Horizontal Polarization – why?
Many, if not most of the stations that you may wish to work are likely to be vertically polarized. Vertical polarization is where the elements of the antenna pointed towards the sky and towards the ground (half up and half down). The front of the antenna is the end of the boom assembly with the RF connector attached.
I told you all that to tell you this… If you can operate with horizontal polarization (that’s where the elements are pointed out to the side and the front of the antenna is the end of the boom assembly with the RF connector), you can reduce the amount of QRM (man-made electromagnetic interference) and QRN (electromagnetic interference from natural sources – Sun, cosmic noise, God yelling at you, etc.) Can you always orient your Elk horizontally and get the benefits of horizontal polarization? Well, no. You need to work stations that are also operating with horizontal polarization. Well, who does that? Many contesters – especially those running Single Side Band. However, if you can get another operator to agree to work horizontally polarized with you, then you can reduce the noise in the neighborhood by up to 20 dB. Your antenna is not going to work better, but it is a lot more practical to have a QSO (contact) when all your neighbors are not talking loudly.
Are there other kinds of polarization? Well, of course there are – but we will talk about that in another FAQ.