Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Old Geek Invents New Stick

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the can-you-hear-me-now? dept.

Technology 262

the morgawr writes "According to the EE Times and Science Blog, a scientist at University of Rhode Island has developed a new type of antenna design that, by increasing the efficiency, performs as well as the convential quarter-wave design but is only 1/3 as large."

cancel ×

262 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396666)

NO ONE CARES!!!

Re:FP (1)

JohnKerry (troll) (763875) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396910)

Your attitude reminds me of the current corrupt administration's attitude toward my campaign for president of the United States.

Upon ascendancy, I will have you shaved, sterilized, and destroyed.

WHOO HOOO (-1, Offtopic)

katpurz (721210) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396668)

Big antenii!

Re:WHOO HOOO (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396694)

antennae?

Very promising! (4, Interesting)

erick99 (743982) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396671)

From the article:

To check his theory, Vincent analyzed and compared the current profiles, output power and a score of other standard tests for measuring antenna performance. All measurements were in reference to comparative measurements made on a quarter-wave vertical antenna for the same frequency, on the same ground system and same power input. "I was able to increase the current profile of the antenna over a quarter-wave by as much as two to 2.5 times," said Vincent.

As a ham (amateur radio operator) this sounds like a very exciting development. I would like to see more "real life" testing in a variety of settings. Still, the idea of an antenna that can be reduced in size by that much (2/3) comes in very handy on the low bands where it's not uncommon to use several hundred feet of wire (Usually into a tuner).

Happy Trails!

Erick

Re:Very promising! (4, Interesting)

ejdmoo (193585) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396706)

As a user of all things gadgety and all things wireless, I can't wait to have this on my cell phone ! It could improve battery life or reception (depending on how it's calibrated).

However, this brings up a question...is this a design that scales to something as small as a cell phone?

Re:Very promising! (5, Interesting)

josecanuc (91) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396757)

The great thing about antenna design and RF theory is that all of the design happens in the mathematics domain, so all designs are infinitely scaleable. The only hitch may be in manufacturing, since small designs can be affected by molecular structure (or at least moreso than larger designs...)

The articles did mention that it could be used in the frequency bands that cell phones use, so you're in luck!

And actually, it would improve BOTH battery life and reception, since receiving a signal doesn't require any more or less power based on the antenna or incoming signal strength (excepting preamps). All other things being equal, if you decrease the transmit power, increase the antenna gain (which gives a gain for both receive and transmit), then you use less power overall, but can output an equivalent signal.

Improved reception is an unrelated (to power consumption) bonus.

Re:Very promising! (2, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396790)

I'm not sure how the system is normally supposed to work, but you might want to be careful of cell towers fighting over a given phone.

At my parents' house, Verizon phones get zero coverage, despite three towers being within range.

Re:Very promising! (3, Funny)

sndtech (738958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396834)

Actually from what the article says power usage would actually be limited by the antenna, whn he cranked up the power on his to full power he melted it.
of course we'll probably see a few cell phone designers screw up and over power the antenna and melt the phone into someones head.

Re:Very promising! (2, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396890)

Actually from what the article says power usage would actually be limited by the antenna, whn he cranked up the power on his to full power he melted it.

Article also says that that antenna was of a limited-power design (maybe he used cheap and small 28-gauge wire, or something?) In any case, it says he refined his design after that.

-T

Re:Very promising! (1, Funny)

W2IRT (679526) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396876)

Sounds like something you'd see in the April issue of QST. Read the comments on e-Ham!

Now, if it's for real, look out ye topbanders - y'all are about to be invaded!

Re:Very promising! (1)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396933)

According to his bio on qrz.com (he's K1DFT), he hangs out on 160 CW. Me, I just want one to hang on my car for my FT-857. ...Jay, K5ZC

Re:Very promising! (1)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396894)

I knew a HAM who was doing this in 1994 for a company he worked with. This scientist sure is a genius when a HAM with nothing but a high school education pulled off the same thing.

Re:Very promising! (4, Informative)

NearlyHeadless (110901) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396928)

I knew a HAM who was doing this in 1994 for a company he worked with. This scientist sure is a genius when a HAM with nothing but a high school education pulled off the same thing.
There was an article about this "scientist" in the New York Times yesterday [nytimes.com] . (No registration link). He is actually just a technician in the university's physics department. He doesn't have even an undergraduate degree.

