From: Raymond Sommers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
With all the talk about antennas here's some definitions I found at
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Ray Sommers, WB9LKC QRP-L #8-)
SOME AMATEUR RADIO DEFINITIONS
For those new to ham radio, here are some useful definitions,
pertaining to antennas and DX-ing.
A term, applied to any part of the antenna system, which means:
"Savings-to-Watt Ratio". Based on the inverse relationship of
dollars in the bank and effective radiated power.
The usual reaction of the XYL when told about the proposed
Devices installed in antennas to collect rain-water, to keep it
from running further down the antenna.
The measure of how much more awkward it gets to handle a big
beam as you ascend the tower.
(Pronounced: "balloon" by many). An anti-surveillance device,
installed in coaxial lines at the antenna, to prevent nosy
neighbors from eavesdropping on you through their TV sets.
A device mistakenly believed to decrease S.W.R.. The premise is
that this device allows you to load up into a mis-matched
antenna. Unfortunately, it the the cost of one that lowers your
A device which secures the house and the tower together. It
lets the tower do double-duty by holding up the house during
Rotator Control Box
A device which is designed to let you monitor antenna
A technique whereby prevailing winds are allowed to rotate the
antenna, enabling the operator to "scan" the radio horizon.
A measure of the stress exerted on a tower by a ham who climbs
the tower without a safety belt.
(Usually mis-pronounced as two syllables). A term applied to
the maneuvering of a piece of transmission line through the
attic or walls of a house.
A bunch of yellow-jacketed wasps found a great place to build
their nest, at the bottom of the rotator housing on my tower.
Fortunately, lightning struck the tower and the wasps were
A much-maligned antenna, said by some critics to "radiate
equally poorly in all directions". This is not true, as many
who have built one know. In fact, the vertical can have
directional characteristics, and not radiate at all in some
directions. I hope this clears up that myth once and for all!
A variation of the vertical, where high winds have affected
thin-walled aluminum tubing used in the construction.
A clever, but inferior, reverse adaptation of the true,
"upright Vee", which allows the use of a single support instead
of the usual two.
Another modification of the true "Vee", and used where it is
not possible to get the center feed point close to the ground.
Usually, an array of 1/4-wavelength arms extending from the
base of some verticals (or "slopers"). These arms are not
recommended unless a rotator is also used, to take advantage of
their directional features.
A device inserted into the transmission line which monitors the
environment outside the shack, by utilizing the antenna as a
remote sensor. For example, when the antenna responds to
weather conditions such as severe icing or heavy winds, the
coupler will produce indications of these responses. A special
directional coupler has even been designed, presumably, to tell
you when BIRDs are sitting on your antenna!
An alias, to be used when you don't want people to know what
chart you really used to design your antenna.
The direction you are told to aim your antenna, to work a rare
DX station, as suggested by the other fellows in the pileup.
A critical antenna design factor which is optimized to place
the tunable traps on a beam as far out of reach as possible,
from the tower.
A property in which the quad-type antenna far excels over the
yagi-type antenna. It relates to the number of directions an
antenna can collapse into, under heavy winds.
A quirk of propagation, whereby a signal arrives at a distant
point by multipath, and where the different signal components
arrive with varying phase relationships. This causes the signal
to be "cancelled out" at some points. This wonderful effect
helps eliminate some of the QRM from distant DX stations when
you are trying to copy the pileup.
"Off the back of the Antenna"
A technique used by more experienced DX-ers, where the antenna
is pointed away from the station being contacted. This creates
a challenge similar to running QRP.
Restricting final input power to the transmitter to anything
less than 500 watts, on 20 meters.
A "state of the art" device which permits one to communicate
with as many others at the same time as possible. However,
beginner operators need to learn how to use one properly, to
expand the signal beyond a narrow, 3 Khz bandwidth.
An expression used in a CW QSO, to say: "you send me your QSL
card first, turkey, and then I'll send you mine".
An economic instrument, adminstered by the US Postal Service,
to control the balance-of-trade deficit.
A person who takes lists for DX-stations.
A method of making DX contacts, where some self-appointed
person takes a list "on the air" (aka: his buddies on 2-meters)
of people who wish to "work" a person in some DX location. This
makes it easy for hams who do not have the patience or time to
learn real DX skills to get a quick, easy contact. In fact, if
you can't hear the actual report from the foreign station, the
list-controller will often help ("...OK, there, WB6xxx, did you
hear Jose give you a '59' signal report?").
The station you worked in Juan De Nova tells you to send a
"Green Stamp" to a ham in Germany who is called a "QSL
Manager". It is his duty to send your card to a ham in
California, who then (after holding it for 8 months) sends you
a QSL card.
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