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Great American Eclipse, Aug 2017, W1YW montage from my pics, nr Franklin, KY  

Hello All de Chip !

Why is this man smiling:-)?  The Source gets absorbed by something old. something new.   Dec 2017

Chip W1YW --inventor of the invisibility cloak (USP 8,253,639; 8,937,579, 9,134,465, 9,166,302, 9,482,474) and fractal antennas (!)--presenting at BOXBORO on Aug 25, 2012---LIVE Cloak demo! (and more:-)(left foto K1VR)


MWJ's Nov16  Cover--- Ooodles of  fractals (metamaterial) invented by W1YW! 


Taking risks...being curious...making discoveries 



355 Mixed, #1 HR,  9BDXCC, 2432 Challenge






UPDATED  @30,000 ft with fractal antenna-enabled internet!

                            I am a pro astrophysicist and radio guy. More as you read on...

"The journey is important but there's nothing quite like knowing you've arrived!"



"So many antennas, So little time" :-)

 W1 YW's CW signal is "FAST AND LOUD"--PA2P




Welcome to my FRACTAL-flavored bio!


I am happy that you dropped by my 'Zed bio. In a little over 6 years it's gone from 5,000 to 172,000+ views--one of the most popular 'hit's on the 'Zed right now. I will update with fun stuff periodically.

Some of TEAM FRACTAL at RCA 2013. Guess which one is W1YW:-)



"TIME WILL TELL..."--various ham brethren



source: Small magnetic loops ( QRZ technical (antenna) forum)post #9, 2/11/14


Time 'sure has told'! And what a cool story:-)

Also how can I add to that definitive statement? Thanks for the public comment Tom! How do others feel about fractal antennas (and their ilk)--


Here's some additional quick links for hams with commentary on fractal antennas,that are of interest:

NEW ANTENNA: Yep. The LP has been shrunk. Fractalizing a fractal! Patent pending antenna for sale in Q1 2017! Compare the grossly huge conventional LP to the fractalized one...with same  performance and frequency range!


NEW PATENTS: Fractals and  near field effects meet to produce a breakthrough approach to electromagnetics, power transmission, and heat transfer! USP  9,482,474. All hail '474! Also, the cool use of fractal metamaterials in antennas continues with  USP 9,620,853! And the new freontier continues with FRACTAL BATTERIES! USP 9,647,271!

NEW BOOK: Edited by myself and Yale professor Michael Frame....


TED talk: Michael Frame at Yale University. The fractal antenna/cloak stuff happens about 10 minutes in:



Microwave Journal Visit (try manual link):



CAROL PERRY(WB2MGP)/RCA Visit:World Radio story on



MAKER COMMUNITY EMBRACEMENT: Take a gander at Youtube under 'fractal antenna' and you will see hundreds of thousands of views of 'how to' educational construction videos for individual, private use! I get so much 'maker' e-mail I've had to stop answering it!

NEW!! NATURE (Journal) Signals 'Mainstream' Scientific Acceptance of Fractal Antennas(try manual link):



A nice INTERVIEW from 'A to Z SENSORS'; take a look at this:





Right now there are over 2000 scientific journal publications by researchers in over 45 countries on fractal antenna and related research, so it's not a new or 'untried' technology. It's an important and major part of modern antenna technology. See for yourself!

Roughly a dozen ham radio fractal antennas were published from 1995-2001, so there is plenty of ham literature that's been part of the history of the field. And did you know that a Hiram Percy Maxim Winner for 2003 was cited for his work on fractal antennas? Yep. fractals are 'there' and have been 'there' for a while, started and used in ham radio. Mainstreamed into the real world. Fractal antenna benefits in 20 words or less (obviously there are many more benefits)--

  • wider bands and or controlled multibands
  • smaller size
  • no L's, C's, or matching networks
  • frequency invariance

The future? Exploding! I am part of that as it happens in the present. VERY exciting!





source: public expert witness testimony, Samsung vs. Fractus lawsuit, May 2011


Many hams (such as Steve) know I am the inventor of fractal antennas. Here's a list (fractal antenna and related) of the issued United States patents--undisputed:-)-- as of June 2017:  9,677,824; 9,647,271; 9620,853; 9,482,474; 9,134,465;  9,035,849; 8,937,579; 8,253,639; 7,999,754; 7,973,732; 7,830,319; 7,750,856; 7,705,798; 7,701,396; 7,659,862; 7,456,799; 7,345,642; 7,256,751; 7,215,290; 7,190,318; 7,145,513; 7,126,537; 7,019,695; 6,985,122; 6,452,553; 6,445,352; 6,140,975; 6,127,977; 6,476,766; 6,104,349.


But did you know that fractal antennas were invented with ham radio? Did you know they started with very modest circumstances, on the ham bands, with gear bought from the MIT (ham) Flea Market?

You'll find some info here, and also the story behind it.

Most non-hams now look at fractal antennas as a 'ham success story'. I am one of many hams who have seen Part 97 as an 'advancement of the radio art'. We all want you to see the wonderful opportunity that ham radio offers and encourage you to be open to experimentation--and have some fun! Hamming and fractals have led to a new evolution of the antenna art (below are a few examples): it all started OTA !



How about a true ham commentary on fractal antennas? Well, here's a true statement by Dan, KB6NU:



--Dan Romanchik KB6NU

source: Fort Smith ARC Newsletter (among others) Jan 2011


And thanks for you well wishes Dan! WE ARE QRO!! Hey--controversy sells! Your apparent 'parody' piece (for example, suggesting some 'controversy' between 'sides'(what sides?), thereby concocting a controversy:-))in the club newsletters a while back has produced a huge blessing of business for us! It really got people curious! As you mention, 'In the end, his company will live and die by how well,(sic)his antennas work and how much they cost when compared to antennas from other companies.' That is quite accurate. That's how Americans succeed Dan.

I just wanted you to know that we are doing very well and thank you for your kind concern and free publicity! PLEASE WRITE ANOTHER 'FRACTAL'PIECE:-)!

By the way Dan, you need to check your logbook. Mine shows a 30M contact between us---using a FRACTAL ANTENNA. I have pages and pages of DX in the log that very day--using a FRACTAL ANTENNA. And I tested a scaled version of that antenna in the lab, with anenchoic chamber, a turntable, and a vector network analyzer, with a dipole as a comparison--testing the properties of that FRACTAL ANTENNA. So Dan, was our contact:'hype'? Or 'HOPE'? Sure sounded real to me:-)

Now Dan, chances are that if you’ve been in a hospital; a university; a commercial building; a government building; an airport; a plane(this was written at 30,000 feet!); a car; a train; an athletic event; a big box store; a concert; a worship service; a doctor’s office; and gee whiz! so MANY other places, you’ve probably run across at least one of my FRACTAL ANTENNAS. 2014 is our 21th year of business, and 28 years of fractal antennas:-)! Started with HAM-GENUITY:-) A PROMINENT EXAMPLE OF HAM RADIO BEING USED TO "ADVANCE THE RADIO ART", as per Part 97 1b.

Just for fun,Dan, here's some of my (many) production antennas,on parade and the firm that made them! Tell your friends OM! Hav'em drop me a line:-)


Vy Best 73 OM!

Our new facility is across from MITRE--MADE IN USA!

"How do they make those antennas so S-M-A-L-L ??

We make'em; we sell'em--we LOVE them! American innovation with HEART!

Hey---what's IN those (tiny) radomes:-)?? Bet its something SPECIAL!

FRACTAL WHITE: Flying high with fractals!

FRACTAL GOLD: Fractal antennas fresh off the assembly Line! 

From ceiling to floor--ship'em out the door:-)!


Note that I am using highlighting on bits that relate to questions I frequently get. Also, I have been asked to provide more (cool) fractal antenna pictures, which I will layer in as time permits.


MARCH OF THE FRACTALS...... antennas shown on this bio US patents 6,445,352; 6,985,122; 7,126,537; 7,256,751; 6,452,533 and pat pending (c) Fractal Antenna Systems,Inc.

