Antennas and Propagation

Key information

Start date: 08 November 2021

Attendance dates:

November 2021: 08, 09, 10, 11, 12

Time commitment: 5 days


Stag Hill campus, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH

Contact details:


This course is designed to provide an overview of the fundamental principles associated with microwave and RF antennas and propagation. It will present the underlying theory in an accessible manner, together with techniques for application of the theory to satellite and mobile communications scenarios as well as broadcasting and indoor wireless applications.

This course is usually very popular so early booking is advised.

It is intended to run this course face-to-face.

Lab demonstrations add value to previous lectures and prompted a good discussion. Liked Tim’s flexibility in approach when dealing with different experience levels… Wanted to keep his first antenna!

Comment from previous student

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the fundamental parameters of antennas, such as: gain, impedance, and efficiency. Explain the basic principles of operation of a type of antenna.
  • Have practical experience in designing and testing antennas.
  • Explain propagation behaviour in practical scenarios and how to apply propagation models to advanced representative problems.

Course content

Content includes the following:

  • Antenna principles and calculations from electromagnetic theory
  • Radio propagation modelling
  • Overcoming channel impairments
  • Antenna design with the inclusion of laboratory demonstrations.

Please note that we reserve the right to alter the syllabus. Any major changes will be notified to delegates before the course starts.

Introduction and antenna fundamentals part one and two – Dr Tim Brown

An introduction to the whole course and its structure. What is an antenna? Why does antenna design and propagation modelling matter? Examples of applications in this regard. Overview of relevant textbooks in the field.

Brief introduction to Maxwell’s equations, poynting vector, plane waves, hertzian dipole. isotropic radiator. Definitions of gain, radiation resistance, effective area, link budget and far field criteria, impedance and reflection coefficient. Polarisation, Basic wire antennas: dipole, loop. Helix antennas.

Antenna characterisation design lab – Dr Tim Brown
Brief introduction to how antennas are designed characterised. To have a hands on experience in the laboratory with building and testing a linear wire antenna.

Types of antennas and introduction to arrays – Dr Tim Brown
Following the introduction to antennas, this session will cover a brief introduction to the different types of antennas such as a:

  • Uda-Yagi antenna
  • Horn antenna
  • Helical antenna
  • Microstrip antenna
  • Slot antenna
  • Reflector antenna and others.

It will give particular attention to the concept of array antennas where multiple antenna elements can be combined. This will include 1-D and 2-D array antennas.

Propagation fundamentals – Dr Tim Brown

  • Free space propagation
  • Scales of variation in mobile systems
  • Path loss
  • Shadowing
  • Fast fading
  • Reflection - specular reflection
  • Fresnel coefficients
  • Polarisation effects
  • Rough and random surfaces
  • Refraction - refractive index
  • Snell’s Law
  • Fresnel transmission coefficients
  • Multipath effects
  • Introduction to stochastic
  • Deterministic and empirical channel models.

Fixed link propagation models – Dr Tim Brown

  • Plane earth loss, spherical earth effects
  • Diffraction and Huygens Principle
  • Knife-edge diffraction
  • Fresnel zones
  • Tropospheric refraction
  • Path profiles - line of sight versus non-line of sight
  • Tropospheric refraction - n-units
  • Effective earth radius
  • Ducting.

Slant path propagation for fixed satellite links – Dr Tim Brown
This session provides an appreciation of propagation impairments relating to satellite links and focuses on fixed satellite links. The various impairments introduced in the troposphere and ionosphere are presented along with a description of the methods for assessing the impact of these effects. Reference will be made to the course book and appropriate ITU-R recommendations. Some examples of calculations as well as measurement results will be presented.

Diffraction models – Dr Tim Brown

  • Multiple knife edge diffraction
  • Approaches to modelling diffraction including Deygout method, causebrook correction and Giovanelli method.

Propagation in the troposphere – Dr Richard Rudd – Aegis Systems Ltd

  • The impact of the troposphere on terrestrial propagation paths
  • Temporal variability and radio-meteorology
  • Tidal fading and other challenges
  • The work of ITU-R study group three.

Wire antennas old and new, small antennas – Prof Mike Underhill

  • Hertzian dipole
  • Half wave dipole
  • Folded dipole
  • Baluns
  • Resonant and non-resonant antennas
  • Antenna matching
  • Arrays, Yagi-Uda, broadside
  • Rhombic, helical
  • Mobile station antennas: Monopole
  • Loading with capacitance and inductance
  • Loops, helicals
  • Planar inverted F antennas
  • Base station antennas: Vertical gain
  • Collinear
  • Sector antennas
  • Corner reflectors
  • Printed arrays.

