Electronics: And Now the Mini-Antenna

Cluttering rooftops, bristling from satellites and planes, protruding from walkie-talkies and TV sets, antennas are both a symbol and a necessity of the communications age. To transmit and receive signals efficiently, however, antennas must often be inconveniently large. Their sheer bulk adds crucial pounds to the weight of spacecraft, causes extra drag on the otherwise streamlined surfaces of supersonic aircraft, and is a dead giveaway to the location of radio operators on the battlegrounds of Viet Nam. Now, because of the persistence of an Air Force scientist, antennas are about to be cut down to size.

Ten years ago, Edwin...

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