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Is Anyone Using or Has Anyone Tried the "Loop Skywire" Antenna?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N2NH, Jul 9, 2018.

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  1. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I currently have a 40m loop fed with ladder line all of the way to the shack (probably closer to 45 to 50m in resonance). The loop is 5 floors up. It gets out for DX, but not as well as a resonant flat-topped dipole positioned well, and at same height. I'm going to say about 3 to 5db difference on 5,000+ mile DX. I'm coming to that conclusion based on listening to my own TX signal from here in Korea, using websdr.org's station based out of California.

    On anything below 3,000 miles, it's pretty outstanding on 40m. It's best for contacts 1,000 miles and under -- omni-directional TX and RX, and a bit more quiet receive compared to a dipole -- varies between same to 1S noise difference, but it really depends on the noise, and where the dipole is favoring (I am in the city).

    If you want omnidirectional coverage of North America, the resonant 40m loop is great on 40m. Same said for an 80m loop on 80m. An 80m loop is said to work great on 40m, with some gain lobes and weaker null areas. If you get into higher bands, you start finding lobes and nulls will affect where you can work. Different heights and frequency will affect where the non-resonant band lobes are, and at what angle. Loops aren't something you easily rotate or move, obviously. With a dipole, you may be able to move it around more easily to work those other areas when you want to (just move the legs).

    After several experiments, I find the large sky loop is great on its resonant frequency, but hit-and-miss compared to a dipole on higher frequencies. They are very convenient in terms of just having something that you can always tune to most any band you want, if you have low-loss ladder line. Having 1 antenna that works decent enough across multiple bands is very nice to have. Having a loop, plus a smaller rotatable dipole for the high bands is even better.

    I've learned that resonant monoband dipole's at good height work best. A double-extended zepp with ladder line feed is also great, and is more easily adjusted for lobes/nulls than a loop. The loops advantage is it's farily quiet (as a horizontal), omni on its resonant frequency, and a really great rag chew antenna at sub-1,000 mile distances.

    A look at mine:



    If you have a few trees around, and want to put up a nice antenna that will generally perform very well -- by all means, put up a sky loop! They're fun.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
    W5KUL and N2NH like this.
  2. KA5GEX

    KA5GEX Ham Member QRZ Page

    My primary antenna is a horizontal loop that is 350 feet long and up 60 feet. It is constructed of #14 THHN (stranded, Home Depot) and fed with 75 feet of home brew ladder line also constructed of #14 THHN. Because it is what I had available at the time, I terminated the ladder line with a 4:1 balun and brought RG8X, about 15 feet, into the shack to a manual tuner.

    I intended to have an 80 meter loop but had to add extra wire to get it up through and away from the limbs in my pine trees. It was intended to be a square loop, but I had to add a tag line to it to keep one side out of the limbs. It turned out to be "asymmetrically pentagonal" with the tag line added. The fifth side is about 20 feet long.

    I was QRT for 10 years or so and got back on the air on 02/09/18 with my old Caroline Windom (10-40) at 70 feet. The loop went on the air on 03/20/18. Since I got back on the air, I've confirmed 104 countries (CW) and 50 states (CW) with my old TS-440S (100 watts).

    Typically, the loop at 60 feet is better on receive than the Windom at 70 feet. Also, the loop appears to be better in most cases on transmit than the Windom.

    With the exception of the Spratly DXpedition, I've had good luck working DX on CW on the loop. The loop is a good performer for DX on 10m through 40m. 40m is probably the break point for DX.
     
    W1TRY and N2NH like this.
  3. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The most important thing about loops is that they don't have to be square at all. QST had a design for a stealth antenna that covered all bands - It was a loop cut for 5 MHz wrapped around a tree like Christmas lights, with an autotuner at the feedpoint.
     
    N2NH likes this.
  4. K6LPM

    K6LPM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Whenever in a pinch......
    To get on the air, just get as much wire in the air, as high in the air, surrounding as much air as possible, terminate both ends at the feedpoint. Make contacts on the air...... pretty simple eh?
     
    N2NH likes this.
  5. K6LPM

    K6LPM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Oh yeah and this too.....
    "Chicks dig Loops"
     
    N3UPM, WE4E, AD5HR and 2 others like this.

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