In terms of an antenna, a ground plane is a surface that allows conduction and serves as a reflecting plane for radio waves. You can say it acts like a stimulated ground and is also very easy to use. There a few noteworthy things you should keep in mind.
How does a ground plane work?
The ground acts as a surface and reflects the radio waves so that the antenna’s top half can be seen on Earth. For the ground plane to function, the conducting surface has to extend to a quarter wavelength, starting from the antenna’s base.
In simple words, you can replace the Earth’s function with a ground plane that allows conduction. The ground plane’s shape and size have a key role that determines the radiation characteristics.
Moreover, you do not need a full circular plate for a conducting ground plane. It would also be difficult concerning costs and wind resistance. All you need is a sufficient ground plane that consists of a few quarter wavelength radials.
Why do you need a good ground plane?
It is a bit confusing to understand what a ground plane actually does. The metal surface of the ground plane under the antenna helps to launch the signal. Larger and flatter metal surfaces are always better.
Conversely, an inadequate ground plane cannot launch the signal that will meet your transmission range. Without a proper ground plane, your signals will back feed into the transceiver. It could also lead to damaging your ham radio.
You need a good ground plane, or else your radiating surface will not be able to affect radio reception. You should check and tune your antenna to make sure it is functioning properly.
How to test and ground an antenna?
Your very first step before grounding an antenna is that you have to test the antenna. To start with, you should look for the best ham radio available in the market. Next, you will require a multi-meter.
The process is quite simple. You only need to check the continuity between the antenna mount and the ground plane. Your antenna will work well if the antenna mount is perfectly grounded.
You have to connect the lines between the transmitter or receiver and the lower end of the ground plane elements.
To sum up
A good ground plane is a key feature for telecommunication devices, such as ham radio. As we said, make sure to check the ground plane for good conductivity. Resistance will cause power from the transmitter to disappear.
You can experiment with sizes and shapes with your ground planes. You might not need to go with a larger plate for ground planes. Select a size that suits your requirements and expectations.
Lastly, before buying a ham radio or ground plane, check whether you can hook a ground plane antenna to the radio. This provides you with easy transmission. The added distance will also offer more reception if you are in remote places.