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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Verticals; Wire; Loop | Spi-Ro LS-160K Help

Reviews Summary for Spi-Ro LS-160K
Spi-Ro LS-160K Reviews: 5 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $66.95
Description: The Spi-Ro LS-160K is a 100ft 160M trap dipole. It is offered with an optional PB-1-C balun.
Product is in production.
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NZ5L Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2013 19:02 Send this review to a friend
quick-up 160 antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered the loading coils and supplied my own wire, center insulator, and balun. The bandwidth is VERY limited, due to its short electrical wavelength, so a good wide range tuner is necessary. Fortunately, SWR is not a major consideration with loading coils, as opposed to traps, and with a standard MFJ tuner the system provides useful bandwidth. Naturally, height and deployment are important performance parameters - mine is only at 30', but I doubt if going to 45 or 50' would make a noticeable difference in TOA it will still primarily be an NVIS dipole. Out to one hop you can be 599, and out to a two hop distance, (or 500-550 miles)you may still be heard - even an occasional DX contact. If you are a DX hound, an Inverted L will do a better job.
So why a "5"? Because this is the quickest, shortest length, easiest, and cheapest solution for getting on Top Band from an average size lot.
It performs well enough as an NVIS device, and sometimes beyond, and will do the job within reasonable expectations. It is also well made, and should last awhile.
WW3K Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2012 05:39 Send this review to a friend
Exceptional  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Within the category of approx. 100' long 160M center fed dipole antennas, you essentially have 4 choices available to you:

1. The Spi-Ro LS-160K
2. The Alpha Delta DX-LB (which adds 80M and 40M as well)
3. The HyPower Antenna Company equivalent
4. Roll your own

At first, I was gonna roll my own however, I was extremely concerned with the efficiency of my loading coils. I was gonna use #12 insulated wire and 2.5" - 4" PVC for the coil forms to wind my own coils. But, not wanting to 'reinvent the wheel' (so to speak) I decided to instead, put up a couple of OTHER reference 160M antennas to compare against the shortened loaded dipole. So, I converted an old Cushcraft AV-5 (by shorting out the 160 meter coil) and adding enough horizontal wire to it to make it an inverted L resonant at 1.926 MHz. (I had to sacrifice 40 and 80 meters to do so, but I didn't lose 10/15 or 20 in the process.) Next, I constructed a full-size 160M dipole, resonant at 1.900 MHz and fed with a RadioWavz 1:1 balun at the feed point. Since my lot doesn't "fit" a full sized dipole, I essentially had to fold the full size into a rectangle approx 88 X 45 ft. (An added benefit of this experiment was that I was albe to short out (close) the far side of the full-sized, and turn it into a highly effective 80M full wave horizontal loop. (More on that later.)

Because of my concern for the Q of my coils, I chose to go with Spi-ro because THEY have been around (it seems) FOREVER, and I knew that I could trust their experience in winding coils. If they say their antenna is gonna be resonant at the bottom of the band, is WILL be resonant at the bottom of the band. Also, of all the choices mentioned above, ONLY the LS-160K was rated 5.0 out of 5.0.

The model I ordered was the LS-160K WITH the PB-1C Current Balun.

The antenna arrived approv 2 weeks after online ordering (via USPS Priority Mail) and included the following items in the package:

- One (1) roll of 100+ feed #14 stranded copper antenna wire
- One (1) PB-1C 2-160 meter 3,000 watt current balun
- Two (2) plastic dogbone end insulators
- Two (2) approx. 1' long shorteners (loading coils) encased in PVC
- Applicable instruction sheet(s)

The first thing I immediately noticed is the QUALITY of the brass/bronze screw connectors on both the balun and the loading coils. WOW! There were no 'cheesy' connecting wires in the balun, there were these two indestructible (and highly conductive) mounting posts. The mere fact that the admiralty metal (copper) of the antenna wire would be contacting the admiralty metal (brass or bronze?) of the posts on both the balun and the loading coil terminals (thereby virtually eliminating galvanic corrosion potential) rated a AAA+ in my book.

So, shortly before dark, I rolled out 100' of the antenna wire, cut it in half (to obtain 2 equal 50' lengths), and then cut them in half again (to obtain 4 X 25' equal lengths of antenna wire.) I made all of my appropriate connections, added RG-8X coax, hoisted the thing to 25' at the apex (height limited here) and tied off the ends at 20' Due to space (and height) limitations, the thing is oriented E/W, broadside N/S.