Starting with the bottom line: I am asked by lots of non-hams: "DO YOU STILL DO THAT(ham) radio thingy? " The answer is YES! I am not apologizing. Ham radio isn't a passing fancy tied into a hormonal rush. It's an experience that flowers in layers of friendship; learning; experimentation; and fun, with the deep route of benefiting others--in emergencies; in new technology. Not trying to be gushy, but feel free to use THAT line to shut up the naysayers!



Update 17 Nov 2017...(I1KH courtesy;now SK)


  •  First, I get asked if its OK to post me on the DX cluster. Sure! Thanks for doing it:-)
  •  Please see my updated policy (below) on writing for amateur radio publications.
  • I am now UP AND RUNNING on remote! OTA for juicy DX when taking a break at work, or traveling:-) 
  • I am pleased to report that yet another fundamental invention bears my name: the DEFLECTOR SHIELD. No kiddin'! US patent 9,134,465! Also, FRACTAL METAMATERIALS as US patent 9,482,474. The inventor is named!
  • I will be doing several SOTA operations this FALL, in W1. My plan is to go thru 'lesson learned' by 'chicken hikes' ( tram/gondola  or car assisted to peak, then seeking out site) at Loon; Cannon; Mt Washington; Wildcat and then 'baby hikes' at BlackCap and others. On the chicken hikes I will bring my Go-kit and use 100 watts to several possible antennas, including a modified Buddipole, and use a 35 amp-hour battery. The pack will be heavy, but been there-done that with camera gear shlepped over many years. As I want to be easy on my knees and hips, the real hikes will wait until next Spring. NOTE the backpack is a custom one, designed with a fractal (guess who?)  wideband antenna system--amazing and UNIQUE. Will use an additional counterpoise for 20M on down to 80m. Here is the fractal antenna system (in backpack) and my GO kit (custom FT-450D; I like messing with the knob choice):


And the full SOTA system: Note TE NE KE paddle, additional Buddipole, and digital recorder:-)

  • HONORS UPDATE  II : I recently received the award for BEST TECHNICAL PRESENTATION at the Radio Club of AMERICA for my talk on 3D Printing in Antennas and Electronics .  Many thanks!!

  • HONORS UPDATE: I now have DXCC Challenge 2000. FRACTALS got me there, in record time--less than 3 years from 1000 to 2000. Here's the plaque, with a new walnut wood base. Also, I was awarded SETI PIONEER for my work on polychromatic SETI and Large Stellar Groupings (LSG's), and passive SETI. Passive SETI was one of the foundations for SETI@home. My SETI work dates as far back as 1978! Finally, the treasured plaque for the keynote of the ICFW (fractals) in India!


  • MORE INVISIBILITY CLOAK DEMOES! Here's a shot of CLOAKING A WIDE TREE TRUNK!! That's how thin the cloak is, folks:-) 40% bandwidth at L band. Demo given to a group at the IEEE ARRAYS 2013 Conference, savoring the breakthrough! OVER 1,800 people have now see the LIVE invisibility cloak demoes! That's W1YW pointing out the particulars. I also gave a cool demo at the EDIC Conference, as keynote, in Sept 2016.


  • I am NOW ON 6M with experimental fractal antennas. I started QRP and am now QRO . I have 5 continents and 80 countries (50 confirmed so far) in four seasons of operation. Here's DeSoto Cup Champion EA8AK's card (I was using 10 watts with a 10dBd shrunken fractal)for 10 bands for Canary and almost 50 years from first band to last:-)

  •     I am often asked where I did my radio astronomy work. Here's the answer:-)





  • My latest therapy for deafness (at my portable QTH), and 'low T'-- can you hear me NOW?? (or, 'not all amps are linear') :


  • I was a featured speaker at the 2013 DAYTON HAMVENTION at the Youth Forum Did a live invisibility cloak demo on a wind-door! Great to meet so many wonderful people! VIDEO OF INVISIBILITY CLOAK WIN-DOOR is UP! (see videos at www.fractenna.com for demo's)


  • NEW PORTABLE DX QTH W1YW/ ??? Can you guess where it is:-)? It ain't Gilligan's island! Workin' hard and pluggin away has its rewards:-)


  • Congrats to Aaron Aguhob and Sarah Van Sickle, who were finalists in the INTEL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FAIR! They showcased great projects demonstrating the advantages of fractal antenna --lotsa people doing cool, validating experiments and research on fractal antennas--and getting praised fo it:-) I had predicted a fractal antenna project at the Intel SF within the next five years. This was early--and two! Here's a shot of Aaron at the finals;-) Arron is now a student at the University of Virginia.


  • I am slowly getting together my 160M antennas--yes, THEY ARE FRACTAL. My goal, so far realized, is to pick up 3 dB of low angle gain per season.  I now have worked 150 countries/138 confirmed. FUN!! So much for the goofiness that you can't make a great 160M antenna--from fractals;-) Note that I will also be chasing 160m remote starting this season.


  • Wanna see an invisibility vest? Lotsa engineers at the Radio Club of America did! Here's a couple of snapshots from the LIVE DEMO at microwave:-)  (c) 2012 Fractal Antenna Systems,Inc.

Copper vest (20 db Attenuation);copper-cloak--return to 0 dB attenuation at high end of passband (about 20% BW)!


  • FRACTALS KEEP THE FRIGID NORTH GOING! In the long arctic winters, radio broadcast is the one enabling thing that keeps everyone sane. They now have a SINGLE antenna element for TWO simultaneous BC channels--with excellent performance and AMAZING SWR! I AM PROUD to provide FM ANTENNA designs, along with our well known and established FM BCB partner, with UNPRECEDENTED multichannel performance-- FRACTAL ANTENNAS THAT NOT ONLY PROVIDE THE FRACTAL ADVANTAGE but also, in one fell swoop, dispel more than a decade of nonsense claims from some in the broadcast industry--that CANNOT ACCEPT the change for the better! Friends, if you are a ham in the BC biz, you need to accept that change is coming your way, change for the better, the cheaper, the more reliable, the enabling. It's F-R-A-C-T-A-L ! PROVEN IN THE FRIGID BRUTAL ARCTIC!! :-)

What goodies lie inside the radomes:-0?

  • The great new album by Warner/Rykodisc Recording artist Jeff Finlin is out and excellent--entitled: 'Moby Dick'. Yours truly producing:-)


  • For those who think that publishing in elite journals is important, and revel in 'peer review' vetting, you will undoubtedly enjoy the article:


NATHAN COHEN, Fractals, 20, 227 (2012).

  • MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT ON CLOAKING -- Your humble OM cloaked a man! Press release out (see above for peer review paper link): Here it is!



Human Cloaking Video....



Peter about to disappear (from microwaves)
  • Are you into 'FM'? For years, some hams in FM broadcast went beyond the usual skepticism to try to kill off fractal antennas. It didn't work! We just delivered a proprietary FM ANTENNA solution for our friends at a major FM broadcast manufacturer. FRACTAL is now on the broadcast card friends( see above on our artic challenge!:-)


  • MARCONI, METAMATERIALS, FRACTALS: In 1919 Marconi and Charles Franklin patented a radio mirror using closely spaced resonators, And thus began the era of METAMATERIALS —ironically an unnoticed historical glitch in a field of modern scientists who think Marconi was a line in a Jefferson Starship song. Here’s(below) a diagram from Marconi and Franklin’s 1919 patent (see Fig 11 blowup especially), and an image from the Duke website circa 2012 of a holographic metamaterial. Yep. The same. What’s old is new folks. Of course metamaterials do better with fractals, the third image showing a wideband fractal metamaterial to enhance bandwidth and gain.

  • Here’s a video of (Marconi’s) monopole enhanced dramatically with FRACTALS as a fractal metamaterial slip on collar.. I am humbled to note that I am the inventor of fractal metamaterials (USP 7256751 and pats pending). Living in exciting times!




