Art Bell's (WB6OBB) really big loop antenna

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KC0BUS, Mar 23, 2009.

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  1. KC0BUS

    KC0BUS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was looking at Art Bell's (W6OBB) Really Big Loop antenna on this link and got to wondering what the performance must be like and what the advantages and disadvantages must be for such a loop antenna. Anyone's thoughts?
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2009
  2. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    #1. It's a great conversation starter.
  3. WA9CWX

    WA9CWX Ham Member QRZ Page

    He said, as I recall, that he could work Europe during the DAY on 75 phone...
    He also mentioned many times on the air that there was an unusual high voltage (static charge) on that thing, and he had to take special precautions to reduce the effect on his gear.
    However, there is a VERY local ( right next door I think) High power AM station on the air all day, THAT might have something to do with induced current on the antenna.....
    I THINK it was two loops of about a half mile of wire, one about 40' up the other a little higher, but I am not sure, been a while since I have heard him, either on the air(BCB), or on 75 meters.
  4. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Now that really is one big loop.
  5. K0WVM

    K0WVM Ham Member QRZ Page

    He used to be on 3840? Wheres he at now?
  6. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    All it takes is MONEY, and wheelbarrows and wheelbarrows full of it!
  7. WB1HJS

    WB1HJS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Cool!! In a year or so, when I'm using wheelbarrows full of money to buy a loaf of bread, I'll put one up at WB1HJS!
  8. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Considering the source, the antenna is obviously optimized for communicating with space aliens. It also serves as sort of a tin foil hat for his ranch, in case HAARP attempts to communicate with his horses, and thereby take over the planet.

  9. W2IBC

    W2IBC Ham Member QRZ Page

    lol. that made me laugh.

    looks like art is still in good ol Pahrump,Nevada
  10. VA6AW

    VA6AW Ham Member QRZ Page


    VA6AW SKCC #4980
  11. N9DSJ

    N9DSJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Disadvantages: might be hard to keep in the air during bad weather (also alien non-terrestrial interference!).

    Advantages: decent feedpoint impedance on even harmonics and entire antenna is at DC ground.

    Frankly, I am not sure it is so much better than my 570 ft loop at 75 feet on average, unless it is a lot higher. And no, I cannot work into Europe "during the day" on 80 meters unless one considers 2 hours from sunset "day".
    I suspect a well constructed dipole at the same height would work equally well, aside from the previously mentioned "advantages". On higher bands than the fundamental frequency many lobes develop (like a doublet) - they might help or hinder depending on where one it trying to make contact.

    Loops are not magic...


    Bill N9DSJ
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2009
  12. KA5S

    KA5S Subscriber QRZ Page

    Any still pictures of it somewhere? Dialup, ya know.

  13. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, Area 51 is about 80 miles from Art's house, on a bearing of about 015 degrees true.

    When I was in Boy Scouts, we were hiking and camping all over the Pahrump area. This was when it was called "Pahrump Springs", and there were three artesian wells nearby, running all the time, with the best water you can imagine!
  14. N7BUI

    N7BUI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Does anybody know how the loops are connected to each other? Is the bottom one a reflector to make it more of a cloud burner? Or maybe the loops are nothing but one continuous piece of wire that follows the same path at two levels and eventually terminates into the feed line?
  15. W8HDU

    W8HDU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The impression I had was that it was basically 2-turns with the feedpoint having a tuner of some sort.

    I, too, would be interested to know this as I'll be moving after retirement to an area where I could do something like this.

    I asked Art a long time ago during an exchange about an "eastern receiver" for his web radio 3840 system on S-meter, but he never replied.
  16. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I haven't worked Art in quite a few years. That is a very impressive looking antenna but it does look like more than a single loop. Interesting.

    As for the multiple lobes Bill I don't think Art uses that loop for any high band stuff. If you look at his QTH it looks like he has an impressive array of antennas.
  17. W6PU

    W6PU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I haven't had the pleasure of meeting or QSOing Art, and never heard of him. That in itself means nothing, as unless he was a DXer or Dx contest operator, who I competed with on a daily basis, I wouldn't have. heard of him unless we had perhaps had a QSO or two!

    I have met Don Wallace the late W6AM, when my QTH was in CA. Don of course had bought out a large commercial Short Wave "wireless" antenna Rhombic farm when this station had relocated.

