TLDR: An antenna is a device that allows radio waves to interact with electric currents in order to transmit or receive signals. It can be designed to send or receive signals in all directions or in a specific direction. Antennas are used in all radio equipment.
An antenna is like a bridge between radio waves and electric currents. When a radio transmitter sends an electric current to the antenna, the antenna converts it into radio waves and sends them out into space. When a radio receiver intercepts radio waves with its antenna, the antenna converts them back into an electric current that can be amplified and processed.
Antennas come in different shapes and sizes depending on their purpose. Some antennas are designed to send or receive signals in all directions equally, while others are designed to focus the signals in a specific direction. The size of an antenna is also important - antennas that are too small compared to the wavelength of the radio waves they are working with will have a hard time achieving strong signals.
The first antennas were built in the late 1800s by scientists like Heinrich Hertz and Guglielmo Marconi. They used simple designs like dipole antennas and parabolic reflectors to prove the existence of radio waves and develop wireless telegraphy.
Antennas can be used for many different applications, from broadcasting radio and television signals to communicating with satellites and even exploring outer space. They are an essential component of all radio equipment and play a crucial role in our modern communication systems.