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Category: 160M Antennas

effective antennas for 160M

AA4XX QRP Finally Works Europe and Africa on 160M

AA4XX QRP Finally Works Europe and Africa on 160M

Up until a couple years ago, I had assumed that working Europe on 160M via QRP CW  was probably not in the cards for me.  What I didn’t realize at that time was that some groundwork was being laid that would significantly increase the odds that my goal of working EU would be realized.

For most of the past decade, I considered my 160M dipole (up 75′) to be the best performing Top Band antenna that I would possibly be able to muster.  I could work lots of stateside stations with the dipole and could usually work the nearby Caribbean island stations as well.  I had heard quite a few Europeans, but none had ever heard me.

New insights were gained when a friend invited me to attend a local meeting of the PVRC (Potomac Valley Radio Club). Many of those guys were way ahead of me in terms of operating skill and contest experience, and they kick started me into a trajectory that helped me become a much better operator.  I learned basic principles, from computer logging to rapid fire cw exposure during major contests.  That was a great confidence booster.

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Hurricane Matthew Takes Out WQ4RP 160M Loop

Hurricane Matthew Takes Out WQ4RP 160M Loop

Hurricane Matthew paid a visit to North Carolina on Sunday, Oct 9, 2017.  Drenching rain and twisting winds dropped several pickup sized loads of dead tree limbs around my property.  My wife and I also heard one or two large trees fall in the woods between our house and the WQ4RP antenna site about 1/4 mile away.

After the rain subsided Sunday afternoon, I walked my dog Jack down to the antenna site just to make sure that everything was OK.  I was surprised to see that one of the tall trees that supported the 160M vertical loop was on the ground.  Almost half of the 26 wires composing the raised counterpoise were under that mess, along with the vertical loop radiator!

 

160M Vertical Loop with Elevated Counterpoise was No Match for Hurricane Matthew

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Building a 160M Vertical Loop with Elevated Counterpoise

Building a 160M Vertical Loop with Elevated Counterpoise

Initial Planning

Several years ago, I had the good fortune to be introduced to Gene Bowman, WB4MSG, at the Winston-Salem Hamfest.  I recognized Gene’s callsign because of his top place finishes in many contests.  I was particularly interested in what kind of antenna he used on Top Band.

Gene told me that if I had a few minutes, he would be glad to have me come by his house so I could see his antenna farm.  I was fascinated to learn that Gene had placed 1st Place QRP World during the recent CQWW160M SSB Contest with his 160M loop. Gene mentioned that a full write up of his 160M antenna appeared in Jan 2010 QST  (160 Meter Inverted Delta Loop by Charles Kluttz, W4TMR,  pp.40-41).

I built my own version of Charlie’s 160M loop shortly thereafter and was quite pleased with its performance.  The vertically polarized loop showed noticeable gain over my high 160M dipole for stations beyond my local area, and after a short while I found myself no longer using the dipole.

As a result of a severe lightning storm in August 2011, all my antennas were damaged to the extent that I had to start all over from scratch.  Fast forward to Jan 2016, it was high time to get back in the game. With the help of two local QRP friends Chris N4PBQ, and Dick N4HAY, plans were hatched to resurrect the Excalibur Antenna Farm, beginning with a Top Band antenna.  It was decided to rebuild a version of the W4TMR Vertical Loop.

 

N4PBQ digging hole for 160M support post

Chris, N4PBQ digging the hole for the support post

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