Seawater Antenna Sends and Receives Communications Signals

Posted by

U.S. Navy engineers at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific in San Diego, California have developed a system that uses a stream of seawater as a radio antenna.

Seawater pumped through a magnetic probe is projected into the air to form a "waterspout antenna" that can receive and transmit radio signals. The frequency and bandwidth of the signal can be altered by adjusting the height and diameter of the stream.

Navy researcher Daniel Tam revealed how the antenna was made. He bought an $80 water pump, a $15 rubber hose and a $20 electrical device called a current probe that was easily plugged into a hand-held radio. Once assembled, he was able to produce a spout that shot up about four meters high from the waters of San Diego Bay. The water antenna allowed Tam to send and receive a clear signal. Over the intervening years, his invention, dubbed the “pee antenna” by incredulous colleagues, has been tweaked and improved to the point where it can transmit over a distance of more than 30 miles. Just 10 seawater antennas could conceivably replace 80 metallic ones.

The seawater antenna exploits the magnetic induction properties of salt in seawater to create a VHF antenna. An eighty-foot-high stream could transmit and receive from 2 to 400 MHz over a range of thirty miles.

For an additional perspective, check out this video:

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch