The days of the whip antenna may soon be gone, and not too soon for me! In my days gone by as an 11B – this is the 11B that spent more time walking than riding – the biggest pain in the neck was my comms guy packing a 77 / RT-841 with a gargantuan whip antenna that you could wrap around your body. If you wanted to raise anyone on the net it had to be deployed and when you did that you might as well hang a flag or coon tail on it. To this date, antennas remain a problem.
But, it looks like that’s about to change with BAE Systems’ introduction of a body wearable antenna. The new body wearable antenna (9BWA) will be able to transmit voice and video as well as GPS location information. It is designed to lighten the load that soldiers have to carry with the antenna elements weaved into fibres in the soldier’s uniform.
Although I revel in the announcement, I’d like to see it operate across the spectrum needed to support voice, data and video, and I’d like to see an assessment of potential health hazards to the wearer.