3 Jul 2013

More loops

HF TX loop in the bedroom
Small TX magnetic loop performance continues to astound me. This evening I erected my little loop antenna made with 6mm diameter copper pipe and tuned with a standard 365pF air-spaced variable as used in my regen receivers. The loop has a diameter of just 65cm (about 2m circumference) and is mounted on a piece of PVC pipe as a support. The 365pF is attached to the hi-Z part of the coil with a couple of crock-clips. Matching is with a coupling loop about 1/5th the diameter of the main loop.
The simple tuning unit - a 365pF airspaced variable
Without any effort, apart from the tuning sharpness,  it tunes from 10-28MHz and got loads of spots on WSPR. I then tried with 2W CW on 14MHz and received several European reports via the reverse beacon network. The loop is just resting against a wall in the shack. Overnight on 20m WSPR the best report was from 8338km with 2W indoors. On 10m this morning (July 4th) it is already exchanging WSPR spots with CN8LI despite being orthogonal to him i.e. in the worst orientation, 2W and indoors.

According to my loop calculator the efficiency should be around 12% or 9.3dB down on a "proper" dipole antenna on 14MHz. This is less than 2 S-points difference. Results bear this out. On 28MHz the efficiency is better.

Purists will point out that the crocodile clip connections will have a few milliohms resistance and this will reduce loop performance. At 2W there is no sign of arcing across the plates. The point is with QRP one can get away with simple circuits that would not be possible running 100W.

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