Antennas:
The Basics & Beyond
Volumes 1 & 2

By Robert Gulley AK3Q

Take control over your antennas - learn, try and see the results


n this book series, read along with Robert as he grew at the start from a newcomer radio amateur to a more advanced level. Learn as he did, starting at the same place everyone must—the beginning with much to learn about all aspects of getting on the air. For the more advanced, take a refresher course to remember what you forgot or may have overlooked when starting out and progressing to more advanced levels.

No matter what stage you have reached, you’ll find a wealth of practical information for getting the most out of your radio’s antenna. While antenna theory is covered when needed, these are not just books of formulas and dry classroom lectures. Instead, the author has taken the approach of one radio enthusiast talking to another, passing on experiences and guidance in clear, down-to-earth discussions of relevant topics.

Like many of us, the author didn’t think much about antennas at first:

“One area of the radio hobby which did not get a lot of attention when I was a boy was antennas. I didn’t think much about them more than whatever was needed to receive a signal. My police scanner had an antenna on the back; my transistor radio had a telescopic antenna which seemed to work fine; and my shortwave radio had a piece of wire running out the window which gave me all kinds of things to listen to at night. I never really gave antennas a second thought.

Fast-forward 30+ years to when I got my amateur radio license. Suddenly antennas were very important to me. They became one of the most interesting pieces to the amateur radio puzzle because I realized antennas were my silent partners for getting the most out of the radio hobby . . . .”

This book series is designed to take the beginner through their first steps to realizing the importance of a good antenna system. From basic theory to helping them decide which antennas will be right for their particular situation, the goal of the book is to help folks get on the air.

The author believes that a good foundation in antenna basics will provide years of radio enjoyment, and that newcomers to the hobby really need an accessible resource to help them find their way through the maze of information available to them. While no book will ever take the place of an “Elmer” (ham-speak for a mentor), it is hoped the reader will find the information both easy to understand and to apply. By understanding the basics one becomes more able to assess his or her needs, ask the appropriate questions, and get satisfactory results.

The author notes:
“While I have participated in various aspects of the radio hobby for quite a while, it has only been in the last few years that I have come to take antennas more seriously. From my own studies I know how confusing all the conflicting information about antennas can be. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the dizzying array of antenna possibilities out there. Far too many people have all the reasons in the world why a particular antenna won’t work—I call them the perennial prophets of doom and gloom. Where’s their sense of adventure?! I would rather take an approach which says “let’s see what will happen if I try this . . . .””

VOLUME 1:
The book itself is divided into three parts:

- Part One deals with how antennas work, learning to listen, antenna myths and misunderstandings, and testing results in the real world.

- Part Two looks at some of the components of an antenna system and how they work together, including feedlines, tuners, SWR, and the effects of ground around an antenna.

- Part Three looks at some classic antennas, antenna supports systems, and some of the most common frustrations (and fixes!) faced by many newcomers to the field.

While each chapter can stand on its own, the book is laid out so that a newcomer who so desires can start at the very beginning and build a logical foundation for understanding antennas, while at the same time maximizing their radio enjoyment.

If you are new to radio or if you know there must be more your antennas can do for you, this is the book for you. If you like to experiment, test and tweak and see the results change and know why, this book is for you. And if you’ve just been itching to get your hands dirty building your own antennas, this is definitely the book for you!

Contents - Volume 1
Chapter

Title

PART 1

The Basics

1

Listening 11

2

How Does the Antenna Work? 28

3

Antenna Myths and Misunderstandings 41

4

Real World Testing 55

PART 2

The Mechanics
5 Taming the SWR Beast 71
6 Feedlines Down and Dirty 86
7 Tuners, Tuners, Tuners 101
8 The Effects of Ground 115

PART 3

Practical Designs and Issues

9

Yagis, Loops and Quads 131

10

Small Magnetic Loop Antennas 146

11

Antenna Supports 159
12 RF Frustrations and Fixes 175

o

Afterword

o

Other Publications 193

 

 
 

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VOLUME 2:
For those who have not seen the first volume of this collection, I introduced some basic theory concerning various antenna types. I also explained the importance of feedlines, VSWR and tuners, and the effects of ground on an RF signal, as well shared how to do some real-world testing.

In this second volume of Antennas: The Basics and Beyond, I continue to build on that foundation, while adding very practical applications of these antenna basics through real-world use:

- Part One starts by looking at vertical antennas; next I look at traps, antenna efficiency and what “gain” really means; and then move on to the all-important topic of propagation. (Even with two chapters devoted to this topic we will still only be covering the basics of this fascinating subject!) This section closes with an emphasis on working smarter (and harder!) to make the most of your radio time.

- Part Two covers some of the many radio activities which use simple antennas, both as a means to introduce these activities and to highlight common antenna designs. Along the way we will also see how antenna theory becomes eminently practical, not just in terms of building antennas, but really using them. We’ll look at shortwave listening, working FM DX stations, emergency operations, and the related topic of working close to home.

I then introduce antennas for low power communications, the fun sport of fox hunting, the exciting world of satellites, and finally close with a look at working DX on 6 meters. All of these activities use antennas which are easy to build or obtain, as well as giving you an excuse to explore areas of the hobby you may not have tried before. As with Volume 1 of this series, there are antenna projects sprinkled throughout which I hope will encourage a whole world of experimentation!


Contents - Volume 2
Chapter

Title

PART 1

Antenna and Theory Basics

1

Vertical Antennas 10

2

Antenna Traps 21

3

Antenna Efficiency and Gain 31

4

Radio Propagation 43
5 More Radio Propagation 57
6 Working Smarter (and Harder!) 74

PART 2

Antenna Adventures

7

Shortwave Listening 88

8

FM DXing 105

9

Emergency Operations 120
10 Working Close to Home 134
11 QRP - Low Power Fun! 148
12 Fox Hunting 158
13 Satellites - Working the Birds! 172
14 Discovering 6 Meters 185

o

Afterword

o

Other Publications 200

 

 
 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert is a writer, college professor and woodworking instructor, and a retired minister. In addition to his monthly NewcomerNotes column for antenneX, Robert writes a beginner’s column for Woodturning Design Magazine, a quarterly column for Scanner Digest, and occasional articles for QST and Monitoring Times magazines.

Robert's interest in Amateur Radio and SWL began as a young boy, but he did not get his Technician license until 2007. He then quickly upgraded to his General (Dec. '07) and then Extra (May of '08.) He has become involved in ARES and MARS, as well as participating in two local radio clubs, OH-KY-IN Amateur Radio society and NKARC.

Robert enjoys DX work, SWL, scanning, emergency operations, and almost anything else having to do with radios. Antennas have become a special focus since getting into Amateur Radio, and more often than not he can be found tweaking his antenna system or trying some new antenna project. Robert says he has learned a lot about antennas in the last few years, not the least of which are the lessons learned from the things which didn’t turn out as planned! “When my wife sees me gazing off in the distance she knows I’m probably dreaming up some new antenna adventure and wonders when our neighbors are going to rebel!”

When not on the air or on the roof with his antennas, Robert enjoys cooking, woodturning, and reading about his hobbies.

This is a very special book series and can fill another very large void in your library!

TO ORDER

HOW TO ORDER
This special book is available only in eBook version either on CD-ROM or Download. The eBook is in the popular PDF format and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 or higher. The eBook may be purchased by immediate download directly from this website, or shipped to you on CD-ROM. You may order your eBook directly online from our Secure Website, or by FAX, telephone or postal service. Links to the ORDER FORMS are provided here.

The 2 Volumes together is available for a 10% discount & immediate Download or on CD-ROM:

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