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Ask MAKE: Best book for learning about Antennas?

Ask MAKE: Best book for learning about Antennas?

Ask MAKE is a weekly column where we answer reader questions, like yours. Write them in to mattm@makezine.comor drop us a line on Twitter. We can’t wait to tackle your conundrums!


Maurice writes:

I’m trying to understand antennas. I mean, really understand them. But I need a book that’s gonna spoon-feed me all my antenna wisdom. Any recommendations?

My knowledge of radios end just before antennas (literally, I used to help design power amplifiers for them!), so I asked a few of my colleagues for recommendations.

Diana Eng, fashion whiz and ham radio enthusiast, suggests the ARRL Antenna Book:


She pointed out that it about 1000 pages, and if you can get through the whole thing you will probably be somewhat of an antenna expert! Diana also produced a video about directional antennas that might be of interest to you.

Next, I talked to Matt Stultz, who runs ham radio classes at Hack Pittsburgh. He also recommends the ARRL Antenna Book, but suggested that for a beginner, the basic antennas book might be a better place to start:


Between those two books, you should have more then enough material to get a start in antenna design. Good luck!

Know of any other great books on antenna design? Let us know in the comments!

14 thoughts on “Ask MAKE: Best book for learning about Antennas?

  1. says:

    Depends on what you’re interested in learning about antennas: the practical, or the theoretical. Those books should offer both aspects.

    There are also some other books by the ARRL. Visit and find their Store, then show the list of books for Antennas.

  2. gibbled says:

    If you get into designing your own Yagi antennas later on check out this cool piece of free software…

  3. Tony says:

    Ramo Whinnery Van Duzer

    Fields and Waves in Communications Electronics

  4. mpechner says:

    If you join the ARRL, you get a monthly magazine called QST. It covers the whole hobby. There are articles that cover antennas, antenna tunners, tools for evaluating your antenna and reviews of pre-made antennas.

    Plus you get to search the archives of articles older than 5 years to do more research on antennas and other topics.

    Do not discount presentations at your local ham radio club and ham conventions, as well as hams that have posted well done videos about antennas on YouTube.

    Mostly buy some wire, read some basic articles and then take that wire and toss it in a tree to see what you get.


  5. Mad Scientist says:

    The books referenced above are good, I own them, and I receive QST – all good sources.

    One of the first books I read with any sort of detailed approach to antennas was “Practical Antenna Handbook” by Joseph Carr. I really liked it and it taught me a lot, held my interest, and I built an FM broadcast band quad antenna using that book that worked really well.

    That was a long time ago – I see that there is a recent edition which includes modeling software (as do the ARRL books).

  6. k4gdw says:

    After you finish with the ARRL Antenna Book(s) previously mentioned you might also check out the resources at and the writing of the late LB Cebik (W4RNL). Much of this material is more advanced dealing with theory and antenna modeling and would be a good place to continue after you’ve gotten a strong foundation.

  7. Shankar Shanky says:

    Antennas from Theory to Practice is a great book on Antennas!

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