Ahh yes, but.... (4, Funny)

BlueCodeWarrior (638065) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396674)

Can it be adjusted to fit on top of my tinfoil hat?

Re:Ahh yes, but.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396713)

Yes, but you'd look like a Teletubby...

Re:Ahh yes, but.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396805)

Either that or a Telebubby [newgrounds.com]

Re:Ahh yes, but.... (1, Funny)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396824)

Picture a new kind of beanie...instead of a propellor, it's an antenna for your cell phone.

Re:Ahh yes, but.... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396866)

1. Reroute the DMCA protected goverment mindwaves through a "IEEE-666 mindwave bandwidth coaxial cable".

2. Tape a car aerial a plastic "Captain Scarlet Mysteron(tm)" raygun, link it to the coax.

3. Call your self Captain Black.

4. Take over the world in the name of an unseen alien presence, by shooting people with rings of light.

5. ???

6. Profit!

Re:Ahh yes, but.... (2, Informative)

demachina (71715) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396895)

Here [af.mil] is a cool antenna which wont fit on top of your tinfoil hat but you will want to be wearing a tin foil hat or actually a full body suit if you encounter one.

Its the U.S. military's latest Active Denial System developed by Raytheon scheduled to start trials this fall. Its a millimeter wave beam weapon designed for non lethal crowd "control". Volunteers at Raytheon subjected to it described it as "unbearably painful, saying they felt as though their bodies were on fire". It should put an end to any unauthorized demonstrations against the U.S. or any of its allies. Its not entirely clear what happens to your eyes if you take the beam in the face at close range, or if it will cause cancer long term.

In case you think this is just Bush administration big brotherism, John Kerry is a big fan [counterpunch.org] too.

HAHWHAHWHAHHW PENIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396686)

[penis length joke goes here]

Suggested name... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396690)

"performs as well as the convential quarter-wave design but is only 1/3 as large"

Behold! I give you the twelfth-wave design!!

Genetic Algorithm (4, Interesting)

dustmote (572761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396698)

How does it compare against that bizarre antenna developed by genetic algorithms that we saw a story on a few months ago? Or am I comparing apples and oranges here?

Re:Genetic Algorithm (4, Informative)

Allen Zadr (767458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396919)

If this is the right story [slashdot.org] ... Markland Tech [marklandtech.com] created a Gas Plasma [marklandtech.com] antenna.

The purpose for the Markland antanna is "stealth" - it can turn on and off and re-tune itself on the fly. It is also a directional antenna. The antenna in this story is a smaller form factor for a wide frequency range omni-directional antenna.

Basically they are apples and oranges.

Will we see this at (5, Interesting)

Allen Zadr (767458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396700)

Will we see this at next year's WiFi Shootout [wifi-shootout.com] ?

Re:Will we see this at (4, Funny)

scatter_gather (649698) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396756)

Not unless you look 3 times harder.

Re:Will we see this at (1)

Rolo Tomasi (538414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396929)

Umm, that would be pretty pointless, because the wavelength at 2.4GHz is only 12.5cm, dunno if it would be that great of an advantage having a 4.1cm antenna instead of a 12.5cm antenna. The real advantage here is at low frequencies (say, 1 to 50), where traditionally huge antennas were needed because of the long wavelengths.

The paranoid here (0, Troll)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396701)

will just think this means they can be identified and tracked from twice as far away.

Heh (3, Funny)

xSquaredAdmin (725927) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396704)

Once again, it's been proven that it's not how big it is, but how well you use it.

Re:Heh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396725)

I am sorry to break the reality news to you but it DOES matter :)

*wink*

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396734)

Is it wider than the older designs?

Re:Heh (4, Funny)

denisdekat (577738) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396795)

Rats, so that means I got to get good at using it then :( All along I was counting on my size... Of antena that is ;)

Re:Heh (1, Funny)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396850)

If you've got antennae, you might want to join a circus. I hear they pay big money for people like you. :)

let it be said: patents at their best (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396709)

this is patents at their best: the little guy innovates, and becomes the not-so-little guy in reward

that should be the purpose of patents, to protect the little guy who innovates

let us hope that we can back to this world, a world where patents reward innovation, instead of suppress it

it is a delicate balance, but there are hordes of ip lawyers and corporate whores out there who are hard at work, having sold their conscience, hard at work warping the balance in the direction of those who don't deserve to be rewarded for suppressing true innovation like this

Re:let it be said: patents at their best (5, Insightful)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396752)

Hopefully it is innovative. A lot of people have played around with antennas over the years, especially amateurs trying to fit a big antenna in a small space. I'd be surprised if no one has tried something close to it.

