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Elements of Radio Waves


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We present a summary of the basic properties of the radio wave generation, propagation and reception, with a special attention to the gigahertz bandwidth region which is of interest for wireless sensor networks. We also present some measurement results which use the so-called RSSI indicator in order to track how the field strength varies with position and distance of the transceivers. We hope the paper may be useful to anyone who looks for a quick review of the fundamentals of electromagnetic theory with application to antennas.
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In this paper I first address the question of whether the seat of the power radiated by an antenna made of conducting members is distributed over the ``arms'' of the antenna according to -J . E, where J is the specified current density and E is the electric field produced by that source. Poynting's theorem permits only a global identification of the total input power, usually from a localized generator, with the total power radiated to infinity, not a local correspondence of -J . E dv with some specific radiated power, r^2 S . n dO. I then describe a model antenna consisting of two perfectly conducting hemispheres of radius a separated by a small equatorial gap across which occurs the driving oscillatory electric field. The fields and surface current are determined by solution of the boundary value problem. In contrast to the first approach (not a boundary value problem), the tangential electric field vanishes on the metallic surface. There is no radial Poynting vector normal to the surface. Numerical examples are shown to illustrate how the energy flows from the input region of the gap and is guided near the antenna by its ``arms'' until it is launched at larger r/a into the radiation pattern determined by the value of ka.