 0.1 0.3 0.2 0.4 0.1
9 Monopole 99.898 0.1 0.1 0 0.3 0.2
11 Monopole 99.765 0.1 0.1 0 0.4 0.3
12 Monopole 99.980 0.1 0.1 0 0.3 0.2
16 Monopole 99.682 0.2 0.2 0 0.6 0.4
18 Monopole 99.987 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.6 0.4
19 Monopole 99.553 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2 0
20 Monopole 99.707 0.1 0.1 0 0.2 0.1
23 Monopole 99.831 0.1 0.1 0 0.4 0.3
24 Monopole 99.753 0.1 0.1 0 0.2 0.1
29 Monopole 99.720 0.2 0.2 0 0.4 0.2
Initial Final Spike
Frequency Voltage Voltage Spike
Trial # Shape Reading Reading Difference
(kHz) Difference (mV)
(mV) (mV) (mV)
30 Monopole 99.726 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.2
33 Monopole 99.752 0.3 0.3 0 0.2 -0.1
34 Monopole 99.756 0.2 0.2 0 0.2 0
37 Monopole 99.650 0.2 0.2 0 0.2 0
39 Monopole 99.927 0.2 0.2 0 0.3 0.1
42 Monopole 99.888 0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.2 0.1
43 Monopole 99.889 0.1 0.1 0 0.2 0.1
46 Monopole 99.841 0.1 0.1 0 0.2 0.1
48 Monopole 99.828 0.1 0.1 0 0.2 0.1
52 Monopole 99.963 0.1 0 -0.1 0.3 0.3
53 Monopole 99.934 0.1 0.1 0 0.2 0.1
55 Monopole 99.898 0.1 0.1 0 0.2 0.1
56 Monopole 99.530 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2 0
58 Monopole 99.862 0.2 0.2 0 0.4 0.2
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59 Monopole 99.859 0.1 0.1 0 0.3 0.2

Average 99.795 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.1500
Deviation 0.125 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1280

Tables 1-3, above, show the results of the dipole, loop, and monopole antenna data

trials, respectively. The initial reading, final reading, and voltage spike were measured

directly. The voltage difference, Dv, in each table was calculated by subtracting the initial

reading, I, from the final reading, F.


The spike difference, Ds, was calculated by subtracting the final reading, F from the

voltage spike, S.


A sample calculation of these values is provided in Appendix D.

For this experiment, observations were not recorded as trials were so quick that

any trial where any of the factors that surrounded of the experiment, such as a

movement in the antenna or presence of people in the testing hallway, were any way out

of the ordinary was discarded and retried.

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Figure 6. Experiment Before and After

Figure 6 shows a before and after of one of the dipole antenna data trials. As

shown, the only change is in the reading on the multimeter in the foreground. There

were no visible changes throughout the experiment. The loop and monopole trials were

so visually similar to the dipole ones that they did not merit inclusion in this paper.
Coles – Corpel 16

Data Analysis and Interpretation

This research and the experiment detailed within the paper were conducted to

determine whether the shape of the antenna had an impact on the ability of an antenna

to receive a signal. A comparative experiment was run to test this, comparing three

different shapes of antennas and their ability to receive signals. A comparative

experiment is a valuable tool, as the experimenters can control for possible

environmental changes. The trials in this experiment were semi-randomized to help

assist with the validity of data. If the trials were not randomized, some outside factor may

have influenced the results during a certain part of the experiment. For example, if all the

monopole trials were run on the same day that the frequency generator malfunctioned,

the results would be biased. The monopole and dipole trials were run in random order as

they were able to be run with minimal changes to the experimental setup. The loop

antenna, however, required an extensive, time-consuming rebuild of the antenna and

outside factors did not allow for the experimenters to acquire enough materials to build

multiple receiving antennas, forcing the loop antenna trials to be run after the dipole and

monopole trials were complete. The randomization within the mono- and dipole

antennas reduced some likelihood of flawed data due to technique improvements or

other factors, although the practical constraints regarding the loop made it impossible to

completely eliminate this chance.

For the purpose of this experiment, the dipole antenna served as a control, as it

is the simplest form of antenna. This gave the researchers something of which they

could base the rest of their trials off. Thirty trials were run for each antenna shape to

ensure that enough data points to run a valid statistical test existed. This experimental

replication reduced the chance that any one outlier trial will throw off the results of the

experiment. The data was measured in millivolts.