So let's hope it's not just a tweak of something that was in QST magazine thirty years ago.

Re:let it be said: patents at their best (4, Funny)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396812)

I just hope he hasn't taken a 30 foot antenna and bent it every 12 inches then wrapped ductape around it.

Re:let it be said: patents at their best (1)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396982)

So let's hope it's not just a tweak of something that was in QST magazine thirty years ago.

Then he patents the tweak because that's what made an idea that didn't work (nobody is using it) to an idea that did work.

My father was issued the third patent on variable pitch propellers. The key difference between his design and the first two designs was his worked and the first two didn't.

Prior Art? (2, Informative)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#9397009)

I'm sure that there must be something close to his design on the ARRL site. [arrl.org] After mulling it over coffee, I thought of the endless "hide your loaded helix antenna as a flagpole!" QST articles over the years. (Yeah, most flagpoles have coax cable running to the house. No one will suspect a thing!) D'oh, most of the articles are members only.

Re:let it be said: patents at their best (1)

Confused (34234) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396777)

... and the patent will benefit the university he was working at.

Yet another patent for an anonymous patent portfolio to be used by lawyers as bargaining chips.

Hurrah!

Re:let it be said: patents at their best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396829)

"that should be the purpose of patents, to protect the little guy who innovates"

curious, I thought the purpose of patents was supposed to be "To promote the progress of science and useful arts...", I'm just not sure where I got that idea...

I developed something similar… (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396715)

...but with my penis. It performs as well as the conventional 5.5-inch design but is only 1/3 as large.

Re:I developed something similar… (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396867)

ahh, so now you don't have to cut as big a whole in your fruit...

smart card insertion? (4, Interesting)

bobba22 (566693) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396719)

"With the new helix design, Vincent has built a prototype 7-GHz antenna that he claims is indistinguishable from a quarter-wave antenna in all but its size. "Because the new design is completely planar, we could crank these out using thin-film technologies," Vincent said." Sounds like the answer to radio -powered smart cards ios just around the corner?

Re:smart card insertion? (2)

XMyth (266414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396771)

Shhh, don't talk about smartcards. DirecTV will sue you.

Re:smart card insertion? (1)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 10 years ago | (#9397010)

Radio-powered smart cards have been here for years. I have several sitting on my desk. Check out ISO 14443. This might make them more efficient though, which could reduce cost which is always nice.

No details of operation (4, Informative)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396727)

All i could see is that it is a 2-dimensional helix, so it's likely to be directional, if radio waves aren't hitting it on the perpendicular they will miss.

The other thing I saw was that you tuned the antenna for a frequency with components - does this mean potentiometers or does it mean scrapping it and buying another 2d helix tuned to the specific wavelenghth?

Re:No details of operation (1)

Binary Judas (775970) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396877)

I have not read the article (after all, this is Slashdot), but I'm curios, can you describe to me how a 2d helix looks like.
wouldn't that be like trying to describe a 2d cube?

Re:No details of operation (2, Interesting)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396930)

to describe a 2d cube, take a photo of a cube face on. congratulations you have one.

to describe a 2d helix, take a photo of one, concgrats you have one.

its basically a sin wave qith a specific frequency.

Re:No details of operation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396912)

You know, there's this amazing effect called scattering that randomly changes the direction of the incoming wave as it bounces off the ground/rocks/trees/etc... and in works in three dimensions, so even if you think you're holding your antenna perpendicular to the source tower, it can still pick up a signal.

Re:No details of operation (2, Funny)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396967)

but with a 2d antenna the strongest signal will always be perpendicular, you cant count on some random rock happening to bounce a muted signal in the correct direction.

if that was the case everyone would point their satelite dishes in whatever direction and place rocks around it until the signal was strong enough.

Just imagine... (2, Interesting)

wolf31o2 (778801) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396735)

...being able to pick up radio from Atlanta while in Charlotte. Then again, knowing how the electronics industry is, we would instead get smaller antennae that get the same reception, versus same-sized antennae with greater reception.

I still wouldn't mind seeing these in cars. My only question is if this can work with cars tha have "in windshield" antennae, such as mine.

