Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 63.djvu/371

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turns, and hence the magnetic field due to the primary circuit remains the same. Where it is desired to put a number of turns upon a coil, and yet at the same time keep the inductance down, the writer has adopted the device of winding a silk or hemp rope well paraffined between the turns of the circuit, so as to keep them further apart from one another, and as the inductance depends on the turns per centimeter, this has the effect of reducing the inductance.

The next and most important element in any transmitting station is the aerial or radiator, and it was the introduction of this element by Mr. Marconi which laid the foundation for Hertzian wave telegraphy as opposed to mere experiments with the Hertzian waves. We may consider the different varieties of aerial which have been evolved from the fundamental idea. The simple single Marconi aerial consists of a bare or insulated wire, generally about 100 or 150 feet in length, suspended from a sprit attached to a tall mast. As these masts have generally to be erected in exposed positions, considerable care has to be taken in erecting them with a large margin of strength. To the end of a sprit is attached an insulator of some kind which may be a simple ebonite rod, or sometimes a more elaborate arrangement of oil insulators, and to the lower end of this insulator is attached the aerial wire. As at the top of the aerial we have to deal with potentials capable sometimes of giving sparks several feet in length, the insulation of the upper end of the aerial is an important matter.

In the original Marconi system, the lower end of the aerial was simply attached to one spark ball connected to one terminal of the induction coil, and the other terminal and spark ball were connected to the earth. In this arrangement, the aerial acted not only as radiator, but as energy-storing capacity, and as already explained, its radiating power was on that account limited. The earth connection is an important matter. For long distance work, a good earth is essential. This earth must be made by embedding a metal plate in the soil, and many persons are under the impression that the efficiency of the earth plate depends upon its area, but this is not the fact. It depends much more upon its shape, and principally upon the amount of its 'edge.' It has been shown by Professor A. Tanakadate, of Japan, that if a metal plate of negligible resistance is embedded in an infinite medium having a resistivity r, the electrical conductance of this plate is equal to 4π/r times the electrostatic capacity of the same plate placed in a dielectric of infinite extent. Hence in designing an earth plate, we have to consider not how to give it the utmost amount of surface, but how to give it the greatest electrostatic capacity, and for this purpose it is far better to divide a given amount of metal into long strips radiating out in different directions, rather than to employ it in the form of one big square or circular plate.