Antenna – the mid-60s

In my recent post about Exercise Long Drag I made mention of the G5RV dipole antenna.

A simple dipole in the field. The earth stake would to earth the RADIO

This antenna was invented by Louis Varney in 1942. He was a British amateur and his call sign was G5RV. There is a brief resume here and a Google search will find more of the same. (take care not to get confused by the composer with the same name!)

There are several variants of the antenna and with some variants it is suggested that an antenna tuner should/can be used.

Without getting too technical – I will leave that to the boffins – the variant that we used had the standard 51 foot (15.5m) radiating elements and the feeder was a 34 foot (10.3m) 300 ohm TV tape tail with a further 5m x 72 ohm tail to the radio equipment. Because the 72 ohm was usually twin ripcord with no connector one had to be fairly creative to make the connection to the radio equipment. We did not use a balun at the junction of feeder and radiating elements.

We never used the G5RV with an antenna tuner and only used it for a while with the C14 radios. I believe some units used the antenna for quite a while though because it was fairly broad band. I can’t help thinking we should have learned more about the antenna and persevered with it.

How it came about was that (then WO2) Bob Jones, Tp SM of K Troop, 2 Brigade, was a radio amateur (Callsign ZE1BF) and he learned about the antenna through his radio amateur contacts and the radio amateur literature of the day. (I seem to recall that originally the story fed to us was that it was a Zambian amateur who invented it but it may have been that the Zambian connection was merely a member of the amateur radio fraternity).

Bob suggested to our Troop Comd, who was a WO1, that we try the antenna as a quick and convenient ready-made solution to deploying our new C14 radios. The idea was put forward to Army HQ (Signals) who gave them the nod.

The antenna were a great success although, of course, some puritans disdained them. Bob Jones (and Louis Varney) never got any recognition from Army HQ…someone did – but not them!

I will touch on antenna – which we learned about in considerable detail on our signals operators courses – in other posts.