Re:Just imagine... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396765)

you're an idiot

Re:Just imagine... (0)

bhima (46039) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396915)

I used to live in Atlanta, there's nothing worth picking up there

Re:Just imagine... (1)

linuxelf (123067) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396923)

You've obviously never listened to Charlotte radio.

Re:Just imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396964)

Well, actually you CAN get that right now, but there are 2 main problems. 1) You need to have a large tuned antenna that is for the radio station you want, and 2) There are most likely other stations that are on that same frequency either in Charlotte, or closer than Atlanta.

I doubt this will shorten AM towers (4, Interesting)

Punchinello (303093) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396737)

And those 300-foot tall antennas for the 900-KHz AM band that dominate skylines would have to be only 80 feet high, with no compromise in performance, using Vincent's design, he said.

Hmmm... I am no expert, but I thought those AM towers were tall so the antenna could be placed at the highest possible altitude. The radio transmitters in the Philadelphia, PA area are also located in the highest place in the region geographically.

I think the actual antenna is attached to the top of the tower. It's not the entire tower. Can someone help me out here?

Re:I doubt this will shorten AM towers (3, Interesting)

josecanuc (91) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396779)

Many old AM transmitter stations used the whole tower as the antenna, simply because the wavelength at such low frequencies was so long it would be impractical to stick a 200 ft. antenna on top of a 200 ft. tower.

They just load the tower at the base and the whole thing radiates!

Re:I doubt this will shorten AM towers (2, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396925)

Many old AM transmitter stations used the whole tower as the antenna, simply because the wavelength at such low frequencies was so long it would be impractical to stick a 200 ft. antenna on top of a 200 ft. tower.

Um, all AM transmitter stations use the whole tower as the antenna. Actually, they also use the ground as the antenna, too - half the radiator is above ground, and the ground plane acts as the other half of the radiator. And since you need a good ground plane, a 200' antenna on top of a 200' tower would be awful - and if you used the lower 200' as your ground plane, you'd get no radiation whatsoever (you'd get a positive wave from the top 200' at the same time as you'd get a negative wave from the lower 200' and they would cancel once you were more than a short distance away).

IAARadioEngineer

-T

Re:I doubt this will shorten AM towers (5, Informative)

ONOIML8 (23262) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396794)

No, you're thinking of the VHF FM band...that is exactly the case there.

On the AM radio band the tower IS the antenna. What you see sticking up in the air is usually insulated from ground right at the base, the part you see is actually hot. Therefore the tower itself radiates and is engineered to be a certain height as part of antenna design.

Re:I doubt this will shorten AM towers (5, Informative)

Air-conditioned cowh (552882) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396818)

"I think the actual antenna is attached to the top of the tower. It's not the entire tower. Can someone help me out here?"

Long (LF) and medium wave (MF) antennas usually are the entire tower because of the low wavelength. For VHF (e.g. FM radio) and TV the antenna is much shorter so it is at the top of the tower.

One way to tell if it is not obvious is to look at the steel support ropes. If they are broken along their length with insulators then it is probably a long wave or medium wave antenna. The steel rope is broken in this way to prevent the wire being long enough to become a significant and undesireable part of the antenna.

Re:I doubt this will shorten AM towers (4, Informative)

W2IRT (679526) | more than 10 years ago | (#9397008)

One way to tell if it is not obvious is to look at the steel support ropes. If they are broken along their length with insulators then it is probably a long wave or medium wave antenna. The steel rope is broken in this way to prevent the wire being long enough to become a significant and undesireable part of the antenna.

An even easier way to tell is look where it's installed and how many towers there are.

"AM" radio (actually, MF broadcast) transmitter sites are almost exclusively found in low, wet, marshy land in order to maximize their groundwave coverage and to get a good counterpoise (RF ground).

Not just that, but many "AM" transmitter sites -- though certainly not all, however -- encompass a number of similar towers in an array, not just one or two. This is done in order to direct their signals in certain directions and to null out their signals in other directions (since MW broadcast signals carry over somewhat great distances after dark).

VHF Broadcast ("FM") and television trnasmitters, on the other hand, are located on high towers on the highest ground available. VHF and UHF are line of sight, hence the higher the better.

As previous posters have stated, "AM" transmitting antennae are the towers themselves. Using the equation 468/f (MHz), a quarter wavelength for 1000 kHz is 468 feet high! VHF antennae, on the other hand, are MUCH shorter and are mounted atop supporting towers.

