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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter

bob raynor (N4JTE) on December 10, 2009
View comments about this article!

160 Inverted L Antenna; Welcome to Winter!

Submitted by N4JTE.

Between watching unending Law and Order repeats and the XYL's Lifetime movie sagas, compounded by a dead 40 meter band here at night, I became so totally bereft of late night activities that I got the bug to get back on 160 meters again with something that would fit in my backyard. I have had, in previous QTH's, the luxury of a full size 160 dipole, those were the days.

Well, 240 plus feet at any reasonable height is beyond my backyard limitations as I am sure it is, along with many of you.

The 160 band is to me, a throwback to my AM and SWL days as a youngster when I would lay in bed at night with my crystal radio and listen to all the AM broadcast stations I could discern and check them off on my Knight's Radio Log. Those days, are to me, the genesis of my love for the magic of radio, some of those AM stations are still legendary!

Enough nostalgia.

I wanted to get back on the band with a respectable signal and try out the much discussed and prevalent 160 inverted L antenna. Previous to the inverted L, I tried a few ideas, some of which I am sure others have attempted also.

PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS:

1; 80 meter dipole, coax fed. Whew, lucky I did not burn something up, I know why it stunk but there are still some out there that figure if their good old trusty tuner loads up and somehow a length antenna seems too work on 160 they are good to go, NOT! Besides the neighbors getting tvi, your tuner and feedline were probably contributing to global warming.

2; 165 ft. 40 edz at 60 ft. ladderline fed. I really thought this antenna would work as its only 60ft. short. The fact was that my 3kw tuner told me that with anything over 100 watts, I was dreaming, as Christmas came early with all the flashing lights inside the tuner.

3; The good old G5RV with the shorted feedline and ground plane approach. I'm sure I remember a contact or two on a quiet night but pretty lame imho.

160 inv L

.0x01 graphic

There are a lot of 160 designs out there on the internet with quite a few adding coils etc to match shorten verticals, or top loading with various configurations. My feeling is that the coil losses and tricky matching problems with top loaded wire antennas make the inverted L the way to go for simplicity of construction and relative ease in matching 50ohms.

The inverted L is what it is; picture your Hamstick or any vertical and bending it 90 degrees halfway up and expecting some improvement over a nice simple straight vertical. Let's be aware of the physics involved and keep our expectations within reality.

But: That's the mystery and fun unique to the 160 band, anything that approaches a well thought out antenna, even in a restricted place will compete well. The really big guns with the phased 120 ft towers and 4000 buried radials only show up for the contests. The rest of us peons have a pretty level playing field when we are content to work a new state or keep in contact with friends around the country, with the occasional DX station popping in to say hello.

THE CONSTRUCTION:

The best I could do here was to get the old trusty 2oz weighted fishing line over my now bare 65ft. maple tree. Hobby money is tight here so I scabbed together 120 ft of insulated # 14 wire form previous endeavors and pulled back some masonry line. Taking care to keep the ends from tangling, the string was attached to the 60 ft. midpoint of the insulated wire and hoisted up to the top of an outside branch on the tree with the feed point end about 6 ft. off the ground.

FIRST ATTEMP:

Because I had nothing better on first thought and it was getting dark I ended up having to slope the remaining 60 ft. to a tie off point in the backyard which resulted in the end at about 10 ft. off ground. I hooked up two raised insulated radials at 120 ft. long each and hung them up at 6ft. high along the wood fence. Definitely not as symmetrical as I would have preferred with some zigs and zags thru the available branches etc. but ran them at 180 degrees from each other. Be advised there will be a lot of voltage on the radial ends and make a supreme effort to isolate the ends from any human contact.

RESULTS:

Not bad, first of all the amp, AL80B, was finally showing some life and providing 400 watts indicated. Reports were good from local to 1500 miles out but the S/N, noise was horrendous, so I figured it was time for some improvements.

SECOND ATTEMP:

Well, I was happy to be heard and the amp and 3kw tuner were silently applauding my work so I figured lets work on the noise situation. I figured out a way to get the horizontal portion over a nearby tree at about 45 ft. high, and try to get closer to a flat top configuration, but unfortunately it is only about 40 ft. away. End result was that the last 20 ft ended up coming down in a vertical direction to the tie off point, sorta ended up with a skewed inverted U configuration.

