More Tests of the Magnetic Loop Antenna

I setup the magnetic loop antenna indoors in the shack last night and found that 20m was quite active. This time I mounted it on a speaker stand/tripod as I am still working out how to use the more portable camera tripod. One last enhancement needed is a way to couple the tuning dowel stick to the capacitor shaft. Right now I am using electrical tape which is messy and doesn’t do that great a job. Once again the antenna was connect to the FT-817ND at 5W. 20m was really wide open last night with many European and Middle Eastern stations coming in 59 but working large pile-ups. I did manage to work a station in Bosnia Herzegovina with a 59 report and another in the Czech Republic with a 57.Both contacts break the 1000 mile per watt barrier.

These reports are absolutely amazing considering the homemade antenna is indoors, about 4 feet off the ground and a with a predicted 20m efficiency of about 40%!

I am really starting to get the hang of quickly tuning the antenna to the operating frequency. First I tune for maximum noise which gets me in the ballpark. Next I key the mic at low power and fine tune the antenna for minimum SWR display on the radio. Not much of a bother except I need to be in close proximity to the antenna.

Working QRP requires a bit more patience as listening skills trump calling skills. It sometimes pays to come back around to a DX station after the “big guns” have gotten their fill. I seem to get better responses when the DX station is calling CQ or has few takers probably because my signal is not getting stepped on.

I will be taking some additional measurements on the antenna today with the Mini60 and will post the results.

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