Archives:IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine Historical Articles


The IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society has in its publication IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine featured articles on history. The ETHW has partnered with the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society to make those particularly articles free to the public on IEEE Xplore, which is IEEE’s digital library that delivers access to the world's highest quality technical literature in engineering and technology. The abstracts and links for the Antennas and Propagation Magazine collection appear below.

Baker, D.C.; Austin, B.A.
Volume 37, Issue 6, 1995
Wireless telegraphy circa 1898-99: the untold South African story
This article discusses some of the lesser-known events predating the first attempted rise of the new technology of wireless telegraphy, for military communications during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. Copious use has been made of original and little-known documentary material to prepare this paper. Much of this material has never been published before. As such, the article provides an interesting insight into the way that the pioneers in the field tried to come to grips with a technology which would ultimately have a major impact on society

Belrose, J.S.
Volume 44, Issue 2, 2002
Reginald Aubrey Fessenden and the birth of wireless telephony
The year 2000 was the 100th anniversary of the transmission of the first voice over radio. On December 23, 1900, Prof. Reginald Aubrey Fessenden after a number of unsuccessful tries - transmitted "words without wires" over a distance of 1600 m, between twin aerial systems employing 15 m masts, located on Cobb Island, Maryland. The quality of the received wireless-telephony transmission was reported to be perfectly intelligible, but the speech was accompanied by an extremely loud, disagreeable noise, due to the irregularity of the spark. Spark? Yes. Fessenden had not yet developed a method to generate continuous waves. The sender was a spark transmitter, operating at 10,000 sparks/second, with an asbestos-covered carbon microphone inserted in the antenna lead. In spite of the primitive apparatus-used, the poor quality of the transmission, and the short distance, intelligible speech had been transmitted by electromagnetic waves for the first time in the history of wireless. Who was Fessenden? The purpose of this paper is to touch upon his life's history, and to give some detail of his accomplishments. However, the paper begins with an account of the birth of radio, so that the reader can appreciate Fessenden's place in history

Bucci, O.M. ; Pelosi, G. ; Selleri, S.
Volume 45, Issue 5, 2003
The work of Marconi in microwave communications
This paper describes the first land and sea microwave links realized by Guglielmo Marconi in 1932. While other researchers were experimenting with sea microwave links in the same period, Marconi's land experiment was the first successful microwave link over a roughly hilly terrain, and led to the first permanent microwave radio link. Besides the description of the experiment, many photos and figures are included, some of which are extracted from Marconi's original works.

Cecchini, R. ; Pelosi, G.
Volume 32, Issue 2, 1990
Diffraction: the first recorded observation
The discovery of diffraction by Francesco Maria Grimaldi is described. He described the experiments that led to its discovery in the book De Lumine, first published in 1665, two years after Grimaldi's death. Grimaldi's life and his experimental observations are described. Newton's disregard of Grimaldi's work and substitution of the word inflexion for diffraction are discussed.

Cecchini, R. ; Pelosi, G.
Volume 34, Issue 2, 1992
Alessandro Volta and his battery
An overview of political and scientific events that occurred between 1750 and 1830, the times of Alessandro Volta's life, is presented. The various stages of Volta's scientific and scholarly career are described. The process that led Volta to the invention of the battery is discussed.

Gardiol, F.
Volume 38, Issue 6, 1996
Marconi in Switzerland
Describes the first experiments of Marconi in the Swiss Alps near the village of Salvan from when he arrived there in 1895. The assistance of Maurice Gay-Balmaz is also mentioned.

Harrington, R.
Volume 32, Issue 3, 1990
Origin and development of the method of moments for field computation
A short history is given of the development of mathematical methods related to the method of moments and used for electromagnetic field computations. A brief description of the general theory is given, emphasizing various viewpoints which lead to different names given to the method. Its relationships to the Rayleigh-Ritz variational method and to the perturbation method are shown and discussed.