Coles – Corpel 17

Before any statistical analysis was run, a visual representation of the data was

observed to determine which test would yield the most helpful results.

Figure 7. Boxplot of Spike Difference by Shape

Figure 7 shows a boxplot of the data collected during the experiment. The chart

shows that the monopole and dipole antennas consistently had spike differences within

a similar range, while the loop antenna generally had a larger spike difference. The top

75% of the loop antenna readings are higher than any of the monopole antenna

readings. However, the loop antenna had the largest range of data and overlaps both

other groups. Still, most of the data in the loop trials is higher than the other trials,

indicating that there may be a significant difference in breaking strength. The monopole

and dipole trials cover such a similar range and have such a substantial overlap that

there is unlikely to be a significant difference between the two based on this graphical

analysis. The monopole and loop antennas both have outlier trials, but the conclusions

above are not significantly changed when the outliers are removed.
Coles – Corpel 18

Figure 8. Spike Difference without Outliers

Figure 8 shows the spike difference boxplot when all outliers are removed. None

of the upper or lower quartile points have moved, making it seem unlikely that the

outliers had any impact on the conclusions drawn visually. The means also moved

slightly, but not enough to have an overall impact on the relationships in the data.

A visual analysis is not enough to draw any rigorous conclusions. A statistical test

must be carried out to verify the data. For this experiment, an ANOVA statistical test was

run. An ANOVA test compares means from multiple populations, in this case ideal for the

spike difference of various types of strings. One requirement for an ANOVA test is that

the data that a population comes from is normal. The central limit theorem states that

any group of samples over size thirty from any population will come from a normal

population which is now the sampling distribution. Thirty trials of each shape were run to

ensure adherence to this rule. Another requirement is that all populations have similar

standard deviations. The standard deviations were included in the Data and

Observations section of this paper and are shown below.

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Table 4
Standard Deviation of Each Antenna Shape’s Spike Difference
Dipole Monopole Loop

0.1 0.1 0.3

The values in Table 4 make it clear that the standard deviation of the loop antenna trials

is larger than the other two groups, which is expected given the larger variability

observed in the box plot. A common rule of thumb is that the test is valid as long as the

largest standard deviation is no more than twice the smallest. This is not the case for this

data; however, the ANOVA test is not very sensitive to differences in standard deviation,

so the test is continued, albeit with some cautious interpretation of the results. The final

condition of the ANOVA test is that the data be from a random sample of a population.

The experiment was randomized to the point possible for the researchers, so this

condition will be considered fulfilled for the purposes of running this test; however, the

data must be viewed cautiously as the randomization was not perfect.

Before the test can be run, null and alternative hypotheses must be drafted.

H 0 : μ d=μ m=μl

H a :Not all μ d , μ m , μl are equal .

Figure 9. Null and Alternative Hypotheses for ANOVA test

Figure 9, above, shows the hypotheses used for this ANOVA test. Ho represents

the null hypothesis of there being no difference between the three antennas’ signal mean

receptions, represented by μ. The alternative hypothesis, Ha, says that there is some

difference in the change of voltage spike.

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Table 5
ANOVA Test Output
Df Sum Sq Mean Sq F value Pr(>F)
Model 2 3.475 1.737 40.890 < 0.0001
Residual 87 3.697 0.042
Total 89 7.172 0.081

Based on Table 5, the null hypothesis was rejected. A calculation of the values shown in

this table is provided in Appendix D. The F value of 40.890 with 2/87 degrees of freedom

leads to a p-value of less than 0.0001, which is less than 0.05, the standard barrier of

statistical significance. This means that there is essentially a 0% chance of getting a

difference in means this extreme by chance alone if the null hypothesis were true. This

value does not, however, give any information regarding where the differences lie. The

box plot in figures 7 and 8 indicate that the difference likely comes from the mean signal

reception strength is higher in the loop antenna than the others. However, a difference

between the monopole and dipole antennas is less prominent. A t test must be carried

out to verify.

The requirements for a t test are very similar to those of an ANOVA, and the

requirements of normality and randomness have already been met. The third

requirement of a t test, that the samples are from independent populations, is intrinsic to

the nature of an ANOVA and is met by this experiment. The statistical hypotheses must

be stated for the test, and then it can be carried out.