Voila! Ended up with a relatively flat 1.5 to 1 on 1865. I know that can be misleading, especially when using a bizarre shaped vertical, but it works. See note #5 in final comments.

FINAL COMMENTS:

1; If you are in tight restricted environment, the inverted L will get you on the air with a respectable signal and good match to 50 ohm coax.

2: Yes it will be noisy in an urban near field environment; I use my 40 meter antenna as a listening antenna when my local noise competes too much.

3; I placed a 1 to 1 current balun at the feedline junction; I did not see any significant noise reduction.

4; From talking to other Hams more advanced and experienced with the 160 inverted L, I found a few that liked the 3/8 wl configuration as it moves the current point further up the antenna and improves efficiency beyond the 28% we can expect from the inverted L. However I believe the 3/8 configuration is adding more horizontal polarization as a trade off for better efficiency which is fine if your interests are more in line for closer in contacts. I don't see any major signal loss on close in stations but the inv L definitely shows it's worth beyond 800 or so miles, (whose counting ?) as compared to a 165 ft. flattop at 60 ft.

5: If you build it, I offer the following insights from my experiment. Going the raised radial route is the only way I could consider this or any vertical design with my rocky conditions, your mileage may vary, but read up on them. If you do use raised radials make every effort to run the feed line away at a right angle if possible, mine isn't. As mentioned, a 1 to 1 current balun is a big MUST; it will reduce any stray induced current on the coax shield.

My MFJ analyzer indicated 40 ohms resistance and about 1.2 to 1 swr. Anything way above or below that number should tell you that your ground plane is inadequate or you have common mode current problems.

To achieve your best match, prune the horizontal section length.

Lastly, the hard part, try to make the vertical section as tall as possible and if you are concerned with a DC path to ground while using elevated radials, throw a choke between the coax shield and the ground rod or equivalent. Do not just hookup the coax shield directly, unless you like talking to worms.

FINAL FINAL COMMENTS:

The setup as laid out in this article is working than better than expected and has reawakened my appreciation for the challenge and fun to be found on the 160 meter band. It is noisy at times here in upstate NY with my backyard surrounded by commercial businesses and transformers for the extended care facility 100 ft away, (there, but for the grace of God go I) so I use my flattop 40 as a backup receive antenna when it gets too annoying.

Try it out, the inverted L is as cheap as it gets and will give you a horizontal and vertical sky wave easily matched to coax. Definitely more entertaining than the Lifetime Channel!

Don't forget; 160 meters separates the men from the boys, see you there!

Tnx for reading,

Bob

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N2EIK on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I just put one up. I had a dipole on 160. I now work station on 100 watts that I use to need 500.
I could only get my vertical radiator up about 40 feet but it still works well. My radials are "stapled" on top of the ground and I dont use a balun. SWR was spot on for where i wanted it. I am very very pleased with it...Its a keeper!
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N2EIK on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
PS.... My radiator is 126.5ft and radials are 133ft.
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N2EIK on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
PS.... My radiator is 126.5ft and radials are 133ft.
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K8AJX on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
My wire is 30 feet vertically, 80 feet slightly sloping to the far end, and has a 20 foot descending end. No radials, but rather a couple of eight foot ground rods. Close enough to be matched with the internal tuner on the radio. Gets out surprisingly well.
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by NI0C on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the nice article-- what a welcome respite from the endless bickering over incentive licensing.

Yes, the inverted L seems to be the antenna of choice for Top Band. Wish I had a suitable location for one, but I don't. I've had to be content with short verticals. I'm copying Mongolia on and off on 1822.45 KHz as I write this. Top band is great!

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K4YRK on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I also have an inverted L antenna for 160M that I have been using now for a year and half. Also have a full wave loop fairly low at 10 to 15 feet. The L is at 70 to 80 feet and has a good match and a fairly low angle of radition for dx and ranges beyond 500 miles while the loop has lower noise and is good for closer in contacts due to its higher angle radition.

