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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day

Jerry Boyd (N7WR) on January 24, 2013
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Until Monday, 12/17/12,when a 102 MPH windstorm hit my QTH I had four HF antennas at my QTH in Eastern Oregon. A Force 12 C-31XR for 10-20 meters sat at just under 100 feet atop a Rohn 45 guyed tower. It was perched on a 2.5 inch OD, 1/4 inch thick wall, moly steel mast and turned by a Tailtwister.

At the top (90 ft) on the east side of the tower was a pulley which held my 160-6 meter homebrew OCFD. Out in the pasture was a square shaped full wavelength 80 meter horizontal loop supported by wooden masts at each corner.

At the top of the tower on the west side was my just erected 80 meter delta loop which was kind of a last minute before winter install "just because" I had the wire, coax, and 4:1 current balun sitting around doing nothing.

Except for the delta loop all of the antennas had been up in our brutal weather for years. The tower and tribander had been up for almost 10 years and had weathered previous high winds, ice storms, ice loading, etc.

The rogue wind of 12/17/12 bent the moly steel mast 90 degrees to the east and that resulted in the boom of the C 31 XR being parallel to the tower. The top section of tower above the top guy point is bent slightly. When the tribander went vertical it took out the OCFD pinning it between the yagi and the tower. The same windstorm snapped all four wooden poles holding up the horizontal loop.

Since winter is upon us with a fury there is no way to repair any of the mess until Spring. That has left me with the last minute idea 80 meter delta loop as my only antenna. AND IT IS WORKING DX JUST FINE.

The delta loop is 264.5 feet in total length. Each of the three sides is a shade over 88 feet long. It is fed at the top (90 feet) with RG 213 (200 foot run to the shack) through a 4:1 current balun. The bottom of the triangle is pulled out to the west from vertical so that the bottom is up about 45 feet.

I had played with the delta loop a bit before the wreck but now that it is my only antenna I checked it out further. Here are the results

160 meters It will load using my manual tuner
80 Meters 2:1 3681-3933 Khz
40 Meters 2:1 7127-7300
20 Meters Requires tuner
17 Meters 2:1 entire band
15 Meters 2:1 21000-21.245
12 Meters 2:1 entire band
10 Meters 2:1 28.000-28.430

I can achieve an SWR below 2:1 anywhere on any of the above bands using my manual tuner

Am I working any DX with it...yes! Am I glad I just happened to build it when I did...you bet! Give a dela loop a try, you won't be sorry!

Member Comments:
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80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by KU7I on January 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Jerry, I had a similar antenna up for a while. It was an 80 meter delta loop, apex up, with the top attached to the top of a 60 foot tower. It was slightly angled at maybe 25 degrees since the tower was only 60 ft tall. I fed it with 300ohm TV twin lead at one of the bottom corners. Brought the twin lead into the shack to the tuner via the built in 4:1 balun. It worked just fine 80 – 10. It would load on 160 but did not xmit really work well but did receive very well on that band, very low noise receive antenna. Overall I thought this was a fantastic antenna. It seemed to do better than a 160 meter inverted-L and a 240 foot dipole fed with open wire up 40 feet.
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by KU7I on January 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Clarification: Thiis was a better all band antenna than the 160 L or the 240 ft dipole.
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by N7WR on January 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the feedback and thanks for your service in the USN
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by KC2GUY on January 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
thank you for bringing this to our attention. an antenna that has not been spoken about often enough. i have a VERTICAL delta loop cut for 80 meters....Fed at the corner. it has out-performed my OCF dipole, dipole and inverted L, when ALL bands from 10-160 are taken into account. On 80 meters it equals or better every other antenna mentioned. Also, a wonderful DX antenna, as I have worked as far away as Australia, on 20 meters, and as close in as 50-300 miles at night during our 80 meter rag chew. I wish I had tried this antenna sooner in my ham hobby years.

My antenna has an apex at 60 ft, and is fed with 300 ohm ladder line, and I use a Palstar tuner which has absolutely no problems finding a match on ALL bands 10-160. I use a 1:1 balun. I hope this article helps other hams to try this antenna.
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by K9RFZ on January 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The 80m delta loop is a field day team's secret weapon to run 80 and 40m frequencies. It outperforms dipoles and OCF antennas. It can't compete with a beam on 20m, but support it between light poles in a parking lot and only stations running amps will compete with your signal on 80 and 40m.