Re:I doubt this will shorten AM towers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396855)

hmm...i thought the feds were pushing digital signals for TV and Radio so they could use the "public" frequencies to ease spectrum congestion...

Re:I doubt this will shorten AM towers (4, Informative)

div_2n (525075) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396891)

As others have noted, the tower is the antenna. The output line coming from an AM transmitter is fixed directly to the tower. Usually this is not fixed at ground level to avoid killing a passerby. RF waves WILL arc and kill. Also, if you are feeling especially depressed and want to cause yourself bodily harm, walk up to a hot AM tower barefoot and grab it.

As it says in the article, wet (and salty which I didn't know) ground is best for transmission. AM towers are often set in a group of three and set in low lying wetlands (near water especially). If you look closely, you will see that the only thing perched on top would be the strobes (if applicable).

Re:I doubt this will shorten AM towers (4, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396965)

AM towers are often set in a group of three and set in low lying wetlands (near water especially).

Just to add... since the entire tower is the radiator at AM frequencies, the multiple towers are used for directionality... just like in VHF and UHF (and cell) frequencies, multiple antennae are usually mounted on the towers (though it's tough to see individual antennas since they're usually placed either 1/4-wave or 1/2-wavelength apart... in VHF that would be about 6-10 feet).

So anyways, several AM towers in a straight line (like WEEI, 4 towers south of Boston, or many others - there's a 6-tower set just west of NYC) yield a sort of figure-8 pattern, with the lobes pointed in the same direction as the line of towers... usually an easy way to tell the direction to the nearest big city. There are also directional patterns that aren't so easy, like one of my sites, WRNI in Rhode Island, which has 4 towers, set in a sort of Y shape. 3 are used during the day for one pattern, and one of them turns off and a different one turns on a night for a different pattern.

-T

Re:I doubt this will shorten AM towers (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396906)

I'm no expert either, but I don't think 80 is a third of 300.

This could have a very positive... (3, Insightful)

Dagny Taggert (785517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396747)

effect in the radio industry, where finding areas to put antennas is difficult due to population density, FAA regulations, etc. A more compact unit could be placed on taller buildings, essentially broadening the area that the signal could reach in urban areas.

Bandwidth of the antenna (4, Informative)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396755)

I wish the linked article had shown some VSWR plots of the antenna vs. conventional designs - I'm betting this antenna has a very narrow bandwidth.

There are several parameters for an antenna system (receive parameters in parens):
  1. VSWR bandwidth - this is the range of frequencies over which the antenna will correctly accept the signals, rather than reflecting them to the transmitter (in receive, the range of frequencies the antenna will properly couple to the receiver.). For a fixed-frequency system (like a radio station) this is less of a concern, for a frequency agile system like a cell phone this becomes more of a concern - if some of the cell channels are out of the bandwidth of the system operation will suffer.
  2. "Gain" of the antenna - technically no antenna can radiate more power than it receives from the transmitter (deliver more power than is available in the environment). However, if you are talking to a system "over there", any signals not going over there are wasted - thus an antenna that focuses the signal in the desired direction provides gain. The article implies a gain consistent with a dipole, but there are other antenna designs that provide even more gain than that.
  3. Radiation angle - this is the set of directions from which the RF will radiate from the antenna (be accepted by the antenna), and is linked to the gain of the antenna. For example, a phone should have a radiation angle as close to 0 degrees (toward the horizon) as possible - signals radiated at, say, 45 degrees are unlikely to hit a tower and are just being radiated into space.


Most compact designs trade bandwidth for performance - the work well at f=NNN.N MHz, but not well at f=NNN.N + .yy MHz.

This gets to be REALLY important for wide band systems like CDMA and UWB.

Re:Bandwidth of the antenna (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396856)

Yeah....

However, for a cut antenna this would be great. Given the antenna's I lug around when doing spot checks or trying to determine if a given tower is in an acceptable range... I really wouldn't mind this design so much.

I'm surprised someone hasn't said they want a beowolf cluster of these.

Me... I just want a cut quad of these.

What line of work (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 10 years ago | (#9397050)

What kind of towers are you checking - cell, LMR, broadcast, Ham?

Perhaps you'd used gear [aeroflex.com] I've [aeroflex.com] designed [aeroflex.com] ?