  • Many hams have asked me about the GOBI Screens-- I broke the cover off of in December 2011. Here's the biggest one, in the middle of the Gobi desert. Several km across. It's a fractal craze pattern, a fractal resonator being used as a blinding reflector to stop imaging radar--presumably ours. So much for fractals being worthless in antenna systems; so much for honoring the ethics of the inventor. Conductive paint/tested by the PRC Chinese. Its incredibly RF bright and does the equivalent of producing major IMD, in the radar images. The PRC Chinese have been obsessed with screens apparently for many years, to stop radar imaging in buildings, and presumably underground. This fractal one saturates all levels of resolution and is impossible to filter--right;-)? Never understimate 'the Source'. To me its just a giant, $100 million (equivalent) rip-off of my fractal resonator technology. Not an antenna, not a HAARP 'weapon' (gimme a break--HAARP is a science facility; see the cool webpage at http://vlf.stanford.edu/research/experiments- aarp-ionospheric-heater).They are also more than keen on fractal antennas and apparently have science cities where there are floors of people doing fractal antenna work. And apparently they are 15 years behind the times; sorry, I ain't helpin'. This is an AMERICAN invention friends;-) I find the user scenario of Gobi screens appalling, as the inventor. Daddy ain't happy. And so much for attribution;-) They tried a square (nearby) first but it obviously didn't work. They tried a simple triangle-tile version and apparently that didn't work.Then they did the fractal. Here's the fractal and square (below) thanks to Google (the speckles are boulders where the paint has worn off with time) The fractal is about twice the size of the square and about 5000 feet in length. This makes it the largest single contiguous electromagnetic structure on the planet.The fractal region has been leveled somewhat but there is wind and rain changing the landscape. These PRC images are all from Google Earth:



  • Wanna see a picture of an antenna ARRAY closeby to those? Here's one (just below). What it is is two banks of three arrays for two separate bands, and one bank of two arrays for another. You can't tell the operational frequencies from the spacings. The panels are many wavelengths across, but we dont know how many. It is a multiband array antenna farm with flat array panels. If we knew the operational frequencies I could tell you the gain. Not an Arecibo but still not too shabby would be my guess. Could be an imaging radar for satellite monitoring. the point is that PRC certainly knows how to make arrays and they look like everyone else's arrays. Unlike the fractal Gobi screen, they don't look like cow paths to Boston Common in the 17th century. Period.

  • I have to admit there's a lot of goofiness going around explaining PRC radar oriented stuff as ET's, or HAARP. That's all nonsense. But they obviously do cutting edge stuff--here's a military(?) air strip (below) that has no lights, eight runways, a central elevator and underground plane facility--and which uses radar exclusively for targeting , tracking and so on. The strange structures are radar reflecting resonators used to 'fly by wire' and guide the planes on the runway. The markings IN the runway are radar reflecting guides. Think about the toy 'Big Big Loader' (which was made in PRC!) and you get the idea. Probably there are NO PEOPLE involved. Its like an aircraft carrier on and in the land, which runs on automatic and uses radar for eyes. And again--no lights. So PRC obviously has an emphasis on underground facilities and radar reflecting target usage.

  • MONA LISA GETS SOME FRACTAL HELP: I was asked by a colleague to use the information from the newly discovered copy of the Mona Lisa to 'clean up' the ol' gal in the original. We now know her complexion was not olive-skinned, but purely an effect of the varnish.The varnish is both fractally-crazed and color distorted from 500 years. I wrote an adaptive algorthm and cleanup up for the Gioconda, partly removing craze sidelobes. Results at right. Da Vinci obviously had photographic quality in this portrait. The shading we make so much of was more subtle when painted, and apparently darkened with age. Some of the color gradation/dynamic rangeis unrecoverable due to contrast loss from paint oxidation. I suspect she had a bit more red. She looks like a punk Meryl Streep! Enjoy!


Recent copy discovery (note SKIN TONE )     Original-- and fractal deconvolution/skin tone correction (c) Nathan Cohen

  • Where oh where is the fractal antenna?! If you watched the CMT Artist of the Year my CF 1090 Fractal Antennas were used for the wireless controllers, wireless audio, and wireless everything-- ALL AT ONCE:-) Another public example? You also saw my fractals in action if you watched the NBC Tree Lighting back in the holiday season (see link below). More  big broadcasts? NHL WINTER CLASSIC on 24 Jan, 2012! NBA ALLSTAR GAME on 26 Feb 2012 and NBA ALLSTAR WEEKEND on 12 March, 2012. Also, we are at many large 'arena rock' concerts from famous bands this past summer! According to my customers, this antenna is achieving 'broadcast ubiquity' in just a few months of introduction. We make'em here--IN THE USA!




  • Incidentally, my firm Fractal Antenna Systems saw a record for commercial sales in 2012 and 2013, and 2014, and 2016 looks record breaking. Enjoyed working with the many hams on the customer end! Still do:-)

It's not a coincidence that, in four years, I have been readily available OTA, as time permits. I have given many tens of thousands the opportunity--most unwittingly-- the chance to hear and work FRACTAL ANTENNAS. If you've been on CW, especially, you may have heard me working pileups. Only on occasion do I mention the antenna setup(s) (which do change for experimentation): its not an advertisement nor ego trip:-) One cool result of this is my fantastic progress on DXCC Challenge in 5 years--going from 898 to 2300+. About 3/4 of that is from new Q's on bands from 6M down to 160M. (Note: I am now also occasionally on remote.)All of those have been with **HF/MF** (plus a 6m) fractal antennas invisible in the trees; in the future I will also be doing some stuff 'remote'. I get dozens of emails asking about my setup. I will confirm that I am using collinear fractal antennas that are electrically long, generally in inverted V arrangements. They are not physically long. Essentially they look like dipoles with traps--but they are neither.They have gain and low launch angles. They are not very high up. I do not find dipoles of any value given this option. On 6M I change the antennas constantly, including a shrunken fractal Rhombic. Beams --well, these are beams as they have gain. They are not 'lawn chairs in the sky' with aluminium tubing.



  • FRACTAL ANTENNAS CELEBRATED THEIR 30th year --and counting!It all started with a talk by Mandelbrot I heard in Summer 1987 as a professional astronomer, that got my ham-active mind humming to play out a hunch. Nerd playtime! By 1988 I had the first fractal antennas up and running.The first ones were aluminum foil cutouts on cardboard, others were bent wire.It's been an exciting but tortuous 25 years. Some hams have said 'time will tell'. It certainly has! I am the recognized father of THREE fractal-related fields now...fractal antennas; fractal resonators, fractal metamaterials ; and diverted imaging (cloaking)==which uses fractals,too. I have over 3 dozen patents (I am the inventor on the 'ground zero ' patents in the fields); my company is the exclusive provider of fractal antenna solutions. Each day my alarm clock signals a new day--as they say, time will tell--of fractal antennas for customers, research, and fun. I actually chill out by firing up the rig and exciting the fractal antennas in my trees:-) Scientifically I have had the good fortune to make every major scientific milestone --first--on fractal antennas and fractal electronics. I've even been a discoverer of an invariance property of Maxwell's Equations--with fractals. And everyday I see folks publishing on things I reported 10, 12,15 years ago (ooooops!:-)! Some folks even assume that I must be a SK because it was so long ago. What's the catch line from Monty Python: 'Not dead yet'! They assume I am history :-0! These things are why I have been nicknamed 'The Source', which I have gotten used to the last couple of years. I intend to stick around a while and enable the future:-)


  • For folks that think that I've been hiding the healthy goodness of fractal antenna(ya gotta be kiddin'!) keep in mind that I give LIVE DEMOS --using network analyzers shlepped around with a fair amount of effort--at a number of venues in the recent past and present. These include: EDIC Boston 2016,IEEE Communications Society; ARRL; Harvard University; Quarter Century Wireless Association; Boxboro New England Convention; American Mathematical Society; IEEE Antenna and Propagation Society; Yale University; PACIFICON/ARRL NATION CONVENTION; Dayton HAMVENTION; Radio Club of America; IEEE ARRAYS CONFERENCE; and so on. I'd do more but there's no way I am bringing a network analyzer on a plane, especially with the TSA trying to figure out what it is (is this a radio?)


  • Just remember for you qualified college hams: Fractal Antenna Systems has a paid intern/coop program.   Recent interns were from a number of different schools including UMass Lowell; Vanderbilt; Cornell; Harvard; RIT; Brown;and Stanford. They participate in cutting edge work and even have their names on an in-press scientific publication. Can you keep up with 'The Source'? :-)

A recent crew of interns at Team Fractal


Some recent talks 2011 to 2014 (and always updating 'adds'): I will bow out for a while after the late Spring-- too much (good) stuff happening! Returning on the lecture circuit in the Fall:-)

On September 9, 2011 I spoke at the QCWA Convention --- title: " Marconi Lives!: Hi Tech from History (Metamaterials and Fractals)".

