Antenna design tools are very expensive. For hobbyists and small companies just starting out in the field, it can get very costly if you only need to design simple antennas. Fortunately, several low cost or open-source solutions exist that can help you on your way.
We’ve collected a list of open source antenna design software that can help you design, simulate, optimize, tune, and manufacture your next antenna. So let’s get to it!
Circuit Schematic, Layout, and Circuit Simulation
For those of us making PCB antennas, a circuit schematic and layout is needed. There a few tools here that can help along with some simulation tools for prototyping performance.
Electromagnetic (EM) Simulation
Inexpensive simulation software used for solving electromagnetic problems is even more rare for commercial use. In this category, we recommend openems as a free alternative. There are some python extensions on github and qucs implementation that also expand its usability. NEC is also a very good simulator for wire antennas.
There are plenty of other open source 3d EM simulators, but they are not able to provide return loss and antenna radiation patterns without significant software development.
Plotting data can be a chore if the right tool isn’t used. Thankfully, there are a lot of alternatives. Paraview, octave, and python are definitely the go-to for most antenna engineers looking to automate things from plotting patterns to compliance matrix analysis.
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Scripts used to design antennas and control simulation software are hard to come by. Generally, most open source tools aren’t suitable for production due to a lack of fundamental features, various bugs, or they are targeted for very simple geometries.
We’ve compiled a list of tools that have been useful and relatively easy to jump into for realistic antenna design including a physical optics solver for reflector antennas!
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Mechanical Compute Aided Design (CAD)
These are cost efficient tools for mechanical design.
The learning curve on some of these software suites can be overwhelming. There are plenty of youtube tutorials on some of the larger packages like KiCad and Fusion 360.
We can also help with the simulation of antennas and components. Check out our simulation page for more info:
That’s all. We hope this article helped you start your journey into antenna design. You may also want to see our guide on professional antenna design software.
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