John, We agree on the often misdirected affection for the 'radio', caused
by the visual impact, published specs, and the sheer grandiosity of spending
thousands of dollars for equipment that will also impress visitors and other
hams. (Ford vs Chevy vs Mopar)... Antennas by their very appearance, do
not impress neighbors and passers-by... The technically ignorant consider
antennas nothing more than an eyesore. Another, much more important issue
is the mystery of antennas in general. They seem to do something
magical...mysterious..., something akin to black magic. Antennas are
STATIC, not DYNAMIC like the radios... After all, we key or speak into a
radio and someone quite distant replies to our call. That is something that
everyone can share, and fully understand, albeit without any knowledge of
propagation principles. Using CW in the presence of 'ordinary' people has
little appeal, because they cannot 'read' what is going on. Using digital
modes has no more appeal to those 'ordinary' people than the use of a
computer and keyboard to chat with someone on the other side of the earth...
The appeal of ham radio gets 'in your face' when we have a conversation on
HF, VHF, or UHF with another station, far, far away...and one of more of
those 'ordinary' people are witness to the QSO...with all of the static
crashes, and propagation distortions that mean that they are listening to
'SHORT WAVE'...WOWEEEE... They are in awe of the station itself, especially
since the operator had 'put it all together him or herself'... Maybe, just
maybe, they will have a peripheral thought of that huge antenna on an
equally huge tower that is in the back yard...
Earlier, I mentioned the mystery of antennas... You and I, as well as many
other readers of this reflector, know full well, how little is known and
understood by our fellow hams, about antennas... Many cannot 'see' what an
antenna does... Electromagnetic waves are not visible, and therefore, by
their nature, mysterious.
We recently lost one of our greatest antenna educators, L.B.Cebik, W4RNL...
He died at the young age of 68 years. 'L.B.' created and maintained one of
the finest web pages devoted exclusively to the understanding of antennas...
That web page is now managed by his family and ANTENNEX. I recommend
visiting 'LB's' web page for anyone who wants to acquire a greater
understanding of the magic of antennas...
Go to www.cebik.com, or www.antennex.com/w4rnl/w4rnl_main.htm
Have a great day, John...
vy 73 de Larry - W1GOR
If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed,
if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.
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