On September 21, 2011 I spoke on Antennas and Fractal Plasmonics at the Antenna Systems 2011 Conference in Nashville . Met several hams at conference. Had great time!

On November 3, 2011 I gave an invited colloquium on fractal antennas--Advanced Antenna Performance and Development Using Applied Fractals--for the IEEE Communications Society in Boston. Enthusiastic and exciting response. Many hams present!

On January 5, 2012, I gave an invited talk at the American Mathematical Society Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston: Nuggets on the Tortuous Path--on fractal antennas and fractal metamaterials. One hundred fifty people came forward to see the demo. Way cool!

On August 25, 2012, I was an invited speaker at New England Ham Convention--'BOXBORO'. Title: 'CLOAKING AND THE INVISIBLE HAM' .

On October 13,2012, I gave a presentation at Pacificon--'CLOAKING AND THE INVISIBLE HAM'. Lotsa support! Friendly W6's! Where was my buddy KB6NU;-)?

On October 25, 2012,I gave a invited talk on 'You Can Do That?:Twenty Five Years of Fractal Antennas' for the Boston Chapters IEEE-Antenna & Propagation; IEEE-Microwave Theory & Techniques; and IEEE-Aerospace & Electronic Systems and Electron Devices Societies. Ooooh! Invisibility Cloak Demoes:-)! The world's top expert in radar said it was "an impressive...first". !!!!!!!!!!!!

On November 16, 2012,I gave an invited talk on 'Marconi, Metamaterials, Microwaves, and Invisibility Cloaks' for the Radio Club of America. Ooooh! Invisibility Cloak Demoes:-)!

On November 20,2012 I gave a demo of fractals and invisibility cloaks at the Yale University Math Department. Boolah Boolah!

On February 23, 2013 my fractal work, including cloak stuff,was featured in a TED talk at Yale University. Eat your heart out Harvard!

On March 21, 2013 I gave a talk on 'Practical Fractals and the Tortuous Path' at the Innovation Seminar at Brown University. Giggedy!

On May 18, 2013, I spoke at the Dayton Hamvention at the Youth Forum on invisibility cloaking--with demo!;-0.

In November, 2013, I was an invited speaker and keynote at the International Conference on Fractals and Wavelets. Amazing conference of scholars and researchers:-)

In March, 2014, I was be an invited speaker at MIT on 'Innovation and the Tortuous Path'.

In April, 2014, I was an invited speaker at Boston University on 'Innovation and the Tortuous Path'.

In May,2014,I was an invited speaker at META 2014 on'Fractal Metamaterials and Invisibility Cloaks'. 

In November, 2014, I was a speaker at the Radio Club Of America Symposium in NYC

In November, 2014, I was a keynote speaker at the FRACTALS conference in Oz!

In 2015  into 2017 I will be taking a break from talks and have/will be declining  most requests for speaking. Too much other stuff to keep going:-)

For the folks that want to hear a talk exclusively on HF/MF ham fractal antennas, I will consider such a talk if kindly asked...but I have no great drive to do so: keep in mind I've been doing this for 25 years and gave dozens of HF ham/fractal antenna talks in the 90's.

I am enjoy my efforts!It's become amusing when competitors use the ham forums to 'diss me and the technology--often while I am--literally-- running DX pileups with my fractal antennas! Go look at the DX Cluster and see for yourself:-) I get spotted all the time: JA; Europe; SA, UA; all spotting 'W1YW'. Go to 'DX Heat' and look up 'W1YW'.

Decide for yourself whether fractal antennas work well at MF/HF. I have made that decision. If there was something better I would use them.

My DXCC Challenge confirmed has gone from under 1000 in Sept 2010 to over 2450 .

Of course, the old articles on previous fractal antenna HF designs are out there, so kindly make some effort to dig them out if you are interested.



The following is long-ish, so a heads up: feel free to skim at your taste.




The shot on my qsl was taken at the WAVE in Arizona. I get many queries on it. 900,000 people have sought it out on photonet, for example. I used a Canon 20D (now also use a 5D). If you look hard you can see a 'Y' and a 'W'. That's one of the insights into life: if you look hard enough you will find relationships that are subtle and obvious at the same time. I've had success with my own personal vision in making sense of this wide world by photography and--of course--ham radio. But I'd say ham radio is absolutely the very best teacher of human behavior one could possibly encounter. Excellent training ground!

When I need to hunker down and look deep inside myself, the WAVE does it for me.

I AM a geometer,after all! From my 2010 and 2004 visits.


WN1HBX 1966(add a few years) <::::::::::::>2006 W1YW on my 40th ham-versary


I started out as a young squirt at age 11. Amusingly, as I grow older you can see a trend: the phonemes in my phonetics get shorter and shorter! And my callsign gets more old-timey as I get yet more seasoned:-) Maybe by the 50th I will be down to a 1 x 1 call ;-)

What does it all mean:-)? Well, here's some looking back.

First, I have a deep dark secret: I had an Elmer. He was a famous ham for the time, but inactive now. If you are an OT DX'er, you know K1IMP. Buddy of W9WNV. Yep. Herb was it. That was Milton MA--my kid QTH-- an interesting 'hotbed for ham'. As mentioned there was K1IMP. But there were also, among many others, K1SCQ and W1JNV. K1SCQ is now W1ZK and you should look him up on the web for Ralph's very interesting and courageous story (the events and details of which I remember well). Below is a shot from 1968, with K1IMP. I am the young squirt....note the Swan 500 and classic cheesy EV mike.


W1 JAPAN NORWAY VICTORIA was, along with a handful of others such as W1JFG and W1FH , the B-I-G gun DXers in MA. Al, W1JNV, was 'illegally' loud--he had a home brew amp (4-1000-A, tuned by max burn on a flouresecent bulb: Thanks K1LWI (now SK) for info~!) capable of at least 3KW. Size of a filing cabinet. An amazing character. He was also hard to escape--when he zero beat'ed his RX with his Hallicrafter xmtter, the milliwatt of power would still be 40 over 9 some 5 miles away. He was fun, crafty, cranky, but also a great teacher, and through his DX tutelage I learned much about dealing with a rough and tumble world-- from 'Uncle Al'. Anyway, that Milton origin saw DXCC HR for myself, W1WN (who grew up in Milton (see below)), W1ZK, and W1JNV. A DX cluster, in the original sense!

BTW, if you are geometry fan, you should know that Bucky Fuller grew up in Milton, in fact, up the street from my house. Of course my house was part of an apple orchard back then, that Bucky apparently wandered into frequently. Synchronicity? I seem to be a verb!

The photo below is from WA1JHQ --my Milton station in 1968. How's that for a teenage ham! To me the photo has much symbolism, as it could have been taken yesterday: that means we, as hams, really haven't seen much change in over 40 years on HF. That is both good and bad. So I pose for you the following question: do you see a shot from 1968--0r 2011? Think about it:-) Also, note the fractals in the picture:-) There are two kinds.

Is it 1968, or 2014? Sky aluminum at WA1JHQ

I lived ham radio as a 'tween and teen. And yes; I messed with antennas quite a bit. I got DXCC. I won an ARRL Public Service Award for helping with the 1972 Managua Earthquake. Ham radio kept me out of trouble (that was a drug-saturated era, mind you). I worked at Harvard with W1JFO and W1FPR on OMEGA (VLF). Then the idyllic routine ended. And then there was the the REAL world:

After a bachelor's in physics at Brandeis (with prior short stints at W0IO and W2UC), becoming N-1-I-R, and completing a Ph.D. at Cornell in astrophysics, I had several careers, including a 16 year stint as a college professor, 15 of those at Boston University, from which I retired in 2002. I have been affiliated with many of the major research universities, in one way or another. Generically, I am an 'applied physicist' but astrophysics/radio astronomy has been my main gig (note: my science works have to do with imaging or sensors, for the most part). Basically radio astronomers are antenna guys (and gals) that like to map noise, not listen to it:-) I spent years of my life at the big dishes, including: Greenbank; VLA; OVRO; Haystack; and Arecibo. These days I might best be called a 'technologist' (inventor doesn't really describe it, although I have 42 patents; 31 U.S. patents), and am doing work outside the scope of this forum on a variety of fascinating future technologies. It's a passion that takes up much of my time, with driven effort, combined with an American work ethic built around business and making the world a better place.