    Don was using some Very long( as in one mile per leg) Very high,(as in 100Feet) Three wire beautifully tuned Rhombics on 75 and 80 Mtrs;( as well as the other bands) but aside from the usual couple of hours before Sunset or Sunrise, Don did not QSO Europe at mid day on 80 or 75, and never claimed to have!

    RCA communications and MaCay radio sure didn't either, as I was good friends with some of the folks at both of these commercial Com. Stns.

    My good friend Dale Hoppe K6UA ( also holding the call of W6VSS) had a full size 80Mtr rotary Quad mounted on his 130 Ft. Telrex Big Bertha, and he did not work 80 Mtr. Europeans at mid day!

    Here in NM, there is an old timer W5 whose call slips my memory at the moment, but like Don, he also has a Rhombic farm in NW NM, and his DX signal both long path and short path are legendary into Europe, and have been for years and years! He has never worked 80 Eu. at mid day.

    Now 40 Mtrs, being much closer to that 10Mhz D Layer boundary line,is another ball game, and can some times shock the hell out you even if your only using a dipole or a vertical for your 40 Mtr. antenna!

    Just listen to how early you can sometimes hear the more powerful 40Mtr Forign BC Stns. start to come through!

    The thing is, that the Daytime D layer is so intense that it absorbs both incoming and out going low angle, low frequency, signals in much the same way as a heavy fog absorbs even the most powerful search light beam!

    This daytime attenuation diminishes as the HF frequency increases, with the 10Mhz area being considered as a sort of rough boundary line. At 14Mhz of course, the incoming and outgoing RF plows right on through the D layer!

    In the late 1950s through the 60s, operating on 40 Mtrs. from Long Island NY, using my 3 element Yagi, it was not a big deal to work the more power full European stations in England, Germany, France, Spain, for example, around the clock. Of course this was over a 3500 mile salt water path!

    Perhaps someone misquoted or misunderstood Mr. Bell, and he never said that he worked 80 Mtr daytime DX at all! I'll bet that this is the case!:p

    I have designed and used large loop antennas for over thirty years, both the simple variety, and the highley tuned types called Quads or my own design of the phased Quad..... CQ Mag. Dec. 1983...The W6PU Double Driven Quad.

    My current 10 element 40 Mtr. European array uses four loops in a vertical plane, side fed, and each one consisting of Approx. 130 feet of wire,( four element quad) the loops are combined with six 63 foot half wave verticals out in front( directors), this type of array is sometimes called a Quagi.

    It does take up some room, as the nylon rope boom between the two support mast is 285 feet long, but that's nothing compared to a big Rhombic, yet it develops more low angle forward gain ( 16dB to17dB over my half wave vertical test dipole) ) at 7.0 Mhz, than do most commercial Rhombic arrays

    I've used both horizontally polarized and vertically polarized large loops, the horizontal types being full wave length resonant down to 1.8Mhz. The simple horizontal loops are interesting, but there performance idoes not compare with the multi element Quad, Quagi, or multi wave length resonant rhombics, or "diamond loop".

    I would enjoy speaking with Mr. Bell, and hearing about his loop antennas and their performance, directly from the gentleman himself!

    One exception to this rule was the USSR Duga-3 (aka Woodpecker) of course they were using multi megawatt transmitters, and the set up near Prypiat required the out put of one of the large Chernobyl nuclear reactors to power them! The antenna array was a huge curtain with reflector and looked like something out of a science fiction movie!

    Bob W6PU
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  18. KD4AEN

    KD4AEN Ham Member

    I worked Art on Echolink! He's in my faves folder! Very nice guy.
  19. W6PU

    W6PU Ham Member QRZ Page

    You know, I've never tried Echolink Dan, i'll have to look into that one of these days!

    Bob W6PU
  20. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I only used a Rhombic once and it was definetly the bomb. In 1978 I was in Kaduna Nigeria. We had a 525 foot terminated Rhombic aimed at North America and we operated on 40 meters using our Harris equipment.
    Had a lot of pileups.

    I also operated as HZ1JB in Saudi Arabia in 79 and 80 but the antenna was far less impressive. Had a 250 foot sloper off of the microwave support tower but still managed some impressive DX on the lower bands.

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