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SID and AWESOME Antennas - Space Weather Monitors
SID and AWESOME Antennas

We have provided instructions with our SID monitors on how to build a couple untuned loop antennas. However, the styles, options, and sizes are almost unlimited. Can you design the ultimate "best" antenna for a SID monitor? What are the tradeoffs between a small, heavily wrapped one and a larger one with fewer wraps? Which is the "best" and how does one define "best" for a SID monitor? What are the various tradeoffs between size, number of loops, types of wire, antenna shape, etc.? What are the principles of loop antenna design? What are the effects of doubling, or halving, the number of wraps and/or the diameter of the antenna? How does the wire size affect sensitivity? How far away from a transmitter must the antenna be to function properly? How close is too close? From how far away can various antennas pick up various stations? What are ground waves and what do they have to do with transmitters and antennas?

One SID user used a 20' "whip," in this case a 20 foot vertical rod, instead. He noted it gave him a much stronger signal than either a tuned or untuned loop. Its other advantage is that it is omni-directional. What are the quantitative differences of using a whip instead of a loop? What are the tradeoffs? Should we include instructions for setting up a whip as well as a loop?

The AWESOME monitors require a different type of antenna. Why? What are the various options for size, shape, materials, and tradeoffs for the AWESOME antennas?

Surprisingly, most of the answers are unknown, or at least controversial. If you are interested in exploring any of these issues, you might get started by reading: Antenna Basics and Loop Antennas

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