An example of what I've done: Below is a pix of 'applied antenna theory'. Twenty years ago,I used my knowledge of making better antenna arrays to invent a method of deconvolution (deblurring) in real-time (20+ frames per second). One of many problems I was constantly reminded that 'couldn't be solved'. Here is a before and after shot of an ultrasound image (utrasound probes are arrays, similar to antennas) where it was applied. This technique is now an integral part of modern ultrasound scans. Interestingly, in working with the 'docs' I was quite surprised to learn that mostly minor 'birth defects' are common in utero, but are usually fixed as the fetus grows--by itself. So it is spooky to see all sorts of 'birth defects' with sharper ultrasound---that's why docs usually don't talk detail on ultrasounds until the third trimester of pregnancy. IOW, you don't want to know.The bottom image is about a factor of 2 1/2 times better resolution. The grating lobes have also been removed, too.

I still am doing medical technology stuff BTW:USING ANTENNAS AND USING FRACTALS. One of my latest patent filings uses RF to target-heat cancer tumors: the blood vessels of tumors have fractal networks, and this makes them unique enough from other tissue that you can find the RF resonances and do RF heating, with minimal absorption by normal tissues.

Funny where antennas will take you!

In my coveted but limited free time, over the course of almost 50 years, are other meaningful professional (and occasional) distractions: I am/have been a guitar 'shredder'; sciencewriter (2 best-selling science trade books); options trader; Master (Free)Mason (since 1991)(God--the ultimate GEOMETER! Almost ALL of creation being FRACTAL. Think about it.); record producer; photographer (couple examples below); and songwriter. My solo project as a recording artist --Americana--now amounts to 5 albums with a million plus hits on MySpace. It is uncanny how strong the link is between ham radio and audio. In 1985 I applied psychoacoustics to the TX and RX chain in ham radio--one of the first uses of 'enhanced SSB': now that a close knit group has grown around ESSB, it is re-emerging for me as part of my audio knowledge and background.

Twang Got Live: 2008    Like Ansel Adams, I long for the high places. Preferably with a rig! (C) 2002 Nathan Cohen


Ah, the fractal desert. Monument Valley & Kanab from a rig-side view (c)Nathan Cohen


I've been told that I look like a 'Renaissance Man' with so much happening! Truth be told, I put a lot of stuff on hold for more than a decade, in part to concentrate on defense related work and concentrate on family. In my later years, it's time to open the floodgates of what I've done:-). There's a LOT of water behind that dam! I still do some gov't work on occasion, but do not do classified work anymore, by my own choice. And my son is now a senior in college. Time to remind others where all those years of hard work really went! The invisibility cloak is just one of many breakthroughs and world-line events I will let out in the next few years. I am fully aware that we all have a short time here and I am making the best of my God given gifts.

What about YOU? What are you waiting for?:-) Do something; Build something; See something. Be something:-)

Below is the cover of one of my books--sold very well in the late 1980's. A spinoff of my Cornell thesis on gravitational lenses. 

This is a popular science book that spun off from my Ph.D. thesis. NEW EDITION IN 2014!

DX IS---

Ham wise, I am a DX'er. I know non-dxers look at DXing as silly, but it doesn't feel that way. It feels like a hunt. It is immensely satisfying and fun. You are in competition with yourself. At your pace. It's more than an excuse to learn some obscure geographic facts. I am also amused that I am DX to, say, JH1's, for example.

In 1995 I achieved a (nearly) 30 year goal by attaining #1 Honor Roll DXCC. 8BDXCC and DX Challenge also as W1YW. Now at 355 both MIXED and PHONE confirmed.  I am 2420/2460 on DXCC Challenge.. A substantial number of my DXCC Challenge cards were done TOWER-less, and most with fractal antennas in the last three years. As of Sept 2016, I am also occasionally on remote:-)

Some hard-earned plaques(8BDXCC and #1HR DXCC) as N1IR --previous callsign , and some recent plaques(TAPR AND DXCC CHALLENGE) as W1YW


Since my son went off to college (now grad) I am solidly back on the air. I am, when possible, found a few hours on weekends and post-dinner running Q's to Europe, contest style, usually on 30M, 20M, 17M,12M, or 40M. I am 90% CW, with SSB and some RTTY. If I hear someone friendly on AM, I do that too!

Incidentally fellow DX'er W1WN was my best buddy some 40 years ago, and he openly admits I hooked him on DX (Hi Dave!). Dave has an awesome station BTW and if you want to see the creme de la creme take a look at his understated bio! We may have the unique distinction of being ham-pals as kids who then both attained #1 Honor Roll.

DX rules--here's my suggestions for the DX Game:



DX Message here: It's all about the HUNT! Everyone WINS!


My hamshack from Dec 2012: saved bits from the best of the 70s' to the 10's. The 7700 is now a 7800! Amps below at feet.

Rigs (Active): TS-990s;  IC-7800;  many ALPHA amps  as  QRO. I  have a whole bunch of other rigs either as backup or out for free use by needy hams. Proprietary binaural signal processing on RX. Experimental 'enhanced SSB' psychoacoustic processing occassionally on TX.Various fractal antennas with various gains, directionality, and multi/wide bandedness, up and running subject to sunspots.

Some comments on the IC-7800 and amp combo. EXCELLENT receiver! I can't say enough about the low phase noise and noise floor. On TX, I, like others, are VERY CAUTIOUS with the power. I don't trust those PA transistors to take 200 watts, or even 150. I don't run them over 100 watts, when barefoot. Instead I let the amp do the work of the $$$$ xcvr model with a reputation for PA burnout. For 200 watts or less, for example on 30M, I run the exciter power low and go legal limit with the amp loafing (with a relay box in between). I conservatively run at about 1000 watts out max on other bands; Bird 43 in line. To run 150 watts out I crank the 7800 down to about <10 watts drive.

The new waterfall display is just amazing. Hard to say enough good things on this!

There's a reason the IC-7800 is the world's best rig: the receivers. I am always amused when some people say their rig hears better, yadayadayada. In fact, if you spend some time using and understanding the variable AGC AND the noise reduction(NR) you will hear WHY this is the world's best rig! Combining them let's you polish a matched filter which is unbelievable at reducing QRN, such as on 160M.

I have stored a backup of an IC-7700 (using at moment). I also now have a 6M amp, a W1QJ modified SB220.

Lotsa folks have heard the rumors about my 'custom sub' knob on the 7800. Yep; its real. The stock knob is too dinky for my tastes so I made one up, with finger dimple and fractal patterned finger grip. The knob part was done by a CAD file to a 3D printer. The finger dimple was made by K8FF (plug plug!): this knob assembly is not available on any stock rig. If you can THINK it you can MAKE it! Here's a pix:-)

Nowadays, non-ham wireless alternatives provide much of my knack to communicate: for example, sections of this bio were sent via Iphone from the top of a mountain in Austria--definitive 'shuss'! Others were/are written while 'Island Happy'; sort of like the Corona-beer commercial, only with a Buccaneer Pina Colada, or sitting by the fire and Grandfather's clock at home--and out in the desert under the stars in Utah. It's cool how common this versatility has become. Ah, wireless! Ain't it great? With or without callsign--its a special time to be alive.

BTW, clubbin' your thing? I belong to the IEEE; ARRL; TAPR; Clay Center ARC; QCWA; and RCA.



Family-wise I have been married for 26 years--one XYL I might add-- and have a son who is also an inventor and scholar, and is a magna Cum Laude graduate at Vanderbilt University as a Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholar; Eagle Scout; and so on. He's so bright I call him 'son' ;-) He had a 3.9 GPA. Sigh; his is a generation that ham radio has little appeal, given other wireless options. We do manage to text, and I have him using CW shorthand. 'Being a family' and raising a son are the reasons I was mostly off the air for a decade (2001-2010). It was a sacrifice-- considering what a great young man he is, it was well worth it! Here's a recent photo of me with my son--

Son and the Source-- July 2012

I have hit a (YOUNG) 61and can only say--yeh! I'm in better shape than when I was 40. For example, I ski like a dream and am pictured on the home page of a major ski resort (which tickles me pink). I also have a passion for mountain biking and desert hiking (but warn that it's only for those who understand how to deal with the delirium of dehydration). Time has thrown me a few 'scares' in recent years (losing my hearing was a recent one)but I am very much back up on my feet and vigilant about maintaining good health. How about you? I urge those of us hams who are underexercised and overweight to get out and enjoy yourself in the great outdoors. Take a rig along--but by all means get active!