160M also reminds me of the AM broadcast band and brings back memories of listening to AM dx stations at night on my first crystal set radio that I built when a young kid.
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K5QED on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Good article -- it would be nice to see more folks giving the band a try with this type of antennna or similar.

I have started to dabble with a 160m after making a few contacts (my first ever on 160m) in last year's SSB contest at the end of February.

I have had reasonable success using an inverted "U" wire antenna that is described on the K3MT web site at:

http://users.erols.com/k3mt/inv_u/u_160.htm

I used 14 GA stranded electrical wire as the radiating element, and like the author, was able to get it up and over a nearly 80' oak tree in my yard.

The tuning capacitor / matching transformer are housed in a $2 plastic storage box that sits at the base of another tree, and I have 2 - 100' radials connected to a ground rod at the feedpoint.

So far, I am encouraged with the performance of this set up with 100W, but could probably run more power, as the variable capacitor has a wider plate spacing than typical "receive" units.

I was hoping to bury a couple more radials before winter got here, but it the ground here in northeast Ohio is already frozen, and further improvements will have to wait until spring.

Charles
K5QED
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by WA8MEA on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I like Inverted L's. I use to run them all of the time when I was exclusively QRP.

However, as I upped the power levels to 100 watts or with 800 watt amps, RFI became a real problem when it came to end fed antennas. (Or any antenna requiring a tuner.)

So I ditched the tuner....

Strictly a dipole and yagi ham, now.

Let me suggest that if this antenna doesn't work for you, to please attempt to fit a 160 meter dipole in your yard. Believe me, it will accept the unusual twists and turns required to make it fit.

I have a 160 meter dipole in my small yard. It slops upward to a thirty foot pipe from SW to NW....then down and W to E and the a 90 degree turn from N to S.

I get a 1.9 to 1 match or less from 1875 to 1940 KHz.

73 and Merry Christmas from Bill - WA8MEA
http://HamRadioFun.com
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by WB4YDY on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great artical! On 160 meters I run a 192' long (3/8 wave) Inv. L (app. 65' vert. + 127' horiz.) It is matched (tuned) at the base of my tower with an old Unique Wire Tuner, which is a simple L network tuned against a good ground. I started with a couple of ground radials and now have 7 - ranging from 90' to 130' long.

The base of my antenna is just outside the shack wall - about 12' from my rig. I run as much as 600 watts PEP or 40 watts digital modes, and have no RFI issues.

Before putting up the L, I used a full size 160 mtr dipole up 50', center fed with ladder line and full power Ten Tec tuner. I can tell you that the L has far out performed the dipole at 50' at my QTH, especially on DX.

I also have a full size 160 horiz. loop up 30'. The loop is usually better for close in contacts, but not always, and the loop has less noise on RX.

I think the Inv. L takes a bad rap sometimes for various reasons. I can only attest to my experience. And I have used many antennas from many QTH's on 160 since before the band was "opened up". This L has been my best overall.

73,
Pete, WB4YDY
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N5TGL on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Bob,

Great article, well written, made me laugh several times! Makes me wish I had some space to do this, but my trees are too close together to really make it work, but that might not stop me from trying.

Thanks for the chuckles,
Michael
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K4ZNC on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I concur that this is the kind or article I want to see on this forum. My 160 inverted L is about ready to launch. Working to get the horizontal tip up to 40 feet. See you on the top band!

John K4ZNC
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K3YD on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
To: K5QED in NE Ohio.

Frozen ground? No problem, lay some radials on top of the ground, staple them if you can, hold them down with rocks if you can't. To preclude neighbor complaints or questions, use white insulated wire, it is not visible in the snow.

By the time the radials present a hazard for the lawn mower, 160 will be getting noisy so just roll them up till fall 2010, or bury them during "mud season".

It is amazing what an extra 8 or 10 radials can do for the efficiency of an inverted-L.
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N5TGL on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
You know, I was thinking, since this is essentially a shortened vertical antenna, wouldn't a shunt feed help get the feedpoint impedance back to ~50 ohms? Pretty simple and cheap (free if you have some romex laying around) and might be worth a shot. It also will help with static buildup (additional noise reduction) and give you some protection against lightning strikes.

