Toe Dipping & Antenna Modeling
August 9th, 2010 by kmack

Tin Foil works!

I still think the tin foil does the magic!

After years of neglect, this analog era ham is willing to admit I only understand a bit about digital electronics. (Yep! Pun intended.) Well into the second week of my sabbatical leave, I have begun to plot out a course of study to get up to speed on the state of the art that I have so long neglected. Should be fun. There seems to be a good bit of open source help online these days and I have my trusty ARRL Handbook, Extra Class study guide, Antenna Handbook and assortment of other aids.

Any suggestions from the veteran techies out there will be greatly appreciated.

I am a learn by doing/hands-on sort of guy and find deep theory puts me into a semi-catatonic state after a few minutes.  For me, it’s a whole lot more fun to take a stab at things and find out if they smoke, and it also makes a lot more sense when I can dink and tweak and see what that actually does. But since that is a bit expensive, perhaps I should learn how to use software like spice to do simulations? Any recommendations for how to learn this software?

Another area of toe dipping will be learning to do antenna modeling. For years I’ve looked at those charts and made little sense out of them. HA… I like to throw wire out and see what happens, but in the summer heat, maybe it is wiser to do a bit of modeling from my air conditioned den?

Wild Delta Loop Model

Thanks WX7S-- Your site looks AWESOME for learning this stuff!

I’ll try to share some of the learning curve, but would love to hear from some of you that have gone before. Shortcuts are nice. WX7S your site looks like a great place for me to start! Thanks for the effort it takes to do that.

This weekend (Sat 14 Aug 2010) the Central Florida QRP Group will gather for breakfast at 0730 (Denny’s in Sanford, FL) and off to Sylvan Lake Park in Sanford, FL at 0900 EDT to operate. If you like cw and qrp or are just plain curious… come join us!

2 Responses  
  • John AE5X writes:
    August 9th, 20106:03 pmat

    I just bought the latest edition of ON4UN’s book on lowband DXing. As with any antenna book, it’s chock full of diagrams of modeled antennas. I understand what they’re representing – take-off angle, gain, F/B, etc – but I’ve always been skeptical of their validity. There are so many variables that the programs have to take into account that I wonder how much accuracy they should be considered to have, even in relative terms of comparing one modeled antenna to another.

    Years ago, I downloaded W7EL’s free program, took a stab at modeling a simple dipole at varying heights and, after doing all that, wondered if the results I got were valid in my scenario. There was no way to tell the program that I have saltwater to the southeasteast, suburbia to the west and pine forests elsewhere. Is my ground very good, excellent, not so great, pathetic or average? No idea.

    Yet all the antenna experts (ON4UN, W8Ji et al) use such programs to make decisions on how best to move from Theoretical to Real and they certainly seem to know what they’re doing, judging from the results they get.

    Maybe I need to take a fresh look at antenna modeling…

  • Alex writes:
    August 10th, 201010:24 pmat

    I haven’t had the “pleasure” of using software to “Model” any antenna. I build one put it up, try it out, if it work OK I’m successful, if it doesn’t I try something else, different length of wire, different means of getting it into the air etc etc.
    IMHO we are getting too wrapped up in technology for our own good, like me sitting here typing this instead of pounding brass on a lower band! We Twitter, tweet, Link-in, Facebook our mug shots, APRS our locations, use Blackberries, Blueberries, strawberries, clusters, spots, ipods, talking and thinking cell phones, laptops, minnietops, cars that can park themselves ad nausem.
    I say stay with the basics, Life is too short to allow technology to rule. Turn the vfo knob, use your ears and your head thats all the technology you require, its God Given. Use it or Lose it.

    I just fell thru my soapbox!!
    73 Alex K5uny

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