W1YW powder-hounding at 54 in Brettonwoods NH--and a recent head shot (official geek executive hair!)



Since 1988, I have experimented with fractal antennas and find that I am the pioneer, source-inventor,and expert in an exciting field that is now an integral part of the antenna art. I have seen some unsavory and false depictions regarding my efforts in this regard, so here is some real information, which I expect conveys some of what it was like to be part of this. Keep in mind that fractal antennas have had over 2000 scientific papers and dozens of patents since 2003, by hundreds of researchers world wide, so this is now a well established field, although most hams are unaware of it, and many, unfortunately, are not open to the latest antenna developments. Let me concentrate on mentioning the ham aspects, historically, because it actually started with ham radio, and that's how non-hams see it--as a positive spinoff of amateur radio.

You've probably heard of the antenna company 'Fractal Antenna Systems', ( http://www.fractenna.com) which was started in 1995 by myself and my dad, Hy (WN1ZWT, now SK in 2000). Here he is below (Hy) holding a torn-square fractal antenna in the ham shack/lab in 1995 or 1997. That's an antenna made from area copper etch on PCB--not a wire antenna.Company is now in a large facility not far from the old Polaroid plant off Route 128 in MA. I've had a very gratifying ride with real impact on the lives of others with this technology. And although the firm does not sell ham antennas ( the employees STILL need to be convinced), it started with my ham radio work, father and son hams. Hams 'done dude it'.

Incidentally, Hy taught radio in the AAF and was chummy with Artie Collins. But he still wouldn't buy me a KWM2 as a kid:-) Yep; I have one now:-) Really not very good compared to the IC-7800!

Please be aware that only a small fraction of fractal antennas are 'wire antennas'. I mention a specific one (MI2 and FQY) here only because it is easy for anyone to make for their own experimentation.


FRACTALS ARE  A GREAT SUCCESS :My dad Hy WN1ZWT, (now SK) in shack basement in 1990's,and FRACTAL facility in 2014 with full anechoic chambers, lab, and manu; latest W1YW mobile!


Lots of hams ask if I am the "fractal antenna guy". Yes, I am the fractal antenna guy. Since 1988, starting in my dinky Boston apartment, and eventually migrating to the changing table and then basement of a real QTH: I am the inventor

START HERE: First fractal antenna built and tested--and cut down by landlord Winter 1987/1988

of fractal element antennas, again, from my ham radio fun. Being a bit sobering for a minute, fractal antennas were not started by rich research grants or venture capital. I was barely getting by at the time and bought my equipment at the MIT Flea(below).There was a lot of Spaghettio's eaten, dates declined because of the expense, no magazines, no Club Med vacations. No 'extras'. It was a tough time but a superbly exciting one.

So keep that in mind: a bit of discomfort creates the future.

Fractal shapes are common in nature because they allow for optimized processes. And if you wonder why a fractal should make an antenna (lightning is fractal and an RF source BTW), I suggest you turn it the other way around--and ask what shape(s) RF currents make to dissipate charge (that is, radiate). Here's one of my favorite demo's from Youtube--where RF MAKES a fractal antenna:



Below is a limited excerpt from the PBS fractals show where some of it is recounted (shown under fair use for educational purposes). Note that Benoit asked me to appear, and the segment was filmed in Spring 2008:


Being of modest means and buying my equipment from the MIT Flea market, progress on fractal antennas took me several years. For example, I made initial gain and pattern measurements with two Drake TR22C's and a precision attenuator. I later bought a cruddy old network analyzer. and, of course, there was MFJ stuff. 

Wanna see the first article -cover on fractal antennas? If I get enough interest, I may make the article available. The ARRL has been extended the option of free electronic reproduction rights to the article, but has not responded to the offer, which will expire soon. The article was held (for republication) for many years by me due to the emphasis on military work I was involved in. Now, the efforts are successfully commercial and fractal antenna research is done globally. And the state of the art is at least a decade ahead of what's in the journals. Here's the cover, from Summer 1995. This is the article that started it all:


The element you see me holding from 1994 (with my son holding the cookies)is essentially a fractal loop MI2 which, with slightly smaller bandwidth than dipole, is basically equivalent. But ITS ABOUT 1/4 the size of a dipole!No matching or coils or caps. What makes that cool is it's only about an 1/8 wave on a side, so its very tiny.


Because this is a simple antenna to build and illustrates many aspects of interest to hams, I am only focusing on this one design here.


Here's the current amplitudes. Two current max that phase together to give high polarization integrity and dipole equivalent gain--in 1/4 the size of a 1/2 wave dipole! In other words, you could fit nearly 4 of these fractal loops INSIDE a quad loop.Ooooh! Pretty:-)!

Not magic--it's physics.The big deal on the TWO CURRENT MAXIMA is that they are sufficiently separated to interfere constructively and render a small amount of gain.Thus the gain and bandwidth, because of two current maxima, is HIGHER than an 1/8 wave conventional loop. There (1/8th loop, not fractal one)you have one current maxima , a funky pattern, no polarization integrity, and so on. The fractal has essentially given you an electrically long structure in a subwavelength size. Obviously if you continue to shrink to an antenna that is VERY ELECTRICALLY SMALL you end up with a transmission line and feeble radiation. Even in the very first fractal antenna papers I cautioned against that. No one involved with the invention of fractal antennas has ever claimed huge performance on a grain of rice sized antenna. That is pseudoscience. Don't look at me! ;-> I worked hard for my Ph.D. and ain't no one taking it away:-)

A MI2 fractal loop modeled with Jerry Burke's NEC4. Footprint about 1/8 by 1/8 wave.

Would you like to see the gain? Below is a pic of a MI2 being prepped for measurement in my range (this one is at microwaves) and the accompanying gain,which peaks at about 2.5 dBi. The bandwidth, as shown , would be equivalent to the entire 20M band. So, yes, you CAN make a small, high performance 20m fractal loop. I've done it.

Of course, if you can a LOOP you can make a beam--a fractal quad Yagi!

The pix to the right (below)is a 10M/12M version of the Fractal Quad Yagi (FQY)(which uses two fractal MI2 loops)up at my QTH from 1998-2001--about 4 1/2 feet on a side; 5.5 dBi with 25 dB F/B and (despite rumors to the contrary) easily made bent wire loop(s) with cpvc spreaders. Essentially I leveraged our knowledge of how to support quads, with the electrical advantages (and there are many: hundreds of researchers worldwide have corroborated this in the last 8 years, for example) of fractals, for this antenna.The performance is very much what you get with a 2 el cubical quad, which is 4+ times greater in its volume. Want to drool on the fractal quad NEC sim? It's even further to the right as an azimuthal plot. Notice 5.41 dBi (free space), great polarization integrity, and excellent F/B. This is a really tiny antenna with excellent performance.

Note: pixs (c) 1994, 1995, 1998,2009, 2012Fractal Antenna Systems,Inc. or as noted.Used by permission

Fractal antennas, jr op, and me in Oct 1994      My Fractal QUAD: RIP 1998-2001       Gainfully employed!(includes ohmic losses)


To satisfy quite a few queries on some ham history: Here I am (pix above), in October 1994, in the early years of development, testing some early fractal antennas with my son--then 2. Notice the bag of cookies! This proves that those who experiment with FRACTAL ANTENNAS HAVE NOT LOST THEIR COOKIES :-)! These were chocolate chip BTW. Son is now a head above me and 25 .

