Radomes are built using a variety of materials, they have varying support structures, and sandwich radome configurations can have many combinations or ply schedules that build up a panel. Also, many of the practical materials used in radome production have varying properties at different frequencies. The primary effect a radome has on electromagnetics or RF performance is a reduction or attenuation of the signal. In general, the radome can also change the noise level seen by the system by changing the physical temperature of the electrical systems and by the attenuation effects.
From application to application, specific RF parameters are critical to system operation. In some applications, any affect to the sidelobes can be critical whereas in other applications affecting the sidelobes is not as critical. Distortion of the phase of the signal, or distortion of the radiation pattern in some applications is important. Thus, a best practice when examining a new application is to evaluate the critical system specifications and to select the correct type of radome configuration, size, and structure to meet the requirements for that system. For example, in a spherical radome, it is advantageous to position the center of the system antenna at the center of the spherical surface, which requires building radomes with different truncations to accommodate different antenna heights.