AA8IA Amateur Radio

160 meter antenna for limited space

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When I first got back into the hobby I had no ambition of operating 160m. I had never had a proper antenna for 160m in the past. My experiences revealed that it was very difficult to hear stations on 160m.

Times have changed. I’m interested in a challenge. I’m interested in Contesting. I’m interested in DXing. Furthermore, after doing some reading I realized that there are times when 160m is better (nighttime, winter, solar cycle minimum). It very well could have been that the combination of a lack of proper antenna plus exploring 160m during the summer and/or at the height of the solar cycle caused me to come to the wrong conclusion about 160.

Now that I’ve pretty much decided upon a plan this fall to get my 100+ ft doublet (technically not since its terminated with a balun and 8 ft of RG-213 after the ladderline) up in the air permanently, it’s time to move on to thinking about possibilities for 160m.

I’m ruling out a dipole for 160m for multiple reasons. I lack the space for anything even approaching an efficient 160m dipole. A dipole isn’t the best antenna for DXing 160m, especially if you are unable to get it up in the air above 65 feet. An inverted-L seems to be an extremely popular antenna for 160m, and from the reading I’ve seen it’s doable here. I could potentially get the vertical section of an inverted L up about 45-50 feet. And I would have enough horizontal space to run the horizontal portion of the L out the remaining distance. I’ve read about 1/2w loaded inverted Ls, but the 1/4w inverted L is simple and effective. I’d probably go with what is best documented, and that would be a 1/4w with a good radial system. This antenna would be a wintertime-only antenna. After the mowing season is over I’d throw out as many long radials as I could out from the end of the back yard up into the side yards. I have no experience creating matching systems or anything like that. I don’t have an antenna analyzer, and an analyzer certainly would be a useful tool to have.

160m is a challenge for DXing. But I could potentially create a 160/80m combination inverted L if i were ambitious enough and try my hand at some DX on 80m as well.

I must have bookmarked 30 different websites documenting various inverted-L antennas today. I’ve still got plenty of reading to do. Noise on 160m receive is also often an issue. I venture to say a beverage would not be doable here. I could run a beverage many hundred feet downhill into neighboring land that doesn’t belong to me and nobody would ever know. But I question how useful it would be if it’s laid out in the woods and would be continously decreasing in elevation at the bottom of the gulley. Seems like way too much work. If I can get a 160m inverted-L up for transmit, then I’d probably just use that antenna for receive and see if I enjoy 160m enough to try and improve the receive side of things over the course of the next year.

Yep, I think I’ll put some effort into getting an inverted-L up. Seems like a useful antenna.

Written by Mike

September 1st, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Antennas

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