During the CQ World Wide DX Contest-CW and just before, I worked 17 new countries on the 80 meter loop antenna. With 92 countries confirmed on 80, I needed 8 new ones. I uploaded the 17 QSO’s to LOTW and ClubLog.
Update 11/26/2013: Confirmed 3 of the 17 so far, giving me a country count of 95, and still needing 5 more.
This antenna was introduced to me during a QSO on 20m SSB a few years back. At the other end the operator said for an antenna he was running a 4 foot vertical. That caught my interest since he had a really strong signal. He explained that it was a double wire loop where the vertical sides were only 4 feet tall. I wanted to know more about it. Who doesn’t want to know about a small antenna that radiates well in this day of antenna restrictions. Here’s a figure from an article about the antenna so you can see what we are describing:
The ham I was in QSO with referred me to an article describing the antenna in the ARRL Antenna Compendium Number Two by Russell Prack, N5RP. It is titled “Magnetic Radiators–Low Profile Paired Verticals for HF” on page 39.
Soon I built one for 20 meters and it was a great performer as expected. It was super quiet. Without planning it, I had accidentally constructed the antenna so it nulled out the power line noise here. There’s not much gain but the noise is so low that the antenna has a fantastic signal-to-noise ratio. Gainwise, it looks like a four square and that gives it good gain. But it is using short radiators so that lowers the efficiency and there goes the gain. It all evens out in the end and radiates quite well, however.
I can’t believe this 80m loop antenna. It is amazing. I just worked another new one on 80. Swaziland 3DA0ET. He was very strong in Denver at 8pm. I didn’t even have to wait for a grey line. He was spotted on DXSummit and that’s how I saw him. I turned the knob down to 3520 and voila, I could hear him. It took about 100 calls because the pileup is huge. I watched who he was working and he seemed to move up about 25 khz after each call. I tried getting out ahead of that and pretty soon I heard him come back to my call. Ah, sweet. Now to see if I’m in his log and if I can get a card. We’re only half way there, you know.
Update 12/10/2013: He confirmed the QSO in LOTW! Woowoo.
It turns out I DID work Z81X the first night, Nov. 17, after all. The online log I looked at had only been up to 10pm on the 17th and I worked him just before midnight. I saw other QSO’s after midnight in the log and assumed the log was more up to date than it really was. Today the log shows both of my QSO’s, the 17th and the 18th. Nice. I used Club log request a card, for $4.00.
I am discouraged to find my call is not in his online log after thinking I worked him last night. Guess I was not as deserving as I thought. To improve my chances again tonight I retuned the linear. The output was lower than I thought, meaning something wasn’t in tune. On my Bird 43 with a 2500 watt slug the output now reads 1200 watts. I could get 1500 watts easily but the grid current is high and on $1500 finals I don’t like high grid current. See you in the pileup!
Woowoo. I am among the deserving tonight as I worked Z81X on 80 meters cw using this double wire loop contraption. This gives me a glimmer of hope for the DX contest next weekend. Up until tonight I had not heard a peep from any of the dxpeditions on the air even though I could hear the pileups. BTW Z81X South Sudan is an ATNO for me. Hope I get a card or LOTW confirmation.