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Two antennas were married. The wedding was boring but the reception was fantastic!  headphones (80K wav)

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Over the years I've made a number of "homebrew" amateur radio antennas. Several designs came from the pages of QST and The Arrl Antenna Book. So naturally I was intrigued by the idea of increasing the range of computer related wireless devices. The result of my explorations is this Web site.

Amateur "Ham" Radio

Some of my first experiences with antennas came when I was a teenager and I passed the FCC exam for an amateur (ham) radio license - see Putting Up Your First Antenna. I had to learn morse code (cw, or continuous wave - learn cw online) for that. If you think you know what a nerd is, try visiting a swap meet or convention where amateur radio operators like to hang out, hamming it up at radio meets.

Old tech proves it still packs a punch as oldtimer morse code trumps newcomer SMS in head-to-head speed texting combat, in the quest for world title for fastest text messaging. Jay Leno pits morse coders against text messagers on the Tonight Show. Video (wmv). Read the ham's reaction to the win. Here's a fun, easy-to-do Morse Code Generator, a Text to Morse Code MP3 converter, learn how to program a converter with Fun with Morse Code and here is a morse code cheat sheet.

For you hams reading this, change your default WiFi channel (usually 6) to 11 as only Channel 11 is completely outside the Amateur allocation. (Amateur Radio Part 97 is 2.3900-2.4500 and Unlicensed Part 15 is 2.4000-2.4830). Changing the default channel is somewhat important for reasons of speed as well if you have neighbors on the default channel. It minimizes the number of packet collisions. Keep in mind that for hams (depending on the specific situation), station identification is required every 10 minutes, automatic power limiting circuitry might be required and that microwave power amplifiers are expensive and decrease recieve sensitivity of link radios. Having said that, amateur radio operators have modified commercial systems to set a world record for unamplified WiFi.

Hams, check out these linear power amplifiers for 2304 - 2450mhz and these 2.4 GHz 802.11g indoor Wi-Fi amplifiers. Read about FCC power regulations.

Permissible under Part 15: Max. Transmitter RF power Ant. gain (dBi) EIRP (W)
2.4 GHz omni-directional 30 dBm (1 W) 6 3.98
2.4 GHz directional 9 dBm (800 mW) 9 6.35
  28 dBm (640 mW) 12 10.14
  27 dBM (500 mW) 15 15.81
  26 dBm (400 mW) 18 25.23
  25 dBm (320 mW) 21 40.28
  24 dBm (250 mW) 24 62.79
  23 dBm (200 mW) 27 100.2
  22 dBm (160 mW) 30 160.0

The Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers have antennas for observations of the radio sky.

Ham radio antenna sites are Anttenx and the late L. B. Cebik's (W4RNL) site, Tales and Technicals.

Live Police Scanner Audio Feeds is where enthusiasts find links to live police and fire scanner audio feeds from across the U.S.

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If you have made it this far...

Want to be a highly paid wireless engineer? First graduate from a top-notch academic wireless training center (Georgia Tech, Purdue University, ULCA, University of Texas in Austin, University of California at Santa Barbara). Then check out this job board with jobs for Motorola, Nokia, Sony Erickson, IBM, Samsung or Cisco. Don't have what it takes to complete the challenging training needed to become a wireless engineer? Salespeople, managers, site-acquisition people and HR people can also find work in the wireless field.

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Revised: 01/08/2018