Also, thinking about the L-Network match -- if you are running <600w, you can use a MFJ-909 which does essentially the same thing. You can also locate this at the transmitter for easy tweaking as you move about the band.

You can even go with the belt-and-suspenders approach and use both!

Michael
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K3AN on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
The Inverted L is deservedly one of L.B. Cebik's (W4RNL, SK) "Five Favorite Backyard Antennas." Check it out, along with many other Cebik articles, at www.cebik.com. You need to register but it's free, and the articles will entertain and enlighten you for many hours.

With a SGC autotuner at the base, the Inverted L is an efficient multiband, low-profile antenna.
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by W4VR on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I always start out with a 1/4-wave inverted-L but I don't hear the guys within a couple hundred miles too well. So, I add wire to it to make it close to 3/8-wave...then I hear everyone fine. The longer you make the horizontal portion beyond the 1/4-wave point, the more it becomes a cloud warmer on 160. I use ground radials, so a balun is not required. When I run out of room for the horizontal portion, I do as you did and run the far end downwards. I will have to admit though, that a good 1/2-wave dipole at 75 feet is hard to beat....but if you have a small lot the inverted-L does a great job.
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by W4HKL on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article by N4JTE!!! Thanks for taking the time to write for eham.

K3AN describes my setup to a "T"... 135' in an L configuration fed about a foot off the ground beside the house by a SGC autotuner... with the ground of the tuner fed into an 8' ground rod ( The "L" is 40 feet up at about a 10 degree angle into a tree limb and the rest is "over" to a distant tree.)

No radials effectively needed for 80 on up in this configuration (1/2 wave verts can be fed against ground (Marconi - style) without radials... but most importantly without losing much efficiency - according to what I've been able to find)

I'm going to add some radials in order to use this as a 1/4 wave vertical on 160 meters. I'm hoping whatever changes in impedance this may or may not produce can be dealt with by the antenna tuner. Another ground rod or two bonded together probably wouldn't hurt, either.

A nice compromise for low profile vs. effectiveness.

Steve, W4HKL

ps. Also from what I've read, there's probably going to be a lot of lobes on this thing above 40 meters - leading to some unpredictable patterns. I'm thinking that a shorter vertical for 20 on up (Hustler BTV perhaps?) would be good for this. We'll see.
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by KA4KOE on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I have a 145' long inverted L fed with an AH4 Icom tuner. I run 100W. The vertical portion is 60' fed against about 4 radials. I've worked into Russia on CW, and made a few contacts with the west coast on SSB. I feel this setup is primarily a one or two hop job.

Philip
KA4KOE
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N0AH on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Question......

If you have a vertical with radials in your yard, can you put up another antenna, like an Inv L., within in 10-15 feet and run a single radial to the existing vertical's radial field and use it?
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by KE5WDI on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great article, Bob. Enjoyed reading it a lot. I have one question also. Can you run the vertical leg up a 48' tall tower and run the horizontal over to a tree from that? Main concern is metal of tower eating up the signal or does that only happen with ladder line?

Again thanks for the article. Look forward to talking to you on the OMISS nets.

Danny
KE5WDI
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by NG0K on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article.

I built a loading coil from #9 aluminum wire and manually switch it in to my ground mounted 66ft inverted-L that I use for 80m. The best measured SWR at the feedpoint is 3.5:1 and bandwidth is around 50hz but the tuner in the shack handles it.

Radiation efficiency is at best 20w and it's the best I can do here, but it works and I had no problems working coast to coast in the recent Stew Perry and ARRL contests.

73, Doug
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by WI7B on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Bob N4JTE,

Thanks for the great story! You always seem to write entertaining and useful articles.

I am one of those without the antenna real estate to to gain 60 feet vertical of anything. I am able, however, to pump out 1-5W on 160m phone with 500W input. It does melt the ice and snow on the porch, but has garnered me one DX. I was curious how? So, I Google-Earthed the fellow's QTH in Canada and found the shadow of a ginormous tower...

=> http://wi7b.org/va5dx.htm

Hi Hi!