H 0 : μ d=μ m

H a :μ d ≠ μ m

Figure 10. t test Hypotheses

Figure 10, above, shows the hypotheses used for this t test. Ho represents the

null hypothesis of there being no difference between the two antennas’ mean receptions,
Coles – Corpel 21

represented by μ. The alternative hypothesis, Ha, states that the two receptions are in

fact different at a level that is statistically significant.

Table 6
t Test Output for Monopole and Dipole Antennas

As shown in Table 6, the t value of -.381 with 57.3 degrees of freedom leads to a p value

of 0.70, well above the 0.05 standard for significance in difference. A sample calculation

of the t statistic is provided in Appendix D. From this, it can be concluded that the

monopole and dipole antennas did not differ significantly in their ability to receive signal

while the loop differed from the other two.

The determination that the loop antenna had the highest mean signal strength,

as proven by the various statistical tests above, can be used to inform a scientific

conclusion regarding the hypothesis.

Coles – Corpel 22


The purpose of this experiment was to determine the impact of the shape of an

antenna on the signal strength of that antenna. The experiment tested the signal

strength of various antenna shapes (dipole, monopole, and loop) created out of copper

wire. A frequency generator was connected to a dipole antenna to act as the transmitter

and a multimeter was connected to the other antenna, which changed shape between

trials, to act as the receiver. To find the signal strength of the antenna, the multimeter

was set to read millivolts. The signal would spike to a value and then settle to a different

value. The value of the highest spike was said to represent the signal strength. It was

hypothesized that the dipole antenna would have the highest signal strength.

The hypothesis was rejected, as the dipole antenna and monopole antennas

both had inferior signal strength to the loop antenna. The dipole antenna had an average

spike of 0.14 volts, the monopole 0.15 volts, and the loop had an average spike of 0.56

volts. This data was analyzed using an ANOVA statistical test. The F value of this test

was 40.890 with 2/87 degrees of freedom, leading to a p-value of less than 0.0001,

which is therefore less than 0.05, the standard barrier of statistical significance. This

means that there is essentially a 0% chance of getting a difference in mean spike this

extreme if all the antennas truly performed the same. The data was further analyzed with

t tests to verify what was suggested by the means, that the loop antenna had the best

performance. As the loop antenna had the highest signal strength, the dipole necessarily

could not hold that title and the hypothesis was rejected.

This conclusion seems out of line with the existing scientific literature, but makes

sense given the constraints of the experimental design. In an ideal setting, the length of

a dipole or monopole antenna would be one half the wavelength of the frequency it must

put out. This is because at this point the frequencies reflecting off the end of the inside of

the antenna are not stored in any way and able to simply move back through the
Coles – Corpel 23

antenna, leading to constructive interference thereby boosting the signal. This is

opposed to a non-ideal situation, which leads to capacitance-like effects where energy

gets temporarily stored in the copper wire as if it were a capacitor (Gilchrist), instead of

being broadcast. The generator available could put out a frequency with a wavelength

of, at its shortest possible length, three kilometers. The researchers were unable to

acquire the three kilometers of copper wire necessary to build an ideal transmission and

receiving antenna, and therefore had to settle for an antenna that was approximately

1/64 of a wavelength long. This being far from the ideal length led to less than ideal

performance from the di- and monopole antennas in the experiment. The loop antenna is

not so constrained by this length requirement because the short distances in the

experiment allowed the coil to act more like an electromagnet than an antenna. This

made the antenna appear to perform better because of the strong near field

electromagnetic effect, when, in actuality, at longer distances, a dipole antenna would be

able to transmit a signal a farther distance (Gilchrist). This effect arose from the coiled

nature of the antenna, which is physically similar to a simple coil electromagnet. The

charge received by the antenna from the signal energized the antenna as it did in the

monopole and dipole trials. However, in this case, the current essentially created an

electromagnet due to the coiled shape of the wire leading to an incredibly strong near-

field electromagnetic force, generated by large amounts of constructive phase

interference, leading to high amplitudes in the area immediately around the signal

source. This effect would, however, rapidly decay as distance from the antenna

increased (Gilchrist).

There is also a chance that the physical integrity of the antenna degraded over

the course of the experiment, as at the end of each day the copper wire was rolled up to

be stored. This rolling and unrolling led to seemingly permanent kinks and divots in the

wire which could not be smoothed out. It is possible that this decline in antenna quality
Coles – Corpel 24

brought down the ability of the wires to carry and receive signal. Also, the antennas were

laid on the ground which may have, at low frequencies, acted more like a conductor than

a reflective surface as was originally envisioned. This would interfere with the ability of

the antennas to transmit signals and would alter their shapes in a way akin to placing

them on any other conductive surface such as a metal plate (Gilchrist).

