RF Symbols & Diagrams

This page acts as a quick reference to IEEE Std 315-1975 for the production of antenna component diagrams, containing the most commonly used RF symbols. It is important to note that this article is not exhaustive and contains only commonly used symbols. Symbol graphics are provided free for use to all Halberd Bastion clients.


Types of functions may be indicated by words or abbreviations adjacent to the symbol. Qualifying symbols may be added to an antenna symbol indicating properties. If required, the general shape of the main lobes may be shown adjacent to the symbol and notes added to show direction and rate of movement (for example, radar rotation).

General Antenna Symbols

Two general antenna symbols are commonly accepted, and can be used interchangeably. Dipole, Loop, and Counterpoise may be indicated using their respective symbols if desired.

ieee rf symbol for antenna general ieee rf symbol for antenna general closed top antenna dipole symbol antenna loop symbol symbol for antenna counterpoise ground
General General Dipole Loop Counterpoise (Ground)

Antenna Qualifying Symbols

Qualifying symbols can be used to indicate a special property of the antenna to indicate polarisation, direction of radiation, or a particular application. These should only be appended to antenna symbol if essential. Some examples provided below. It is important to again note that these symbols are not exhaustive.

horizontally polarised antenna symbol vertically polarised antenna symbol circularly polarised antenna symbol antenna symbol for fixed azimuth RF antenna symbol for adjustable azimuth RF symbol for antenna with adjustable directivity in elevation antenna symbol with horizontal polar diagram
Horizontal Polarisation Vertical Polarisation Circular Polarisation Radiation Fixed in Azimuth Radiation Adjustable in Azimuth Radiation Adjustable in Elevation Horizontal Polar Diagram

Example - Radar Antenna

The following denotes a radar antenna rotating four times per minute in azimuth, and reciprocating in elevation 0° to 57° to 0° in one second.

radar antenna symbol

RF Connectors

RF connector genders are designated either Male (Plug) or Female (Jack) based on the physical characteristics of the connector body and centre contact. The following symbols indicate male and female coaxial connectors. It is important to note that the contact symbol is not an arrowhead, it is larger and lines are drawn at a 90 degree angle.

Female - Receptacle/Jack

In identification of the female RF connector, the centre contact consists of a receptacle/socket. Body features a coupling mechanism complementary to the plug.

symbol for female jack receptacle rf connector

Male - Plug

In identification of the male RF connector, the centre contact consists of a pin. Body typically features the active part of the coupling mechanism (e.g. coupling nut).

symbol for male plug rf connector

Engaged Connectors

The symbol below represents a male and female coaxial connector when mated.

symbol representing engaged rf connectors

The symbol below represents the mating of genderless coaxial connectors.

symbol for mated genderless coaxial connectors

Wireless Link

The symbol for a wireless link is represented simply by the display of transmitting and receiving antenna symbols, connected by a Radio Link transmission line symbol, which consists of a series of dashes.

wireless radio link symbol

Wireless Stations

The following represent commonly used RF station symbols used on system diagrams, maps, and charts. Other antenna symbols may be used to indicate specific types.


Symbols in this category are used to represent conventional ground-based transmission stations, such as telecommunications towers, vehicle mounted radio transmitters, aviation beacons, etc.

symbol for radio station general rf symbol for portable radio station rf symbol for mobile radio station rf symbol for direction finding station rf symbol for radio beacon station rf symbol for controlling radio station passive relay station symbol
General Portable Mobile Direction-finding Radio Beacon Controlling Passive Relay

Space Station

Symbols in this category are used to represent stations relating to satellite broadcast and earth communications (satellite ground stations, earth terminals, etc).

space station general symbol active space station symbol passive space station symbol earth station tracking space station paraboloidal antenna
General Active Space Station Passive Space Station Earth Station tracking space station


Commonly used waveguide symbols are found below. Mode of propagation and other special characteristics, including depicting subtypes, may be indicated by the use of qualifying symbols or characters.

rf symbol for circular waveguide RF symbol for rectangular waveguide rf symbol for coaxial waveguide rf symbol for flexible waveguide rf symbol for twisted waveguide rf symbol for ridged waveguide
Circular Waveguide Rectangular Waveguide Coaxial Waveguide Flexible Waveguide Twisted Waveguide Ridged Waveguide


Surge Protection

The most common type of surge protection found in RF applications is the gas-discharge tube lightning arrester.

symbol for gas discharge surge protector


Symbols in this category refer to passive system components used in RF transmission. For all other couplers please consult IEEE Std 315-1975. Number of coupling paths, type of coupling, and transmission loss may be indicated by the appending of appropriate qualifying symbols.

rf symbol for directional coupler rf symbol for hybrid coupler
Directional Coupler Hybrid Coupler