US 3587104 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
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U-S. An antenna such as a television antenna par.
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 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,535,049 l2/l950 'De Rosa PATENTEU JUN22 I97! SHEET 1 [IF 2 ATTORNEYS PATENTED M22 19.
SHEET 2 OF 2 L57 INVENTORS JACK c. BUDROW GLENN A. REE 2x65 ATTORNEYS FOLDABLE ANTENNA BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The field of the invention lies in the art of antennae having signal receiving elements movable between a closed or inoperative position and an open or operative position.
Recreational vehicles, such as travel trailers, mobile homes, and campers are often provided with television receivers for the enjoyment of the occupants once the vehicle has been parked. It is known to mount an antenna upon the exterior of the vehicle as a permanent installation, and such mounted antennas have been movable between raised and lowered positions wherein the antenna is lowered when the vehicle is moved, and the antennae have also been provided with means for rotating the antenna from a remote location. US. Pat. No. 2,939,335 discloses one type of antenna of this nature.
An effective television antenna usually incorporates dipole signal receiving elements in order to achieve maximum efficiency and these dipoles are subject to damage during movement of the vehicle due to their fragile construction. In order to prevent antenna damage it has heretofore been the practice to either lower the antenna and hope that the dipoles would not be damaged during vehicle movement, or a complete or partial disassembly of the antenna takes place. It is not uncommon for recreational vehicles to pass under low hanging branches which would easily damage conventional-antenna structure, and -the antenna for recreational vehicles has heretofore been a major maintenance problem.
Rotating antennas which are capable of being rotated to receive the maximum signal strength as used with recreational vehicles are usually mounted uponthe side of the vehicle and this type of installation has disadvantages in that it is susceptible to damage from trees and bushes which may engage the side of the vehicle during movement. Additionally, it is difficult to utilize remote control devices with a side mounted antenna because of the interior arrangement of the vehicle, and other mechanical considerations.
Heretofore, available antennae for recreational vehicles have had a number of shortcomings, and it is the purpose of the invention to overcome the deficiencies of recreational vehicle antennas, and yet provide an antenna capable of those features of adjustment for receiving maximum signal strength, and wherein the antenna may be folded to a protected closed position while the vehicle is being moved which substantially eliminates the possibility of damage to the fragile antenna components during'transportation.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention pertains to an antenna which is to be mounted upon the roof of a dwelling, such as a recreational vehicle, wherein a control panel for the antenna may be mounted upon the dwelling interior ceiling. The antenna is rotatable through substantially 360 in a horizontal plane, and includes dipole signal receiving elements which are foldable between an open or operative position, and a closed or inoperative position which permits the antenna dipoles to be protected as the vehicle is traveling.
In the antenna of the invention the signal receiving elements or dipoles are mounted upon an elongated supporting member for pivotal motion upon the supporting member between a folded position wherein the dipoles length is disposed along the supporting member in a direction generally parallel to the longitudinal length of the supporting member. When the antenna is to be used the dipoles are pivoted to an open position wherein they are substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal length of the supporting member. Operation of the dipoles is simultaneous and is produced through a control member which includes a rod disposed adjacent the inner ends of the dipoles pivotally mounted relative to the supporting member. The control member also includes a tension member which extends through a column for the supporting member, and the tension member is associated with a lever pivotally mounted upon the control panel within the recreational vehicle to permit pivoting of the dipoles to be accomplished from a remote location with respect to the antenna supporting member.
The supporting member is mounted upon a column which is rotatably mounted relative to a base affixed to the roof of the recreational vehicle. A gear is associated with the supporting structure for the supporting member and a pinion gear having an operating knob located within the recreational vehicle is used to produce rotation of the larger gear associated with the supporting member wherein the antenna may be rotated in a horizontal plane from within the vehicle. Stop means are associated with the larger gear to prevent the antenna from being rotated a complete 360and in this manner the antenna lead wire will not be wound about the supporting member column.
