Which antenna is better?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by N1QWI, Sep 15, 2021.

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  1. N1QWI

    N1QWI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi folks,

    Can someone tell me what the difference is in gain on an 80 m dipole versus an 80 m loop antenna? Given that the loop antenna will tune better and higher bands as well, is it worth the compromise of not having to use multiple dipole antennas to operate other higher frequencies?
  2. NG1H

    NG1H XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is a VERY open question because there are so many variables involved. "Gain" really isn't an issue when comparing most 80m antenna options unless you are talking about a Yagi. Both designs have wildly different strengths and weaknesses and you really should be throwing the various vertical designs in the mix to get even more confusing.

    Best to start the discussion with a list of your goals and capabilities. Right now you are asking the equivalent of which has better fuel economy, a motorcycle or a 1 ton light truck? Yeah, the motorcycle may have better fuel economy but would be a horrible choice for carrying 5 adults while towing a 5 ton trailer.
    AK5B, K0UO and K2XT like this.
  3. N1QWI

    N1QWI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I hear you… Right now, my goal is just to get a good signal out there as far as possible during a bad sunspot cycle
  4. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    A large horizontal loop doesn't magically pull in all directions on the high bands. Rather, it has gain in some directions and nulls in others. Great if the directions with gain lines up with the DX you wish to work. Bad if a null lines up with the DX.
    DM2TT likes this.
  5. KF4ZGZ

    KF4ZGZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dipoles and loops aren't typically known as gain antennas.
    You don't HAVE to use multiple dipoles to have more than one band with one antenna.
    Use a tuner.
    It's basically a Ford vs. Chevy question as long as both antennas will do what you want.
    The real answer to your question is ..... it depends.
    If I had what I needed, I would have a 160m loop.
    I don't have the room, or enough supports ( natural and otherwise ) to do that so I use a 170ft. Inv. vee doublet.
    No it's not 160m dipole. But being feed with ladderline through a tuner it will do all bands.
    This particular antenna is installed diagonally across the property to fit, so I live with how the band patterns fall.
    The simple truth is, every antenna will a compromise in some way.
    A loop will work better all around generally speaking that a dipole, but on the high bands the lobes can get sorta "spiky". Kinda like a sea urchin.
    On the other hand, a dipole can get long and loopy lobes.
  6. K2XT

    K2XT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    And keep in mind, an 80 meter horizontal antenna isn't going to have much of a pattern if it isn't quite high.
    The difference between a loop and dipole is insignificant.
    AK5B and K0UO like this.
  7. N4UFO

    N4UFO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Instead of either, look at an EFHW fed about a foot & a half off the ground... the vertical component of the wire going up will help with low band DXing. Vertical component also non directional. I have a 160m EFHW that is good on 160, 80, 60 and 40m and love it. (See my QRZ profile for pics/info.) I used to think like many that end feds were for the birds... once I understood that it's the same as a dipole, just fed at the end instead of the middle, it made a whole lot more sense.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Horizontally polarized antennas all have some "gain" by ground reflection reinforcement, but the elevation angle of that gain is very height dependent; and of course passive devices like antennas can only have "gain" somewhere by having equivalent "loss" somewhere else.:)

    The statement above is very true. If covering the largest possible area with your signal is the goal, most experienced ops would rather have a mismatched (terrible SWR) horizontal antenna 120 feet above ground than a truly perfect one at 20 feet above ground, because we know from experience which will work better.

    The advantage of a "closed loop" that's a bit longer than one wavelength in perimeter on the lowest intended operating frequency is it will be low impedance and easy to match and use on all harmonics, odd and even. An 80m loop loads up easily on 40m, 20m, 15m, 10m and allows efficient power transfer, often without even using a tuner. An 80m 1/2-wave dipole won't do that.

    But for either, if some "DX" is the goal, height is might.
    DM2TT and KK4OBI like this.
  9. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    But these days, the Delta variant is something to be feared.:p

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