are miscellaneous hodgepodge notes about the 160 meter band, from
different posts I have made on qrz.com, eham.net, the Topband mailing
list, and direct email. Someday I will organize this and create a
decent web page about 160 meters.)
Which is the
best 160m antenna ?
From W8JI on qrz.com:
"The fact is....... an Inverted L with
20 or more radials at least 50 feet and hopefully 100 feet long will
absolutely smoke any normal height loop antenna or dipole antenna at
nearly any distance on 160 meters. The possible exception is between 20
and 200 miles.
As a matter of fact a low full wave loop has no gain, any horizontal
wire has increased earth induced loss as it is made longer when close
Do not make the radials shorter just because you have fewer radials.
They really need to be as straight and long as possible, but lengths
over 100 feet don't help much. Even 20-30 radials 60 feet long make a
fairly good ground.
Nearly all especially successful stations on 160 use a vertically
polarized antenna of some type for transmitting. That's just a fact.
I have a full size 160 dipole at 300 feet, and it is never really much
better than a 1/4 wave vertical at any distance in any direction. As a
matter of fact, the dipole is 10-20 dB weaker than the vertical off the
dipole ends. The dipole only beats the vertical broadside to the
dipole, and then only rarely!! And this is with the dipole 300 feet
The EZNEC plot below (courtesy of
E74AW) shows that you don't need a full-size 1/4 wave vertical to be
Patterns are shown for antennas 12, 16, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 meters
tall. All have 60 radials, 40 meters long.
160 is the only
band I currently operate, using CW around 1825. It's a great band, and
it's not called the "Gentleman's Band" for nothing. You will find that
a vertical with a good radial system will work well for DXing while
using a separate RX antenna such as a Beverage or a K9AY loop.
vertically polarized antenna with a good ground system will work much
better than any horizontal antenna. An Inverted L is one of the best
ways to make a good transmitting signal, so long as you have a good
For receiving, a
Beverage is simple and easy and
very good. If you do not have the room
for a beverage, then some small loops will help. Look at K9AY and Flag
If you cannot
have much height, a dipole would be as good or better than an extended
zepp or big horizontal loop. Nothing will be as good as an Inverted L
or another good vertical for transmitting."
Unless you want
to work only stations very close to you, use a 1/4 wave vertical, an
inverted L, or a T antenna with about 60 1/4 wave radials. Use a
separate antenna for receiving.
I think if you
talk to the people who operate 160, you'll find out that few (if any)
of them use a low dipole on that band. Most are using verticals or
L antennas. They require a modest radial ground system of about 35
radials 50 feet long. And many use
separate antennas for receiving; those with the room use Beverage
antennas (or phased short verticals), and those with smaller lots use
K9AY loops or similar antennas.
Look at what they use on the AM broadcast band. Without exception, they
all use verticals (with an extensive radial system). No AM radio
station uses dipoles, horizontal loops, etc.
an oversimplification, but unless the folks you want to talk to are
fairly close, you do really need a low angle of radiation on that band.
A dipole is fine on 80 meters on up, but on 160, that's usually not the
Posted by KJ4TIR
Q: I realize
talking on HF depends on a number of factors but in your experience,
how far have you been able to reach someone on 160 meters? If you were
in my posistion, the foothills of South Carolina, how far do you think
I could reach?
I've been on 160
since January 30, and I've worked 28 countries with a wire thrown over
a tree (and two elevated radials). I listen using Beverage rx antennas.
Australia and New Zealand, quite a distance from here. Others have done
far better than me.
you about something, though. ;-) If you operate 160 meters much, you
may get the Topband Disease.
Perhaps I should
now explain the symptoms of the disease. They are as follows:
symptoms persist for more than one sunspot cycle (every 11 years), then
you should strongly suspect TopBand disease.
More info at
- Desire to
on the radio at sunrise.
- Desire to
on the radio at sunset.
- Desire to
on the radio at all times in between Sunset and Sunrise.
- Desire to
struggle for months to work a single station in a new country. In
extreme cases, this might go on for more than a year. A good example is
Riki, 4X4NJ in Israel who tried for two years to finish off working all
the states in USA.
satisfied with the antenna system and constantly trying new ones.
- Only comes
down to see the family after working a new country (to gloat). During
the rare fantastic opening, will come down after each new country and
hold up fingers indicating how many new countries were worked so far.
water before going to bed with the sole purpose of waking up in the wee
hours of the morning to see if a new country can be found.
getting to work on time during the winter months.
equipment and wire to people in unworked countries, hoping that the end
result will be their QSL card on the wall.
thousand of dollars going to rare countries just so other people can
work it. This is a problem, as they don't get credit for the country
appreciate the 4th edition of Low
Band DXing by ON4UN, John Devoldere, even
if you're not interested in working DX.
W0BTU Beverage receiving antennas
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- Last Edited March 21, 2011