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FEKO Tutorial 1

FEKO is a Method of Moments (MoM) tool that can be used to calculate the radiation pattern, impedance and gain of an antenna while mounted on some defined geometry. In addition, it can calculate the isolation or mutual coupling (S12) between pairs of antennas, the near fields around an antenna and the electric currents that flow on an antenna or the surrounding structure. The basic flow of performing a FEKO analysis consists of: 1) Building a geometry, for the antenna (example a wire to represent the antenna) in CADFEKO or EDITFEKO. 2) Building a geometry to represent surrounding geometry (for instance, can model an antenna on top of an airplane or an antenna on a supporting structure which will affect the antennas performance) in CADFEKO, EDITFEKO or an external tool. 3) Meshing the Created Antenna and Surrounding Geometries (CADFEKO or EDITFEKO) 4) Requesting Solution Types and Setting Solution Parameters (CADFEKO or EDITFEKO) 5) Running the FEKO solver (FEKO) 6) Read in and interpret results using PostFEKO. These steps will be described in this FEKO tutorial. FEKO version 4.0 and FEKO Suite 5.4 will be used. For a more advanced tutorial, see Tutorial #2 - Blade Antenna on a Cylinder. First, let's click the CADFEKO button wherever we have FEKO installed. If you have everything set up properly, youll see a screen similar to that shown below. This is where we can build geometry using a fairly simple graphical user interface.

The easiest way to learn this stuff is to play around with it. Well walk through a couple of examples. The first, well look at a simple wire dipole and calculate the impedance and radiation pattern. The first step is to make our antenna. Note that the default settings for all geometry lengths are meters. This can be altered by clicking ModelModel Unit and selected a different unit, if say, you prefer inches. Let's say we want a dipole antenna to operate at 600 MHz. The wavelength at this frequency is 0.5 meters, so a half-wavelength dipole would be 0.25 meters. Well first declare a variable called Length to represent this. Right-click on the Variables label in the Model Tree as shown below and select add variable:

The following window pops up, and we enter the length as 0.25 (the unit is meters unless we specified otherwise). Then click create, and the variable is saved in the Variables Tree.

For now, that is all the variables we'll make. You can add as many expressions for variables as you want, and even define variables in terms of other variables if you feel like it. Now, we'll create the geometry of our antenna. Click the create line button on the far left side of the CADFEKO screen:

A create line window pops up. We will place this dipole centered at the origin (x,y,z)=(0,0,0), with the length given by our declared variable Length. We will name it dipole in the label panel. Click create to create the dipole, then close to close the create line window (see window below).

This is all the geometry we'll need to model a simple wire antenna. In the next tutorial, we'll look at adding sources to the dipole, meshing, and requesting output from FEKO.

FEKO Tutorial 2
Sources and Meshing in FEKO
Continuing the FEKO tutorial from the previous one, we now have a line that represents our dipole antenna. It is simply a wire (the default property all objects created is to be made of metal with infinite conductivity which is usually what you want). To make it an antenna, we need to add a voltage source to the center of the wire. This is simple. In the CADFEKO tree, right click Ports and then select Create PortWire Port.

Once you select Wire Port, another window pops up. The Edge box is initially highlighted this is the place where the wire port should be applied. We simply select the object we want the port applied to. In this case, just click anywhere on the wire we just created. Then select the location as middle to have the port at the center of the wire. Then click Create, then Close as shown in the window below:

We now have a port, but to calculate the radiation pattern we will need to apply a source. This can be done by right clicking on Excitations in the Solution list of the CADFEKO model tree, and then selecting Voltage Source.

The add voltage source dialogue pops up. We want to apply the source to Port1, and well leave the magnitude and phase at the default values of 1 and 0, respectively. You can assign a name here if you want, but VoltageSource1 (the default) is fine. Click Create, then Close.

