J-pole antenna

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from J-pole)
Jump to: navigation, search
J-Pole Antenna.

The J-pole antenna, also called the Zepp' antenna (short for Zeppelin), and more properly known as the J antenna,[1] was first invented by the Germans for use in their lighter-than-air balloons.[2] Trailed behind the airship, it consisted of a single element, one half wavelength long radiator with a quarter wave parallel feedline tuning stub. This concept evolved to the J configuration by 1936[3] attaining the name J Antenna by 1943.[1]


The J-pole antenna is an end-fed omnidirectional half-wave antenna that is matched to the feedline by a quarter wave parallel transmission line stub.[1] Matching to the feed-line is achieved by sliding the connection of the feedline back and forth along the stub until an impedance match is obtained.[1] Being a half-wave antenna, it provides a small gain over a quarter-wave ground-plane antenna.[4]

Gain and radiation pattern[edit]

Primarily a dipole, the J-pole antenna exhibits a mostly circular pattern in the H plane with free-space gain near 2.5 dBi (0.4 dBd).[5] Measurements and simulation confirm the quarter-wave stub modifies the circular H-plane pattern shape increasing the gain slightly on the side of the J stub element and reducing the gain slightly on the side opposite the J stub element.[5][6] At right angles to the J-stub, the gain is closer to the overall average: about 2.3 dBi (0.2 dBd).[5] The slight increase over a dipole's 2.15 dBi (0 dBd) gain represents the small contribution to the pattern made by the current imbalance on the matching section.[5] The pattern in the E plane reveals a slight elevation of the pattern in the direction of the J element while the pattern opposite the J element is mostly broadside.[6] The net effect of the perturbation caused by quarter-wave stub is an H-plane approximate gain from 1.5 to 2.5 dBi (-0.6 dBd to 0.4 dBd).[6]


Like all antennas, the J-pole is sensitive to electrically conductive objects in its induction fields[7] (aka reactive near-field region [8]) and should maintain sufficient separation to minimize these near field interactions as part of typical system installation considerations.[9] The quarter wave parallel transmission line stub has an external electromagnetic field with strength and size proportional to the spacing between the parallel conductors.[10] The parallel conductors must be kept free of moisture, snow, ice and should be kept away from other conductors including downspouts, metal window frames, flashing, etc. by a distance of two to three times the spacing between the parallel stub conductors.[11] The J-Pole is very sensitive to conductive support structures and will achieve best performance with no electrical bonding between antenna conductors and the mounting structure.[12][13]

Feed and mounting[edit]


Typical construction materials include metal tubing,[1] ladder line, or twin-lead.[14]


The J-pole antenna and its variations may be fed with balanced line.[1] A coax feed line may be used if it includes a means to suppress feed-line RF currents.[12] A folded-balun, sleeve balun or common-mode choke will suppress feed-line RF currents.[15] The feed-point of the J-pole is somewhere between the closed low-impedance bottom and open high-impedance top of the J stub.[1][3] Between these two extremes a match to any impedance between the low to high impedance points is available.[1][3]


The J-pole design functions well when fed with a balanced feed (via balun, transformer or choke) and no electrical connection exists between its conductors and surrounding supports.[12][13] Historical documentation of the J antenna suggests the lower end of the matching stub is at zero potential with respect to earth and can connect to a grounding wire or mast with no effect on the antenna's operation.[1] Later research confirms the tendency of the mast or grounding wire to draw current from the antenna potentially spoiling the antenna pattern.[16] A common approach extends the conductor below the bottom of the J-pole resulting in additional and undesirable RF currents flowing over every part of the mounting structure.[12] This modifies the far field antenna pattern[16] typically, but not always, raising the primary lobes above the horizon reducing antenna effectiveness for terrestrial service.[13] J-pole antennas with electrical connection to their supports often fare no better, and often much worse, than the simpler Monopole antenna.[12] A mast decoupling stub reduces mast currents.[16][17]


Slim Jim antenna[edit]

J-pole Antenna and variations of same.

A variation of the J-pole is the Slim Jim antenna, also known as 2BCX Slim Jim,[18] that is related to the J-pole the way a folded dipole is related to a dipole.[19] The Slim Jim is one of many ways to form a J-Pole.[19] Invented by Fred Judd (G2BCX), the name was derived from its slim construction and the J type matching stub (J Integrated Matching).[18]

The Slim Jim variation of the J-pole antenna has characteristics and performance similar to a simple or folded Half-wave antenna and identical to the traditional J-pole construction.[19] Judd found the Slim Jim produces a lower takeoff angle and better electrical performance than a 5/8 wavelength ground plane antenna.[18] Slim Jim antennas made from ladder transmission line use the existing parallel conductor for the folded dipole element.[6] In the copper pipe variation, the Slim Jim uses more materials for no performance benefit.[6] Slim Jim antennas have no performance advantage over the traditional J-pole antenna.[19][6]