Re:Bandwidth of the antenna (1)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396953)

Supposedly, he didn't sacrifice bandwidth to get the smaller size - in fact, that's a central point of the article: he's apparently found an answer to the "bandwidth, size, efficiency, pick two" problem.

Show me the plots (2, Informative)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396987)

Again, I'd like to see the plots. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and three simple plots - VSWR/freq, radiation pattern in XY, radiation pattern in YZ - would go a long way to answering my questions.

Re:Bandwidth of the antenna (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396969)

2
An antenna structure has to overlap with the radiating dipole field, wich goes linear to zero at its center. So bigger antennas are better.
Higher multipole fields are even worse so why should there be other, better small antenna designs?

1
A small antenna has a to high impedance (>300 ohm = free space = trafo'ed coax)

If I put a high impedance cable in between two 50ohm cables, I get standing waves. Transmission at destinct frequencies it one.

high,long impedance jump = low VSWR bandwith?

Arne Rosenfeldt (his first slashdot post)

I was happy to see... (4, Insightful)

mobiux (118006) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396759)

That the University of Rhode Island and the Physics dept were made beneficiaries of the patent.

I can see this generating alot of revenue, and people (corporations) that may try to rip this off.
At least they will have a vested interest in fighting for the patent.

Picture anyone? (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396760)

I'd love to see a picture of this as I don't know much about antennae.

Re:Picture anyone? (5, Funny)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396888)

I'd love to see a picture of this as I don't know much about antennae.

Here [arxia.com] .

The downside.. (-1, Offtopic)

puntloos (673234) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396762)

It weighs 500pounds and smelled of elderberries?

Pringles mini can (4, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396763)

He found that by using those pringles mini cans, he could get similar reception to that of a regular-sized pringles can.

He expects to get a 10x power boost from metal chewing gum wrappers, and 50x from a microwaved AOL CD!

Re:Pringles mini can (1, Funny)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396825)

It's been scientifically proven that for this to work you also need 30 metres of string attached to either end, and just everso slightly under 30 metres of distance between the transmitter and receiver.

Communications engineers call this the Knot principle.

let's ask the ladies out there (4, Funny)

Jrod5000 at RPI (229934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396773)

c'mon, i don't care what you say... if it's 1/3 as large no woman on earth would believe it performs as well! :p

Fractal antennas (3, Informative)

rutger21 (132630) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396784)

Well, nice, but is it better than fractal antennas [fractenna.com] , i.e. Sierpinski [ucla.edu] antennas?

Re:Fractal antennas (3, Funny)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396854)

It probably picks up mainstream channels, Fractal antennas are stuck with Mandelbrotadio.

gotta say it... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396809)

worst headline ever!

Interesting coincidence (5, Interesting)

Insurgent2 (615836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396810)

I was just reading about something like this just last night.
I'll bet it ends up working on the same principle that Bill Beatty [amasci.com] is talking about when he got to thinking about why it is that an atom can absorb light so readily even though the size of the atom is such a small fraction of the wavelength.
Relevent articles:
Energy sucking antenna [amasci.com]
On the Possibility That Electromagnetic Radiation Lacks Quanta of Any Kind [amasci.com]
Nearfield coupling and tuned circuits [amasci.com]

aHA! (0, Redundant)

sicking (589500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396816)

performs as well as the convential quarter-wave design but is only 1/3 as large

I figured it out! It's 1/12-wave antenna!

For Rural Areas... (3, Interesting)

StacyWebb (780561) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396820)

..this will be great, living in the stix has it's advantages and disadvantages (disadv-no cable broadband , adv - can see the stars at night) Disadv -Having to rely soley on Direcway for broadband. This will open the doors also to companies wishing to move to the rural areas.

Microsoft/IBM can nab this (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396830)

IBM, Cisco, Microsoft or any other tech company can steal this patent by filing something akin to the following.

"A Method for reducing the size of radio antennae by a quarter using new design UNDER THE CONTROL OF A SOFTWARE DRIVEN DEVICE."

Remember, even if someone else has patented,invented,used,implemented,sold,issued,tho ugh and/or showed it to you first, if you jack it up to a computer, then you've got a patent pal! Now no one can connect a computer to this device without giving you money! Yippie!!

Welcome to the US patent Office. Where dreams CAN come true!

Snappy title (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396840)

Congratulations on the Register style title. Amusing.

