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[TowerTalk] Commercial antennas

Subject: [TowerTalk] Commercial antennas
From: "Rob Atkinson, K5UJ" <>
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2003 18:16:49 +0000
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A few years ago, QST had an article by one of the Force 12 guys, on how a better antenna can improve ham radio fun exponentially. He started with the amount of fun to be had using a light bulb for an antenna and went up from there (yes, it's possible to have a qso with a lightbulb antenna but not very many, or a very good qso).

Anyway, the interesting part was a story he told about visiting an island in the Pacific to operate in a contest. It just so happened that at the other end of the island a sw bc station had a tx site with some curtain antennas at the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. I believe these were the type of curtains with multiple vert. dipoles in front of screens hanging between 200' towers. The cliff was several hundred feet high. The curtains were fed with open wire feed. The author and another op were invited to hook their rigs up to one of the curtains, as the bc station was QRT. On 15 m. at night what had been a dead band became alive with signals. barefoot they were around 20 db over 9 into N. America. (I might be slightly wrong about the figures but the sig. strength over a typical yagi on a tower, what they were going to operate with, was astonishing.) The reason for the story was to illustrate how much difference a good antenna makes but not too many hams can afford $300,000 for a curtain antenna. Nevertheless, it proved the point that operating fun goes way up with each antenna improvement. Maybe someone else can remember the author, year and month the article was in QST and more about the story.

Rob Atkinson

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