# Understanding Reflection Coefficient

## Reflection coefficient is a parameter closely associated with VSWR indicating the portion of the signal that is reflected at the end of a feeder, etc.

* Home » Antennas & Propagation » this page*

**VSWR & Transmission Line Theory Tutorial Includes:**

What is VSWR?
Reflection Coefficient
VSWR formulas & calculations
How to measure VSWR
How to use a VSWR meter
Simple SWR bridge circuit
What is return loss
VSWR / Return Loss Table

The reflection coefficient is a parameter that describes how much of an electromagnetic wave is reflected by an impedance discontinuity in the transmission medium.

The reflection coefficient is a very useful quality when determining VSWR or investigating the match between, for example, a feeder and a load.

## Reflection coefficient definition

When looking at the reflection coefficient it is very useful to have a definition so that the basis of the concept can be understood.

### Reflection coefficient definition:

In the context of antennas and feeders, the reflection coefficient is defined as the figure that quantifies how much of an electromagnetic wave is reflected by an impedance discontinuity in the transmission medium. The reflection coefficient is equal to the ratio of the amplitude of the reflected wave to the incident wave.

The Greek letter Γ is typically used for reflection coefficient, although σ is also often seen.

## Calculating reflection coefficient

There are many ways in which the reflection coefficient can be calculated.

Using the basic definition of the reflection coefficient, it can be calculated from a knowledge of the incident and reflected voltages.

**Where:**

Γ = reflection coefficient

V_{ref} = reflected voltage

V_{fwd} = forward voltage

It is also possible to express the reflection coefficient in terms of the load and line or feeder impedances:

**Where:**

Γ = reflection coefficient

Z_{L} = load impedance

Z_{0} = feeder charcteristic impedance

It is also useful to be able to calculate the refelction coefficient in terms of the forward and reverse power levels. As the power is proportional to V^{2} [ watts = V^{2} / R], we can deduce that:

**Where:**

Γ = reflection coefficient

P_{ref} = reflected power

P_{fwd} = forward power

The reflection coefficient is different to the VSWR. The reflection coefficient is a figure that quantifies the level of the incident waveform that is reflected, whereas the standing wave ratio, be it a current standing wave ratio or a voltage standing wave ratio looks at the ratio of the peak and minimum voltage or current levels within the feeder arising from the forward and reflected power.

**More Antenna & Propagation Topics:**

EM waves
Radio propagation
Ionospheric propagation
Ground wave
Meteor scatter
Tropospheric propagation
Antenna basics
Cubical quad
Dipole
Discone
Ferrite rod
Log periodic antenna
Parabolic reflector antenna
Phased array antennas
Vertical antennas
Yagi
Antenna grounding
Installation guidelines
TV antennas
Coax cable
Waveguide
VSWR
Antenna baluns
MIMO
* Return to Antennas & Propagation menu . . .*