20181229 160m, low(ish) frequency inspiration from up high

An amateur buddy Dale, MM0INH was documenting his 160m exploits on twitter… he made an antenna and posted his results and the modifications along the way, detailing the the changes those mods brought too… I found it really interesting as did many others judging by the comments and questions he was receiving.

He challenged himself to getting 25 confirmed QSO’s in LoTW (he is currently at 41)… so my challenge that I’ve set myself is to at least match him – I’ve a lot of catching up to do…

Below is a drawing he made of what he has ended up with and a short video which he did to show the layout.

He will admit its not pretty, but nor was it expensive – I think his energy to pursue the challenge he set himself is a credit to him… Thanks Dale for inspiring me to get off my fat arse and do something for 160m too!! 🙂


Now came the hunting for a design that I could make/fit – do I make a 1/4 wave wire, a long wire, or something else – there are literally 100’s of different ideas and designs and all of them had some fancy bell or whistle, I wanted something that was fairly basic and could be easily erected… I have lots of trees in my garden which you would think was an asset but threading wire through them is a real PITA – It’s like sewing the trees together.

I looked at a base loaded vertical, that was going to be a faff… I thought about using a tree and winding the tree, that would be even worse… so decided on a 1/4 wave which is about 41m long… on reading up about long wire’s it was also said to avoid a frequency the wire would be resonant on for use on other bands so made I it 51m long… then coupled it with a 9:1 unun I had made for a 12m bit of wire for a vertical. The thought behind a long wire was rather than 1/4 wave would the 51m work well on other bands too with the 9:1 – if not I could at least cut it down – the stringing of the wire through the trees would be the worst bit so it would be best to do it longer and cut it rather than try and make it longer after – it just wouldn’t have happened.

As usual things took me much longer than I thought… rain stopped play, life stopped progress on a weekend or two too… I had Xmas off so was hoping for some dry days and wasn’t disappointed… 27th December, after the Xmas family commitments was forecast to be sunny all day and it was, all be it a bit dam on the ground…

I measured out 51m in the shack from a roll of really thin wire I had – its too thin as will have no strength in the trees but it will do for now… what a mess on the floor… looked like brown spaghetti… still, it all came good and I managed to roll it up neatly to get it outside…

After rolling it out in the garden it became obvious that my garden wasn’t as long as I thought it was… should have known really eh ha ha ha – anyway I started the vertical part by dropping a 6m dipole I had put up to try – (for the record, it (the 6m dp) didn’t work very well) and when there was some activity I just didn’t find myself enjoying it… the feed was RG213 and the support was already there to hoist the first 90deg turn (the top of the vertical section)… this turned out not to be in the right place after getting to the other end so I had to re thread it anyway, so now the top of the vertical is about 5-6m high.

Weaving my way up the garden I got to the top and this end is about 8m above the ground (many be 10) and I still had 9-10m left to hang (I had previously marked the 41m 1/4 wave length point when I measured it out so knew what was left) – where do i go with it, I’d run out of supporting points and didn’t want to head back down the garden again… so at 90deg and then down at a 45deg angle to the ground it went – on the boundary of a field and secured to a tree stump.. anyway, you will see all this in my naff video below…

Does it work… well I think it does OK… I’m already at 31 worked, 22 confirmed on LoTW and 19 on eQSL.. it hears quite well too but being low to the ground its not so good at getting out – I haven’t heard Japan yet nor have I been heard in Japan also the trans Atlantic crossing seems elusive but that’s the challenge eh – Dale has got across to the USA but I want to beat him to Japan… fat chance 🙂

a few hours later after a tip off from up norf…

USA yay! 3000 km

as of 31st December 2018 – 32 worked, 26 conf. LoTW & 20 on eQSL

FYI the unun isn’t right as the ATU does have to do a lot of work but once I have borrowed a friends analyser I’ll have a better idea what’s going on and it may be that I make a new unun or cut the wire… however there is no counterpoise nor radials yet, that will be the next addition before the snip! There is a ground steak though 🙂

a very quick sketch of the layout

And dipping my toe in to YouTube (because Simon, 2E0HXE said I had to).. below is a really bad video of the run of the wire – apologies in advance of anyone watching it – the sky over exposed the picture and its really difficult to see anything other than silhouettes of trees… although you’ll get the gist I’m sure 🙂

Thanks to Dale for tweeting his journey on to 160m and letting me use his video and drawing!

I think from both of our videos and drawings it shows that things don’t have to be perfect nor expensive to achieve results, you just have to crack on and do something – you really won’t know if you don’t try!

25 confirmed in LoTW so the project continues….
update: 3rd January 2019 – 30 DXCC’s now confirmed in LoTW
update: 13th January 2019 – 44 DXCC’s now confirmed on LoTW
also a week or so back I added a 9m counterpoise – probably far too short but it’s what I had – moved it about to see if it affected where I got out to or received – didn’t seem to make any difference.
today (13th January) my mate 2U0HZY brought his VNA machine thingy with him and we tuned the wire as best we could to 160m – best SWR was about 3:1 – Thanks Remy 🙂 seems that 80m doesn’t tune as easily now though however tonight we will see what chopping out 16-18m of wire has done… interesting stuff eh..

Ooh, I should add…. I worked Tunisia (sked) 3V8SF on the 5th January AND the eastern coast of Russia RW0LT AND AND AND Japan on the 9th January 🙂 JE6KYA and it’s already confirmed in LoTW too 🙂

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