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The GRASSWIRE:
Another Approach to Hidden HF Antennas

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ANTENTOP- 01- 2017 # 021

The GRASSWIRE:
Another Approach to Hidden HF Antennas

 

 

 

Figure 1

 

Plan and Elevation views of a Typical Installation of  Grasswire Antenna

 

 

 

The grasswire radiates vertically polarized off the end of the wire. Extensive monitoring tests with wires laid along the great circle route toward WWV, and perpendicular to that line, demonstrate the end-fire nature of the antenna. So why does it work?

 

When a plane wave reflects from an air-earth boundary, an incoming ray reflects, giving an outgoing ray. These two, and the line normal to the boundary plane, form a plane of incidence. Solutions of Maxwell's equations differ for the case of the E-field being perpendicular to this plane (i.e., horizontally polarized), and the case when the E-field vector is in the plane of incidence.

You will probably call the latter "vertical" polarization, although this is technically not correct. Electromagneticists (a.k.a those who practice Electromagical effects) refer to these cases as normal incidence (horizontal polarization) and planar incidence (vertical polarization.)

 

For the normal incidence case, reflection is nearly total, with a nearly 180 degree phase reversal. Thus very low antennas neither respond to, nor generate, appreciable amounts of horizontally polarized radiation. But for the planar incidence case, the reflection varies in strength considerably. At some takeoff angle (angle between outgoing ray and the ground) the reflection becomes quite weak, and has a 90 degree phase shift. Near this angle, the sum of direct and reflected rays will have a magnitude as if the antenna were in free space! Of course, at other angles, ground reflection largely cancels the direct ray, and the antenna does not radiate well at all.

A reflection coefficient is calculated as the ratio of the electric field in the incoming ray to the electric field in the reflected ray. It varies from one (total reflection without loss) to zero (no reflection at all.) It depends on the takeoff angle, frequency, and the soil parameters (dielectric constant and conductivity.) Figure 2 shows plot of planar incident (vertical polarization) reflection for typical “good” soils and Figure 3 shows plot of planar incident (vertical polarization) reflection for typical “poor” soils.

 

 

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February 25, 2018 22:24

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