Checked the resonance with my Autek RF-1 Analyzer (and re-checked real world with several transceivers) and obtained the following readings (again, only confirming my prior belief in the accuracy of Spi-Ro coils):

1.830 MHz = 2:1 SWR
1.821 MHz = 1.5:1
1.812 MHz = 1:1 (some transceivers were 1.818 MHz)
1.804 MHz = 1.5:1
1.800 MHz = 2:1 SWR

Therefore, there is 17 KHz of usable bandwidth between 1.5:1 SWR points, and 30 KHz between 2:1 SWR. (My readings of resonance coincide to a tee with a previous post.)

Also, in my scenario (with 25' between balun and each coil) there is another resonant point between 9.110 MHz and 9.360 MHz (which, if I was 'smart', I would've cut for 23.2 feet instead of 25 feet (thereby gaining 1/2 wave dipole for 30 meters), and then add the additional 160M length at the end of the coil.)

How it played:

- Beats my full sized rectangular dipole in all directions and distances, but is much less broadbanded (antenna tuner solves this issue, and the full sized rectangle is now an 80M HOPL, where it outperforms my Double Bazooka in both 75 and 80M, and is also usable (with tuner) on every other amateur band.

- Beats the inverted L in all contacts <1,000 miles and is equal-to or better out to the DX. Speaking of DX, my first 3 contacts on the Spi-Ro were: Slovenia, Bosnia, and Jamaica in that order. All at 100W barefoot on CW.

Man, I wish I had this up and in the air for the recent 160M CW contest instead of my homebrew inverted W. However, if the support tree lasts, I'm sure this antenna will, and I'll cuagn NEXT YEAR I'm sure.

I purchased this antenna in direct response to the perfect 5.0 eHam ratings it has thus far received, and I am not disappointed. Thanks fellas, and thanks Spi-Ro!
WD4AFY Rating: 5/5 Dec 21, 2008 08:45 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna for a small city lot  Time owned: more than 12 months
I needed a decent performing 160m dipole or inverted-V antenna for my small city lot. The 100 ft., "shortened" dipole/inverted-V, Spi-Ro LS-160K with a CE-1 delux center connector, fitted my needs. This antenna worked flawessly as an "Inverted-V" at my QTH for over 10 years. A few months ago, a limb fell from a tree and damaged one of my 160m "shorteners." I now use the single 160m "shortener" that was not damaged and made a vertical 160m antenna. This configuration has allowed me to contunue operating on 160m. I will probaly order a replacement 160m "shortener" to go back to the better performing inverted -V configuration.

The Spi-Ro LS-160K is well made and a good value for the money spent on this product. I would definely recommend this product based on it's quality, performance, and ease of construction.
K5ENA Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2006 13:48 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Even though my installation of the LS-160K is less than ideal, I have enjoyed making contacts on 160 all over the U.S. in the last four evenings. The antenna is resonant on the very low end of 160 meters, but is easily tuned by my TS-570DG antenna tuner to cover the entire band. I was too lazy to trim the antenna knowing the tuner would take care of any problems. The quality is superb. I would highly recommend this antenna to anyone who has the average city residential lot and wishes to get on 160 meters.
N9VV Rating: 5/5 Nov 5, 2005 15:24 Send this review to a friend
Works well and fits my QTH  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Spi-Ro LS-160K with the PB-1-C balun works well at my QTH. The instructions say to just cut your ANT wire in four 25' pieces. There was no info about how to connect the wires to the brass ends with the plain screws. I made one simple loop and soldered the wire to itself.

I was surprised that the ANT works so well with no tuner. Mine is resonant at 1.818 which is perfect for the CW group I wanted to join at night. With a simple tuner it tunes the whole band.

The balun and traps seem to be very well made, however it has (a) no strain relief and (b) no locking mechanism for the plain slot head brass screws. I would like to hear from other owners about how they fastened their ANT wires to the brass fittings. I thought about using some sort of solder-on or crimp-on lug. Maybe I will have to do that if my current setup doesn't last all winter.

I would recommend this ANT based on it's ease of construction and performance.

de Ken N9VV

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