An Easy to Install
for 80-6 Meters
by John Reisenauer, Jr.
A previous loop
article by Steve Ford, WB8IMY (May 2002 QST,
"One Stealthy Delta")
caught my attention, especially because I've had such favorable results
with other loops I've experimented with in the past.
an "easy to install" loop for my portable island operations.
was "long" enough for 80 meter work. I did modify Steve's design a bit to
more fit my needs (ie- longer antenna since I'd usually have the real
estate on portable outings and I wanted my tuner closer to the rig).
My portable loop is 150 feet long (50 ft per side) and includes a
4:1 balun at the feed point midway on the horizontal side. A short run of
RG-8X coax was all I needed to reach my permanently installed tuner in my
motor home (it probably would have been better using a minimum coax length
of 50 feet?).
The loop only took a few hours to make and the cost was
about $20 for wire (I used #12 solid insulated house wire left over from
another project and scrap PVC pipe for the insulators).
PVC pipe and fittings along with solid insulated wire work better in cold
temperatures according to my experience.
triangle with one pointed end up for the apex and the feed point in the
center of the bottom horizontal portion of the loop. It doesn't get much
simpler than this.
For those of us who like to know how many
wavelengths make up this 150 feet long loop (1005 divided by frequency in
28MHz (4.3 wl), 24 MHz (3.7 wl),
21 MHz (3.2 wl), 18 MHz (2.7 wl), 14 MHz (2.1 wl), 10 MHz (1.5 wl), 7 MHz
(1 wl) and 3.5 MHz (.5 wl).
On a long March, 2003
weekend outing, It took me about 2 hours to set up the antenna, mostly
because of the irregular shaped campsite I was using with respect to tree
spacing and wire always tangles up when I'm around!
I was only
able to get the loop apex up about 30 feet (higher is better) and one end
of antenna was at 12 feet off the ground and the other was about 6 feet,
with the feed point about 7 feet "sloped" away from the apex and bent in
one direction (I made the antenna fit the lot).
At a height of 40
feet or higher, the antenna would more resemble a delta loop no doubt! I
was confident this "sloping loop" would work fine even though it deviated
a bit from the original design of three sides at 40 feet long each and
didn't turn out looking exactly like a triangle.
The loop loaded
easily on all bands 10-80 meters with my new LDG Electronics RT-11 tuner
and old FT-840 transceiver. It may even have loaded on 160 meters but I
forgot to try. I don't have 6 meter capability (yet!) so will take Stev''s
word that it loads on that band as well.
My results were: 15m K4, 17m JA and K0, 20m KL7,
K2-K8, UR4 and VE3, 40M K6 and K7, 80M K6 and K7. There just wasn't a lot
of DX on, but I managed to work most every station I
I also installed my
old Hustler 5 BTV vertical to compare with the loop on receive. I knew
what the 5BTV could do and wanted to see if the two antennas differed
Since my motor home roof is metal, I put the 5BTVs feed
point at about 6 inches above the roof for a ground plane effect to avoid
installing elevated ground radials or to ground mount it creating a safety
hazard. (Close encounters with park rangers can make for short camping
It only took about 15 minutes to install the 5BTV. (Note:
both antennas were mostly pre-assembled to save time in the field). Both
the loop and 5BTV received about the same on 80-15 meters in
"side-by-side" comparisons throughout the 3 day test. Ten meters was dead
each time I checked, so I concentrated on the lower bands.
almost the same call areas on the 5BTV as with the loop. On a few
occasions, the 5BTV was one to two "s" units better on 20m while the loop
was also one to two "s" units stronger a few times on 80m.
horizontal to vertical (and vice-versa) polarization characteristics
between the other station's antennas and my antennas had much to do with
For the most part, both the loop and 5BTV were pretty much even on
receive. On a second outing a few weeks later, the bands were more
favorable allowing me to work a lot of DX on 17, 40 and 80 meters
including KL7, KH6, H44, J88, TG9, JR3, PP5 and others plus many stateside
contacts with the loop. I was particularly amazed by band conditions on 17
meters and how easy it was to break big pileups! The loop went up a lot
faster too at a more "antenna friendly" camp site!
In conclusion, I was
satisfied with the results of my efforts experimenting with both antennas.
For long-duration portable outings, or fixed station use (if you have the
room), I'd go with the loop antenna simply due to the economics ($20 for
wire vs. about $150 and up for a commercially made multi-band vertical)
and because I'm partial to homebrew wire loop antennas. I highly recommend
you read Steve's well prepared article mentioned at the beginning. It laid
the ground work for my experimenting.
His Original article link by Steve
(May 2002 QST, "One Stealthy
Delta") is below:
John ~ KL7JR