It was the best of years and the worst of years….

31 Dec

2009 will go down in my personal books as an average year. Winds of change blew through our political system, old friends were heard from for the last time, old ideas crumbled and fell as they should. For this post I will leave political things alone and just address the other concepts.

This year I lost an old friend. K6ATP passed in the late summer after a short and bitter battle with pancreatic cancer. Richard Reed Ormsby was a curmudgeon of a guy but generous and warm nonetheless. For almost ten years we worked for the same company and knew nothing of our mutual Ham Radio hobbies. We became closer after both of us had moved along to other pastures. Although we enjoyed a email relationship following our work times, we managed a schedule or two from time to time, mostly on 17 Meters. Thanks for the good times Dicky “O”. May you rest in peace old paint.

2009 played out in my mind with a number of “Ah Ha”! moments. Mostly surrounding radio and mostly due to the patience of Chuck, W1HIS and his propensity for teaching. The latest moment came about because of a single phrase Chuck mentioned to me along the road to repairing, replacing or otherwise fiddling with antennas. I keep searching for a way to utilize a vertical antenna on my lot because they are unobtrusive, can be placed in trees to make them more so and for the most part they are freestanding. Chuck keeps steering me away from them and toward a horizontal solution, even though that requires more sturdy supports. Finally, in a fit of exasperation ( I assume) he had had enough of my vertical laments and suggested to me that “earth” had the natural property equivalent of ECHO SORB. Echo Sorb is the material that is used to line anechoic chambers and is used to absorb RF. What an object lesson. If that was not enough to convince me I received a copy of NCJ which had a study done with NEC4 that modeled 3 quarter wave vertical radiators out to 1000 wavelengths to determine loss due to ground loss before skywave ever had a chance to propagate the signal. I was amazed. These three antennas were constructed of 1/4 wave radiators over 60 1/4 wave  radials buried beneath the radiator. All three were then compared to a similar radiator over salt water. I enclose a photo of a table for your review. I was utterly amazed at the loss of power and percentage of total power.

NCJ 11/12 2009 Credit K3LC

So horizontal it shall be! I would like to compare and contrast the above study with low horizontal radiators to see what is what WRT to the two types of antennas. Actual models of antennas may yield some insight or perhaps even a figure of merit.

I trust that 2009 was good to you and all of your families. I look forward to exploring new things in 2010 and hope good fortune follows us all.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG

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Posted by on December 31, 2009 in Radio


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