Electronics World articles Popular Electronics articles QST articles Radio & TV News articles Radio-Craft articles Radio-Electronics articles Short Wave Craft articles Wireless World articles Google Search of RF Cafe website Sitemap Electronics Equations Mathematics Equations Equations physics Manufacturers & distributors Engineer Jobs LinkedIn Crosswords Engineering Humor Kirt's Cogitations RF Engineering Quizzes Notable Quotes Calculators Education Engineering Magazine Articles Engineering software RF Cafe Archives Advertising Magazine Sponsor RF Cafe Sponsor Links Saturday Evening Post NEETS EW Radar Handbook Microwave Museum About RF Cafe Aegis Power Systems Alliance Test Equipment Centric RF Empower RF ISOTEC Reactel RF Connector Technology San Francisco Circuits Anritsu Amplifier Solutions Anatech Electronics Axiom Test Equipment Berkeley Nucleonics Conduct RF Copper Mountain Technologies everything RF Exodus Advanced Communications Innovative Power Products KR Filters LadyBug Technologies Lotus Systems PCB Directory Rigol Temwell RF Components TotalTemp Technologies Werbel Microwave Windfreak Technologies Wireless Telecom Group Withwave Sponsorship Rates RF Cafe Software Resources Vintage Magazines RF Cafe Software RF Cafe Sponsor Links WhoIs entry for RF Cafe.com Thank you for visiting RF Cafe!
Innovative Power Products Passive RF Products - RF Cafe

withwave microwave devices - RF Cafe

Innovative Power Products Passive RF Products - RF Cafe

Please Support RF Cafe by purchasing my  ridiculously low−priced products, all of which I created.

RF Cascade Workbook for Excel

RF & Electronics Symbols for Visio

RF & Electronics Symbols for Office

RF & Electronics Stencils for Visio

RF Workbench  (shareware)

T-Shirts, Mugs, Cups, Ball Caps, Mouse Pads

These Are Available for Free

Espresso Engineering Workbook™

Smith Chart™ for Excel

Exodus Advanced Communications Best in Class RF Amplifier SSPAs

Bell Telephone Labs' Sugar-Scoop Antenna
November 1960 Electronics World

November 1960 Electronics World

November 1960 Electronics World Cover - RF Cafe  Table of Contents 

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Electronics World, published May 1959 - December 1971. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

Being the birthday of Dr. Robert W. Wilson, there is no better occasion to post this article about the "sugar-scoop" antenna used by the two Bell Telephone Labs engineers (the other being Dr. Arno A. Penzias) who serendipitously discovered the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) believed to be a signature of "The Big Bang." The pair were investigating an unexplained hiss in the background of the very low noise receiver attached to the antenna. That microwave energy was constant and came from all areas of the sky, regardless of where the antenna was pointed. They eventually deduced that the signature was consistent with the theoretical energy level of the primordial "soup" that was our universe a short time after expansion began. Although this piece was published in 1960, it was not until 1964 that the discovery was made.

Articles here on RF Cafe which mention the Dr. Robert W. Wilson and Dr. Arno A. Penzias are The Maser & Sugar Scoop Antenna: Receiver for Signals from Space, Bell Telephone Laboratories Project Echo, The Amazing Maser: The Jewel That Conquers Space, Cosmic Radio Signals from Sun and Stars, and Sugar-Scoop Antenna.

Sugar-Scoop Antenna

Bell Telephone Labs' Sugar-Scoop Antenna, November 1960 Electronics World - RF CafeHigh on a hill in the New Jersey Highlands near the birthplace of radio astronomy is the unusual-looking antenna that appears on our cover this month. This antenna, shaped like a giant sugar scoop, is Bell Telephone Laboratories' low-noise horn-reflector antenna. Already having been used to receive ultra-weak voice signals from California, after these signals have been bounced off the moon, the antenna is playing a star's role in NASA's project "Echo." In this project, a 100-foot aluminized balloon, launched by rocket, served as a reflector for coast-to-coast radio signals.

According to Frederick R. Kappel, President of American Telephone and Telegraph Co., the type of research that is being done by telephone scientists today in space communications is aimed at creating thousands of high-quality voice channels and, ultimately, television channels, that would interconnect all parts of the globe by way of satellites.

The unusual shape of the antenna is required not only to obtain very high gain (about 43 db) and a narrow beam width (1 1/4°) but also to eliminate any side or rear lobes from the antenna's directional pattern. Even with large and highly directive parabolic-reflector antennas, some undesired lobes are directed toward the ground and the sky. These produce some noise in a system that cannot be tolerated because of the extremely weak signals.

The entire structure, made largely from aluminum, is about 50 feet long and about 35 feet high. The horn opening measures around 20 by 20 feet. The entire assembly can be rotated through 360 degrees on its circular track, and the large upright wheel allows it to be oriented at any vertical angle.

The output signals from the horn are applied through a rotary joint and some r.f. plumbing to the ruby maser amplifier located in the small cab at the end of the antenna. The maser maintains the high sensitivity and extremely low noise characteristics that are so essential in working with very weak signals.

The maser employed is a two-channel device operating at a signal frequency of 2400 mc. The two channels are useful in picking up signals having either clockwise or counterclockwise circular polarization. The heart of the maser, a slab of ruby crystal, is kept at a temperature just a few degrees above absolute zero (-460°F), by being submerged in a container of liquid helium. This, in turn, is submerged in liquid nitrogen to prevent heat losses. The two tanks of helium and nitrogen are located underneath the cabin that houses the maser. Together with the horn-reflector antenna and an FM demodulation system, the maser makes the system the most sensitive voice radio receiver yet built. (Cover photo by Bell Telephone Labs.)



Posted January 10, 2018

Rigol DHO1000 Oscilloscope - RF Cafe

About RF Cafe

Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

Copyright: 1996 - 2024


    Kirt Blattenberger,


RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

Copyright  1996 - 2026

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.

My Hobby Website:


Windfreak Technologies Frequency Synthesizers - RF Cafe

Copper Mountain Technologies (VNA) - RF Cafe