Ham response (4, Informative)

tetranz (446973) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396842)

I wish them well but FWIW, it got a skeptical response on this popular ham site qrz.com [qrz.com]

Re:Ham response (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9397065)

I wish them well but FWIW, it got a skeptical response on this popular ham site

I'd wait for more details. Hams, like slashdotters, are long on opinions but frequently short on actual knowledge.

"The article is a bit short on detail, it seems very unlikely that an antenna only 18" high is going to perform as well on 15 meters as claimed." - i.e. "it can't work because its never worked before"

-T

Twice the frequency (1, Funny)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396852)

"The technology is completely scalable: Take the component values and divide them by two, and you get twice the frequency; take all the component values and multiply them by two, and you are at half the frequency," said Vincent.

That's been known [born-today.com] for quite some time.

Why smaller? Lets get better. (2, Insightful)

PMuse (320639) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396902)

Smaller is nice, but if we build a cell phone with a DLM the same size as the antennas in current models, can we get 3 times the reception?

Maxwell will be unhappy (1)

zeke-o (595753) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396946)

umm .. I realize that the stuff we call physics used to be called magic, but this sounds like hokum to me. There have been a number of people who've pooped out weird "e-h" antenna designs .. the problem is actually getting them to work in real life installation scenarios. Caveat Emptor! (sp)

Pictures, please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9396949)

pictures and some details would be nice... it's rather hard to believe the claims without seeing what this thing looks like or the results of tests.

Patents before proof (1)

NoWhere Man (68627) | more than 10 years ago | (#9397022)

I was kind of hoping for design specs myself. Not that I would go out and build one, but I wouldn't mind a peak at the technology.

But as I read the article, the guy looks like he wants to make a few bucks from his discovery before providing info/pictures/etc..

Why else would you patent it?

Prior art? Or innovation? (3, Interesting)

pa3gvr (548273) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396959)

Although the articles are a bit thin on specs my gut instinct tells me it will be similar or an improvement the EH antenna. Link to definition (pdf) of EH antenna [eh-antenna.com] Link to (pdf) how to build an EH antenna. [eh-antenna.com]

I hope that despite of the patents the design will be made available for amateurs to use and experiment with.

These kind of innovations just show that Amateur Radio is still alive and can contribute in the advancement of radio.

Amateur Radio also still works for emergencies [arrl.org] .

73 de Sjaak, W4RIS ex-PA3GVR

not possible (5, Interesting)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396976)

Hmmmm.. a 'ham' making new antenna discoveries...sounds familiar:-)

It is not physically possible to attain a moderate Q or low Q, thin monopole --antenna-- which is 15-18 inches on 21 MHz and is efficient. This is not a statement against K1DFT, or anyone else. It is a statement of fact, based on the physics of very electrically small antennas, and many years professionally devoted to pursuing such issues. K1DFT has apparently pursued a path long since traveled by many others, and not only myself.

Occasionally, in some form factors, it is possible to trade efficiency for gain, but this is too short for that. And so much for bandwidth.

Great care needs to be taken to remove multipath effects in the measurement of gain, and greater care needs to be taken in equating measured comparitive gain with actual antenna efficiency. Based on this anecdotal report, there is no evidence presented that such issues could be removed in the measurements.

Radiation resistance results from an antenna's sampling portions of radiating waves. A short antenna samples a small portion of the wave--and not from the peak, unless the electrical length is 1/4 to 1/2 the wave or more. Multiple current maxima do help increase radiation resistance. Efficiency is derived from the ratio of this radiation resistance to the total resistance--which includes ohmic losses. Distributed discrete loads are moderately lossy, and one would require load Q-factors of 1000 or more to attain even moderate Q antennas with high efficiency.

The optimization of distributed loads in monopoles is an old technology, recently aided via genetic algorithms. I recall, for example, some good work on this approach published in 1996 by Boas et al. Before that, R.C. Hansen made fundamental efforts into such understanding, as well as others. MATLAB is also a poor tool for this, because it is difficult to assess losses properly.

Another concern is: what is radiating? In some cases, ground planes (counterpoises) do, indeed, radiate in the far field and are thus part of the antenna. The monopole 'antenna' is often a loading mechanism in this case, and contributes little to the radiation. There are commercially used 'antennas' that are 1/10 th the height of a 1/4 wave or less; are broad/multiband/ and so on. This is not new. They are used in wireless LAN; RFID; and cell phones; and many other places.

