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
Several days of drenching rain and turbulent wind uprooted the 80 foot oak tree that served as a main support for the large 160M vertical loop.
80 Foot Tall 160M Loop Support Tree Uprooted by Hurricane Matthew
Seeing the loop in such pitiful condition made me wonder if I could continue to operate Top Band. After a few days of feeling sorry for myself, I walked back down to the site and decided that I would find a way to get that fabulous antenna back in operation.
Fortunately, there was and 80 foot tall poplar tree about 100 feet away, and it was on the same azimuth as the fallen oak tree. I invested in a new chain saw and spent the next few weekends clearing a path for the new loop.
My goal was to have the loop ready for the ARRL 160M Contest, which takes place the 1st weekend of December. Was there any way that I could pull this off?
I was finally able to clear enough of the fallen tree limbs that it was possible to rebuild the section of the raised counterpoise that had been damaged by the tree. The main body of the tree would have to stay, as the tree was too massive for me to deal with without heavy equipment.
Many Tree Limbs and Several Adjacent Trees Were Cleared Out
Next it was time to use my truck as a come-a-long to straighten the vertical support post
How’s That for a Heavy Duty Come-a-Long?
The big vertical loop was rebuilt using 14ga. aluminum fence wire, the same wire used to build the counterpoise. I like this wire because it is durable, lightweight, readily available, and considerably less expensive than copper wire.
The tall poplar tree ended up being an ideal replacement for the fallen oak tree. The new WQ4RP 160M vertical loop was finished two weeks prior to the ARRL 160M Contest.
The 160M Vertical Loop was back in action for the Stew Perry 160M Contest Dec 30th 2016, where it’s performance allowed seven new European Countries to be worked.
An EZNEC antenna file for the WQ4RP 160M Vertical Loop can be downloaded here.