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please elaborate then on the fact that the horizontal component would seem to be insignificant. If that is the case, why is the AC ground we discussed such a problem.
Even though they add little to the useful groundwave, using horizontal, unburied, a-c “ground” wires is a problem to Part 15 AM operators trying to follow ¶15.219(b), because the lengths of those wires are not excluded by ¶15.219(b) if they are oriented in the horizontal plane.
The only difference seems to be your mention of “buried radials” yet, effective counterpoise systems buried on not are said to be non-radiating, only acting as a return path capacitivly coupled to these earth currents.
Elevated counterpoises using pairs of horizontal wires behave much differently than when those wires are on, or just under the surface of the earth. The current in the elevated wires comes directly from the transmitter output terminals. A monopole driven against an elevated counterpoise needs/uses no currents collected from the earth around the monopole, in order for it to be a very efficient antenna system.