A 100 Watt Small Loop:Description and Measurements

This is a supplement page for "Measuring the Efficiency of a QRP Small Loop Antenna."

Loop Description

Loop Diameter = 3.3 ft.

Conductor:  5/8 in copper tubing

Center Height = 6.0 ft.

Capacitor:  MFJ-19 Butterfly Type (12-67 pFd)

Voltage Rating:  5.9 kV peak voltage

Coupling Loop:  8.5 inch diameter loop of RG-8 coax

Mast:  1 inch diameter PVC pipe

Frequency Range:  15 through 20 meters (11.4-24.8 MHz)

Power: No arcing in tests up to 100 watts CW.

Sliding the small coupling loop up and down on the mast, as recommended by Matt Roberts, KK5JY, enables you to match the impedance to the feedline. 

Figure 5. Loop 4.

Figure 6. MFJ-19 capacitor with 6:1 planetary drive reducer and a "handle" (a chopstick) glued to the knob for more precise tuning.

Measurements and Calculations

This table shows the measurements and results for Loop 4 (the AE7PD loop) that are in Figures 3 and 4 of the article.

Band       f1           f2            f0       BWU    QL     QRAD   QL/QRAD

[MHz]      [MHz]     [MHz]   [kHz]

20m   14.152     14.174    14.163     22       322      1055       0.305

17m    18.093    18.130    18.111      37       245        462       0.530

15m    21.131    21.180    21.155     49       216        268       0.806

>12     24.781    24.852    24.816     71       175        151       1.159* !

f1 = Lower -3 dB bandwidth frequency (at VSWR = 2.62)

f2= Upper -3 dB bandwidth frequency (at VSWR = 2.62)

Both frequencies are for an unloaded loop, measured with a RigExpert AA-230 antenna analyzer as described below.

f0 = Resonant frequency = SQRT(f1 * f2)

BWU = Unloaded bandwidth = f2 - f1

Unloaded Q = f0 / BWU

QL = Loaded Q = 0.5 * Unloaded Q

QRAD is from the formula in Ref. 2 in the main article.

* See discusssion in the main article.

Bandwidth Measurments

I connected a RigExpert AA-230 antenna analyzer to the loop with a 50 foot length of RG-8 coax and subtracted the effect of the coax using the Open-Short-Load (OSL) calibration feature in the RigExpert Antscope program. Figure 7 shows an example of a calibrated VSWR plot for measuring the bandwidth.

Figure 7. Calibrated Antscope Plot on the 15 m band

The unloaded, half-power bandwidth is the difference between the two frequencies where VSWR = 2.62. Hovering the mouse cursor over the curve opens a text box with precise readouts for the frequency, SWR, and impedance information. The bandwidth in Figure 7 is 49 kHz, as shown in the table.

AAplot

AAplot is W7AY's Mac OS X application that works with Rig Expert analyzers.   AAplot includes an optional calibration procedure that is more accurate than the commonly used Open-Short-Load method. This high accuracy procedure is used in HP and Agilent network analyzers. From W7AY's site [calibration section of Ref. 2]:

“As it is usually used, the Rytting calibration is most often performed using three 'known' impedances that are (1) a short circuit, (2) an open circuit and (3) a known load resistance that is close to the terminal impedance of the analyzer (e.g., 50 ohms).

“However, the bridge topology that is implemented in the Rig Expert antenna analyzers produces very large errors when measuring impedances in regions where the VSWR is large (i.e., when the absolute value of the reflection coefficient is near 1.0). Because of that, AAplot lets you use a moderately low resistance (e.g., 15 to 25 ohms) in place of a short circuit load, and a moderately large resistance (e.g., between 150 to 300 ohms) in place of the open circuit load.”

I repeated the bandwidth measurements for Loop 4 using AAplot and the “Lo-Hi-Load” calibration procedure with 22 ohm, 270 ohm, and 47 ohm terminations on the RG-8 coax line.  In this case there is no significant difference between the results and those shown in the table.

Figure 8.  AAplot user interface for VSWR measurements.

Safety Distances

Safety compliance distances for loop antennas depend on the country where you operate .

Author Information

Peter DeNeef, AE7PD, is an Extra Class amateur radio operator in the U.S. This Web site has no ads or conflicts of interest.

Email:  HamRadioAndVision "at" gmail "dot" com.

Measuring the Efficiency of a QRP Small Loop Antenna

rev. 8/3/2017