US 3217328 A
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Nov. 9, 1965 J. V. MILLER ANTENNA WITH WIRE MESH REFLECTOR COLLAPSING IN A PINWHEEL MANNER Filed March 8, 1963 1N VEN TOR.
V1 m M A R mo m a d A V. K c A United States Patent 3,217,328 ANTENNA WITH WIRE MESH REFLECTOR COLLAPSING [N A PINWHEEL MANNER Jack V. Miller, Azusa, Califl, assignor to Electra-Optical Systems Inc. Filed Mar. 8, 1963, Ser. No. 263,976 4 Claims. (Cl. 343-840) This invention relates to antennas in general and more particularly relates to a compactly packaged antenna that is easily expanded to full size.
In many electronic applications, an antenna is employed to transmit energy towards a distant position or to receive energy from a distant position. The antenna generally has a radiator which transmits the energy and a reflector which serves as a ground plane to direct the energy into a desirable pattern. The reflector is usually considerably larger than the radiator or any other component in the antenna. Because of the size of the reflector, it has been considered desirable for many years to provide an antenna whose reflector can operate with the radiator to provide a desirable pattern while in use and can collapse into a relatively small space when not in use. Until now, a satisfactory antenna meeting such requirements has not been obtained.
The present invention provides an antenna which employs as its reflector a material made from a wire mesh and which provides means in combination with the reflector to fold the reflector when it is not in use. By using a wire mesh as the reflector, the shape of the pattern produced by the antenna remains appreciably the same as if a solid conductive material is used and the strength of the pattern approaches that produced by an antenna having conventional components. Furthermore, the supporting structure for the wire mesh is made-up of a plurality of ribs that are shaped in cross-section and made of such a material that they flatten resiliently and, therefore, may be rolled up about an axis very much like a steel tape measure. In other words, the reflector is constructed in such a way that it can be furled and unfurled about the radiator as an axis.
It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an antenna having a reflector made from a pliable material so that it can be folded or furled into a relatively small space when it is not in use.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an antenna incorporating means for collapsing the reflector of the antenna into a small space when the antenna is not being used.
Still another object is to provide a collapsible antenna structure which is simply and inexpensively constructed and which is reliable in operation.
The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of the invention, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, will be better understood from the following description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings in which an embodiment of the invention is illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration and description only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.
FIGURE 1 illustrates the antenna structure in its furled condition;
FIGURE 2 shows the reflector apparatus during an intermediate stage in the unfurling process;
FIGURE 3 is an illustration of the entire antenna structure in its fully expanded form; and
FIGURES 4(a)4(c) present several sturdy and resilient rib structures that may be used with the reflector wire mesh.
Referring now to the drawings, attention is directed to FIG. 1 wherein an antenna structure encompassed by the present invention is shown furled into a highly compact form. As shown therein, the radiator 10 is swivably supported by a rod or pole 11, the wire mesh 12 and the ribs 13 that support the wire mesh being wound or furled around the radiator. As was previously mentioned, ribs 13 are necessarily made of a resilient material. Accordingly, they are held in their wound or furled positions by means of a locking mechanism, the mechanism not being shown because it would be a standard item that is not a part of the present invention. Suflice it to say, therefore, that the locking mechanism may be one that is operated by a signal to release the ribs or one that is manually operated, either type being commercially available. Assuming ribs 13 have been released, they will begin to unfurl because of their resilient nature and thereby cause wire mesh 12 to expand or open up. The unfurling of the reflector structure about radiator 10 is clearly presented in FIG. 2 wherein the reflector is shown in a partially unfurled condition. In essence, once the ribs are freed, they swing outwardly in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction depending upon how they were furled initially and, in so doing, they pull along the wire strands connected to them and making up the wire mesh of the reflector. In a short time, ribs 13 are fully extended and resemble spokes that radiate outwardly from the axis of radiator 10. As a result and as is shown in FIG. 3, Wire mesh 12 is also fully expanded or, stated differently, in full bloom. Consequently, the antenna structure is now ready for use.
Rib constructions that will function as described are shown in FIGS. 4(a)4(c) and because of the relative simplicity of the rib constructions and the clarity with which they are illustrated, no detailed description of them is deemed to be actually necessary. Suflice it to say, therefore, first, that the ribs are made of a resilient material that makes them spring around and become unfurled when they are released and, second, that in their furled condition they flex or flatten out into a flat strip. Thus, for example, in FIG. 4(a), flanges, I ia-14b will flatten out into the plane of rib base 14 when the rib is furled. On the other hand, when the rib is unfurled, they will spring back and resume their normal shape which, in turn, aids in the unfurling of the ribs in that it adds impetus to their unfurling. A material that will act in the manner described is beryllium copper.
With respect to the wire mesh portion of the reflector apparatus, it is constructed of thin flexible strands of metal, such as copper, the strands connected between any adjacent pair of ribs forming a fine patchwork, as is shown in FIG. 3.
While a particular arrangement of the invention has been illustrated above by way of example, the invention should nevertheless be considered to include any and all modifications, alterations or equivalent arrangements falling within the scope of the annexed claims.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed 1. A collapsible antenna structure comprising: a radiator; and a reflector structure for said radiator, said reflector structure including a plurality of resilient rib elements capable of being wound in a pinwheel arrangement around the axis of said radiator and of unwinding itself therefrom, and a large wire-mesh reflector formed by a plurality of smaller wire-mesh reflectors, one smaller wire-mesh reflector connected between each adjacent pair of rib elements.
2. The antenna structure defined in claim 1 wherein each of said smaller wire-mesh reflectors is formed in two parts, a first part that includes a first plurality of thin wire strands connected in parallel between said pair of rib elements and a second part that includes a second plurality of thin wire strands connected in parallel between said pair of rib elements, said second plurality of wire strands crossing over said first plurality of Wire strands to form a patchwork.
3. The antenna structure defined in claim 1 wherein each of said ribs includes a rectangular-shaped base structure and a pair of curved flanges mounted on and extending along each long side of the base structure on opposite sides thereof.
4. The antenna structure defined in claim 1 wherein each of said ribs is a rectangular-shaped structure whose central portion has an elliptically-shaped bulge therealong.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS Gottesman 13519.5 Taylor 343894 Spiro 13520 Fitzgerald 343846 Taracici 34318 Boehm 343915 0 HERMAN KARL SAALBACH, Primary Examiner.
Citations de brevets