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Shoddytenna 160m portable antenna

Picture of antenna Picture of antenna Picture of antenna

Many amateurs shy away from 160 metres due to the band's imagined large antenna requirements. However, especially if one operates portable, one can still do quite well with simple antennas that are a fraction of a wavelength tall. Described here is a lightweight vertical, based around a squid pole, that can be erected in under 20 minutes.

Diagram of vertical antenna for 160 metres

You may be puzzled why I opted for a vertical antenna when I favour some sort of horizontal end-fed for portable operating on other lower HF bands. The reason is that propagation and activity patterns are different. Whereas most 40 metre contacts involve high-angle short skip ionospheric propagation over distances up to about 800km, my 160 metre activities are over more local distances. For such 0 - 100km contacts the ground wave is dominant and, as proved by all the AM broadcast stations, the best antenna for that is some sort of vertical. The benefits of verticals are magnified if you are over or near the water, as tends to be the case for much of my portable operating.

Video demonstrations of antenna in use on 160 metres AM



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