Thank you very much for your help and insights. It has really helped improve my knowledge (although as you can see from my head scratching regarding the antenna i can be quite dense, I apologize for this). If I haven't frustrated you - is the below correct?
ANA - it is the pin on the RFM69HW that sends out a current which generates an electromagnetic field that gets picked up by the...
Wire - a piece of copper that is soldered onto a connector that copies the current and radiates it so that another RFM69HW with a ANA/wire combo can receive the info in the current.
The two together form an antenna (the job of ANA is to send out a current, the job of copper wire is to radiate the current).
The challenge I have is perhaps with the term "Ground plane" ---as pointed out in this wikiepedia entry:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_plane
theory, a ground plane is a conducting surface large in comparison to the wavelength, such as the Earth, which is connected to the transmitter's ground wire and serves as a reflecting surface for radio waves. In printed circuit boards
, a ground plane is a large area of copper foil on the board which is connected to the power supply ground terminal and serves as a return path for current from different components on the board.
So your comment: "the antenna is (radiantly) connected to ground" makes sense. Just having a ground plane on the PCB - and if using a monopole having the connected wire be at 90 degrees so that the ground plan can act as a mirror - serves the purpose of "ground" for the antenna. If the ANA was connected to GND, then a return path in the circuit is created - which is not what we want since the ANA is not drawing current it is pulsing the 1's and 0's which the wire picks up.
I updated the schematic to reflect this: https://github.com/BitKnitting/RFM69Bre ... tBoard.pdf