These results, despite the experimental errors, are not useless. The knowledge

that loop antennas can be made using much less material and perform with increased

efficacy over a less than ideal dipole over short distances is useful when designing

transmission and reception devices of all kinds, especially radios that require long

distance transmission abilities while retaining relative portability.

The results are also relevant to the scientific community at large because they

bring to light various easily overlooked factors in antenna performance and give some

hint as to what shapes should be used in what scenarios. Still, further study should be

conducted on antennas of ideal dipole and monopole length as well as various other

shapes. Further, the impact of distance between antennas on signal strength, with shape

being considered as a factor, should also be studied further.

Coles – Corpel 25


The researchers would like to thank their parents for their support of this

research, both emotionally and financially. They helped the researchers obtain the

materials needed to perform this experiment and kept the researchers’ spirits up during

the frustrating trial portion.

The researchers would also like to extend their gratitude to Dr. Brian Gilchrist of

the University of Michigan for his extensive knowledge on the science behind radio wave

propagation. Because of Dr. Gilchrist, the researchers gained a much deeper

understanding of the results they obtained from their experiment and the scientific

reasons for the seemingly unexplainable numbers gathered.

Coles – Corpel 26

Appendix A: Monopole and Dipole Antenna Construction


18 AWG Copper Wire (45.7 m)


1. Lay copper wire flat on ground in one straight line.

2. The transmission antenna will be a dipole, so, if constructing the transmission

antenna, connect the frequency generator in the middle of the antenna. If
constructing the receiving this antenna, skip this step and proceed to step three.
Otherwise, the build is complete.

3. For a monopole antenna, connect multimeter to the end of the antenna. For a
dipole antenna, connect the multimeter to the middle of the antenna.
Coles – Corpel 27

Appendix B: Loop Antenna Construction


18 AWG Copper Wire (45.7 m)

1 in. Radius Wooden Dowel


1. Lay copper wire flat on ground in one straight line.

2. Coil wire around the dowel as tightly as possible while ensuring that the coils do
not touch.

3. Remove the coil from the dowel without uncoiling by sliding it off one end of the

4. Connect center of antenna coil to multimeter.

Coles – Corpel 28

Appendix C: Randomization


Google Sheets Software


1. Fill one column 30 entries of “Monopole” and 30 entries of “Dipole”.

2. Select all entries in the column.

3. Right click the selection to bring up a context menu.

4. In the context menu, select “Randomize Range”.

Coles – Corpel 29

Appendix D: Sample Calculations

The tables in the data and observation section included two separate

calculations. One calculation, the voltage difference, Dv, in each table was calculated by

subtracting the initial reading, I, from the final reading, F.


Shown below is a sample calculation using the simple equation for the voltage



¿ 0.2 mV −0.1 mV

¿ 0.1 mV

Figure 11. Voltage Difference Equation

The equation for the voltage difference shown in Figure 11 is incredibly similar to the

equation for spike voltage difference, Ds, which was calculated by subtracting the final

reading, F from the voltage spike, S.


Shown below in figure 12 is a sample calculation for the difference in the voltage spike.


¿ 0.3 mV −0.1 mV

¿ 0.2 mV

Figure 12. Spike Voltage Difference

Coles – Corpel 30

Table 7
Antenna Reception Values
Antenna Type n x́ s

Dipole 30 0.1367 0.1426

Loop 30 0.5600 0.3013

Monopole 30 0.1500 0.1280

Table 7, above, shows the number of trials, mean voltage spike (response

variable), and standard deviation of each antenna shape. These values will be used for

the sample calculations. Due to rounding errors in these values, the calculated F-statistic

will be slightly off from the one given in the Data Analysis and Interpretation section.

However, the concepts used to calculate this value remain the same.

