Propagation and Radio Science
There are countless ways for radio signals to travel from transmitter to receiver, and understanding how radio waves interact with their environment is an important factor in successful radio communications. While amateurs can maximize station performance and reliability with the right equipment, knowledge and skill, we cannot control propagation. Through scientific exploration and experimentation, we can improve our understanding of propagation and how it affects radio signals.
Propagation and Radio Science presents a comprehensive overview of one of the most fascinating and rewarding activities in Amateur Radio. Author Eric Nichols, KL7AJ, uses his lively, engaging approach to present the complex subject of radio propagation in simple, easy-to-understand terms. This book covers topics ranging from theoretical exploration to practical application. It explains the phenomena we observe on the amateur bands and invites you to embark on the journey through the still-unknown radio propagation universe.
Softcover: 256 pages
Publisher: The American Radio Relay League, Inc.; First Edition (May 2015)
Product Dimensions: 7 1/4 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.0 pound
Preface: The Invisible Journey
Introduction: A Wide World for the Technician Class Amateur
About the ARRL
1 Matters About Matter
2 The Optical Factor
3 Polarization, Gain and Other Antenna Matters
4 The “Reflection” Process
5 The Ground Wave
6 Demystifying the Ionosphere
7 The Anomalous Ionosphere
8 Magnetic Personality
9 Instrumentation and Interpretation
10 Free Electron Propagation
11 Neutral Propagation
12 Cheaper Than Dirt
13 Diversity Methods
14 WWV and Channel Probes
15 Software and Other Tools
16 Keeping Up with Kepler and Friends
17 Your Friend the S Meter
18 Loads of Modes
19 Sea Shanty
20 NVIS Modes and Methods
21 Unexplored Territory
Epilogue: The Art of Being There
Appendix 1 — Walking the Planck
Appendix 2 — Understanding AM
Appendix 3 — Diversify Your Options
One of the most fascinating and rewarding activities in Amateur Radio is studying the often baffling and sometimes frustrating phenomenon of radio propagation. Actually, radio propagation is not just one phenomenon, but rather many phenomena, all of which add up to an intriguing journey of radio waves from transmitter to receiver through the voids of space.
Unlike sound, radio waves travel without the need for a medium, a truly amazing property that has intrigued physicists and philosophers for over a century. Understanding how radio waves interact with their environment is an important factor in achieving effective Amateur Radio communications. Amateur frequencies span the entire electromagnetic spectrum, at least in chunks, and each portion of the radio spectrum has unique advantages and potential pitfalls.
A dedicated and skillful radio amateur may take great pains to assure that the station’s transmitter, receiver, and antennas are functioning at their optimum potential, yet once a radio wave leaves the antenna, it is at the mercy of the ether.
Because we have no control over the ether, our only option is to understand what it is doing and accommodate its often fickle behavior. This can be a ham’s greatest joy or a source of great frustration. And yet, as unpredictable as propagation can be at times, there is a great deal that we do know. And that is what this book is about.
In Propagation and Radio Science, author Eric Nichols, KL7AJ, puts radio propagation front and center. In his lively and engaging writing style, Eric explains many of the phenomena we observe on the amateur bands and encourages us to learn more and experiment using readily available tools. We hope you will make use of the wealth of information found here.
David Sumner, K1ZZ
Chief Executive Officer