We need to specify the solution frequency now. We would like to see results at 600 MHz, so right click on Frequency under the Solution bar and select Set Frequency:

The frequency window pops up, and Enter 600e6 for 600 MHz, then click ok:

Note that we could select a frequency range if we wanted instead of a single frequency point. Now we need to mesh our geometry (our geometry is just the wire). The MoM technique works by reducing maxwells equations to an integral equation, then approximating the integral via discrete chunks over space. Hence, a mesh grids up our geometry (into triangles), that the solver uses to obtain the solution. At the top of the screen, there is a Mesh menu, click that and then click Create Mesh. See window below.

The mesh needs lengths specified which will determine how finely to grid the geometry. The mesh should have triangles that are no longer than an eighth of a wavelength, or wire segments not longer than one twelfth of a wavelength. When the create mesh window pops up, click the suggest button next to the edge length and segment length fields. This will determine the required lengths for you based on the frequency we specified.

For wire segment radius, this should be significantly smaller than the segment length we want the wire to be thin. If the wire is to be thicker, consider using a cylinder instead to model the antenna. You can enter a value 4e-3, which is about 10% of the segment size. Click create, then close, and you have your mesh. In the next section, we'll look at requesting outputs from FEKO, running the FEKO solution kernel, and then viewing the output in PostFEKO.

Requesting Outputs, Running FEKO and Using PostFEKO

At this point, we have our antenna geometry, port, source and mesh. We've set the solution frequency to be 600 MHz. Now, we need to request outputs. Right click on Solution in the CADFEKO tree, and click Request Far Fields.

The Request Far Fields window pops up, and if you click the 3D Pattern at the bottom (see window below), you will be requesting the far field pattern. The default setting will be the entire sphere, with a grid sampling in 5 degree increments. You can change these parameters if you would like. Then click create and then close, and you have told FEKO that you want to see the far field patterns (including gain) once the analysis is complete.

We can also request currents if we want, or S-parameters. For fun, lets request the S-parameters. We need to specify a port impedance. The default is 50 Ohms, and thats a good value so well use it. Right click on Calculation under the Solution tree, and then click Request Sparameters. The following window pops up, and simply click create and then close and the solution will calculate the S-parameters for you.


Weve now made a model of a linear wire antenna (dipole), created a mesh, added a source and a port, and requested our outputs. We now save our CADFEKO file and we are ready to run the FEKO solution kernel. Now, simply click RunFEKO (or ALT-4) and FEKO will analyze your file (make sure you didnt make any obvious mistakes), perform the numerical simulation and process the results.

FEKO runs (this should be very quick because our model is so simple) and the FEKO kernel shows the status on the screen.


We've now set up our model in CADFEKO, run the FEKO solution kernel, and we're ready to process our results using PostFEKO. Go to Run PostFEKO (or ALT+3) and PostFEKO (FEKOs utility to view the output or solutions) will come up. Lets look at the 3D Radiation patterns first. On the Far Left Column of buttons, click the view radiation patterns:

We immediately see a graph of the 3D Radiation pattern. You can change the quantity to gain or directivity as desired, and the scale to dB. Then change the Min and Max Limits so that they are to your liking. You can also rotate the radiation pattern in 3D if you want by clicking on the graph and moving it around.


Note that the gain is 0.2 dB because it includes mismatch loss reflection due to impedance mismatch from our 50 Ohm port to our antenna. If you click directivity, you will get 2.2 dB as the peak the expected value for a half-wave dipole antenna. To view the S-parameters or Impedance of this antenna, simply click the buttons on the top row, and then play around with the display settings. If you want to know what a button does, you can hover the mouse over it and it will display a brief description, or just click it and see what it does.


This wraps up the brief tutorial on FEKO. You gain understanding of PostFEKO simply by screwing around with it, click buttons, and see what happens. FEKO and PreFEKO are more complicated, so you may get to another tutorial or see the manual that provides more details.

Good Luck Dr. Zuhair M. Hejaz Nov. 2009G