To find the p-value, two variables must be calculated, the F-statistic and the

degrees of freedom.

n1 x́ 1 +n2 x́2 +n3 x́ 3 30∗0.1367+30∗0.56+30∗0.15

x́= =
N 90

= 0.2822

Figure 13. Weighted Average Sample Mean

Figure 13, above, shows the calculations made to find the sample mean of all the

populations in the ANOVA test. This is the number of observations in each sample (n)

times the mean of each sample (xbar), like weighted means, and is used in the next two

Coles – Corpel 31

2 2 2
n1 ( x́ 1−x́ ) + n2 ( x́2− x́ ) + n3 ( x́ 3− x́ )
I −1

30∗( 0.1367−0.2822)2 +30∗(0.56−0.2822)2+30∗(0.15−0.2822)2


= 1.7373

Figure 14. Mean Square Group

Figure 14, above, shows the calculations made to find MSG. MSG is the mean

square group or the variation among sample means between each population. It is found

by dividing the sum of each population size times each sample mean’s deviation from

xbar squared by one less than the number of groups (I). This is used to find the F

statistic along with the following calculation.

( n1−1 ) s 12+ ( n2−1 ) s22 + ( n3 −1 ) s32


29∗0.14262 +29∗0.30132 +29∗0.1282


= 0.0415

Figure 15. Mean Square Error

Figure 15, above, shows the calculations made to find MSE. MSE is the mean

square error or the variation among individuals in all samples of each population. It is

found by dividing the sum of one less than each population size times each population’s

standard deviation (s) squared by one less than the number of overall trials (N).

MSG 1.7373
F= =
MSE 0.0415

= 41.8172

Figure 16. F-statistic

Figure 16, above, shows the calculations made to find the F-statistic. The F -

statistic is the ratio of the variation among sample means between each population and
Coles – Corpel 32

the variation among individuals in all samples of each population. The F statistic is right

skewed but when the numerator and denominator values grow, the curve become closer

to normal. This value is used in finding the p-value.

I −1 3−1
df = =
N −I 90−3

= 2/87

Figure 17. Degrees of Freedom

Figure 17, above, shows the calculations made to find the degrees of freedom in

an ANOVA test. The degrees of freedom are the number of values that are allowed to be

variant. With an ANOVA test, there are two different values for the degrees of freedom.

The numerator value is found by taking the number of populations and subtracting one

(which gives the degrees of freedom between each group). The denominator value is

found by taking the total number of data points and subtracting the number of

populations (which gives the degrees of freedom within each group). It is extremely

important to note that this is not a fraction that can be simplified. Both the numerator and

denominator must remain as calculated.

Once the F-statistic and degrees of freedom are calculated, the p-value can be

determined by looking at a table of F-statistics and correlating p-values or by entering

these numbers into a program to compute the value. Both returned, in this case, a p-

value of about 3.02 * 10-13.

To compare the different antenna shapes (in this case the dipole and monopole

antennas), a two-sample t test must be used. To find the amount of standard deviations

away from the mean, t, the average of each sample, x́ 1 and x́ 2 , will be subtracted

and then divided by the square root of the standard deviation of the first sample, s 1

squared, over the number of trials of the first sample, n1 , added to the sample
Coles – Corpel 33

deviation of the second sample, s 2 , squared, over the number of trials of the second

sample, n2

(¿ ¿ 1− x́ 2 ) (0.1367−0.15)

√ s12 s 22 =
n1 n2
t =¿
√ 0.14262 0.1282

= -0.3802

Figure 18. Sample Calculation of a Two-Sample t Test

Figure 18, above, shows a sample calculation of a two-sample t test to find the

number of standard deviations the dipole antenna is from the monopole antenna. The

sample calculation shown in the figure above used the data from this experiment.

Once the t-value has been calculated, the p-value can be determined by looking

at a table of t-values and corresponding p-values or by entering these numbers into a

program to compute the value. It is important to note two things when using a table to

calculate results, because the book calculates the area below the t-value. Firstly, if the

alternate hypothesis states that the first mean, μ1, is greater than the second mean, μ2,

then the p-value is truly one minus the given value. Secondly, if the alternate hypothesis

states that the first mean is equal to the second mean, then the p-value needs to be

measured on both ends of the distribution (because the first mean is either greater than

or less than the second mean). This means that the value in the table needs to be

doubled (or if the t-value is positive, then the quantity of one minus the given value must

be doubled). Either method returned the same p-value of about 0.7045.

Coles – Corpel 34

Appendix E: Professional Contact Email

Hello Francois and Stuart!

I have copied Barb Lupi here at Michigan to help set up a half-hour time for us to talk via phone or

Happy to try and be of help!

Brian Gilchrist…
Coles – Corpel 35

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