A Primer on Antenna Design and RF Matching Circuit Design


​In the world of telecommunications, antennas with RF (Radio Frequency) and matching circuits play a crucial role in the successful wireless transmission and reception of data. Antenna design is a complex process involving the careful consideration of various factors to ensure the design aligns with the intended application. Additionally, RF matching circuits must be configured to allow the antenna to operate its radio system at the highest efficiency and performance levels. Both efforts are vital to creating an efficient, reliable system.

At Fresh, we’re expanding our service offerings to include RF engineering, creating new possibilities for delivering value to clients across various industries. This blog post will: 

  1. Explain the art of antenna design
  2. Communicate the importance of their accompanying RF matching circuits
  3. Educate readers about why this field is essential and why Fresh is getting involved
Fresh provides RF services across a range of industries.

The art of antenna design 

Antenna design is a complex process. At the heart of antenna design is understanding the electromagnetic field and its effects on the transmission and reception of an electrical signal. Antenna engineers must consider: 

  • The antenna’s use case
  • Packaging, operating environment, and desired frequency range
  • Allowable power levels 

Engineers must also account for easy assembling and integration, low manufacturing cost, high production yield, and other factors impacting business. 

While different use cases may call for different prioritization, a common goal for antenna design is to create a low-cost, efficient, easily tuned antenna that fits within the constraints of the intended packaging.  

Antenna engineers must first consider the application’s desired frequency range, maximum allowable power levels, quality factor, and isolation and coexistence with other antenna systems. These four factors will determine the size, shape, and applicable types of the antenna and the type of material used in the antenna’s construction. 

Antenna designers must then select the appropriate antenna type for the application. Some common antennas are dipole, yagi, helical, patch, and array antennas. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Collaboration between antenna engineers and product engineers is essential to determine which type best suits the application’s goals. 

Antenna engineers must also consider the antenna’s operating environment. For example, humidity, rain, and snow impact electromagnetic wave propagation. Wearables and high temperatures can cause antenna performance degradation. Other environmental factors include the presence of nearby obstacles such as body tissue, metal structures, furniture, buildings, trees, hills, and other terrain features. 

All of these factors significantly impact the antenna and radio system performance and must be taken into account when designing an antenna system. Ensuring that overall system performance meets application requirements when operating in the real world is vital.

What is an RF matching circuit? Why is it important? 

An RF matching circuit is a type of circuit used to optimize the efficiency of power transfer between the transmitter, receiver, and antenna. The RF matching circuit is designed to match the impedance of the antenna to the load impedance of the transmitter or receiver, ensuring maximum power transfer between the two devices within the desired frequency range. 

Without a well-designed RF matching circuit, the antenna may not operate at its peak efficiency, ultimately limiting the data rate, throughput, or operating range the system could ultimately achieve. 

An RF matching circuit can also help reduce noise or account for distortions in the signal due to radome materials, which can further improve the system’s performance. 

Antenna design is complex. Our engineers can help you simplify it.

As illustrated by the points above, antenna design is a complex process that requires careful consideration of various factors to match the antenna design to the intended application. RF matching circuits are essential to optimize the performance of radio systems and antennas and, therefore, should not be overlooked.

From accounting for successful wireless transmission and reception of data across a range of products to the physical design of antennas, we believe that RF engineering opens a range of possibilities for our clients and partners. For this reason, we provide a range of services including:

RF System Design:

  • Link Budgets
  • Throughput Estimations
  • Data Rate Estimations
  • Radio selection
  • Protocol Testing and Analysis

Custom Antenna Design

  • Antenna Design
  • EM simulation
  • Prototyping (PCB & Etched Antennas)
  • Benchtop design validation testing
  • Manufacturing documentation & support
  • Antenna Characterization

Custom RF Circuit Design

  • RF Circuit Analysis
  • RF Circuit Design 
  • RF Layout
  • EM Simulation
  • Board prototyping (w/ PCB vendors)
  • Benchtop design validation testing
  • Manufacturing documentation & support

Our team specializes in helping clients choose the right setup for their unique use case. If you’re interested in learning more about our approach or talking about everything RF, don’t hesitate to connect with our team. We look forward to hearing from you!


Nissa Van Meter

Sr. Electrical Engineer

Nissa is a Sr. Electrical Engineer specializing in system design/integration/test with a love of all things RF. She got her start in the industry at The Boeing Company as an Electrophysics Engineer, with expertise in satellite communication systems integration.

Nissa earned a BSEE and MSEE from the University of Washington, studying embedded systems design and microwave engineering. She has a broad range of skills including microcomputer systems, circuit design, signal processing, and R&D.

When she’s not crafting systems, Nissa enjoys playing indoor/outdoor volleyball or spending an entire afternoon with a good action RPG.