W1JD’s 160 Meter Antenna

By: JD Delancy, W1JD
May 23, 2021

Since deciding that working on either a five or maybe nine-band Worked All States (WAS) on High Frequency (HF) would be fun, give me something to do to waste the hours away during the quarantine/Pandemic, I needed to do something for a 160 meters (~1.825 MHz) antenna.  A half-wave dipole at that frequency requires each side of the center to be about 128-130 feet long for an overall length of about 256-260 feet. A quarter-wave vertical would have to be about 128 feet tall unless it’s loaded to reduce its height to somewhere around 64 feet or less and require a lot of ground radials.  That’s a bit much to fit into a housing sub-division lot where the parcel is an odd-ball shape, not like a rectangular or square; mine is more like a badly distorted Trapezium.

I have a full-size 80 meters inverted vee cut for around 3.500 MHz, fed with 450-Ohm ladder line, and apex-ed at about 85 feet on the tower.  I tried my antenna tuners on the vee and they tuned 1.825 MHz down to about 1.9-to-1 standing wave ratio (SWR), not the best-in-the-west, but could be usable.

The next brainstorming idea was a 128-foot horizontal wire.  I found a straight shot across the backyard to a 75-85-foot-tall Popular tree just shy of the property line.  Shot a rope over a tall branch, about 60 feet up, to pull that end of the wire up.  At the other end, about 8-feet from another property line, a WA1FFL Ladder-Loc insulator was attached to the wire along with one side of a 450-Ohm ladder line.  That wire is in a more-or-less East-West direction.  Then took a 64-foot piece of wire, attached it to the other side of the WA1FFL insulator and the other side of the 450-Ohm ladder line on the WA1FFL insulator.  Tied a rope thru an insulator on the 128-foot piece, shot it the other end over another tree near the property line, and pulled assembly up to ~41 feet. Took the end of the 64-footer, stretched it out somewhat parallel and downward to the more-or-less North-South running chain-link fence.  At its end, the wire was directly attached to the chain-link fence’s top support metal rail (a 1.25-inch, 10-foot pipe) with a hose clamp.  The chain-link fence’s metal top rails insert into each other to provide support to the chain-link web.  Initial antenna tuner attempt obtained a 1.4-to-1.00 SWR; promising.  I strapped across each of the top rail junctions and secured each strap with a hose clamp at each side of the joint out to where the fence stops, at both ends.  SWR came down to a steady 1.01-to-1.

Does it work?  Oh, my goodness, winner, winner chicken dinner, YES!  Using the TS-950 at 100 watts, I’ve worked 49 states with Alaska as the “on-top” accomplishment, still lack Hawaii to complete 9-Band WAS (459 of 460 contacts required and confirmed; 160 is the final band), and 11 countries (Ukraine and Australia being the best so far) on 1.8 MHz, all confirmed in the Logbook of The World (LOTW).  Maybe after I finish one of the WAS awards, I’ll see if I can do a five or maybe nine-band DX Century Club (DXCC) or maybe chase the 3,141 counties in our country.