Laboratory demonstrations – Prof Mike Underhill
Demonstration of small tuned loops and log periodic antenna, and microwave can antenna.

Mobile systems overview, microcells and macrocells – Prof Simon Saunders

  • Overview of mobile systems - cell types
  • Narrowband fast fading – Rayleigh and rice fading
  • Outage probability, bit error rate effect
  • Doppler spread and channels with memory
  • Macrocells - empirical: Power law, clutter factor, Okumura/Hata
  • Theoretical: Multiple building diffraction, COST-231 Walfisch-Ikegami, flat edge
  • Comparison of theoretical and empirical models
  • Shadowing - statistics
  • Availability at cell edge and over cell area
  • Microcells - empirical: Dual slope, attenuation factor.

Indoor propagation – Prof Simon Saunders

  • Picocells - propagation in buildings and other enclosed spaces.
  • Femtocells - challenges in propagation over a small proximity.

Antenna simulations – CST Ltd.
A lecture presented by Computing Simulation Technology (CST) Ltd. covering an introduction to the methods of antenna simulation followed by plus a hands on laboratory session experimenting with CST’s own design studio software.

Base station antennas – Prof Brian Collins – BSC Consulting

  • Antennas for mobile radio base stations
  • The relationship between network requirements and antenna design
  • Antennas for space and polarisation diversity, multi-band arrays and arrays with adjustable tilt
  • Practical considerations - weather resistance and power handling.

HF antennas and propagation – Prof Brian Collins – BSC Consulting

  • HF propagation: Basics, effects of sunspot number, season, time of day and location, prediction methods.
  • HF antennas: Matching the antenna to the medium, broadband antennas, broadcasting antennas, NVIS antennas, receiving antennas.

GPS systems antennas – Prof Brian Collins – BSC Consulting

  • The GPS satellite system and basic location concepts
  • Different types of antennas, measurement of antenna systems, antenna-radio modules
  • Integration of antennas into application devices, how to demonstrate application devices

Printed mobile antennas – Prof Brian Collins – BSC Consulting

  • Antennas for handsets and small wireless devices
  • Problems of size, efficiency and bandwidth, user interactions and SAR
  • The rapidly increasing pressures of complex device integration
  • Future directions.

Learning and teaching methods

Learning and teaching methods include the following:

  • Lectures
  • Laboratory classes.


There is no assessment for those who take this as an individual short course.

Course leader

Tim Brown profile image

Dr Tim Brown

Senior Lecturer in RF Antennas and Propagation

Entry requirements

There are no prerequisites required to do this course.

Fees and funding


IET/IEET members: Bookings made before 1 Nov 2021


Same company bookings of two or more people


Early bird rate: Bookings made before 1 Nov 2021


Standard rate: Bookings made after 1 Nov 2021

What these fees include

Tuition, catering including lunches, tea and coffee. Course notes will be provided in PDF format.

How to apply

Payment can be accepted by purchase order, credit card or bank transfer on our online store.

Please note that we do not charge VAT as we are an educational establishment.

Payments will be accepted subject to availability. If making payment by credit card, please forward the transaction receipt by email to Barbara Steel.

Register your interest

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations and our terms and conditions. You are also confirming you have read and understood our privacy notice.

  • Cancellations notified in writing ten working days before the event; we charge a cancellation fee of 35 per cent of the standard rate. If we have already received payment we refund 65 per cent of the full fee.
  • Cancellations within 10 working days before the event; We charge these at the full rate and do not give refunds.
  • If no written notice of cancellation is received, no refund can be made.
  • The University of Surrey reserves the right to cancel any event. In this case, the full fee will be refunded unless a mutually convenient transfer can be arranged. Details of event changes or cancellations are available by phoning +44 (0)1483 686040.
  • Delegates can make a provisional registration for a course by telephone or email. However bookings are only acknowledged formally once payment has been received.
  • Substitutions from the same company may be made following consultation with the Continuing Education Manager.
  • The University reserves the right to cancel any course on the grounds of insufficient numbers or for other reasons beyond our control. In this case the full fee will be refunded unless a mutually convenient transfer can be arranged.
  • Registrations cannot be accepted without a valid purchase order, credit card payment or cheque.
  • Proof of payment.
  • Registrations must come with a valid purchase order, credit card payment or cheque.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.