[Tagging] antenna type

Warin 61sundowner at gmail.com
Sat Nov 24 11:49:53 UTC 2018

On 24/11/18 21:29, Sergio Manzi wrote:
> Hello Warin,
> I'm afraid we're opening a can of worms here, but you're right: 
> something needs to be fixed, and here below I'm trying to contribute 
> with some considerations...

Thanks... rather than 'fixed', guided might be a better term. 'Type' 
just provides for too much freedom in the responses.

> The Wiki [1 
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:man_made%3Dantenna>] gives a 
> very good definition of what an antenna is: an "/interface between 
> radio waves and electrical signals in a transmission line/".

Well it is a better attempt. But needs improvement (I can say that as I 
wrote it :) ) "/interface between radio waves *in free space *and 
electrical signals in a transmission line/".
Consider a wave guide - the field there could be described by some as a 
radio wave .. but not in free space. And of course a wave guide is a 
transmission line.

> That interface can work in either or both directions:
>   * *receiving *(/RX, radio waves to electrical signal/), like the TV
>     antenna on the roof of an house or a radio-telescope.
>   * *transmitting *(/TX, electrical signal to radio waves/), like the
>     broadcasting antenna of a commercial TV or the transmitting
>     antenna of a VOR radio direction navigation system.
>   * *receiving/transmitting* (RX/TX, /both directions/), like those on
>     the tower of a mobile telephone cell or a radar.
> Not all antennas are *communication antennas*: communication antennas 
> are for conveying information ("meaning") from one party to another 
> (/and I would add  "in a bidirectional way" or we should call it a 
> "*broadcasting antenna*", but I'm not totally sure about this latter 
> specification/). Some other kind of non-communication antenna: the 
> radio-telescope, the VOR, the radar.
Yep. Though communications can be one way e.g. a TV signal conveys 
information, sometimes useful like a weather forecast. But I am 
reluctant to put 'communication' down as a value - covers too many things.
> For the above I think an *antenna:usage=** tag could be a correct tag, 
> with values like: communication, broadcasting, radio-telescope, 
> navigation, radar, measurement, ham_radio (/there is not such a thing 
> as an "ham radio" antenna type, per se: hams make uses of a lot of 
> different antenna types/).
> As for the "type" of antennas, *there are **a lot*: monopole, dipole, 
> mast radiator, whip, Yagi, Log-periodic, random wire, loop, quad, 
> rhombic, helical, beverage, ground plane, collinear, traveling wave, 
> curtain, horn, dish, etc., etc.
Biconical, biconilog, patch  ... heaps of them. Some even describe the 
matching .. a 'Roberts Dipole' for example. A 'quad' to me just says 4 
.. 4 of what? Helicals, bow ties, dipoles .. A 'phased array' also does 
not say what the driving antennas are nor the number of them.
> Furthermore there are some inaccuracies in the above (/a "dish" 
> antenna is actually //a system//built from two components: a 
> reflector, the dish, and the true antenna located in the focus of the 
> dish reflector/) and possible complications (/you can have an array of 
> antennas, like the array of four helical antennas pictured in the wiki 
> page/). 

A 'ground plane' is also a system of at least 2 components. And the feed 
to the dish can be in several different locations...

antenna:reflector=dish/ground_plane/* ?

> I'm really unsure if it is worth to specify antenna types. Beside, I 
> think most mappers will be unable to correctly identify antenna types.
Unfortunately some mappers want to put these things down .. so provision 
for that has to be made to avoid confusion.

Someone has also included polarisation in the types value .. so that 
needs to be addressed too, 
should do.

> A radom_*e*_ *is not an antenna*, but the weatherproof enclosure that 
> protect an antenna.
Sigh. Yep. But that is what mappers see and want to put down. Don't know 
what to do with it yet. Similar to the dish problem, they see the dish 
and want to put that down without going into the feed detail or the true 
antenna. Some of the dishes are covered too so it will not be easy to 
have mappers detail more than 'dish'.

antenna:enclosure=radome/* ?
Some microwave repeater antennas get covers - usually for snow conditions.
> In the wiki there is a lot of talking (/and some proposed tags/) about 
> "transponders", but the term is used in an absolutely inaccurate and 
> wrong meaning: a transponder is "/is a device that, upon receiving a 
> signal, emits /_/a different signal in response/_" [2 
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transponder>]. What in the wiki is 
> called a transponder can probably be more accurately described as a 
> "repeater" [3 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeater>]. Unhappily 
> man_made=communications_transponder is already in use for absolutely 
> wrong features, as in [4 
> <https://www.openstreetmap.org/node/2199511457#map=19/44.98542/9.01678>] 
> where it it is used to tag a cell tower.

Yep. Non experts tagging things as well as they know how.
> Enough, for now, but of course I'm open to the discussion and I'm 
> ready to contribute for what I can (/I'm not an expert in the field 
> but/ /I am a former radio amateur and a former telephone company's CTO/).
> Cheers!
> Sergio
> [1] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:man_made%3Dantenna
> [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transponder
> [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeater
> [4] https://www.openstreetmap.org/node/2199511457#map=19/44.98542/9.01678
> On 2018-11-24 02:47, Warin wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I was looking at the wiki for antennas
>> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:man_made%3Dantenna
>> I made some additions to the definition and added some photos etc.
>> It is still rather sparse. I'd like to be able to further define what 
>> the antenna is.
>> Unfortunately on the German wiki there is the use of antenna:type .. 
>> with a confusing set of values.
>> (eg communication, special, parabolic_satellit, 
>> parabolic_satellit_uplink, radar)
>> These appear to be the use of the antenna.
>> Perhaps this could be antenna:use=radio/TV/radar/wifi/cell_phone
>> I don't think 'communication' is a good tag - any antenna performs 
>> the function of communication.
>> Similar for satellite (note last 'e' for British English), that might 
>> be all you can tell from the configuration and direction of the 
>> antenna but does not define its use.
>> Then the 'type' of antenna .. better described as antenna:configuration ?
>> Values could be monopole, dipole, yagi, dish ... yes dish will have 
>> sub tags for the feed system etc.
>> Broad thoughts?
>> Not after detail at this stage but antenna:type to others such as;
>> antenna:use?
>> antenna:configuration?
>> antenna:mode=tx/rx/2way for the direction of communication?
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