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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jul 2010 14:18 
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This is a summary of a lecture Im expecting to give at the UK National Caving Conference in September,

How earth-current antennas really work - David Gibson
With cave radio equipment, there has been a trend away from the use of induction loop antennas to the use of so-called earth-current antennas, i.e. long wires grounded at both ends. Both the HeyPhone and Nicola system use this type of antenna. However, the popular explanation for how this antenna works is fallacious. The antenna does not operate by allowing the current to flow in a 'big loop' in the ground and in fact, it does not depend, fundamentally, on current flow in the ground at all. The fact that the popular explanation is wrong is important because, if we do not understand how the antenna works, it is difficult to know the best way to use it, or how to design a better one. Back in 2003, I wrote an article for the CREG journal entitled 'What We Don't Know About Earth-Current Propagation'. It has taken me some time to get to grips with the problem but this talk will now go some way to filling in the gaps in this knowledge and will describe a method of experimentally rating earth-current antennas for effectiveness.

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