Introduction: The quadrifilar helix antenna (QHA) is used widely for terrestrial  and space communication systems , where it is necessary to generate a circularly polarised cardioid-shaped radiation pattern with a high front-to-back ratio and low cross-polarisation. The radiating structure comprises four helical conductors which are excited in phase quadrature at the feed point, which is usually located at the centre of the top radials. The physical size of the quadrifilar antenna can be reduced by dielectric loading  or by meandering the printed linear elements . However, in the former arrangement dielectric absorption reduces the radiation efficiency of the antenna, and the latter technique is not suitable for constructing free standing wire structures, which are normally used for spacecraft payloads in the VHF and UHF bands . This Letter shows that a significant reduction in the axial length of a 1/2 turn half-wavelength QHA can be achieved by modifying the geometry of the helices in the region around the midpoint where a current null exists. Simulated and experimental results at L band are used to show that a size reduction of up to 15% is possible without significantly degrading the pattern shape and the bandwidth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering