History of Cubical Quad
as reported by W6SAI and W2LX in "All About Cubical Quad Antennas", Radio
Publications Inc. 1972
In the year 1939 a group of radio engineers from the United States traveled
to the South American republic of Ecuador to install and maintain the
Missionary Radio Station HCJB, at Quito, high in the Andes mountains.
Designed to operate in the 25 meter short-wave broadcast band with a carrier
power of 10,000 modulated watts, the mission of HCJB was to transmit the
Gospel to the Northern Hemisphere, and to tell of the missionary work in the
wilds of Ecuador. To insure the best possible reception of HCJB in the
United States a gigantic four element parasitic beam was designed, built and
erected with great effort and centered upon the heartland of North America.
The enthusiasm of the engineers that greeted the first transmission of Radio
HCJB was dampened after a few days of operation of the station when it
became apparent that the four element beam was slowly being destroyed by an
unusual combination of circumstances that were not under the control of the
worried staff of the station. It was true that the big beam imparted a real
"punch" to the signal of HCJB and that listener reports in the path of the
beam were high in praise of the signal from Quito. This result had been
expected. Totally unexpected, however, was the effect of operating the
high-Q beam antenna in the thin evening air of Quito. Situated at 10,000
feet altitude in the Andes, the beam antenna reacted in a strange way to the
mountain atmosphere. Gigantic corona discharges sprang full-blown from the
tips of the driven element and directors, standing out in mid-air and
burning with a wicked hiss and crackle. The heavy industrial aluminum tubing
used for the elements of the doomed beam glowed with the heat of the arc and
turned incandescent at the tips. Large molten chunks of aluminum dropped to
the ground as the inexorable fire slowly consumed the antenna.
The corona discharges were so loud and so intense that they could be seen
and heard singing and burning a quarter-mile away from the station. The
music and programs of HCJB could be clearly heard through the quiet night
air of the city as the r-f energy gave fuel to the crowns of fire clinging
to the tips of the antenna elements. The joyful tones of studio music were
transformed into a dirge of doom for the station unless an immediate
solution to the problem could be found.
It fell to the lot of Clarence C. Moore, W9LZX, one of the engineers of HCJB
to tackle this problem. It was obvious to him that the easily ionized air at
the two mile elevation of Quito could not withstand the high voltage
potentials developed at the tips of the beam elements. The awe-inspiring (to
the natives) corona discharges would probably disappear if it were possible
to operate HCJB at a sea level location. This, however, was impossible. The
die was cast, and HCJB was permanently settled in Quito.
What to do? Moore attacked the problem with his usual energy. He achieved a
partial solution by placing six-inch diameter copper balls obtained from
sewage flush tanks on the tips of each element. An immediate reduction in
corona trouble was noted, but the copper orbs detuned the beam, and still
permitted a nasty corona to spring forth on the element tips in damp
weather. Clearly the solution to the problem lay in some new, different
approach to the antenna installation. The whole future of HCJB and the
Evangelistic effort seemed to hinge upon the solution of the antenna
problem. The station could not be moved, and the use of a high-gain beam
antenna to battle the interference in the crowded 25 meter international
short-wave broadcast band was mandatory. It was distressingly apparent to
Moore that the crux of the matter was at hand.
The Birth of the Quad
In the words of W9LZX, the idea of the Quad antenna slowly unfolded to him,
almost as a Divine inspiration. "We took about one hundred pounds of
engineering reference books with us on our short vacation to Posoraja,
Ecuador during the summer of 1942, detrmined that with the help of God we
could solve our problem. There on the floor of our bamboo cottage we spread
open all the reference books we had brought with us and worked for hours on
basic antenna design. Our prayers must have been answered, for gradually as
we worked the vision of a quad-shaped antenna gradually grew with the new
concept of a loop antenna having no ends to the elements, and combining
relatively high transmitting impedance and high gain."
A Quad antenna with reflector was hastily built and erected at HCJB in the
place of the charred four element beam. Warily, the crew of tired builders
watched the new antenna through the long operating hours of the station. The
vigil continued during the evening hours as the jungle exhaled its moisture
collected during the hot daylight hours. The tension of the onlookers grew
as a film of dew collected on the antenna wires and structure, but not once
did the new Quad antenna flash over or break into a deadly corona flame,
even with the full modulated power of the Missionary station applied to the
wires. The problem of corona discharge seemed to be solved for all time.
The new Quad antenna distinguished itself in a short time with the listeners
of HCJB. Reports flooded the station, attesting to the efficiency of the
simple antenna and the strength of the signal. In his spare time, Moore
built a second Quad antenna, this one to be used in the 20 meter band at his
ham station, HC1JB, in Quito.
At a later date, after Moore had returned to the United States, he applied
for a patent covering the new antenna. the fact that the Quad-type antenna
radiated perpendicular to the plane of the loop was deemed by the Patent
Office to be of sufficient importance to permit the issuance of a patent to
Clarence C. Moore covering the so-called Cubical Quad antenna.
To understand the characteristics of the antenna, it is convenient to borrow
the description of the Quad element given by W9LZX - "a pulled-open folded
This interesting account is taken from William I. Orr's book, "All about
Cubical Quad Antennas". In it, technical details are addressed at length.
However, there are only two pages devoted to the four element, full sized
quad. Orr calls it the "Monster Quad". We know why.
From: Zeitler, Lane LT, FST-1 [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 11:14 AM
To: Glen Zook; Roger; firstname.lastname@example.org; Sam Carpenter
Subject: RE: [Amps] What's the story on these companies?
I have the latest edition of Orr's "All About Cubical Quad Antennas".
The history on the development of the quad is very interesting to read.
This guy W9LZX would have been great to talk to in person. He sounded
like a true gentlemen.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
On Behalf Of Glen Zook
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 6:13 AM
To: 'Roger'; email@example.com; Sam Carpenter
Subject: Re: [Amps] What's the story on these companies?
The person who was with HCJB was Clarence Moore, W9LZX. He lived in
Elkhart, Indiana, which is just east of South Bend. Moore is also
credited with "inventing" the quad antenna.
--- On Tue, 5/11/10, Sam Carpenter <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I had a customer who was with HCJB Shortwave in Equator. If I remember
right, they had a transmitter manufacturing business as a result of them
building their own transmitters. I seem to remember that the facility
was in South Bend Indiana. I think they also built those amplifiers.
There is information on one of the boards somewhere. It might be worth
doing a google search using "transmitter shortwave" and HCJB. You may
swerve into something. Maybe the other guys can remember better than me
or correct me, but I think there is a connection there.
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