# Antennas-History (What's Going On?)

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by W. Watson, Nov 27, 2005.

1. ### W. WatsonGuest

I hardly know where to start with this topic. If one picks up some of the
fairly popular (available?) books on the matter, the authors invariably
start throwing different types of antennas at the reader, yagi, helical,
dipole, folded dipole, parabolic, loop, dish, microwave, quads, etc. For
example, I'm looking at an older book on the topic I bought some 20 years
ago, The Radio Amateur Handbook by Orr and Cowan. The book is basically for
builders. Many such books are. What about the underlying methodology behind
this? More generally, here's my question.

I would guess that in the beginning (late 1800s) the simple dipole was it.
As years passed, the complexity of antennas has increased. What was the
driving force for these changes? For example, how did the inventor of the
Yagi (Yagi-Uda) ever dream up the idea for the antenna? Was it the
application of theory or did he just get lucky? In fact, is there some
underlying theory that drives the design of antennas? For example, the
computation of radiation patterns. I'm sure these days the computer would be
an aid, but what theory and application drove the development of varied
designs before 1960? When did Maxwell's equations seriously get used for
this? What suggested a tin can could become an antenna? How did anyone think
up the idea of a microwave antenna?

I would think that in the case of antennas that are used for different parts
of the EM spectrum a driving force would be the consideration of the wave
itself. For example, it would seem unlikely an x-ray antenna (I believe
there is such a thing on one of the space satellites used in astronomy)
would be anything like one used to receive TV. Certainly the 'antenna' to
collect visible light is different than that for AM radio.

--
(121.015 Deg. W, 39.262 Deg. N) GMT-8 hr std. time)
Obz Site: 39° 15' 7" N, 121° 2' 32" W, 2700 feet

Traveling in remote places in the winter. What's the best
tool to carry with you? An axe.
-- Survivorman, Discovery (SCI) Channel

2. ### Steve NollGuest

Antennas are a blast! I ran the antenna measurement ranges at three
of the West Coast VHF/UHF Conferences. I've not seen much on their
history, but if you want underlying theory search the used book stores
for these classics:

"Antennas" by John Kraus, ISBN 07-035410-3.

"Antenna Engineering Handbook" by Johnson & Jasik, ISBN 0-07-032291-0.

"Microwave Antenna Theory and Design, Ed by Silver (MIT Rad Lab
series) [rare].

Also nice is "Antenna Measurement Techniques" by Gary Evans, ISBN
0-89006-375-3

Steve Noll | The Used Equipment Dealer Directory:
| http://www.big-list.com
| Peltier Information Directory:
| http://www.peltier-info.com

3. ### W. WatsonGuest

Thanks. Yes, they seem like a blast, but the books and similar material
available seem more for the practitioner, and do not offer much insight into
why such a diverse population of antennas have come about. For example, if
one looks at the history of optical telescopes, there is a somewhat easy
rational to explain why refractors, reflectors and their various off shoots.
With antennas, this does not seem to be so. Antennas look like a hodge podge
of technology to the uninitiated. Where's the entry point to learning why or
simply how to design an antenna for a particular application?

To my liking on antennas is a book by James K. Hardy, Electronic
Communications. His final chapter is on antennas but he stops short of going
much further than yagis, and even there he only gives a hint of what they
are about. However, his introduction is quite well written with very easy to
comprehend insights on what is really happening.

Books like Kraus's "Antennas" really do not address the why's and wherefor's
of antenna designs at a level that is easily comprehended without a lot of

I'll take a look at your list. For some reason, my ISP does not show
My best bet might be Yahoo Groups.

Although I've never seriously considred it, I would think there would be
someway of detecting and manipulating the visible spectrum with a radio.
However, I suspect the cost and design considerations would be far too
costly to make it even remotely competitive with optical equipment. I
suspect that is often the case throughout the EM spectrum, that is, some
property in a region of interest suggests a particular design, whether a
radio antenna or some other technology.

--
(121.015 Deg. W, 39.262 Deg. N) GMT-8 hr std. time)
Obz Site: 39° 15' 7" N, 121° 2' 32" W, 2700 feet

Traveling in remote places in the winter. What's the best
tool to carry with you? An axe.
-- Survivorman, Discovery (SCI) Channel

4. ### W. WatsonGuest

How about that? A refresh of my NG list shows the NG below, along with other

--
(121.015 Deg. W, 39.262 Deg. N) GMT-8 hr std. time)
Obz Site: 39° 15' 7" N, 121° 2' 32" W, 2700 feet

Traveling in remote places in the winter. What's the best
tool to carry with you? An axe.
-- Survivorman, Discovery (SCI) Channel

5. ### W. WatsonGuest

One other comment I forgot. I saw Kraus's "Antennas" in the bookstore the
other day, new edition with co-author. \$165!!!

--
(121.015 Deg. W, 39.262 Deg. N) GMT-8 hr std. time)
Obz Site: 39° 15' 7" N, 121° 2' 32" W, 2700 feet

Traveling in remote places in the winter. What's the best
tool to carry with you? An axe.
-- Survivorman, Discovery (SCI) Channel

6. ### Don BoweyGuest

Check this out. It is a circa 1900 Radio Amateur's Handbook. You can get
an excellent view of radio communications technology, including antennas, of
the times.

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=6934

Don

7. ### VeyGuest

Getting back to basics, it has to do with wave theory.
Some waves are miles wide and long so they need an antenna that can
handle that size wave. AM and LW radio stations, for example.

Others waves are smaller.

That's why you will see half-wave, quarter-wave, 5/8th wave etc. antennas.

Sorry, but this all goes back to books printed in the 20's and they
explained all these things. Now we are are more "sophisticated" and we
have forgotten it all.

8. ### VeyGuest

correction:

forgotten [how to explain] it all [to ordinary people].

9. ### W. WatsonGuest

Thanks. Well, I was able to get a dose of history by looking in Kraus's
"Antennas" under Yagis. He spends a few paragraphs how this occurred. I'm
not sure of the motivation; however, he pretty much seemed to just started
esperimenting with perhaps a simpler concept of two arrayed elements or even
multiple similar elements. Basically, he seemed to be futzing around and
like good scientists kept records. It might have been Uda who later helped
that put some theory into it. Kraus also had a revealing paragraph about
helical antennas. Someone had for kicks tried the notion and gotten nowhere,
so Kraus started exploring. Voila! or Eureka! He started making good progress.

--
(121.015 Deg. W, 39.262 Deg. N) GMT-8 hr std. time)
Obz Site: 39° 15' 7" N, 121° 2' 32" W, 2700 feet

Traveling in remote places in the winter. What's the best
tool to carry with you? An axe.
-- Survivorman, Discovery (SCI) Channel

10. ### W. WatsonGuest

Wheh! That's getting down to the nitty gritty. Too bad the figures are
missing. It seems like someone should have written the history of antennas.
Well, I guess now Google is converting books to the internet at a furious pace.

I find it kind of odd that antennas seem to relegated to graduate level
classes in college. Seems like somewhere along the lines, such classes
should be offered at the undergraduate level.

--
(121.015 Deg. W, 39.262 Deg. N) GMT-8 hr std. time)
Obz Site: 39° 15' 7" N, 121° 2' 32" W, 2700 feet

Traveling in remote places in the winter. What's the best
tool to carry with you? An axe.
-- Survivorman, Discovery (SCI) Channel