Joseph
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by N6JSX on January 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
All these comments are about a vertical Delta-loop. Anyone do the same Delta but horizontal? How high off the ground?

Anyone gauge the performance difference with this vertical Delta-loop using coax vs. ladder-line?

On the 80 Vertical Delta - how did 160m perform?
 
80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by NQ3M on January 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I also have a home grown horizontal Loop up. It is std 14 gauge stranded, coated wire, 275' in length. The feed line is about 30' of 8U to a 4/1 current Balun. Feed point is approx 18-20' AGL and the Loop is mostly a square box. The opposite end of the feed point is approximately 35' AGL. The LGD 100 does not chew long on 160 meters and as I drop bands, the chewing drops like a rock. Of all the antennas I've built and tested this one works the best. In fact now that I am retired, when I build and install another flavor of the week(an addiction I think) the first test is against this loop. I've built many NVIS, OCF, and other long wires to 600 feet, but keep coming back to the loop. Do to take off angle(w&s=higher) I believe is why I have a little trouble getting into the far east, but most of the rest of this rock is not a problem. That is assuming the Band Gods did not wake up on the wrong side.
The thing I have found is as soon, as I switch between the Loop and the newest flavor while listing to local AM music, I can get a feel for how the latest is going to work. Some times I'll turn on the shack AM/FM receiver and have it and the Kenwood on the same station. What I noticed is as the Ham antenna performance gets better across the board, the lag time of the two radios reception is wider. To the point now there is a 2-4 word lag(depending tempo)on the AM/FM receiver. When I first started building my home brew antennas, the AM/FM was out running the Kenwood. May or may not be anything, but it seems to work for me. I also detect a audio change, as well. This seem to run with qso reports as well.
 
80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by N0SAP on January 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have a 80 Meter Delta Loop up 50 feet fed with RG-213 and a 4:1 balun. Spot on frequency cut for 80 meters with about 30 kcs either side.

40 Meters 1.5:1
20 Meters 2:1
17 Meters Flat
15 Meters 1.5:1
10 meters 1.7:1

I also have a vertical 80 Meter Delta Loop 60 feet with a 40 meter switching stub. So it makes a two wavelength Bi-Square on 40 Meters. Both are really quiet on receive and work without issues. Build one if you have the room. "SAP" NØSAP

See My 3 Element 30 Meter Beam on QRZ
 
80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by VE8NX on January 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have been using an 80M horizontal loop on and off for the last 20 years. No it does not outperform a yagi but it will load up 80 thru 10m(except 30m) using the ATU in my TS450. Nice and simple and it works good enough for me.

I do not require a tower or a rotor, just a few trees, rope and pulleys. Not saying I won't dig the Explorer-14 out of my garage at some point, but for a quick antenna that works well this is one to go with.

I would really like to have the space to put up a 160M loop. Maybe someday :)
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by KU7I on January 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
N6JSX: A regular, traditional 160 ant such as an inverted-L smokes this ant on 160....as it should.
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by N7WR on January 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
This was designed for 80 meters, not 160. I can use it on 160 with a tuner though I run low power when doing so. I wanted the best SWR in the 75 meter SSB DX window and that's where it is well below 2:1. I don't operate 30 meters so I don't care about that. On the other bands it works well enough to suit me. Very quiet receive antenna
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by KU7I on January 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
This is probably the best 80 - 10 meter antenna I have ever used. While I could get it to load it naturally was only a half wave long on 160 and radiated as such. It did however work as an awesome 160 receive antenna option. 6 or more s units quieter on receive than the xmit L.
 
80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by KF2ZO on January 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Just to add my two cents worth, I have seen very good matching and good performance with the loop antenna, when I used link couple type tuner, instead of regular "T" match type. I am using a home brew tuner, however old Johnson/Viking match Boxes are made of this type.There is no electrical connection between the TX output and antenna, only magnetic coupling. Try it some time!
 
80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by KF2ZO on January 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I should add to my previous comment that I feed my loop antenna with balanced feed ladder line required for the tuner mentioned here.
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by KU7I on January 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I always use 300 ohm tv twinlead that is still being sold at most Radio Shacks in the US...at least for now still being sold. It always handles full legal limit power with no problems. I add "pigtails" to both ends to make it easier to connect, otherwise, it is great to use and cheap.
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by G3LBS on January 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with the praise of the true differential tuner like the Johnson Matchbox, and also with the greatest bargain of all time the Radio Shack 300 ohm twin cable.
 