The approximate gain in the H-plane of the Slim Jim is from 1.5 to 2.5 dBi (-0.6 dBd to 0.4 dBd).[6]

Super-J antenna[edit]

The Super-J variation of the J-pole antenna adds an additional collinear half-wave radiator above the traditional J and connects the two with a phase stub to ensure both vertical half-wave sections radiate in current phase.[20] The phasing stub between the two half-wave sections is often of the Franklin style.[20][21]

The Super-J antenna compresses the vertical beamwidth and has more gain than the traditional J-pole design.[22] Both radiating sections have insufficient separation to realize the maximum benefits of collinear arrays resulting in less than the optimal 3 dB over a traditional J-pole or halfwave antenna.[22][23]

The approximate gain in the H-plane of the Super-J antenna is from 2.5 to 4.5 dBi (0.4 dBd to 2.4 dBd).[23]

Collinear J antenna[edit]

The collinear J antenna improves the Super-J by separating the two radiating half-wave sections to optimize gain using a phasing coil.[23] The resulting gain is closer to the optimum 3 dB over a traditional J-pole or halfwave antenna.[23]

The approximate gain of the Collinear J antenna is from 4 to 5.5 dBi (1.9 dBd to 3.4 dBd).[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Antennas and Antenna Systems (TM 11-314). U.S. War Department. 1943. 
  2. ^ Rogers, G. E. "J-Poles Handbook, 4th Edition". Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c US patent 2124424, Laurance McConnell Leeds, "Antenna System", published 1938-07-19 
  4. ^ Huggins, John S. "1/4 Wave Monopole vs. 1/2 Wave J-Pole EZNEC Shootout". Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d Cebik, L. B. "Some J-Poles That I Have Known Part 1: Part 1: Why I Finally Got Interested in J-Poles and Some Cautions in Modeling Them". Cebik.Com. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Huggins, John S. "Slim Jim vs. Traditional J-pole Antenna". Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  7. ^ Griffith, B. Whitfield (1962). Radio-Electronic Transmission Fundamentals. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Book Company, Inc. pp. 322–323. 
  8. ^ Balanis, Constantine (1982). Antenna Theory. Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. pp. 116–118. ISBN 0-06-040458-2. 
  9. ^ Collins, Brian (1984). "VHF and UHF Communication Antennas". In Johnson, Richard. Antenna Engineering Handbook (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. pp. 27.21–27.22. ISBN 0-07-032291-0. 
  10. ^ Griffith, B. Whitfield (1962). Radio-Electronic Transmission Fundamentals. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Book Company, Inc. pp. 243–244. 
  11. ^ Hall, Gerald (1988). The ARRL Antenna Book (15th ed.). American Radio Relay League. p. 24.25. ISBN 0-87259-206-5. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Huggins, John S. "J-Pole Antenna – Should I ground it?". Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c Richardson, Dan (March 1998). "The J-Pole Revisited" (PDF). CQ Magazine: 34–41. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  14. ^ Fong, Edison (March 2007). "The DBJ-2: A Portable VHF-UHF Roll-Up J-pole Antenna for Public Service". QST (Newington, CT: ARRL, Inc.). 
  15. ^ Straw, Dean (2007). "26 - Coupling the Line to the Antenna". The ARRL Antenna Book. Newington, CT: The ARRL, Inc. ISBN 0-87259-987-6. 
  16. ^ a b c Huggins, John S. "Have your J-Pole and ground it too". Retrieved 2015-03-04. 
  17. ^ Huggins, John S. "Mast Mountable J-Pole Antenna". Retrieved 2015-06-17. 
  18. ^ a b c Judd, Fred. "Slim Jim - 2 Metre Aerial". Practical Wireless - Out of Thin Air: 37–39. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  19. ^ a b c d Cebik, L. B. "What is a Slim Jim?". Cebik.Com. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Steve Cerwin (2007). "Mobile and Maritime Antennas - The Super-J Maritime Antenna". In Straw, Dean. ARRL Antenna Book (21st ed.). The ARRL, Inc. pp. 16.23–16.26. ISBN 0-87259-987-6. 
  21. ^ Collins, Brian (1984). "VHF and UHF Communication Antennas - Base-Station Antennas". In Johnson, Richard; Henry Jasik. Antenna Engineering Handbook (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 27_14. ISBN 0-07-032291-0. 
  22. ^ a b Cebik, L. B. "Some J-Poles That I Have Known Part 4: Some Things We Can and Cannot Do With a J-Pole". Cebik.Com. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  23. ^ a b c d e Huggins, John S. "Improving the Super J-Pole Antenna". Retrieved 21 April 2014. 

External links[edit]