Tunable, Electrically Small, Inductively Coupled Antenna for Transportable Ionospheric Heating

Benedikt Esser, Daniel Mauch, James Dickens, John Mankowski, Andreas Neuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


An electrically small antenna is evaluated for use as the principle radiating element in a mobile ionospheric heating array. Consisting of a small loop antenna inductively coupled to a capacitively loaded loop, the electrically small antenna provides high efficiency with the capability of being tuned within the range of ionospheric heating. At a factor 60 smaller in area than a High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program element, this antenna provides a compact, efficient radiating element for mobile ionospheric heating. A prototype antenna at 10 MHz was built to study large-scale feasibility and possible use with photoconductive semiconductor switch-based drivers. Based on the experimental study, the design has been extrapolated to a small 6 × 4 array of antennas. At a total power input of 16.1 MW this array is predicted to provide 3.6-GW effective radiated power typically required for ionospheric heating. Array cross talk is addressed, including effects upon individual antenna port parameters. Tuning within the range of ionospheric heating, 3–10 MHz, is made possible without the use of lossy dielectrics through a large capacitive area suited to tune the antenna. Considerations for high power operation across the band are provided including a method of driving the antenna with a simple switcher requiring no radio frequency cabling. Source matching may be improved via adjustment of the coupling between small loop antenna and capacitively loaded loop improving |S11| from −1 to −21 dB at 3 MHz.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-508
Number of pages13
JournalRadio Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • antenna arrays
  • electrically small antenna
  • ionospheric heating
  • tuning methods


Dive into the research topics of 'Tunable, Electrically Small, Inductively Coupled Antenna for Transportable Ionospheric Heating'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this