In that the dipoles to be mounted upon the antenna supporting member are folded in a like direction with respect to the supporting member, and are pivotally mounted adjacent an inner end, the dipoles are folded such that the inner ends thereof extend toward the direction in which the vehicle is moving, and the dipole outer ends extend toward the rear of the moving vehicle and in this manner air resistance imposed upon the dipoles is substantially in the same direction as the dipole length, and injury to the antenna during vehicle movement is prevented. Additionally, in that it is the inner end of the dipoles that are supported, and as the inner ends of the dipoles are the leading" ends of the dipoles with respect to the primary movement of the vehicle, the effect of the movement of air across the vehicle tends to maintain the antenna closed when the antenna supporting member is properly oriented upon the vehicle for travel. Thus, before the vehicle is moved the antenna should be rotated such that the inner ends of the folded dipoles are disposed toward the vehicle front end.
Another purpose of the invention is to provide an antenna which may be mounted upon the roof of a vehicle such that a control panel may be mounted directly below the antenna to simplify the installation, and yet permit rotation and opening and closing of the antenna to be remotely controlled from within the vehicle.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The aforementioned objects and operation of the invention will be appreciated from the following description and accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. i is a perspective view of an antenna constructed in accord with the invention illustrating the dipoles in the folded or inoperative condition, and showing the base and associated components in exploded relationship,
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a folding antenna in accord with the invention showing the dipoles in the open or operative position,
FIG. 3 is an elevational, sectional view taken through the supporting column, along section III-III of the FIG. 2,
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken through the base illustrating the rotational adjustment gear as taken along section IV-IV of FIG. 3,
FIG. 5 is a view of the underside of the control panel as appearing from the interior of the vehicle upon which the antenna is mounted,
FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the control panel taken along section VI-VI of FIG. 5,
FIG. 7 is an enlarged, detail, plan view of the dipole inner end illustrating the dipoles in the folded relationship, and
FIG. 8 is an elevational, sectional view of the supporting member and insulating brackets for the dipoles as taken along section VIII-VIII of FIG. 7.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Basically, the antenna of the invention includes an elongated supporting member 10 which is substantially horizontally disposed above the roof of the vehicle upon which it is mounted. The supporting member is supported by a column 12 rotatably mounted upon the roof mounted base 14. A control panel 16 for the antenna is located within the ceiling of the vehicle immediately below the base, and the details of the aforementioned components are later described. It is to be appreciated that while the invention finds particular use with recreational vehicles and movable dwellings, which would include boats, or the like, that it is possible that the invention could be mounted upon the roof of a house or stationary dwelling. Of course, the foldable aspect of the antenna finds particular use with recreational vehicles and the like that are transported from one place to another, often at relatively high speeds, and for this reason the roof and ceiling described will be that ofa recreational vehicle.
The support member 10 is preferably an elongated tubular member, such as of aluminum, and is mounted upon the column 12 by a T-bracket 18 located substantially equidistant between the ends of the supporting member 10. In that the novel aspects of the invention lie in the foldable dipoles mounted upon the antenna the fixed dipoles 20 located at the left of the T-member as shown in FIG. 1 are not completely shown. A number of such fixed dipoles 20, which are ofa relatively short length, may be mounted upon the portion of the supporting member in spaced relationship to the left of the Tee member in a well known manner.
In the disclosed embodiment three dipole supporting brackets 22 ofa dielectric material are mounted upon the supporting member 10 in spaced axial relationship to each other for support of the elongated foldable dipoles 24. The dipoles 24 each include an outer end 26, which in the folded condition is disposed toward the fixed dipole portion of the supporting member, and an inner end 28. The dipoles 24 are mounted on the brackets 22 in pairs wherein the inner ends of two dipoles are mounted upon each bracket, a dipole being mounted u on each side of the support member with respect to a vertical plane extending through the supporting member axis. The cross sectional configuration of the brackets 22 is best appreciated from FIG. 8, and the brackets are mounted upon the support member 10 by a rivet 30. Pivot pins 32 extend through holes in the brackets 22 and likewise extend through holes defined in the inner ends 28 of the dipoles 24, which include an enlarged sleeve 34. A nylon washer 36 is interposed between each dipole and the associated bracket for wear and ease of rotation purposes, and wire conductors 38 interconnect the pivot pins 32 of each of the brackets 22, and electrically connect the pivot pins to the fixed dipoles 20 for communication with the antenna lead wires 40, FIG. 1.
