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Harper's Rhombic Design
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This is the foreword from Harper's Rhombic Antenna Design textbook. It was collected by Ian W. Cummings, KB1SG, and is displayed here with his permission.

Harper's Rhombic Antenna Design Foreword

The following is the foreword from Harper's Rhombic Antenna Design textbook, the source most commonly quoted in rhombic antenna design discussions. This text was written by A. E. Harper of Bell Laboratories in 1941. In the forword, Ralph Brown, also of Bell Labs, basically describes the birth of the rhombic antennas in the 40's as an elegant replacement for the cumbersome and crude short wave antennas that were the rhombic's precurors. Unfortunately Mr. Brown's description could easily today be applied to the demise of the rhombic antenna, which has now become as cumbersome and relatively crude appearing to the "satellite generation." The internet and satellite linkages have now made the global communications previously reserved for great antennas like the rhombic, commonplace.

Mr. Brown's foreword:

When there was built in 1929 at Lawrenceville, New Jersey, a radio telephone station for initiating overseas short-wave service, the most pictured feature of the new establishment was a gigantic wire fence or net, a mile long, stretching across the landscape on a row of 185 foot towers. This comprised the transmitting antenna complement for the three telephone circuits to Europe.

A year ago the nets were taken down, the towers dismantled and sold for junk. Near them had arisen a number of telephone poles carrying at odd looking angles a few almost invisible wires. While this was the most spectacular conquest of the rhombic antenna, it is not the only measure of its impact on short wave radio telephony. Subsequent stations constructed in Florida and California made use of this simple, efficient radiator from the start and its economy was a factor in justifying the establishement of new routes to South America, Hawaii and the Orient.

Although the rhombic has been known since its first published description by E. Bruce in 1931, it has not been widely adopted outside the radio telephone field of the Western Hemisphere. One reason for this, no doubt, is the lack of easily usable information on the rational design of this antenna to fit it in each case to the work to be done - and a sound design is necessary to successful use of any directive system.

To make design information available to radio telephone engineers of the Bell System, A.E. Harper compiled this handbook from the published and unpublished work of his colleagues in Bell Telephone Laboratories. The prospect that libraries, students and engineers in other departments of the radio art would like to have this material has prompted its formal publication.

Ralph Brown, Bell Telephone Laboratories.

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