80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by W5DXP on January 29, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Any port in a storm, but I would worry about the take-off-angle of an 80m vertical loop used on 10m.
--
73, Cecil, w5dxp.com
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by KB1JTS on February 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
i have a horiz loop 280ft of wire fed with ladder line and up 70ft.does not tune up great on 160m but works great on 80m to 10m.signals equally as good on 17m as a 12element log at 90ft.great antenna and sim ple
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by KB1JTS on February 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
i have a horiz loop 280ft of wire fed with ladder line and up 70ft.does not tune up great on 160m but works great on 80m to 10m.signals equally as good on 17m as a 12element log at 90ft.great antenna and simple
 
80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by W6JHB on February 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Jerry - I'll bet you didn't see any winds like that back in Martinez, eh? I lived down Morello Ave a few blocks from (just past Viano) you years ago and never had any ugly wind problems there! Now we're in Folsom and get all kinds of strange weather! But not 102 MPH, for sure!!!

Jim / W6JHB
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by N7WR on February 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Jim you are absolutely correct. Even up on the hill in Martinez it wasn't bad. Take care
 
80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by TTOMAS59 on February 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The loop is clearly the option for quiet antenna and a good option for multiband use but otherwise non spectacilar. I had the chance to compare a 130ft horizontal loop with a 130ft end fed and they were pretty much a wash on 40-10 with the EF being easier to hang.


Tim
 
80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by KB5IAV on February 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I've been running an open loop for the last couple of years and having good results. The antenna is a 60 foot dipole, bent into a rectangle, and fed at one corner with Radio Shack TV Twinlead into a MFJ 4:1 balun and tuned with a LDG Z11 Pro autotuner. It loads on 80-10 meters, but I haven't tried making any QSOs on 80 with it. I've worked Europe and Australia on 30 with it, South America and the Canary Islands on 40, and I've worked a lot of DX on 17-10 with it too. 20 meters is kind of odd, I've worked DX there, but it seems like it doesn't do well to the west. Not the best antenna, but it works. I got the idea from the W1FB Antenna Notebook. Not the greatest, but it works.
 
80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by K3ZL on February 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
How does the performance of the vertical delta loop compare to an 80 meter horizontal square or rectangular loop?
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by N7WR on February 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
In the short time (before the wind damaged my horizontal loop) I had both the delta and the horizontal loop up I found them to each have different strengths and weaknesses depending on the band and propagation at the time. Once I re-build the horizontal loop I do intend to do some comparisons
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by WA4FXT on February 20, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'm considering putting up a horizontal delta loop of the type mentioned here, and am curious about the placement of the 4:1 balun some have mentioned. Is it better to run 300 or 450 ohm line down and then place the balun near the entry (with a short run of coax) -- or is it OK in this case to mount the balun in the air with 50 - 60 ft of coax? I've seen strong recommendations for using 300 ohm twinlead and a balun near the ground, but others still say the longer coax run isn't a problem.

Opinions please?
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by N7WR on February 20, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have built both square and delta loops and have always fed them directly with 50 ohm coax through a 4:1 CURRENT balun. They have worked very well
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by WB9QVR on February 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
WA4FXT, here is the rule of thumb that I use. If the loop is going to be used as a single-band antenna (meaning that it will provide a feedpoint impedance of around 50 Ohms) then using coax for the feedline will work well. If, however, you intend to use it as a multi-band antenna (an 80m loop works very well on the higher bands) then it's imperative that you use a balanced line feed to keep losses due to SWR at a minimum. Ideally you would want to run the balanced line all the way to your antenna tuner. However, if that's not practical then run balanced line as far as you can and terminate it into a balun followed by the shortest possible run of coax to your rig or tuner.
 
RE: 80 Meter Delta Loop Saves The Day  
by K3ZL on February 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I use window line from the feed point into my shack and then to a 4:1 Balun in my shack. From my Balun to my tuner with a short piece of low loss 50 ohm coax. Works great 80 - 10. Never will Go back to a dipole or G5RV again. Best antenna I have used in 50 years of hamming. 73
 
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