The ends of the conductors 38 are formed with eyes through which the pivot pins 32 extend, and the pin assembly includes compression springs 42 which impose a downward bias upon the pins to maintain electrical connection between the eyes of the conductors mounted upon the associated pin and the associated dipole sleeve. In this manner the pins 32 and springs 42 maintain the dipoles 24 upon the brackets 22 in a manner which permits the dipoles to be pivoted in a horizontal plane, and insures an electrical interconnection between the dipoles 24 and the lead wires 40 at all times.
An insulated plug 44 is inserted into the inner end of each of the dipoles 24 and includes a pivot 46 for pivotally affixing the plug to a link 48. The links 48 are in turn pivotally connected to the insulated blocks 50 mounted upon the control rod 52 which passes intermediate the inner ends of the dipoles. The blocks 50 are firmly affixed to the rod 52 at such a location that in the dipole folded condition the links 48 will be related to its pivots in the relationship shown in FIG. 7, wherein the distance between the pivots 46 and the rod 52 is at a maximum.
A compression spring 54 is interposed between a bracket 56 fixed to a pair of conductors 38, and an adjustable spring anchor collar 58 mounted upon the control rod 52. By adjusting the position of the collar 58 the compression of the spring 54 may be adjusted. The spring 54 biases the control rod 52 toward the right, FIG. I, which moves the antenna dipoles 24 to the folded or inoperative position. Movement of the rod 52 to the left, FIG. 1, causes the blocks 50 to "pull" the links 48 and swing the inner ends of the dipoles 24 toward the rod 52 to cause the dipoles to swing outwardly to the position shown in FIG. 2 wherein the dipoles are in the open or operative position. The means for shifting the rod 52 in the dipole opening direction will be later described.
The base member 14 is mounted upon the roof 60 of the vehicle and includes an upstanding cylindrical portion upon which a thrust bearing shoulder 62 is formed. The tubular column 12 depends from the T-bracket l8 and is telescopingly received upon the upstanding portion of the base 14 to rest upon the thrust shoulder 62, and in this manner the supporting member 10 is rotatably mounted upon the base 14.
A gear 64 is rotatably mounted within the confines of the base 14 and includes a tubular shaft 66 upwardly extending therefrom which is affixed to the Tee bracket 18 by the pin 68. For ease of assembly, the pin 68 is also used to attach the column 12 to the T-bracket.
A spacer bracket 70, ash shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, is of a cylindrical configuration having a base flange 72 and an axially extending portion 74 having shoulders 76 formed therein. The spacer bracket 70 is interposed between the underside of the vehicle roof 60 and the vehicle ceiling 78, and serves to support the control panel 16 relatively flush with the surface of the ceiling.
The control panel 16 is best shown in FIGS. 3, 5 and 6, and may be formed of plastic or metal. The control panel includes a hole defined therein through which a pinion gear shaft 80 extends. The shaft 80 has a pinion gear 82 mounted upon its upper end which meshes with the base gear 64, FIG. 4. The lower end of the shaft 80 is attached to a control knob 84 which is adjacent panel 16 and accessible from the interior of the vehicle as is apparent from FIG. 5. Thus, rotation of the knob 84 will rotate the pinion 82 and the gear 64 to rotate the antenna support member 10 in a horizontal plane for directional purposes.
It will be noted from FIG. 4 that the gear 64 includes a stop abutment 86 in the form of an enlarged tooth which prevents a full 360 rotation of the antenna to avoid wrapping the antenna lead about the column 12. The stop 86 is so related to the support member 10 that upon fully turning the knob 84 is the indicated clockwise direction, FIG. 5, until the stop engages the pinion gear the antenna will be oriented in the travel direction such that the inner ends of the dipoles 24 will extend toward the front ofthe vehicle.
The control panel 16 also includes a recess 88 in which a lever 90 is mounted having a handle portion 92, and a cam surface 94. The lever 90 is pivotally mounted upon the pivot pin 96 and the cam surface 94 is concentrically disposed with respect to the pivot pin.
The lever 90 includes a recess 98 in which the end ofa cable 100 is received, and as will be appreciated from FIGS. 1 and 3 the cable 100 extends upwardly through holes defined in the control panel and roof, through the gear shaft 66, and holes formed in the T-member to pass over a pulley I02 rotatably mounted upon the T-member bosses I04. Thereupon the cable 100 extends in a horizontal direction below the control rod 52, and is affixed to the rod 52 by the adjustable anchor block 106. The tension in the cable 100 is adjusted by the position of the block 106 upon the rod 52, and the block is positioned upon the rod such that when the lever 90 is in the full line position shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 the spring 54 will bias the rod 52 to the position shown in FIGS. 1 and 7 to fold the dipoles 24 to the closed position.