73 and hope to hear you on again,

---* Ken
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by KB3IBT on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent article.On 160 I once used a 70ft long wire up at 25ft with an obscene amount of ground radials. I was able to have QSO's up and down the east coast and even a Bahama station. My signal was never better than a 54, but with my tiny lot, who am I to complain? My back yard is only 30x65 feet.The house is about 35 ft high so I can slope something and maybe get more than 75ft across?
Inverted L does look good. I doubt I can pull this off in my yard. I'm seriously thinking of trying a 1/4 wave helical with ground radials......I would love to getback on 160 with a better signal.
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K0IC on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I am in the process of making a 80-foot random wire antenna up ten foot to a a 280-foot loop. I understand that is a general purpose antenna that I am going to find out how it works. I am not too much into working DX and I would like to keep in touch with hams in North America. Some old-timers used to advocate 1/3rd wave antennas on 160 meters that can be tuned with a series capacitor. I like in having an antenna that is DC-grounded as a loop is and probably more quiet for a number of reasons.
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N4JTE on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Appreciate the comments and the experiences related to the inv. L, however I am dissappointed that no one picked on my "paint" illustration, reminds me of a South Park episode gone bad.
Regards,
Bob
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by KB3IBT on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Pick on your picture? Actually. I think it's a nice piece of Ham Radio Art! Very nice Bob!
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by QRZDXR2 on December 10, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Most excellent article... very professional and engineered.

I would wonder about using the antenna on the higher freqs also though. One would have to use a tuner on the antenna but, on 40 mtrs the length might have some gain over a dipole or inverted V. One would have to get out the computer and do some number crunching. For sure some antenna is better then none.

Now when your done fiddling with 160m go on up and see what 500kc sounds like. We have been wroking the old marine band on cw as a experiment. ( I would like to see the FCC give the hams that band too... as it used to be a ship marine band from back in WWII and was proclamed not needed any more. Well that is what they say but, we sure find a lot of ships out in the big pond still using it.

When the bands are out its a great band to go play CW on and make long distance contacts. (still experimental though granted limited use by the FCC.. and it has a power restriction also)

Again, great article. Keep up the writing .. you have the gift.
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K3YD on December 11, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
What's wrong with the paint illustration? It conveyed your ideas well, & enhanced the text. Oh, it is also far better than any illustration I could create.

Keep up the good writing 73 de K3YD
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K8KAS on December 11, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great job Bob, after 30 plus years on 160 meters the good old Inverted L is my pal as well. The elevated radial or radials is a great idea. I had about 5000 feet of radials in the ground and a 65 ft vert/60 ft horz. I used to give old WA8IJI/W8JI a run for his money with the L. My amplifier was not big enuff however to do it all the time, ha ha. 73 Denny
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by KL7AJ on December 11, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Alas, I've had to commandeer my 160 Inverted L to press into service on 500KC. I suppose, despite its less-than-optimum dimensions, I will achieve some adversity gain. This is the gain you get for putting an antenna up in the middle of winter. :)

Stay tuned!

( www.500kc.com)

Eric, KL7AJ, WD2XSH/27
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by WA1RNE on December 11, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I would try to get the feedpoint higher, like 20-25 feet.

I know it's difficult to do but an elevated vertical's ground losses are significantly lower with feedpoint heights of 0.05 wavelength or higher. On 160, that's about 27', but a 3-4x increase should show noticeable results over 6', or 0.011 wavelength.


...WA1RNE
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by KP2BH on December 11, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Very nice article,Bob. I just put an inverted L together couple of afternoon ago. i start with 133 ft lenght 45 ft vertical and the rest horizontal. Iam in the tunning procces to bring it to at least 1.5 swr (know its about 2.0)in the portion of the band that i operate. thanks fer the article.
73's de KP2BH /KP2DX
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by WI7B on December 11, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Bustin' for 160 in the Hood ;-)

"You know it's hard out here for a ham (you ain't knowin)
When he tryin to get this top band for the shack (you ain't knowin)
For antennas and tuners money spent (you ain't knowin)
Because a whole lot of neighbors talkin back (you ain't knowin)
Will have a whole lot of neighbors talkin back (you ain't knowin)"

apologies to Terence Howard

73,

---* Ken
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K4FX on December 11, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Good article, I put up one about 1 year ago, it's 45 or so feet up the side of the tower with the rest horizontal. I have 8 radials varying from 80' to 60' I have confirmed 16 countries and 42 States so far all with 100w. Just a couple of nights ago I worked KH7XS for country `17 and State 43.