Kostenko, A.A. ; Nosich, A.I. ; Tishchenko, I.A.
Volume 43, Issue 3, 2001
Development of the first Soviet three-coordinate L-band pulsed radar in Kharkov before WWII
The subject of this paper is the complicated, sometimes dramatic, and never-published events around the development of the L-band magnetrons and pulsed radar in Kharkov, Ukraine (then the USSR), in the 1920-30s. Magnetron studies were started at Kharkov State University by Prof. Abram Slutskin. By the end of the decade, they reached the world's highest level in terms of achieved output power and frequency. This work was continued and greatly extended in next decade, when the Ukrainian Institute of Physics and Technology was established, and Slutskin obtained his second job there as a head of the Laboratory of Electromagnetic Oscillations. Based on the successful development of sources, in 1935, he started work on developing a three-coordinate radar. At that time, it was far from clear that the L band and the pulsed method would be more promising. Two-antenna and single-antenna radars were designed, fabricated, and tested, with all-metal and wire-grid three-meter parabolic reflectors. The war disrupted the plans of the radar team, which had to move the laboratory to central Asia. The radar that was developed was not put into serial production; however, many associated ideas and innovations were well ahead of the contemporary level of technology. The paper also throws some light on how hard it was for scientists and engineers to work in the Orwellian environment of the pre-war USSR.

Mushiake, Y.
Volume 46, Issue 4, 2004
A report on Japanese development of antennas: from the Yagi-Uda antenna to self-complementary antennas
The self-complementary antenna structure was originated and its constant-impedance property was discovered by the author in 1948. He pursued investigations of this type of antenna for many years, and he attained many extensions of the principle of self-complementarity, from the simplest planar structure to various other cases. In parallel with these studies, extensive developmental investigations of extremely broadband antennas have been carried out in Japan, based on this principle. This article succinctly describes a long history of these studies on self-complementary antennas, including the background of its origination. In connection with the extremely broadband property of this type of antenna, the non-constant-impedance property of incorrectly arranged log-periodic antennas is clearly shown, based on the results of experiments. This experimental fact indicates that the log-periodic shape in an antenna's structure does not guarantee a broadband property for the antenna. Most of experimental details and all of the theoretical treatments are omitted from this article.

Pelosi, G. ; Selleri, S. ; Ufimtsev, P.Ya.
Volume 40, Issue 2, 1998
Newton's observations of diffracted rays
The history of diffracted rays is usually considered to be less than a century long. However, a careful study of experiments and observations made by Newton and described in his Optiks shows that diffracted rays had been observed nearly 300 years ago. To show this is the goal of the present paper. Optiks Book III, part I, also comprehends diffraction. Of the various observations by Newton in that book, two have been chosen in the present paper to demonstrate, by applying modern theories, that Newton was actually observing diffracted rays

Pelosi, G. ; Selleri, S. ; Valotti, B.
Volume 46, Issue 3, 2004
From Poldhu to the Italian station of Coltano: Marconi and the first years of transcontinental wireless
This paper presents the evolution of low-frequency, high-power transcontinental transmission, starting from the first successful transatlantic link from Poldhu up to the Italian transcontinental station of Coltano. The trend toward higher and higher transmitting power, and the dead end into which wireless was heading if it were not for research in the higher frequency ranges, are pointed out.

Punnett, M.B.
Volume 44, Issue 2, 2002
The building of the Telstar antennas and radomes
July 11, 2002, marks the 40th anniversary of the first transatlantic transmission of a live TV signal via an active satellite (Telstar 1), between the United States and France (followed shortly by England). This event has been recognized by the IEEE as an electrical engineering milestone. The radome and antenna in Pleumeur-Bodou, France, which now form the basis for a telecommunications museum, have been designated as a national historical site by the French government. The author shares some impressions of this historical engineering milestone

Sarkar, T.K. ; Sengupta, D.L.
Volume 39, Issue 5, 1997
An appreciation of J.C. Bose's pioneering work in millimeter waves
The pioneering work in the area of millimeter waves, performed by J. C. Bose, a physicist from Calcutta, India, during 1894-1900, is reviewed and appraised. Various measurement techniques and circuit components, developed by him a hundred years ago, are still being used. The development of the electromagnetic horn, the point-contact detector, and the galena (semiconductor) detector of electromagnetic waves are attributed to the original research of J.C. Bose

Sato, G.
Volume 33, Issue 3, 1991
A secret story about the Yagi antenna
A hitherto unpublicized story about a note thrown away by a British soldier named Newmann in Singapore during World War II, which revealed to the Japanese that the Yagi-Uda antenna was being used by the British in radar systems, is related. The invention of the Yagi-Uda antenna and its practical use in Europe are briefly discussed, and the role of radar and the Yagi-Uda antenna in Japan's defeat in the Pacific discussed. The history of Newmann's note is recounted in detail, and portions of the note itself are reproduced

