Back to Basics

On the HamRadioHelpGroup Yahoo List, one ham wrote:

I have been reading both the ARRL Antenna Book and their Wire Antennas book. It is staggering the different types of antenna designs that are out there. Some I have never seen or even heard discussed.

What amazes me is that in addition to the sheer variety of designs, many  of these antennas were first designed in the 1920s. There isn’t much technology out there today that is just a relevant today as it was almost one hundred years ago.

I replied:

Well, I wouldn’t be too sure about that. I think it’s just that we take that technology for granted. Think really basic things like nuts and bolts, levers, basic metallurgy, etc. Antennas are similar.  It’s basic physics that dictate their design and use.

What do you think?


  1. The big difference today is that antenna designers can avail themselves of a variety of antenna modeling software, which the OTs couldn’t when they were designing from paper. Like just about everything having to do with PCs, this opens up the creative space a great deal, and even allows us to see what’s really going on with some of those designs made decades ago. Many’s the design that gets touted as putting out a big signal that I’ve either found a NEC model for or made my own that really turns out to not be so great, e.g. the pattern is not so great or the antenna itself is very touchy in its parameters. Of course, no computer program is going to replace common sense, based on RF physics, when you build your own.


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