I hear a lot better than I get out, Need an amp with 160!!

See you on top band.

Bill K4FX
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N4LQ on December 11, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I've been using this same basic design for a month now however, I feed it with ladder line and a 1:1 current balun at the tuner. Performance is good on 160 but on 80m it's awesome! This antenna puts the main point of radiation at the top where it can do the most good. On 40 through 20 it's excellent too. This wire outperforms anything I've tried for the past 45 years. Don't let fears about feedline balance scare you away. If you have problems with RFI, try tweeking the feeder or antenna length. I ended up with a coil at the antenna which acts present the tuner with an easier macth. Experiment and enjoy!
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N0AH on December 11, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Why not just buy one of those 43 foot tall verticals? hihi-
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N4LQ on December 12, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
But two 43' verticals and make an inverted L out of'em!
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by VA6SZ on December 12, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Mine has a 70 foot vertical section and a 175 foot horizontal section with 16 - 125 foot buried radials. An air variable cap (at the feed point) brings the feed point impedence to 50 ohms right at 1.890. 2:1 band width is almost 200KHz. Works well. I also use a shunt-fed tower for a vertical transmitting antenna on 160m and a 180 foot horizontal loop at 17 meters high as a listening antenna on 160m.
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K4ZNC on December 12, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I just finished my 160 inverted L as of 12/11/09. The vertical portion is 50 ft and horizontal is 70 ft. The 55 ft vertical section is attached to an 10 foor yardarm off my tower. Biggest challenge was getting the end of the horizontal wire up at least 40 ft at the the far end. I am using radials of various lenghts and plan to add several more (counterpoise at 5 ft not practical at my QTH).

With all that accomplished, I was able to work 6 new countries last night - all European and Russian.

The inverted L is my only alternative for 160 given my property and source of wire supports. Very satisfied with this compromise antenna.

John K4ZNC
Tallahassee, FL
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by KY4TS on December 13, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Bob,
as always, a very informative and entertaining read. I'm in the process of putting up and inverted L for 80m, but i think i'm going to add some wire and make it for 160. I'm going to have a tuner at the feed point to get some multiband use out of it. I'll let you know how it goes, hopefully on the OMISS 160 net!

Keep up the good work and Merry Christmas!
Todd, KY4TS
#6547
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K0EWS on December 13, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I use basically a 175 feet long piece of end fed wire with a little L network I built. It's up as an inverted L. I also use a counterpoise around the same length, and it's elevated around 6 feet, along the top of my fence around the yard. I tune it with an MFJ artificial ground tuner. I've worked 43 states with it between last year and this year, and it really does a nice job.
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by W6PU on December 14, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Instead of a L change it to a T and see the efficiency increase and the high angle lobes diminish. Any regular
on 160 knows that my T works out big time..LOL

Anyone who has listened to 160 or 80 Mtr. CW pile ups
cringe at the guys who must sign their call at least
five or six times, long after the DX Stn. has already relied to the guy signing just once or twice.

Spend more time listening and less time signing your
call, everyone will thank you ROFL!

C-U on CW on the low end of the Top band!

