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Dr. Christman’s Research on Antennas

A vertical monopole antenna used for mobile ham radio applications. This is what is used on the roof of cars.

Dr. Christman, professor of Electrical Engineering at Grove City College, sat down and spoke with me about his research on antennas. Dr. Christman holds a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ohio University. Dr. Christman said that his interest in antennas began when his grandparents gave him an old shortwave radio that he could listen to broadcasts on. His doctoral dissertation tested a computer program that simulates antenna performance.

Dr. Christman is a ham radio operator, and has been licensed since 1974. Amateur radio operators, also called “hams,” are private citizens who have obtained a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate on certain bands of radio frequencies. Being a ham operator is a popular hobby, and Dr. Christman says that his main interest is “talking to people in foreign countries.” The one country Dr. Christman hasn’t been able to communicate with is North Korea, because of various regulations.

He showed me a recent article in the Greenville Record Argus newspaper, which highlighted the Mercer County Amateur Radio Club. According to the article, amateur radio is the hobby of the future. There are currently 66 members in the club, and it has been growing steadily. Grove City College also has an Amateur Radio Club which, according to the registrar, “exists to encourage and facilitate amateur (“ham”) radio at The College. Special instruction is offered every Fall semester so that those members who are unlicensed may study and prepare to take the Technician-Class Examination.”

Dr. Christman also works with AM broadcast antennas. He enjoys “simulating and evaluating the performance of antennas without building anything at all.” His nephew is a career officer in the Army, and on one occasion Dr. Christman was able to advise one of his nephew’s men on how to fix the antenna of the Iraqi Federal Police, so they could communicate with their vehicles in the field. Engineering students taking Electromagnetic Energy Transmission (ELEE 404) will have the opportunity to learn more about antennas.

Dr. Christman has written a number of articles related to antennas which have been published in various ham-radio magazines and in IEEE technical journals. Recently, he and a friend won 1st place in the 2017 QST Antenna Design Competition (80 – 10 meter division).

It is amazing to have such a knowledgeable and passionate professor on campus!

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