I worked 310 countries with that antenna, came 4th world wide in the 2000 10M Contest (low power single op)--and it sustained icestorms and wind. No matching; SWR better than 2:1 over almost a MHz at 10M. Only vandalism ended its ruling the airwaves:-0 NOW-- THIS fractal antenna is just one fractal design that I have come up with and used in ham radio. Its been published; it's been proven. My company sells (and has commercial customers with) a version of the element even today (in fact, just got a partial deliverable of 200 out the door as I write this). Still waiting to see something that performs better in that tiny volume: about an 1/8 by 1/8 x 1/8 wave. If so--WHERE IS IT :-)? Been waiting almost 14 years to see a better, smaller, Yagi antenna. This is far smaller than a spider, hex or Moxon, for example. Show us a practical ham antenna that is just two bent loops of wire--with no matching; no elaborate supports; and so on, that exceeds this performance in this size :-)

Wanna see an azimuth plot of a FQY? Below is a RANGE MEASURED azimuth plot in free space on a calibrated range at 1200 MHz (see the photo mentioned above for a look at the element; this is a quad made from that element). Peak gain about 6 dBi with quite good measured F/B. If you aren't getting the right F/B you have either got the sizes wrong (slightly) or gone for a dB or so more forward gain. Alternatively you should play with the element spacing. I recommend #6 wire, no insulation for HF versions. Also, note that if your element resonance is to low, you can short out one of the inner stubs (that is replace it) to cut some inductance.

There is much ado about efficiency in ham antennas. So, are you ready? THE FRACTAL LOOP ELEMENT IS OVER 95% EFFICIENT, with copper losses of about 0.2dB. So please: those who harp on 'fractal bending only introduces loss', go try flying a kite (for 160m:-)) And please identify yourself honestly--we know you are a competitor! So much for the benefit of making more than one current max in a small area! Fractal antennas are a lot more than bending; most aren't even wire antennas; ohmic loss only becomes an issue when sizes are much less than 1/20th a wave in size. GO SHOW US SOMETHING BETTER FRIENDS!:-) If you don't want the world's smallest and best performing small HF antenna, without components or matching, then try something else:-)

Here's a summary for this 'fractal quad yagi':

  • GAIN: 5.4 dbi (includes ohmic losses, the little there is)
  • SIZE: about a cube 1/8 by 1/8 by 1/8 wave
  • SWR: <2:1 over>950KHz on 10M, 200 KHz on 12M
  • MATCHING: None (no losses from a matching network)
  • LOADS: None (no losses from discrete loads)
  • F/B: at least 25 dB
  • FED: with COAX, not ladder line
  • WEIGHT: Mine weighed about 4 lbs without boom, and includes the spreaders, etc.
  • FEED: Split loop. Solder hot to one side, shield to other
  • CONSTRUCTION EASE: how fast can you bend a wire at right angles?


Many of you have asked me about F3DD's 20M fractal quad , which is up and running in 2012. I confirm he is getting better results than a conventional quad, and this is expected at his 10m height: a conventional quad droops lower to the ground so the lower section radiationhas a higher launch angle .Essentially shrinking the quad with the fractal HAS NO COMPROMISE OR DOWNSIDE: great bandwidth; no matching; minimal loss; high gain; great F/B; no components. Note that he is driving BOTH elements (it is a driven array), out of phase (as driven)by 135 degrees. the delay lag between elements ( 1/8 wave)puts a phase delay of 180 propagating . In this configuration, the 20m fractal quad is heavily 'supergaining', which should have a dramatic decrease in BW, which he is not seeing. I will be running experiments here, as needed to assist him in his understanding of the results.There is nothing erroneous nor 'new physics' involved. Kindly leave him alone and let him enjoy his efforts please. Thank You!

I'm not the only one to use this design--ON THE AIR :-) Here's a comment from a fellow fractal antenna experimenter KF7BS--who is a fellow ham, but otherwise not affiliated in any way. Gary Schweitzer had the cover story on this antenna in 73 Magazine in 1999. Gary's article contains more than sufficient info to build the antenna for your sole experimental purposes:-)In response to my recent query on his recollection (TU Gary!), back in the last Sunspot cycle, Gary found:

"I first put it up for testing on my deck railing about 6 feet off the ground. As I was testing I heard a station from Australia calling CQ, so I answered him. He came back with a 5-7 report. I switched to the vertical I had on the roof at the time and he barely heard me. When I raised the antenna to 45 feet, I decided this was the best antenna I had ever used. Keep in mind this was on the upslope of the sunspot cycle so 10 Meters was in good shape, but in a 1 year period, I had worked over 185 countries and in several 10-10 QSO parties, I was the guy everybody was trying to contact instead of the other way around. All this with 100 watts as I've never owned an amplifier. In conclusion I would say this antenna performed beyond my best expectations both in characteristics and on air performance."

KF7BS captures cover with a fractal; a commercial (non-ham) FQY with 3 elements

By my count, about 155 people built fractal quads. There are quite a few being built now; fine with me!. If you wish to give it a try, I suggest you hit up Gary for a pdf or reprint, or hunt it down on the net. I am happy to debug in a pinch, if you get stuck, but in general I shy off from technical support unless it relates to a very recent article of mine.

There is a myth that this antenna is too small ('electrically small') to work. The answer: that's wrong. the Chiu- Harrington limit is much smaller than the size of this antenna. If Mozzie can build one on the TV show WHITE COLLAR, so can you:-) This is a false myth lovingly placed and amber-watered religiously by my professional antenna competitors and those who have their own issues. Ahhh ! Ham radio! Occasionally we fail to purge the CB culture many of us started with. There's still time to reform !

High school kids commonly win science fairs with fractal antennas. If they can bend a wire and make it perform, then what's stopping you"-)? Take chances. Get dirty. Have fun.

I know there are occasional grumblings about my 'failure to disclose' any ham fractal antenna designs. I find this a little bizarre: from 1995 to 2001 I published almost a dozen in the ham magazines( Comm Quart; 73; DX Magazine)and actively discussed them on the internet and on the air. F3DD is an excellent example (http://www.f3dd.org)of someone who used my available info and did what ham's are supposed to do: EXPERIMENT AND HAVE FUN. My time is defined by action--right now there is huge commercial and DIY interest in fractal antennas, and only a modest amount with hams. There are probably over 400,000+ DIY fractal TV antennas that have been built in the last 5 years, for example.

Note that right down the street from me, AG1LE has a FQY up. Needs some tweaking on the element lengths, and I don't recommend a slant 45 feed, but frankly a nice job! He gets 2 dB gain over a fullsized vertical, while pointing off the the side, so he's losing at least 3 dB by not pointing properly: beams were meant to be turned:-). See his webpage for details.Can we stop the false silliness that this is hard to build? Mauri did it as an afternoon project. Here's the picture from his bio page:

(c) AG1LE--from his bio page

AG1LE's FQY with slant 45 feed (not recommended by me)

Hams ARE interested in fractal antennas, but the truth is few hams really like to build new things (I have great empathy and respect for those that do). I will continue to help those who make the effort.


Innovators have to pass a time-depleting gauntlet called the 'tortuous path'. Many die before their innovations see wide use. I have been lucky in that I have seen THREE tortuous paths, while alive! It hasn't been pretty, but to create and watch tech adoption of your babies is about as satisfying as anything you can imagine. Right now, I am one happy ham--a successful scientist/inventor/entrepreneur! I am P-R-O-U-D to be a survivor:-)

Of course there are those who actually LIKE placing others in harm's way in innovation, and there are a few of these, quite vocal, who are hams. The effect of such cannot be ignored: It is a myth that ignoring such comments lessens their impact: See, for example,


This makes for an interesting section in an upcoming book I am completing on innovation, which shows that merely presenting the facts and letting reason prevail is a poor and ineffectual means of letting the innovation take its course. In fact, that is the best possible way to let it die, have the pioneer get dissed and flattened, and for others to gain credit and financial gain later on. There are hundreds of such examples; in radio there are Tesla for wireless; Farnsworth for television, and so on. Obviously I am now expertly skilled at dealing with the tortuous path-- fair warning: if you try to impede the business of innovation, and use defamation, be prepared for putting major time, money, and effort to defend and explain your position, and be armed with facts. I am. You WILL have skin in the game.

Here's a tiny taste of that tortuous path.

