Navy

Tree antenna

Multiband antenna consists of a tree and several current probes

Communications

In 1904, General George O. Squier, chief signal officer, developed the theory that trees were nature’s own wireless towers. During World War I, his theory was tested and it was found that it was possible to receive radio signals through a tree.   Since then, experimental tree antennas have been developed for various frequencies, some outperforming conventional whip antennas.

Navy researchers have invented a novel technology that can turn a live tree into a multiple frequency, broadband antenna. A current probe, also known as a current clamp, is a device that measures the amount of current passing through a conductor. One or more current probes are attached to a tree at various positions such as the trunk and supporting branches. The tree as a whole becomes a fully functional antenna. The size of the current probe determines the specific frequency response, which suggests that one tree could support many different communication devices. The table below indicates the potential frequency bands and ranges a tree could support.

HF: High frequency range (2-30 MHz)
VHF: Very high frequency (30-300 MHz)
UHF: Ultra high frequency (300-1000 MHz)
L-Band: (1000-2000 MHz)

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