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The "Four-Square" was brought into the ham radio world through the desires of W1HKK (W1CF), Dana Atchley, now a silent key, around 1977.  A patent was applied for and issued in 1978.


Patent number: 4123759
Filing date: Mar 21, 1977
Issue date: Oct 31, 1978
Inventors: Marion E. Hines, Harold E. Stinehelfer, Sr., Dana W. Atchley, Jr.
Assignees: Microwave Associates, Inc

I believe that some mention should be made to Dr. Joseph White who worked for Dana at Microwave Associates (now M/A-COM) at the time who had done computer modelling of phased arrays during this same period.  I was a physics student at the time in Michigan (WA8ROJ) and followed their work, duplicating their results with my own newly developed graphics program for phased arrays.   In 1979 I published an article in Electronics Magazine, "HP-67/97 Plots Antenna Polar Pattern" based upon the then popular HP-97 programmable calculator. This was all before personal computers really took off. When Radio Shack's TRS-80 personal computer came out I published an article in the ham radio 73 Magazine entitled "Antenna Engineer" which was one of the first graphical antenna design programs for phased arrays.

Dana, W1CF, was using some verticals in a line up to then, which worked well in his swamp.  Fred, W1FRR (now W1FC) helped Dana re-arrange his verticals into the new 4-Square arrangement where the first feed system was made up of Wilkinson Power Dividers made from coax.  Coax was everywhere.  But it worked. 

In Oct. 1978 I flew to W1CF's place to operate the CQWW Phone contest and set a new record for the USA on 80M.  I was now sold.  The ability to switch directions and attenuate undesired signals IMMEDIATELY was an astounding advantage.  A couple of years later Dana(W1CF), Fred(W1FC) and Steve(K1PEK) started selling these vertical arrays under the name ColAtchCo.  They did away with the Wilkinson Power dividers and instead used a 90degree hybrid by enlarging what Mini-Circuits was selling.  The 180 degree phasing piece was still using a half-wave chunk of coax. 

When ColAtchCo decided to stop selling units, I continued the 4-Square effort under the name ComTek, changed the 180degree shift into a toroidal hybrid and put it all on a PCB.  Then around 1992 I went sailing for a year or so and sold what parts I had left to another ham who continued to use my ComTek name and original design. 

Now after many years, I have decided to ham it up again and offer an update to the original ComTek design.  I was always unhappy giving away a few dB when having to cover those directions in-between the major lobes so I've come up with an 8 Direction Box.  And, now that SDR (Software Defined Radios) are becoming popular for remote operations, we all need to switch our arrays remotely also.  So - The new 8-Direction box has the ability to be controlled via Ethernet and the Internet.  And, I've made it so it can be easily modified to be placed on other bands when you get tired of 80M or whatever.  This new box should be ready by June 2011.  If not, I'm keeping it all for me....

If you want one, you better order it right away!