When it is desired to open the dipoles the lever 90 is rotated in the clockwise direction, FIG. 6, to the dotted line position which causes the cable 100 to wrap about the cam surface 94 tensioning the cable to move the rod 52 toward the left, FIG. 1. This tensioning of the cable and movement of the rod 52 will cause the dipoles 24 to pivot to the open position shown in FIG. 2 due to the attendant movement of the blocks 50, and
the links 48. The lever is maintained in the open" position by a sliding detent 108 movably mounted upon the control panel 16 and operated by a button llll. A hole I12 if formed in the lever handle 92 for cooperation with the detent I08 upon the lever 90 being swung to the dipole open" position.
When the operator desires to return the dipoles from the open position to the closed position the detent 108 is moved to the right, FIG. 5, to clear the detent from the lever hole 1112 and permit the lever 90 to swing to the full line position of FIG. 6 under the influence of the spring 54 imposing a tension upon the cable.
Installation of the rotatable and foldable antenna of the invention is relatively simple. A rectangular opening 114 must be cut into the vehicle ceiling 78 to accommodate the panel 116. The spacer bracket 70 is inserted between the roof 60 and the ceiling 78 through the opening, and several small holes are drilled into the roof to permit mounting screws extending through the base M to be affixed to the spacer bracket, and to permit the pinion shaft 80 to extend through the roof, as well as provide an opening for the cable 100. The screws extending through the base '14 also thread into the flange 72 of spacer bracket, and in this way the spacer bracket and the base 14 may be firmly mounted upon the roof 60. In that the panel I6 mounts directly upon the spacer bracket shoulders 76 a firm support for the panel is provided, and the configuration of the spacer bracket portion 74 permits accommodation of the control panel on the spacer bracket whereby the control panel will be oriented in a horizontal plane.
When the vehicle upon which the antenna is mounted is being moved the supporting member ID will always be oriented such that the inner ends of the dipoles 24 extend toward the direction of movement and the dipoles are folded to the closed or inoperative position. Once the vehicle is parked the antenna is placed in an operative condition merely by pivoting the lever 90 to the open" position, shown in dotted lines in FIG. 6 to tension the cable 100 and pivot the dipoles to the position of FIG. 2. The user then rotates the knob 84 to rotate the supporting member 10 in the direction which receives the strongest signal. Conversely, placing the antenna in the travel condition merely requires that the detent 108 be removed from the control lever hole I12 to permit the lever to pivot to the closed" position, and the knob 84 is turned in a clockwise direction, FIG. 5, as far as possible will properly orient the supporting member 10 relative to the primary direction of the vehicle movement. Of course, when preparing the antenna for traveling it is of no consequence as to whether the antenna support member is first oriented and the dipoles folded, or vice versa.
It will be appreciated that the antenna of the invention permits both rotation for directional purposes, and dipole folding to be completely controlled from within the vehicle, and thus it is not necessary for the user to attend to the antenna from the exterior of the vehicle, as is the case with usual antenna constructions used with recreational vehicles.
It is appreciated that various modifications to the invention may be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope thereof, and it is intended that the invention be defined only by the following claims:
1. An antenna having signal receiving elements movable between open and closed positions comprising, in combination, an elongated supporting member, a plurality of dielectric brackets mounted on said supporting member in spaced axial relationship, a pair of elongated signal receiving elements pivotally mounted on each of said brackets each having an inner end, pivot means located on said brackets and adjacent said elements inner ends, supporting said elements for pivotally positioning said elements at a closed position in general longitudinal alignment with said supporting member and at an open position transverse to the length of said supporting member, control means connected to said signal receiving elements controlling positioning of said elements, said control means including a rod substantially parallel to said supporting member disposed intermediate the inner ends of each pair of elements, linkage means connecting said elements inner ends to said rod and means connected to said rod for axially translating said rod to pivot said elements between open and closed positions.
2. In an antenna as in claim ll, spring means interposed between a fixed portion on said supporting member and said rod biasing said rod in an axial direction for pivoting said elements to one of said positions.
