HRS type antennas

HRS type antennas

HRS type antennas are more or less the standard antenna used for long distance high power shortwave broadcasting (> 1000 km).

History of HRS design

HRS antennas were discovered during the 1920s, and as such were not originally intended for voice and music broadcasting.

However, the directional properties of this antenna type were ideal for voice broadcasting -- and the design is now pervasive in international broadcasting by the 1950s.

As far back as the mid-1930s, Radio Netherlands was using a rotatable HRS antenna for global coverage.

A versatile antenna type

Important technical variations in HRS antennas
* HRS type antennas come in two types, fixed and rotatable.
* About 80% of all commissioned HRS type antennas in use today are fixed azimuth.
* Electrical slewing allows a fixed azimuth HRS antenna beam to be moved by as much as 25 degrees, however most designs only allow for 15 degrees.
* Only one type of HRS rotatable antenna is coupled with a building that houses a transmitter -- the ALLISS system.

What are HRS type antennas?

The curtain antenna is a dipole array, consisting of rows and columns of dipoles.

* The curtain antenna is a high gain directional antenna, that is designed for medium and long range shortwave communications.
* The HR(S) notation is as follows
** HR Rows/Columns/Wavelength(s) -- "Above Ground"

How to interpret HRS notation

An HR 4/4/1 antenna has the following characteristics
* 4 rows
* 4 columns
* is 1 wavelength "Above Ground" (with respect to mid-band transmission frequency)

Syntax note: HRS
* The S means is that the antenna's pattern is electrically steerable.
* Electrical steering is typically done in the horizontal orientation, with some adjustments being possible in the vertical domain.
* Electrical steering of the antenna beam typically is limited to (-/+) 15° in the vertical, and about 5° in the horizontal.

Notes on HRS notation

HRS transmission systems can be "double sided", but in this case HRRS notation is used. The extra R meaning "Reversible". Very few HRRS antenna systems are in use worldwide.
* HRS antennas of type HRS 1/1/1 are undefined.
* HRS antennas of type HRS 1/2/1 and 2/1/1 exist, but see little practical use in broadcasting.
* The number of rows can be 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 or 12.
* The number of columns is usually 2, 3, 4, 6 or 8.
* The dipoles are ALWAYS horizontally polarized.
* A reflector screen is placed behind the dipole array so as to provide a directive beam.

Azimuth beamwidth

* For a 2-wide dipole array, the beamwidth is around 50°
* For a 3-wide dipole array, the beamwidth is around 40°
* For a 4-wide dipole array, the beamwidth is around 30°The main beam can be slewed by 15° or 30° so that a maximumcoverage of 90° can be achieved.

Vertical Launch Angle

The number of dipole rows and the height of the lowest element aboveground determine the elevation angle and consequently the distance to the service area.
* A 2-row high array has a typical takeoff angle of 20°
** is most commonly used for medium range communications.
* A 4-row high array has a typical takeoff angle of 10°
** is most commonly used for long range communications.
* A 6-row array is similar to a 4-row, but can achieve 5° to 10° takeoff angles. This antenna type can be used in shortwave communications circuits of 12000 km, and is highly directive.

Variations of HRS antennas

Curtain antennas are available in two sizes.
* A low band array typically covers the 6, 7, 9 and 11 MHz bands.
* Low band antennas are typically larger and taller.
* A high band array typically covers the 11, 13, 15, 17 and 21 MHzbands (or 13-26 MHz bands).
* High band antennas are typically smaller and shorter.

Transmission system optimization for geopolitics

* Occasionally an international broadcasters may use, for reasons of geopolitical necessity -- a highband, midband as well as lowband HRS curtain arrays.
* Using 3 HR curtain arrays to cover the HF broadcasting spectrum creates a highly optimized HF transmission system.

Cost issues

* HF transmission systems using 3 or more curtain arrays can be costly to build and maintain.
* Since the mid 1990s no new HF relay stations have been built.
* Existing HRS shortwave transmission systems (built before 1992) will likely remain in use for many years. The modern HRS antenna design thankfully has a long lifespan.

Examples of HRS antennas

This is an example of theoretical HRS design shortwave relay stations. This may help one better understand HRS antenna directivity.

Latin America

A proposal for a Radio Canada International relay station to be constructed in Tofino-Ucluelet found at

Shortwave relay stations using only HRS antennas

This is a list of stations using only HRS antennas, sorted by country name.

* CVC International, Darwin, NT at Cox Peninsula. It was formerly a Radio Australia relay station.

* Radio Canada International Sackville, NB

* T-Systems Wertachtal
* T-Systems Nauen

New Zealand
* RNZI Rangataki Plains

* BBCWS Ascension Island
* BBCWS Rampisham

* VOA Delano, California Relay Station (defunct)

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