73
Bob/w6pu
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K4JC on December 14, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Just for laughs I thought I'd try operating QRP in the ARRL 160 Meter Contest. I don't have an antenna up for Top Band, so I ran about 130 feet of old speaker wire (rescued from a dumpster!) up and through a couple of trees, and used the metal fence around my property as a counterpoise. I figured I might find one or two locals on and make a contact with them, but to my surprise, I eked out 10 contacts during the contest, including one from Jamaica! Seems my pipsqueak signal was actually able to be heard out to about 500 miles. It wasn't strong, as I had to repeat my call a lot, and all the stations I did contact were 59+ here. But the bottom line is I got 10 stations on 160 in the log! That has inspired me to try putting up a "real" inverted L and see what I can do with the amp. See you on 160!
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by KC5NT on December 15, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
My Inverted L has done well for me. It is approximately 170' long with 30' going up the side of my tower and the rest over my home to the opposite end at a slight downward angle. I have only 2 32' radials. During the recent 160m contest I made 55 QRP (5 watt) CW contacts ranging to Virginia in the east, Minnesota to the north and Idaho to the west - all from central Texas. It was a blast!
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by KB1CRC on December 15, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article, and motivational! I've had 1/4 and 3/8 wave versions of the antenna at my old QTH. As a bonus, the 1/4 wave version will also resonate on 17M, the other Gentlemen's Band.
73,
Mark
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by WK3N on December 16, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
N4JTE,Bob Raynor, has done a great service to those pursuing DX on the most difficult of all amateur bands. 18 years ago super DXer K3UA sent me an article from CQ Magazine , showing the W4TWW coaxial inverted L. Phil had used this same antenna to amass a high number of DX countries...His skills are unmatched..My original install was only 40 feet high with 3 radials.....I did good with that small arrangement. Later I moved,
setting up a L with a 58 ft apex and 40 radials.....now at 265 countries and 39 zones with the that L. I tune the arrangement with a AT5K in the shack.... Higher effency antennas can be constructed,, BUT this baby is cheap and easy to install for a 160 newbee. I now have phased L's and enjoy the added performance. BUT , start small and work your way up, I say. Just this week the L put JT1CO in my log. From 3 Land that's a super tuff one! 160 Meters can become a lifetime commitment to the DXer's greatest challenge.....if you can't run with the big dogs....stay on the porch....if not....welcome to 160 DX. de "Scotty" WK3N....DX NEVER SLEEPS!
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by KA4HRE on December 16, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
First, I am glad to see so many positive comments. Second, this is the true spirit of ham radio - try, share, tinker, enjoy! Third, I think your drawing ROCKS!
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K1TN on December 17, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice job: a good, basic article. Something implied but not mentioned is that the Inverted L can also be a solution for 80 Meters.

I have found a "snake" antenna to be effective for receiving on 160 and 80 in my extremely noisy urban location. My snake is a 135-foot wire laid on the ground, fed with cheap audio shielded cable. The shield of the cable is grounded to a ground rod at the feed point as well as the station. You can find a sort of classic article on snake antennas in the QST archives, written by Doug Demaw, W1FB.

I use a 66-foot end-fed wire in a tree for transmit, and, yes, it does load up and work on 160. It's so short that the snake antenna actually is a little louder on receive on 160. On 80, the snake is down several S units from the transmit antenna but still sometimes useful when the local noise is especially bad.
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by W8AAZ on December 17, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
That is maybe my greatest regret in ham radio, not being able to get a functional antenna for 160 and working that band. Many years that way. But I can still listen in.
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by W4HKL on December 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
To WI7B...

I just snorted Mt. Dew out my nose reading your 160 meter rap, lol...

:-)

W4HKL
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N0QBH on December 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Put up an inverted L this past summer with a 40' vertical mast and a 60' horizontal wire.
The radial system is a half circle (due to physical constraints) made up of 32 - 30' long evenly spaced buried wires.
A NEMA outdoor enclosure contains a MFJ991B auto tuner for feed line matching.
I've worked DX to every continent except Antarctica in the months since - on 100 watts.
Made a believer out of me.
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by KB6QXM on December 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
160 meters seperates the serious hams from the appliance operators or in the old days we used to seperate the men from the boys or the women from the girls if you want to be politically correct.

The rules are much different at 160 meters than say the rest of the HF bands.

To put a reasonable signal out on 160 requires some fairly significant engineering knowledge or technical skill. To recieve reasonably well also requires some effort.

160 is prone to a lot of noise! Lightning crashes that can be heard for thousands of miles. 160 meters follows the curvature of the earth more than the higher bands. 160 is more prone to ground wave than the higher bands.