Many here are aware of my efforts in fractal antenna technology--which started in a similar radio amateur vein. Although I applaude continued efforts into antenna experimentation through ham radio, I must confess that my educated opinion is that nothing new has, or will be, attained by such efforts. The state of the art is often not public, and far outstrips what is commonly available in, for example, amateur radio publications. I would enjoy being wrong, however. In fact, I'd get a great kick out of it.

It's sure fun to read about though, and experimenting is fun to do.

Re:not possible (4, Informative)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396996)

It should be pointed out that the inventor mentioned in the news release is listed in the Unversity's directory as a "Technician". That is, he is not one of the Physics Department faculty. So I think it highly unlikely that any government funding is involved, or that it will be published. Looking at their website which lists their research programs, in fact, there is no mention of anything having to do with antennas. So in all likelihood this is a bootleg or personal effort, not an official University project. That is not necessarily mean it's bogus - I haven't seen the details myself - so I'm just pointing out that if it does turn out to be nonsense, we should not condemn the Physics department for it!

I am a physicist myself, currently doing materials research for the Navy. From time to time throughout my career, I have been approached by "inventors" with various ideas. I always give these schemes due consideration because, as another poster mentioned, one should keep an "open mind". But mainly because, even if the idea as a whole is nonsense, there may be elements of it that worth something.

There is a pattern. Almost all of the "inventions" that have been presented to me for evaluation and endorsement have made remarkable claims about "efficiency" approaching 100% -or in some cases exceeding 100%. This always turns out to be due to the inventor not recognizing and accounting for all the losses in the system, or making bad assumptions about efficiency being equal to some other factor (there are a few hams, for example, who mistakenly equate SWR with efficiency). There is another pattern to this sort of thing - that is, when I point out the error, they almost always accuse me of not having an "open mind" and I sometimes get a lecture from them about "paradigm shifts" or Einstein or Tesla and so on. etc. Then sometimes they proceed to harass me for months with minor variations of their idea. I always wonder why, if I don't have an "open mind" and am part of the entrenched establishment, why do they work so hard to try to get my endorsement!

Some of these have been pretty interesting ideas that have taken up to a week to study. Some of have been utter nonsense. I was even approached once by someone who claimed to have found some "particles" left behind by aliens who had abducted him, and he wanted me to "analyze" them. Well, I did an analysis and identified it to be a chuncks of Hartz hamster food. But that's another story.

I can't say whether the antenna inventor in this case might have approached someone in the physics department about this antenna, and if he did whether he was turned away, and if so, why.

Just suggesting that (1) we should not condemn the idea outright until we get some first-hand information on what the guy actually claimed - press releases don't necessary mean anything, and (2) if it's nonsense, it is not necessarily reflective of the University's research quality.

Re:not possible (0)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 10 years ago | (#9397029)

Above is just two comments I found interesting on the website, sorry for the spam, if any was insinuated.

Pardon me for being a little skeptical.. (1)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9396998)

While I'm not an antenna physicist, I've been a ham radio operator since 1958 and have built and used a LOT of antennae. I've discovered that there are trade-offs. I will be very interested to see how this pans out and hope that it is, indeed, a break-through.

Here are some of the reasons for my skepticism. An antenna that is smaller will inherently intercept less of the signal when used for reception. It's called capture area. When used for transmission there are usually reductions in efficiency due to increased losses in the components that are used to reduce the size. Other trade-offs often appear in the form of directionality, that is, the antenna radiates/receives better in some directions than others.

In the professor's blog, he mentioned that when he increased power to 100 watts at 21 MHz, the antenna melted. That means that energy, instead of being radiated, was converted to heat, AKA lost efficiency.

I have operated successfully with relatively small antennae and low power on the shortwave bands for a long time. My typical mobile setup is 4 watts at 14 MHZ to an antenna on the car trunk that's about 4 feet tall, a commercially made Huster brand with a 22 inch base section for those who are familiar with ham antennae. Using that setup, I, too, have made good contacts on all continents from the central US. As the old saying goes, you can make contacts with a wet noodle for an antenna if the band conditions are good.

Anyway, that's my take on it. I hope that I get a chance to try out one of his creations on the shortwave bands. It sounds like, if it works as billed, that it would be great for my mobile operation.

73 and "Do the Right Thing. It will gratify some people and astound the rest." - Mark Twain

Title of the artical (0)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9397003)

Was especially amusing.

"Old geek invents new stick"

Well at least I thought so.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>