3. In an antenna as in claim I wherein said linkage means include pivot blocks mounted on said rod adjacent said dielectric brackets, and a link connecting an inner end of each element with the adjacent pivot block.
4. In an antenna as in claim ll wherein said pivot means comprise pins axially slidably mounted in said brackets, at least one antenna conductor mounted upon each pivot pin adjacent the associated signal receiving element, and spring means maintaining engagement of the conductors and the associated element.
5. A rotatable antenna having dipoles movable between open and closed positions comprising, in combination, a base adapted to be mounted upon a supporting surface, a vertically disposed column rotatably mounted upon said base, a substantially horizontally disposed supporting member affixed to said column for rotation therewith, a plurality of elongated dipoles each having inner and outer ends pivotally mounted upon said supporting member adjacent their inner ends whereby said dipoles may be pivoted to an open position wherein said dipoles are transversely disposed to the length of said supporting member and said outer ends are spaced substantially away from said supporting member and may be pivoted to a closed position wherein said dipoles are folded substantially adjacent to said supporting member and said outer ends are adjacent thereto, control means connected to said dipoles adjacent said inner ends thereof controlling pivotal positioning of said dipoles, said control means including actuating means extending through said column and extending below said base, and manual operating means for said actuating means located below said base whereby said dipoles may be pivoted between said open and closed positions from a location remote from said supporting member.
6. In a rotatable antenna as in claim 5 wherein said control means includes an elongated rod mounted on said supporting member for axial translatable movement thereon, linkage means connecting said rod to the inner ends of said dipoles wherein axial movement of said rod pivots said dipoles, said actuating means including a cable connected to said rod, said manual operating means including means for tensioning said cable, and pring means biasing said rod in the axial direction thereof opposite to the axial rod movement produced by tensioning said cable.
7. In a rotatable antenna as in claim 6 wherein said manual operating means comprises a lever pivotable between dipole opening and closing positions.
8. In a rotatable antenna as in claim 5, a first gear rotatably mounted below said column, said gear including a shaft fixed relative to said supporting member, a pinion gear meshing with said first gear, and pinion gear operating means disposed below said base.
9. A rotatable antenna having dipoles movable between open and closed positions for mounting upon the roof of a dwelling having an exterior roof and an interior ceiling comprising, in combination, a roof mounted base, a vertically disposed column rotatable upon said base, a substantially horizontally disposed supporting member affixed to said column for rotation therewith, a plurality of elongated dipoles each having inner and outer ends pivotally mounted on said supporting member adjacent their inner ends whereby said dipoles may be pivoted from a closed position generally parallel to said supporting member to an open position transversely disposed to said supporting member, control means connected to said dipoles adjacent said inner ends for pivoting said dipoles between said closed and open positions, said control means including an actuating member extending through said column and said base and a control panel disposed below said base adjacent adjacent the ceiling, manually operated means mounted on said panel connected to said actuating member for operating said actuating member and opening and closing said dipoles, rotating means for rotating said supporting member mounted upon said base, and operating means for said rotating means mounted in said control panel whereby opening and closing of said dipoles and rotation of said supporting member can be accomplished from within the dwelling upon which the antenna is mounted.
10. A rotatable antenna as in claim 9 wherein a spacer bracket is mounted to said base and located intermediate the roof and ceiling, said control panel being affixed to said spacer bracket.
11. in a rotatable antenna as in claim 8 wherein said actuating member comprises a cable and said manually operated means connected to said actuating member comprises a lever.
12. A rotatable antenna having dipoles movable between open and closed positions comprising, in combination, a base adapted to be mounted upon a supporting surface, a vertically disposed column rotatably mounted upon said base, a substantially horizontally disposed supporting member affixed to said column for rotation therewith, a plurality of elongated dipoles each having inner and outer ends pivotally mounted upon said supporting member adjacent their inner ends whereby said dipoles may be pivoted to an open position wherein said dipoles are transversely disposed to the length of said supporting member and said outer ends are spaced substantially away from said supporting member and may be pivoted to a closed position wherein said dipoles are folded substantially adjacent to said supporting member and said outer ends are adjacent thereto, control means connected to said dipoles adjacent said inner ends thereof controlling pivotal positioning of said dipoles, said control means including actuating means extending adjacent said base, and manual operating means for said actuating means located adjacent said base whereby said dipoles may be pivoted between said open and closed positions from a location remote from said supporting member.