[TowerTalk] RE: LPDA versus thread

John Langdon jlangdon@outer.net
Thu, 7 Oct 1999 08:40:43 -0500

Most of these posts tell us more about ourselves than about the antennas.
We all are potential suckers for a "seductive simplification".  We want to
sort things out and not have to keep analyzing them. We all want to believe
that our particular antenna has mystical properties over and above that
which can be explained in a rational scientific manner, so we can just stop
all that hard work and just believe. .  Some are seduced by this desire and
give in to the temptation, often adopting self-righteous indignation if
someone dares to take a poke at their belief system.  All it takes is a few
"facts" and "testimonials" to cement their concrete thinking in place.
These responses sometimes begin with "All I know is..".  Since on a
particular day in a particular pileup for a particular station, a dipole at
40 feet can beat out a six element mono band yagi at 80 feet, then any
antenna can at times win out over any other antenna, and that can "prove"
any assumption anyone wants.   Man is not a rational animal. Man is a
rationalizing animal.
Engineering types, supposedly steeped in a rational, scientific approach to
life, are not immune to this.  I can find you dozens of seemingly
intelligent engineers you will tell you that Ford trucks are a total piece
of crap, while Chevy's are built directly by God and are perfect.  I can
also find an equal number that feel the reverse.  When confronted by this
dichotomy, both groups will likely talk about how stupid and crazy the
"other guy" is rather than examine their positions on the relative merits of
the trucks.  Ditto for Nikon versus Canon, Macs versus PC's, ... ad
On the other hand, I know some sage hams that keep technical logs on every
antenna they put up, logging all the comparisons, problems, successes and
failures.  These guys always seem to manage to get through the pileups, one
way or another.  They also seem to accomplish most of what they set out to
do in other areas of their lives, too. When you ask them what they think of
a particular antenna, they may tell you what they have observed, what they
think may be going on, what they may try next time, and what problems they
would like to solve.  But they will not get indignant because you asked a
question about the antenna, and they will never tell you a given antenna is
good or bad. Because they know that the seductive simplifications are a dead
end to achieving what they really want to achieve.
Wasn't Joe Friday at WA6?

73 John N5CQ

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