After looking at how SE EE handled a recent antenna theory question, I think we should expand our ambit to specifically include antenna theory and application - whether or not related to "radio".

Why would we NOT want to do this given our domain expertise in the topic? In response to some of the questions and comments, I am recommending we enumerate our major areas of expertise like antenna theory and practice.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi Glenn, How can radio be separated from antenna theory and applications? Can you please clarify? :-) Also, kindly edit your question to include a link to the EE SE question. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 21:56
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    $\begingroup$ Antenna theory is already on topic — and we have lots of questions about it. Are you asking for a revision of the help page to specifically mention antenna theory? Or some other change? $\endgroup$
    – Kevin Reid AG6YO Mod
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ See my comments to Marcus here. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 22:26
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    $\begingroup$ Antenna theory is part of “the technology of radio”, which is one of the things we specifically state is on topic on this site. $\endgroup$
    – Scott Earle Mod
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 22:50
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    $\begingroup$ @MikeWaters I think it can be simply by asking about antenna physics. I have added the link as requested. $\endgroup$
    – Glenn W9IQ
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 7:46
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    $\begingroup$ @ScottEarle I agree completely, Scott. We understand that but I don't know that the "public" does. We seem to regularly struggle with people misinterpreting what "amateur radio" is all about. I am suggesting we could help that by enumerating in-scope topics - antenna theory and practice happens to be a major example. $\endgroup$
    – Glenn W9IQ
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 7:51
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    $\begingroup$ This new question is a perfect example of an on-topic antenna question, even though it has nothing do with Amateur Radio. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 22:46
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    $\begingroup$ @MikeWaters that's true, but especially so because the more-than-excellent Glenn gave is generally applicable to radio overall, including amateur radio! $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ This is a really great question, Glenn! Please share what you think of the responses so far (good or bad), and whether you think something still ought to be done or not. Your thoughts are important to us!!! $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on my somewhat related meta question. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ @MarcusMüller "the more-than-excellent Glenn" is a good description!! ;-) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


I'd agree that we'd want to be positive to all fields touched by amateur radio – for example, antenna design.

However, this site is not https://electronics.stackexchange.com, and shouldn't strive to be – that would mean it'd lose its focus on amateur radio.

So, my personal guidance has always been:

Can I view this question as tangential to amateur radio?

So, for example:

How can collision avoidance in an ad-hoc network work?

would be on-topic, because it can be applied to ham radio, whereas

How does collision control in {commercial standard} work?

would be off-topic, because it's not-applicable to ham radio, and OP would actually be better off at our sister sites.

Now, for antenna questions, it's a bit hard, since there's amateur bands all over the spectrum and any antenna architecture can hence be used in an amateur context, at least theoretically.

Regarding the specific post in question: that's not really an antenna, it's the primary coil of a transformer for wireless charging, which has no application in amateur radio, so it's IMHO off-topic.

I think Glenn's answer shows that very well: it's a well-written electrical engineering question with no relationship to amateur radio.

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    $\begingroup$ "...because it's not-applicable to ham radio" but our tour page says "the science and technology of radio" is in-scope. It doesn't say "ham radio". Which way do you see it? $\endgroup$
    – Glenn W9IQ
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 7:44
  • $\begingroup$ well, ok, I'm not going to argue that it's not radio (it actually isn't, no radiating wave here), but I interpret "the science and technology of radio" as "~ as used in systems that are not specifically non-amateur". So, high-tech mmWave radio is fine with me, that has a general applicability. Asking how to build a low-tech AM music broadcast station isn't, since the latter has only specifically non-amateur application. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 8:04
  • $\begingroup$ Asking how to build a low-power AM BCB would likely be closed for other reasons. However, why would we not accept a good question about that or similar non-amateur-radio-related projects? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ Counterquestion: Why should we accept all radio question and call this site amateur radio stack exchange? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ What do we gain by scope creep? What would electronics.stackexchange gain if they "kinda but only if it's interesting" started to accept mechanical engineering questions? Probably a bit of bad will from the mechanical engineering SE, for example. Also, I'd go and try to build a coherent community, and having a clear guideline on what topics are on-topic for a site is a great way of that. Having a "it's a case-based decision" or "we basically accept anything that has the word radio in it" as a rule makes this more like Quora, not better. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ I just realized you are referencing the WPT question. In that case, if the OP had said something like "I am trying to charge my 2 meter HT using WPT..." then it would be in scope? $\endgroup$
    – Glenn W9IQ
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I'd probably shut up then :) Because honestly, if someone asks "I want to power my ICOM-XYZ123 with this photo cable, does it work?", we'd probably treat that question as on-topic, because relevant to actual amateur radio operation, though I'd argue we could probably do without that question. I must admit that I don't think that "relevant to operation of amateur radio" is a great criterion (I'd rather focus on "…and uniquely relevant to ham radio"), but it seems it's what this site goes with. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ I think you get the gist of what I'm saying: I'm pro-focus, I'm a bit against catch all, because I think this (small) community profits from expert knowledge being spent on expert questions ("expert" being used very broadly here) on things that couldn't be discussed elsewhere just as well; that would IMHO lead to a higher visibility as community of resourceful people than being willing to answer every even-just-so-slightly adjacent question. I recon that as an EE, my criteria for "this isn't basic electronics", "this isn't school math", "this isn't applicable to the amateur use case" … $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ … are probably very much skewed. So, I'd moderate myself to go with: hey, things about actual amateur radio operation are obviously on-topic, and things about radio, that can be applied to amateur radio are probably also of interest, but should be carefully considered for maybe being better of elsewhere if they stray too far away from the main, amateur, focus. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ @MarcusMüller I sincerely appreciate your perspective. However, in the case of the WPT question, the OP indicated no application domain. Couldn't you just as well have assumed it was an amateur radio application? BTW - sitting in the Hilton Flughafen Frankfurt writing this. $\endgroup$
    – Glenn W9IQ
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ @GlennW9IQ we could do that if it was really a radio question... $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2018 at 2:17

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