[TowerTalk] Force12

Pat Poirier hkman at comcast.net
Sat Sep 22 19:39:19 EDT 2007

Why is everyone getting all worked up about the fact that Force 12 doesn't 
have their manuals on the web? It is not a big deal, all you have to ask on 
this reflector or any of the others antenna/tower reflectors, you will get 
scanned copies of just about anything that you want. I have had a Force 12/ 
5 B.A. antenna for 10 years and I have sent several copies to fellow hams 
that wanted to read the manual.

Force 12 doesn't have good customer, service they charge for copies of their 
manuals, they never deliver products on time? So tell us something that we 
don't know! They want to be a driving force in the Amateur market place with 
that track record it isn't going to happen and those of us that already have 
their antennas, we will look to other manufactures that want our business 
and that have customer service. Just give them time they will implode them 

Pat W1KA

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim Lux" <jimlux at earthlink.net>
To: "Richard (Rick) Karlquist" <richard at karlquist.com>
Cc: <TowerTalk at contesting.com>; "Tim Heger" <n3xx at charter.net>; "Dan Hearn" 
<dhearn at air-pipe.com>
Sent: Saturday, September 22, 2007 5:50 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Force12

> Richard (Rick) Karlquist wrote:
>> I was talking about a MANUAL for the antenna, not a set of
>> BLUEPRINTS describing everything needed to clone it.
>> Rick N6RK
>> Dan Hearn wrote:
>>> One of the few things a ham can clone easily is an antenna. Most of us 
>>> have
>>> a pile of aluminum tubing and could easily build a copy of a $2000 
>>> antenna
>>> design. There is a great deal of engineering expense in modeling 
>>> multiband
>>> interlaced antennas and testing them. It is unreasonable to expect a 
>>> company
>>> to make public the complete details of their designs. I am amazed that 
>>> some
>>> hams have the gall to ask other hams to copy the info on their antennas 
>>> and
>>> send it to them.
> This all brings up some interesting points, moral, ethical, and legal.
> 1) Indeed a company may invest significant time, effort, and funds in
> developing a good design, both mechanical and electrical.  If they wish
> to protect that design from copiers, then there is a mechanism to do so:
> a patent. (which is what Mike Mertel has done with the SteppIR, patent
> 6,677,914) Otherwise, you could find someone who has the antenna, do all
> the measurements you need (or, maybe measure it at a trade show where
> it's on display, etc.), and duplicate it yourself, perfectly legally.
> From a moral standpoint, someone doing the duplication should credit
> the original designer.
> 2) A company may publish a manual with complete design information. Such
> a manual would be copyrighted (unusual to have someone release it into
> the public domain), and they are perfectly reasonable to not allow
> others to make copies. Others should honor that (both morally and
> legally).  OTOH, a lot of companies are perfectly OK with people
> duplicating their manuals, if asked first(!).
> 3) the real value from a commercial antenna company is in the
> fabrication of the antenna, particularly in terms of any specialized
> bracketry or manufacturing technology needed.  They're stocking the
> materials, drilling the holes, etc.  For a sort of related example,
> there's nothing particularly secret about how polypropylene film
> capacitors work and their general construction, but there's a lot of
> "art" in the actual manufacturing process. Even having a bunch of the
> caps in front of you and electron microscopes, microtomes, etc, won't
> help you to make a duplicate.  Similarly, knowing that a souffle
> contains eggs, sugar, chocolate, and butter doesn't really help you to
> make one.
> 4) An antenna design composed only of aluminum rods/tubes/wires, from an
> electrical standpoint, is probably not particularly valuable (in a
> dollars and cents sense), since given a general description of the
> antenna and its performance, you could use any of a number of modeling
> codes and readily available engineering knowledge to figure out the
> details of a new design which has essentially the same performance. It's
> the practical details of turning that design into a "product" that can
> be manufactured and sold at a profit that is worth something.
> If the mfr thinks that the mfr details are valuable enough, and, can't
> be kept secret inside the factory, then they can invest the $10K+ in the
> patent.  Otherwise, they're going to have to rely on the fact that they
> can make it better and cheaper than a would-be competitor. Or, they can
> offer some form of value added services (customer service springs to
> mind).
> JIm, W6RMK
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