Sengupta, D.L. ; Sarkar, T.K.
Volume 45, Issue 2, 2003
Maxwell, Hertz, the Maxwellians, and the early history of electromagnetic waves
In 1864, Maxwell conjectured from his famous equations that light is a transverse electromagnetic wave. Maxwell's conjecture does not imply that he believed that light could be generated electromagnetically. In fact, he was silent about electromagnetic waves, and their generation and detection. It took almost a quarter of a century before Hertz discovered electromagnetic waves and his brilliant experiments confirmed Maxwell's theory. Maxwell's ideas and equations were expanded, modified, and made understandable by the efforts of Hertz, FitzGerald, Lodge, and Heaviside, the last three being referred to as the "Maxwellians." The early history of electromagnetic waves, up to the death of Hertz in 1894, is briefly discussed. The work of Hertz and the Maxwellians is briefly reviewed in the context of electromagnetic waves. It is found that historical facts do not support the views proposed by some, in the past, that Hertz's epoch-making findings and contributions were "significantly influenced by the Maxwellians.".

Tai, C.T.
Volume 33, Issue 1, 1991
From the Historian-another matter of history (scalar product)
The basic incorrectness of the scalar product approach to deriving the differential expression for the divergence of a vector function in the Cartesian system is demonstrated. The origin of the approach is traced, and its ubiquity in the literature is documented

Vendik, O.G. ; Yegorov, Y.V.
Volume 42, Issue 4, 2000
The first phased-array antennas in Russia: 1955-1960
The first phased-array antenna in the Soviet Union was developed under the supervision of Professor Yuri Yurov, at Leningrad Electrical Engineering Institute (Technical University), in 1955. It was a four-element array of dielectric-rod radiators, fed through reciprocal ferrite phase shifters. The array was intended for use in radar, for automatic aiming at the target. In Yurov's group, the theory of phased-array antennas was developed. In 1960, a 61-element array, in the form of a lens filled with ferrite phase shifters, was designed, manufactured, and investigated. Later, the investigations were moved from the university to industrial research centers

Waff, C.B.
Volume 35, Issue 1, 1993
From the historian-designing the United States' initial deep-space networks: choices for the Pioneer lunar-probe attempts of 1958-9
To support the series of early Pioneer lunar-probe attempts by the US Air Force and US Army, Ramo-Wooldridge's Space Technology Laboratories (STL) and Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) designed two separate networks of ground stations in 1958-9. Since the probes were means of restoring international prestige to the US, and thus were scheduled to be launched within a year of authorization, both networks had to be installed on a crash basis. The differences between the two initial networks in terms of antenna design, operating frequency, and location are described, and it is shown how the extra months afforded to JPL due to the later launches of the Army probes allowed its engineers to design and install the first elements of a system that evolved within a few years into NASA's Deep Space Network

Wait, J.R.
Volume 40, Issue 5, 1998
The ancient and modern history of EM ground-wave propagation
Radio-wave transmission over the surface of the Earth is a subject of enquiry going back to the beginning of the century. In this review, an attempt is made to describe the ground-wave mechanism that is omni-present. We first call attention to the early analytical contributions of Zenneck and Sommerfeld, based on a flat-Earth model. The subsequent controversies, particularly with regard to the role of the Zenneck surface wave, are outlined. Further developments by other pioneers, such as van der Pol, Fock, Bremmer, Norton, and Millington, are reviewed, and an attempt is made to put these in a modern context. We also show that the trapped surface wave can be a significant contribution to the total ground-wave field, when the Earth boundary is sufficiently inductive. Mixed-path theory and confirming model tests by Ray King are described briefly, along with calculated propagation curves for twoand three-section paths. The bibliography includes references to related topics, such as tropospheric refraction and topographic influences

Wen Xun Zhang
Volume 38, Issue 6, 1996
Antenna development in China
A brief review of the history and geography of antenna developments in China is presented. Aperture antennas and array antennas together with antenna measurements are discussed in particular. Antenna developments in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao are not included