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Posthumous Numerical Study of DTV Broadcast Antenna Integration with Prototype Stratospheric Airship Gondola

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As a follow-on to the 2002 digital television (DTV) broadcast demonstration from a solar-powered stratospheric flying wing, a prototype stratospheric airship was used for a more realistic DTV broadcast demonstration in 2004, albeit at a lower altitude. The DTV signal was occasionally lost at the receiver directly below the airship during the demonstration. Adverse antenna-vehicle integration effects were investigated using a commercially available antenna simulation software, because the radiation pattern of the antenna on the airship could not be measured directly. The ground handling bars on the airship gondola were found to introduce deep and sharp nulls into the radiation pattern of the broadcast antenna. Some mitigation techniques that would have fitted within the constraints of the time are discussed. Changing to nonconductive ground handling bars and a multiturn helical antenna would have avoided the problem, according to the simulation results.

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Correspondence to Derek Gray.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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  • Information System
  • System Application
  • Lower Altitude
  • Simulation Software
  • Radiation Pattern