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Short Takes #25: The Hyper-Lightspeed Antenna

By Dave Jensen, W7DGJ

OK, it's almost April Fools day, and you're going to think that I'm kidding when you read what follows about a new antenna design. But I promise you, I am not. This is an actual technology that was examined by serious people in the USA's patent office and approved. Please read on.

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It must have been a really slow day in the US Patent Office back in February of 2000. At that time, patent examiner Don Wong and his assistant, Jim Clinger, were both working on a package of materials that had been rigorously pursued by an inventor (Daniel L. Strom) and his patent attorney. The subject of that patent is of interest to us here at "Trials and Errors -- Ham Life with an Amateur" because it dealt with an entirely new type of antenna, one that could change everything about our ability to propagate a signal.

This antenna had great promise. In fact, the two examiners must have known that if this technology worked as stated in the thick packet of technical designs included with the application, it could change the course of radio forever. In fact, this "Hyper-Lightspeed Antenna" would have been a smashing success with government for defense purposes as well. Here's how the antenna was described in the application:

"A method to transmit and receive electromagnetic waves which comprises generating opposing magnetic fields having a plane of maximum force running perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the magnetic field; generating a heat source along an axis parallel to the longitudinal axis of the magnetic field; generating an accelerator parallel to and in close proximity to the heat source, thereby creating an input and output port; and generating a communications signal into the input and output port, thereby sending the [radio] signal at a speed faster than light."

Wow. That's a mouth full, isn't it? But the promise is there of radio signals that are not only propagated, but accelerated so that they actually exceed the speed of light. The schematics and the description of the process are made clear in the application; the resulting phenomenon is of interest to more than ham radio operators. If he were alive at the time, Albert Einstein would have loved to know that with a ham radio he could demonstrate that there is indeed another dimension of time and space.

Technical Description of the Antenna

"The present invention relates to a new type of antenna for transmission and reception of RF signals. The present invention can be used to replace conventional antennas [such as those used today in amateur radio stations]. It is believed that this invention can transmit energy at a faster speed and over a greater distance than conventional antennas with the same power. This results from the apparent existence of a new dimension capable of acting as a medium for [radio] signals. Initial benefits of penetrating this new dimension include sending RF signals faster than the speed of light, extending the effective distance of RF transmitters at the same power radiated, penetrating known RF shielding devices, and accelerating plant growth exposed to the by-product of the RF transmissions."

Let's not miss the most important aspect of this invention. This antenna design strays from the rather backwards notion of simple RF propagation into a whole new field of particle acceleration for the radio operator. (I can imagine some future Hamvention, where the topic of an ARRL forum deals with the "Latest FCC rulings on Particle Acceleration.")

A Side Benefit for Farmers

There's also an interesting side benefit mentioned in the application. The inventor discovered that there is "plant growth acceleration" when those plants have been exposed to the radio transmission. If you're a Midwestern farmer and ham, this could be a "two-fer" so to speak. Now you've got a REAL reason to be pounding that key or playing radio in the middle of the afternoon. You can sit inside your shack or operate "tractor mobile" and watch that corn spurt up whenver you're on the radio. 

Here's a bit more technical gibberish about how this antenna functions, from Patent #US6025810A in the records of the US Patent Office:

"First, you need to create a hot surface and a strong magnetic field. Then, you need an accelerator, followed by an electromagnetic injection point. For radio communications or data communication, you'll need 2 devices. Each device is connected to a transmitter and receiver. This allows electromagnetic energy to enter a [different] dimension and to travel at speeds faster than the speed of light. The magnetic fields are focused onto the heat generating device. The electromagnetic injection point is the plane generated by the two opposing magnetic fields. It has been observed by the inventor and witnesses that accelerated plant growth can occur using the present invention. For accelerated plant growth, you'll need to create a hot surface that is more than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, you'll need a strong magnetic field. Only one device is needed for this function. This allows energy from another dimension to influence plant growth."

How Did This Earn a Patent???

OK, so how did something so wacky actually get approved and a patent assigned? The examiners, Don and Jim, worked regularly with serious topics of Electrical Engineering, and the application packet is indeed thick and filled with numerous diagrams and schematics. I guess, if you were inclined to approve based on the amount of effort someone put in, then I can see how it occurred. But perhaps these two took it easy on the inventor and didn't push him for additional evidence.

