Avionics News April 2015 - 62

industry
An ADS-B blade antenna on a Predator UAS

REAL-WORLD AVIONICS:

GROUND-PLANE

ISSUES

ANTENNAS NEED PROPER BONDING
S T O R Y

I

B Y

J O H N

've been writing on real-world avionics for about
four years now. As I've done so, certain topics have
arisen regularly, some obvious - like the need to
follow instructions clearly - and some less obvious.
One of those is the matter of assuring a proper groundplane for antennas, which came up in the very first
article I wrote, and at least once later. That led me to
wonder just what a ground-plane was.
The term refers to making sure antennas are properly
installed, usually requiring them to be attached to an
electrically grounded surface that's large by comparison
with the antenna wavelength. I'll get to that shortly. But
first, let's consider another issue.
Exactly what do we mean by an electrical ground?
It's a term every electronic technician quickly learns.
Of course, I was exposed to it in the basic electronics
62

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2015

D .

R U L E Y

course at Keesler Air Force Base back in 1976. For that
matter, I'd probably heard it already in high school.
When we're first introduced to electrical circuits,
there usually is no ground involved - typically, examples will show something like a battery, a switch and a
light bulb, and the circuit goes from the positive side of
the battery through the other components. As examples
become more complex, though, it is conventional to
show one side of the circuit as "grounded" with the traditional symbol:

This also is reflected in the actual construction of
electrical (and electronic) equipment, where the chas-



Avionics News April 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News April 2015

Avionics News April 2015 - Intro
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover1
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover2
Avionics News April 2015 - 1
Avionics News April 2015 - 2
Avionics News April 2015 - 3
Avionics News April 2015 - 4
Avionics News April 2015 - 5
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Avionics News April 2015 - Cover3
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover4
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