Antenna Design Software
My Top Picks

I decided to investigate antenna design software because I was tired of the traditional "cut-n-try" method. That was fine during my first quarter of century as a ham radio operator and antenna enthusiast.

This Page Covers
1. No-Cost Software
__VE3SQB Suite
__AC6LA Utils
2. Low-Cost Software
__NEC-WIN Plus
__RF Workbench™
3. Must Read
__Antenna Handbook

But, now in my sixties, I feel I need to make more efficient and effective use of my time. ;-)

Many consider antenna modeling programs to be "overkill" for most if not all ham radio antenna experimenters needs.

Not me (obviously).

The first benefit you get from using a good antenna design program is a much better understanding of all the parameters and compromises that go into the design of an antenna system.

By the way, one learns that there is more to an antenna system than the antenna itself!

The "Zero Cost"
Antenna Design Software

Here then are some of the most popular "no-cost" programs that are available today.

To be honest, there is a cost to this type of software. Your time! You will have to invest a bit of time up front to learn...

  • What the software can do and what its limits are.
  • How to navigate through the user interface.
  • How to get the most out of any given antenna design software.

But the time invested in learning how to design your own antennas will bring very appreciable returns.

  • Precious knowledge and know-how.
  • Self-satisfaction of having mastered yet another aspect of ham radio.
  • Not to mention designing and building antennas that will sometimes outperform commercial ones!

The following antenna modeling software
run on Windows only!


My favorite ... even if the "fully functional" demo version is limited to 20 segments. It's so easy to use, compared to other NEC-based software! To "see" what I mean...

See my review and video demo of
EZNEC v5.0 here on this site


The user interface of the 4NEC2 Antenna Modeler and Optimizer ... is not quite as user-friendly as EZNEC's.

On the other hand, 4NEC2 let's you subdivide your antenna into 1500 segments (default)! That means higher accuracy and the possibility of modeling complex antenna systems.

Want to run more than the default (1500!) number of segments? See the FAQ on the site. Note that the 4NEC2 software will run on Windows operating system, versions 95 to Vista. I have not tested it on later versions. Try it anyway! It might work.

Available at:

VE3SQB Software Suite

His excellent software suite is ideal for those of you who are in a real hurry to get quick but useful antenna solutions ... without having to learn too much about what compromises go into the designs and why!

Al's software is as close to "plug & play" antenna design software as you will ever get. Neat and simple.

See my review of
VE3SQB's antenna software here


Expert Mininec Classic by EM Scientific Inc. is certainly worth looking into if the previously mentioned software does not meet your requirements and expectations.

Available at:


Quoting from their Web site...

"NEC4WIN® has limitations. They are the same as Mininec3 on which the engine is based. Close parallel wires, horizontal wires too close to the ground, sharp corners may be a problem to simulate. Log Periodics and Transmission Lines can't be simulated accurately with it. Antenna impedance is always calculated based on Perfect Ground.

The number of wires supported by NEC4WIN is limited to 50 and segment to 250. For complex projects you should look at NEC4WINVM."

NEC4WIN® is available at...

AC6LA Utilities

Antenna modeling utility programs that are useful complement to antenna modeling software.

Available at:

Low Cost Antenna Design Software
For The Extras You Cannot Live Without...

Some things still come with a price tag in this world!
Here are a few useful examples.

NEC-Win Plus

NEC-Win Plus, by Nittany Scientific, is intended for beginners and hobbyists. This is not freeware ... but you'll get your money's worth.

Available at:

RF Workbench™

RF Workbench™ ... is for the engineer in you! (Note: this one is "Shareware").

Available at:

Reading Material

The designing and building of antennas is a very wide subject. It has become a hobby within a hobby for many of us.

Much has been written on the subject.
Some of it cannot be ignored. For example...

ARRL Antenna Handbook

I strongly recommend that you read Chapter Four of the ARRL Antenna Handbook, 21st Edition. The chapter is dedicated to "Antenna Modeling & System Planning". It will help you understand antenna modeling and evaluate the antenna design software available.


"AntenneX" is a online magazine dedicated exclusively to everything related to antennas.

An absolute must for true antenna enthusiasts from all walks of life.

Available at:

Antenna Design Software
is part of the Antenna Section on this site

Author: Claude Jollet - VE2DPE

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If you have a question, a comment or a topic you would like me to cover, please do not hesitate to ask here.

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