Glossary

A list of words I use (and their definitions) that might not be clear to some readers, particularly words that have specific definitions in this context, or may be more obscure uses of American English.

For the moment, I’m just listing them here, and adding definitions as I get the chance…

  • # : The “pound-number sign” can be used for a weight in pounds, or a number of items. On this website, I use it for numbered sizes of things, like #16 wire or a #6 screw.
  • adaptability : the abililty to adapt or change to meet different needs.
  • alligator clips : American version of British “crocodile clips”.
  • antenna party : inviting other hams over to help you put up an antenna. May involve food.
  • antenna tuner : an impedance transformation circuit, often adjustable. Also known as Aerial Tuning Unit (ATU), transmatch, matchbox, tuner, and a few other names.
  • application : the end use for something.
  • ARDF (Amateur Radio Direction Finding)
  • array : an antenna system where multiple elements contribute to the radiation pattern.
  • AWG (American Wire Gauge) : standard American wire sizes
  • backpack : a large bag for carrying equipment on your back. Also called a rucksack.
  • backpacking : traveling on foot while carrying all your food and equipment in a backpack, often in a remote area. Also called tramping. As used on this website, it refers to situations where where light weight and small size are important parameters for antennas.
  • baffling : puzzling, the answer or explanation is not clear.
  • balun : a device that converts a balanced antenna or feedline to an unbalanced feedline.
  • bisquare antenna
  • boom : the center support for the elements of a yagi or other antenna.
  • broadband : an antenna that covers a significantly wider bandwidth than a normal antenna
  • broadside : radiating at a right angle to the plane of the antenna elements.
  • Bruce Array : a broadside array of bent wires, typically in the form of squares that are 1/4 wavelength on a side.
  • BWG (Birmingham Wire Gauge) : standard pre-metric British wire sizes
  • carabiner : a metal clip used to connect ropes.
  • cleat : a fitting that a rope is tied to, often used on boats and flag poles.
  • coaxial cable (“coax”)
  • coupled, coupling
  • creativity
  • curtain : an array of antenna elements in a vertical plane
  • delta : a triangular shape
  • delta loop : a triangular wire loop antenna
  • diamond : a square or rhombus with corners at the top and bottom.
  • dipole
  • directivity
  • director
  • discrete : this has two meanings
    • made of individual pieces
    • not easily seen or noticed
  • driven element : the element in a parasitic array like a yagi that is connected to the feedline
  • doublet : an antenna like a dipole, fed with low-loss parallel feedline, often for multiband operation.
  • dowel : a round piece of wood, often inserted into a hole to join two other pieces.
  • dual : having two uses. (Do not confuse this with “duel”, a fight.)
  • efficiency : a measure of the power radiated from an antenna compared to the power applied to it. A perfect antenna would be 100% efficient
  • EFHW (End-Fed Half-Wavelength antenna)
  • element
  • elemental
  • Elmer : a ham who helps newcomers to learn
  • end-fed
  • fan dipole
  • Field Day : A ham radio event involving portable operation, sponsored by the ARRL.
  • figure-8 (or “figure-of-eight”)
  • foot / feet : an Imperial unit of distance, equal to 30.48 cm. Foot is singular, feet is plural.
  • G5RV: a doublet antenna with specific dimensions that give a low SWR on several HF bands.
  • gain
  • gauge : a standard numbered size of wire, metal, etc.
  • ground
  • ground plane
  • halyard : a loop of rope through a pulley. Often used on a flagpole.
  • harmonic
  • hexagon : a polygon having 6 sides.
  • impedance
  • Imperial units : The measurement system for distance, weight, etc., inherited from the British Empire. Now mostly replaced by the metric system.
  • inch : An Imperial unit of distance, equal to 2.54 cm.
  • insulator
  • inverted V (or inverted vee)
  • IOTA (Islands On The Air)
  • junkbox : a collection of radio parts and pieces that might be useful some day, regardless of how many boxes (or buildings) it actually requires.
  • loading coils
  • long wire
  • Marconi
  • mast : a vertical support for an antenna. When using a tower with a rotator, it may mean just the vertical part that is rotated, on which the antennas are mounted.
  • matchbox : another name for an “antenna tuner” or “ATU”
  • matching
  • mil : Imperial unit of distance, equal to .001 inch or 0.0254 mm.
  • mile : Imperial unit of distance, equal to 5280 feet or 1.61 km.
  • minima : the plural of “minimum”. Several points where a value is low.
  • misconception : an incorrect understanding.
  • mobile : operated or used while in motion, often in a vehicle.
  • monoband : operating on only one band.
  • multiband (or multi-band) : can be used on more than one band.
  • nominal : an expected or standard value. For example, nominal “1 inch” plastic water pipe is not necessarily 1 inch in diameter, but it is called that because the connectors are the same size as those for metal pipe with a 1 inch inside diameter.
  • null : a direction where signals from an antenna are very weak.
  • NVIS (Near-Vertical Incident Skywave) : communications using signals radiated at high angles, almost straight up.
  • OCFD (Off-Center Fed Dipole)
  • parallel
  • parasitic
  • phase
  • polarization
  • polyvaricon : a variable capacitor (condensor) with polyethylene plastic sheet between the plates, as used in small transistor radios.
  • portable : operating from a different location, often with temporary antennas
  • practical
  • pragmatic : using whatever you can to accomplish a goal, even if it is unconventional.
  • propagation
  • prototype : the first version of something to see if an idea works, often without the refinements of a finished product
  • pseudo-Brewster angle
  • quad (or cubical quad antenna) : a parasitic beam using loop elements.
  • quirk / quirky
  • radio direction-finding
  • random
  • reflector
  • resonance
  • resources
  • rhombic
  • RV (Recreational Vehicle)
  • shunt
  • SOTA (Summits On The Air)
  • Sterba curtain
  • SWR (Standing Wave Ratio)
  • TBD: To Be Done. (There are still lots of articles I haven’t written yet.)
  • trap
  • trivial : small or unimportant
  • tuner : an antenna tuner or impedance matching network
  • twinlead
  • ultralight
  • vertical
  • vertical angle of radiation
  • wavelength
  • wideband
  • Windom : a half-wave wire antenna fed off-center with a single wire feedline. The term is sometimes applied (incorrectly) to an Off-Center Fed Dipole (OCFD).
  • yagi (or Yagi-Uda)
  • yard : I don’t use it very often on this website, but this word has several different meanings:
    • An Imperial unit of length equal to 3 feet or 0.9144 m. In the US, most often used for measuring cloth or distances for sporting events.
    • the land around a house, or some part of it. British “garden”.
    • to pull on a rope
    • a rope on a ship
  • yardstick : a measuring stick that is 1 yard (3 feet) long
  • ZS6BKW : a doublet antenna with specific dimensions that give a low SWR on several HF bands.