We have a wonderful hobby in Amateur Radio. It's pure physics with a large dose of magic which keeps you interested for your entire life. I'm frequently asked how deep the hole should be or why I didn't go up another section of tower. Sometimes folks look at me funny when I tell them it doesn't matter too much because it's phuzzy fysics.
To me, phuzzy fysics means that even though almost every thing we do in our hobby can be defined in physics by the purist, most of it isn't that critical. There is no absolute ground. Most people don't have detailed studies done of the soil in their yard to determine the electrical resistance or it's ability to contain a chunk of concrete.
We have tools to measure resonance of our antennas which enables us to achieve a good match to the radio. None of us have tools to measure the antenna coupling to the ground, trees, buildings, or the ether! We put antennas up in good faith based on the trusted phyiscs model and then proven through the trial by fire and usually many more hours of work by some dedicated individual with a nack for making things work.
Many of us cut the wire and measure the SWR and if that looks good then we assume that the antenna is great... even if it's not. We're lulled into thinking that one simple test tells it all. That explains why some folks get out better with the same antenna than others. They just happened upon the lucky combination which gets out the big signal. Can you duplicate it? Probably not. Can you put out a big signal too (without buying an Alpha)? Probably, but you'll have to fool with it to find out what it takes to make it tick.
All of these things illustrate why I call it PHUZZY FYSICS. It's just not by the book... but it can be made to work.
Use the magic to achieve your goal!
September 7, 2002