The website PatentBots describes each of the various examiners in the US Patent Office, and talks about them just like those websites that discuss college professors ("Dr. Smith's class on the American Civil War is an Easy A.") In the PatentBots description for electrical engineering, examiner Wong is described this way: "With Examiner Wong, you have a 94% chance of getting an issued patent by 3 years after the first office action. Examiner Wong is an extremely easy examiner and in the 5th percentile across all examiners, with the 100th percentile being most difficult."

Just goes to show you that puffery and salesmanship are everywhere, even in the stacks of patent applications that examiners must contend with. 

- DJ

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A Disturbing Radio False Alarm

It was just past 9:30 in the morning (Eastern time) on February 20, 1971, when Wayland Eberhardt sat down with his coffee at a desk in the huge Cheyenne Mountain Complex, a gigantic hollowed-out granite mountain where the USA protects all of North America from the danger of a nuclear attack. Eberhardt knew that it was time to run a system test, something he had done many times to ensure that commercial radio stations around the country remained vigilant as a part of the US and Canadian warning system that had been developed during the cold war.

Eberhardt, a civilian employee of Cheyenne Mountain, leaned in to grab a teletype roll that he would feed into the machine in front of him. Doing this would send a series of test messages on to radio stations around the country; they would recognize it as a test and know how to deal with those practice sessions as they had been doing this since 1966. Of course, there would be no emergency messages warning the public of a potential nuclear attack. It was simply a required test of the system.

Unfortunately, Eberhardt's mind was elsewhere, and he grabbed the wrong teletype roll. Instead of feeding in the test that everyone would expect, he fed in an emergency tape (the real deal) which first sent out a code word that acted as a fail-safe, ensuring all radio stations knew that a real emergency had occurred. That day, the code word was HATEFULNESS. Yes, that's a rather odd word, and a bit of a coincidence that the Emergency Broadcast System used it to indicate that enemy missles were on their way to sites in the States and Canada.

What occurred next would be talked about for years afterwards, as the Emergency Broadcast System went through a revitalization and correction period, emerging as the Emergency Alert System in 1997. Eberhardt must have dropped his coffee cup when he recognized what had happened. But despite the fact that he knew he had run the wrong teletype tape, he struggled to find a way to cancel the warning. Stations all over the country had either gone off the air due to their confusion, or broadcast a message "from the President of the United States."

The transmitter at Eberhardt's control was designed to “seize control” of the Associated Press and United Press International news wires in the event of a national emergency. That part of the system worked flawlessly. Forty minutes and six attempts later, Eberhardt and his colleagues finally found the right tape to send, one that had been written to cancel an emergency broadcast. Everyone let out a large, collective "Oops" when the confusion ended. 

Where Were You When this Occurred?

In 1971, I had gone off to Ohio University to study broadcasting and I had no amateur radio station with me. I'd love to know if hams also caught the emergency broadcast and whether or not we activated our local systems to assist in emergency coordination. If anyone remembers what occurred on this date, please post an update to this article in the attached forum.

73 for now,

Dave W7DGJ

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Dave Jensen, W7DGJ

Dave Jensen, W7DGJ, was first licensed in 1966. Originally WN7VDY (and later WA7VDY), Dave operated on 40 and 80 meter CW with a shack that consisted primarily of Heathkit equipment. Dave loved radio so much he went off to college to study broadcasting and came out with a BS in Communications from Ohio University (Athens, OH). He worked his way through a number of audio electronics companies after graduation, including the professional microphone business for Audio-Technica.  He was later licensed as W7DGJ out of Scottsdale, Arizona, where he ran an executive recruitment practice (CareerTrax Inc.) for several decades. Jensen has published articles in magazines dealing with science and engineering. His column “Tooling Up” ran for 20 years in the website of the leading science journal, SCIENCE, and his column called “Managing Your Career” continues to be a popular read each month for the Pharmaceutical and Household Products industries in two journals published by Rodman Publishing.


Articles Written by Dave Jensen, W7DGJ

This page was last updated March 22, 2024 17:19