By Stana Horzepa, WA1LOU
Thanksgiving Eve, 40 degrees, breezy, overcast, rain in the forecast – a good day to put up a new antenna – NOT. But I was not to be deterred by Mother Nature.
Actually, I did not put up a new antenna; I put down a new antenna: a Loop on Ground (LoG) receive-only antenna as described by Matt Roberts, KK5JY: 60 feet of insulated wire stapled to the earth in a square configuration (15 feet per side).
I had prepared the wire the day before the install, so it only took about two hours to complete the install. The most time-consuming part was running the RG-6 into the radio shack from outdoors.
I was not sure how well the antenna would perform. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, I did not have a lot of time to give the antenna a thorough test, but the initial results were very good. Tuning through the AM band for about 30 minutes Wednesday evening, nearly all the stations I checked were stronger on the LoG antenna than on my other antennas (80-meter dipole, Hy-Gain 18AVT/WB-A vertical, ICOM AH-7000 discone).
Loop on Ground Antenna Test
Over the long weekend following Thanksgiving, I tested my newly installed Loop on Ground (LoG) antenna.
I compared the LoG’s reception with the other antennas installed here at WA1LOU by noting the signal strength of 23 random stations across the AM band using the dBμ reading [absolute voltage (Terminated)] of my ICOM IC-R8600 receiver. (The other antennas here are an 80-meter dipole, a Hy-Gain 18AVT/WB-A vertical and a ICOM AH-7000 discone.)
The following stations were used in the comparison: WMCA on 570 kHz, WPRO 630, WFAN 660, WOR 710, WGY 810, WNYC 820, WCBS 880, WLAT 910, WPKX 930, WNTY 990, WINS 1010, WBZ 1030, WTIC 1080, WMRD 1150, WWCO 1240, WSPR 1270, WATR 1320, WFNW 1380, WVEI 1440, WFED/WFIF 1500, WQEA416 1670, WPTX 1690 and WRCR 1700.
I ran the test on three consecutive mornings and on one evening. In general, the results were consistent during all four runs of the test. The only anomaly was hearing WFED loud and clear on 1500 kHz at 1447 UTC on 29 November. WFED is always loud and clear at night here, but is usually down in the mud under WFIF during daylight. Go figure.
After the first and second run of comparisons, I eliminated the vertical and discone antennas from the test to save time because the dipole consistently scored higher than the vertical and discone.
On average, the LoG performed 8.5 dBμ units higher than the 80-meter dipole. With a 22 dBμ unit difference, WSPR had the greatest signal improvement on the LoG. Right behind WSPR were WBZ, WWCO, WATR and WVEI with 17 dBμ improvement on the LoG.
The dipole performed equal to or slightly better (by 1 or 2 dBμ units) with WPRO (daytime only), WGY (daytime only), WCBS (all times), WLAT (all times) and WNTY (all times). WPRO and WGY were stronger on the LoG in the evening by 9 and 6 dBμ units respectively, which represents a 11 and 7 dBμ swing between day and night.
Overall, the LoG performed better at the top and bottom of the AM band and less so in the middle of the band (810 to 1150 kHz) except for one outlander: 50kW WTIC 1080, which is line-of-site from here. WTIC consistently scored in the low to mid 70’s dBμ-wise.
The first three tests were run under dry conditions, while the fourth test was run with the antenna covered with about six inches of snow. The snow did not seem to have any effect on the performance of the LoG.
In conclusion, I am very impressed with the LoG antenna. It is a keeper and I plan to install a larger version in the spring.
Loop on Ground Antenna Logging
A few days later, I logged my first new station with my new Loop on Ground (LoG) antenna: WWRK on 970 kHz in Florence, SC, transmitting 31 watts, 632 miles to my south-southwest!