AE5CC: Many hams enjoy antenna modeling, and that’s why I used to give out—15+ years ago now— EZNEC files for this MI2 and many other fractal antennas. I have stopped doing this, because there is so much error with some of those using and diagnosing these modeling simulations that I just don’t have the time to sleuth why each odd case is done wrong, and telling you how to fix it. I am very sympathetic, in contrast, to those who actually BUILD antennas. You’re a ham—build something!

A recent and well publicized case of a faulty modeling attempt is by Lloyd Van Warren, AE5CC. ‘Van’ has modeled an MI2 (and up to MI4) antenna using various software pieces, with NEC. He finds that the MI2 antenna is down 10 dB from a dipole, and is slightly bigger than the actual MI2 antenna. Van, you are off by 10 dB buddy!

Perhaps someone who knows Van cans set him straight: there have been numerous verifications of the performance of the Minkowski fractal. It is dipole equivalent gain. The results have been modeled, published, and well known for 17 years. Van's results appear to be off an order of magnitude or more from the reality, for example MI2. Van, your results and your conclusions are grossly in error.Kindly spend some time debugging.

Here's what your power pattern/gain SHOULD look like with NEC, done properly:

The results (gain):

ACTUAL MI2: +1.7 dBi or better ;-)

AE5CC MODEL: -8 dBi or worse :-(


Here's what I sent, cordially, to Van a while back---

Thanks for checking out my MI2 fractal antenna, a patented design (USP’s 6452553 and 7256751). I appreciate that you enjoy simulation, but I do want to make sure you are aware of the gross error your simulations show on this and other fractal antennas. I also want to encourage you to build antennas in addition to simulating them, as hardware is the ultimate goal of antenna analyses, and measurement is an independent guide to the accuracy, or lack of it, of simulations.

For example,the MI2 (second iteration) modeled in NEC4, reveals a 97% efficiency and dipole equivalent gain. Recently an open house with members of the Radio Club of America showed this to: K1VR; WB2MGP; K1BG; WA6RNU; W0BIW; KD0FAA; and several others. In addition, the visitors were treated to actual chamber measurements of a wire-bent MI2 at 175 MHz, Its gain was indisitinguishable (within 0.2dB) from an ETS calibrated dipole of 1.7 dBi. This fractal antenna is thus unity gain to a dipole and not down 10 dB as you report in your blog. I trust you will take these facts and correct your assertions publicly available on the web.

To aid fellow hams I will place a public copy of this info on my bio page

Wishing you the best and happy hamming!

Chip W1YW

NOTE: As of June 15, 2012 AE5CC has acknowledged the discrepancy between verified results of dipole gain for the MI2, vs AE5CC modelling of -10 dBd. They have not been corrected on his blog however--more than two year later.

Here's a pix of that MI2 I built EASILY in 5 minutes from bending wire. It's 9 1/4 inches on a side, which makes it resonant at 175 MHz with unity dipole gain. TINY!!! A squeeze above 1/8 wave by 1/8 wave. Can we stop this silliness that fractal antennas are hard to build ,please? On YOU TUBE you now have 8 year olds do so, for HDTV.


Now, Van seems rather 'focussed' on making this for 160m...I have no idea why. I am already using small, efficient fractal antennas on 160m. Heck, I have 95 countries confirmed ! This is not a design for 160m, and I didn't recommend that for 160m:-)Maybe he should ask the competitor that recommended it;-)?



Today I am also using a variety of (very different and very different looking) HF fractal antennas (here's a portion of one design example pix below), but have no interest in seeing them vandalized. All I want to do is have some fun and keep them hidden; small, high performance; and so on. I certainly am having the time of my life DXing and Q'ing--and I ain't using a G5RV or aluminum beam! I am always testing and switching around fractal designs, weather and health permitting.

To give a sense of size and performance, imagine a 1M dipole that is full bandwidth on both 10M and 12M with virtually the same directivity as a dipole. Form factor 2 inch diameter. Weight less than 1 lb. There's that Part 97 experimentation and 'enhancement' bit!

At the moment I have fractal antennas for a rotating basis, for 160M -70CM. All are multiband; they are all hidden in trees. My observation, so far, is that I 'get out' best to worst in the following order for HF: 30M; 17M; 6M; 40M;20M; 12M; 15M; 10M;80M;160M. The antenna experimentation continues. When I get something more permanent I will do scaled down versions of the antennas, at UHF,and measure their calibrated power patterns in an anechoic chamber.

I am still trying to understand the intrigue of 160M. I have a 160M fractal I put up occasionally and am experimenting. The launch angle issue is a fascinating one to work out. However, the QRN on 160M really does a number on my hearing. After a few minutes listening on 160M my ears literally ring. I do appreciate the many friendly and technically savvy OM's that hang on 160, BTW.  I received 160M DXCC in Jan 2016:-)


section of one of my HF antennas, 2012; Here is a section before it gets weatherized and raised; raised barely visible

Most hams are happy to know that smaller antennas are possible---but then take some used wire and throw up a dipole. Hey! I think think that's great! Any way of operating these days is a plus, as most US hams have not been OTA in years, if ever. And, of course, a vast majority of US hams have never been near the HF bands. ANY antenna is a springboard to a new world. Dive in! Join us!


In mid-2007, after 12 years, the US patent office finally acknowledged, through patent award, that I am the pioneer in the use of fractals in tuned circuits ('resonators'), IOW, fractal resonators . This topic is now a hotbed for researchers in electronics, who have also (re)discovered the value in using fractals, particularly in small, sharp, multiband filters at microwave. Thus I have had the humbling distinction of giving rise to at least two modern technologies from my Part 97 tinkering:-) Below is a cover of a book on the subject and one of my fractal filters, a field I founded more than 20 years ago. 'Time will tell'! Indeed:-)!

I have been acknowledged via patent as the 'source' inventor of fractal filters. Folks are slowly catching up:-) USP 7256751


Lately I've gotten some notoriety for inventing the first wideband invisibility cloak (it uses fractal resonators). But sorry--I really am not interested in Harry Potter! Take a look at the video links below:



In October, 2009, my firm announced a new antenna technology that marries fractals with metamaterials. Makes for some really cool antennas that haven't been produced in other ways. Just uses layers of fractal circuit boards and a more conventional antenna as an exciter/probe. Take a look at the video link at the top of the bio. In November, 2016, the patent office FINALLY issued the source-patent for this as USP 9,482,474.

So, just to make it clear, I am also the 'source' inventor of the invisibility cloak and fractal metamaterials. Stay tuned for more 'invention' info on this in the next few months. Some folks believe it was invented by researchers in England and at Duke University. The patent office has not acknowledged that and that claim cannot be made..

There's still a lot of innovation coming out of the Old Man--the HAM :-)!


USP 7,256,751 and pat.pending

Cross section of fractal resonators/metamaterials, juxtaposed as part of the first wideband invisibility cloak. Note analogy. Note restoration by cloak at right


The trick is for us, as hams, to keep it up, and not fall back on past efforts. Take chances. Try something new. Make mistakes. (To paraphrase Miss Frizzel:-) Use this all as an incentive to learn--and ENHANCE THE RADIO ART:-)


If I could pass along one life-lesson to readers of this summary, I want to emphasize that 'sticking to it' is a major virtue that is little celebrated these days. In a chaotic, rough and tumble world, "press on regardless" is often the only separator of eventual success versus existential and then continual failure. As hams, we learn this lesson well: many of our achievements are cumulative--think DXCC and other awards for example. That's actually fairly rare: America is all too often about the BIG payoff or the abject failure. Oddly, failure seldom has to do with whether something 'works' or not, but rather some outside agenda that is people-driven. An up or out view of failure is nonsense. If you have something, then you fail only if you believe the Sirens of Titan. There's plenty out there! For example, some people are unhappy with others efforts and do malicious things.The sirens whistle loudly, but listening is nonsense: save your ears(and I know something about saving your ears) for the pileups.Life is not ephemera and wasn't made for amateurs (as opposed to radio amateurs hi hi). You leave only footprints, so get on with it :-). In summary, I want to encourage you to "suck the marrow out of life" (H.D. Thoreau) and hope that my example will encourage you to enjoy ham radio--and be the very best you can be.

73 to ALL

Chip W1YW

aka the Source

8530533 Last modified: 2017-12-23 13:27:11, 158610 bytes

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