said by psloan:I used an cheap aluminum cookie sheet from safeway for my reflector. Would I gain anything from getting something thicker?
No, I don't think so. The "skin effect" of microwave radiation keeps the radio waves at the surface of the metal. I remember in my college microwaves class we made a waveguide using the metal coated wrapper from a stick of Juicy Fruit gum!
I couldn't find my old electromagnetics or microwaves textbooks so a quick Googling turned this up:
The microwave currents flow in a thin surface layer of thickness about a "skin depth" from the surface. This is because electric fields cannot penetrate perfect conductors, and only penetrate real lossy conductors a little way. See the text by Kraus on Electromagnetics for a treatment if you like.
I'm still searching for the half power beam width equation.
Interesting to note from the pdf of Prof Georgieva's class notes that the first reflector system was made by Hertz in 1888 (cylindrical reflector fed by a dipole). Sounds like the antenna design in this thread. [text was edited by author 2003-02-06 15:06:36]