Edmund A. Laport’s textbook Radio Antenna Engineering

Here is a printer friendly copy of the Edmund A. Laport’s textbook Radio Antenna Engineering

credits and thanks go to Dave Platt, AE6EO

The Book

Radio Antenna Engineering was published in 1952, and presents an excellent overview of the state of commercial antenna system engineering as practiced in the first half of the 20th century. As its name implies, it’s not solely about electromagnetic or radio or antenna theory although these issues are certainly a part of what it talks about. Rather, it focuses on matters surrounding the nuts and bolts (and logs, beams, bars, wires, and insulators) of actually designing and implementing a large-scale antenna system. As Laport writes,

There are three basic aspects of antenna engineering. The first pertains to radiant energy in space around an antenna system, as well as the current distributions that produce the radiation pattern. The second pertains to antenna circuitry and involves such matters as self- and mutual impedances, currents, potentials, insulation, and feeder systems that will yield the desired current distributions. Third there is the structural engineering which has to do with all the mechanical details of supports, rigging, materials, strengths, weights, hardware, assembly, adjustability, stability, and maintenance. While each aspect must be separately developed, the final design must be an integration of the three, with a minimum of compromise and within reasonable economic limits.

The book includes an introduction to radio theory (referring the reader to works by Kraus, Terman, and others for more detail). The first three chapters discuss the specification and design of large antenna systems, broken down by the frequency ranges they serve: low frequency, medium frequency, and high frequency. Three additional chapters discuss transmission lines, impedance matching techniques, and logarithmic potential theory. Each chapter is well supported by drawings, charts, photographs, and an extensive bibliography of references.

Radio Antenna Engineering is noteworthy for its collection of photographs of early and mid-20th-century radio transmission facilities and construction practices. It also has an extensive discussion of HF long-wire antennas, including single-wire types, V designs, rhombics, and fishbones.

Radio Antenna Engineering is certainly of significant historical interest, and may be of practical use as well. Although some of the designs and practices portrayed in it have been supplanted in commercial service, much of its content can still be of significant value to amateur-radio operators and to those interested in the practical aspects of high-power radio operation in the lower-frequency RF bands.

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