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2005 News Releases




Pioneer antenna designer dies

Date : 31 / 08 / 2005
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC (Amateur Radio Victoria)

Well recognised for re-shaping the construction of antennas and their theory of operation is Gordon "Dick" Bird G4ZU/F6IDC, who has died aged 86. A friend, Jean-Claude Menard F8ND reports that Dick's widow Helene Bird has confirmed he passed away at Malves en Minervois in South France on 16 August.

A chief electronics engineer and manager he worked for the British Post and Telecommunications, NATO and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence. An active radio amateur, who after retirement and moving to France continued his ham activities until recent years under the callsign F6IDC. From the 1950s he created numerous original antennas such as the "Minibeam" and "Birdcage" with their designs being published in ham radio magazines creating worldwide interest.

In the 1980s he designed an antenna with bent elements that became known as the "Jungle Job" or "Bow-and-Arrow Yagi". Later when writing about it Dick conceded in having stumbled on the 'critical coupling' technique developed jointly by Fred Caton VK2ABQ and Les Moxon G6XN. The popular multi-band "spider beam" is based on Dick's ideas but was not developed by him. It consists of three mono-band "Bow and-Arrow Yagis" interlaced on the same supporting cross. This lightweight portable antenna remains popular today and is marketed by Cornelius Paul, DF4SA.

The G4ZU antenna designs are renowned for their gain. An example being a two-element switchable beam antenna made of wire comprising three dipoles and a common parasitic reflector.

The three switchable lobes, 120-degrees apart, produced forward gain of nearly 9dBi and a front-to-back ratio of about 25dB. Modern day antenna builders using computer modelling continue to explore the G4ZU principles that remain the subject debate and wonderment.


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