Due to the wavelength if you live in the city on a postage size lot, do not even try to be a big gun on 160 meters, it is not going to happen. Ideally for 160 you would want a seperate transmit antenna and preferably a beverage antenna for recieve. The question is DO YOU HAVE THE LAND????!!!

I firmly believe that to put a reasonable signal on 160 meters due to all of the technical challenges, you would need the following.

1) Land for the large antennas.
2) The technical skill to hone your receive and transmit capability.
3) The love of a challenge.


160 meters is not for the faint of heart! Good luck to all of you perspective top banders!
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by WA1UFO on December 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Years ago I used an inverted L which was 134 feet long and worked great from 80 up to 10. I used the copper water main in my basement shack which was connected to the big main out at the street which seemed to provide an awesome ground. Always got great signal reports with my Hotwater 16 and my 10 meter monobander. Never had any rf problems! Only reason I didn't use it on 160 was because I had no rig for that band. I ran 3 separate ground wires of different lengths per my Elmer's advice. They are great aerials for swling as well. Try it-You'll like it! 73s de Hans
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N0QBH on December 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
In my exuberance I forgot to mention my "L" works great down on 160m too.
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by AH6FC on December 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article
AH6FC/7
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by K4BTC on December 27, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Been thinking about doing the same thing. One thing has stopped me though and maybe someone else can comment on it as well. I purchased a 160m dipole kit from DX Engineering a while back when I was wanting to refurbish the old 1/2 wave 160m dipole I had up at 80 feet. Never seemed to work too good on rcv, but thats the nature of the beast on 160! Anyway I dug it out the other day and was going to put it up over Christmas holidays. While figuring the length of my ladder line, I came upon an interesting fact that DX Engineering had supplied with the extra 1:1 balun info. Basically it's this; If you cannot raise your 160m dipole to a full 1/2 wave length in height (125') then the performance will suffer. They suggest trimming the antenna from 260 feet to 220 feet due to the lower height. It causes the antenna to have too steep of a takeoff angle, and will not give good performance. So I am going to replace the old dipole with the new trimmed version and put it back up at 80 feet and see how that works. I'll comment back on this in a week or so. Sorry if this is too much off topic.
73!
Jeff Bennett
K4BTC
 
RE: 160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by N8TI on December 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
After reading the article, I decided to give the 160 Inverted L a try. Went up about 40 feet via my tower, and then put about 80 feet in a sloper ending about 7 feet up. I measured very roughly, using my fence as a measuring tape by running the wire along the fence and counting posts.

At first I only had one radial lying on the ground. I could not get the antenna to load up with my automatic antenna tuner on 160, although it worked almost as well as my inverted V on the rest of the bands.

Then, tonight, after waiting for good antenna construction weather,(10 degrees F), I put in a choke at the feed point. The choke was made from about 25 feet of coax wound around a plastic pop bottle, and raised the original radial up to 7 feet by running it through some evergreens that line our property. I put two more radials (120 feet each), along my fences, one at 8 feet up and the other at 5 feet up. These are plastic fences. The antenna and the original radial are 14 gauge copper wire, while the two other radials are Army surplus twisted pair steel field telephone wire.

The antenna loaded right up without a problem on 160, got a match of 1:1 at the bottom of the band easily. At least on receive, the inverted L outperformed my inverted V by 1 to 2 S units on all bands! The bands seemed full of signals with both antennas, and the inverted V has always been a solid performer. Obviously, not as solid as it could be.

So, the choke and the radials made a really big difference. I have not listened to call signs yet to determine the pattern, but heard a lot of signals (CW).

Thanks for the article and the raised radials idea.

Joe
 
160 Inverted L, Welcome to Winter  
by NY1E on January 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
After reading this article it made me think, I thought I could never have a 160m antenna on this lot, recently the coax came off my 40m dipole so I drove a ground rod under one tree that was suporting it and ran the inverted L wire up through the first insulator (45' up) over to the insulator at the other end (70' away)and then down 15 ft or so. SWR was pretty bad, 3:1 at 1900, then I ran 3 radials (less than 100' ea) and the SWR was 1.6 at 1900. Now I just need to replace 40m, an easier task than 160! Thanks for the thought provoking article!
 
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