Before anything else, this needs to be said. Don’t waste your time or money on any antenna gimmicks for your home station! For the past two weeks, I have installed and tested the Chameleon SKYLOOP 2.0 right here at my home station. It is installed 12 meters or about 40 feet high, between my tower and two birch trees. It could easily be installed between several trees, being completely invisible to anyone standing outside your yard. I digress.
What I mean to say is, I have had long wires, dipoles, quarter wave multi-band wire antennas on telescopic poles, but I have never had anything performing this well, that wasn’t a yagi! This is the best HF antenna I have ever used. Before I go on, huge thanks to those operators in Finland and Alaska for recommending the full wave Skyloop for the upcoming hybrid Winlink gateway project.
The above images are screenshots from PSKreporter. 20watts from the Icom IC-705 and DIY599 PA500 amplifier running FT8, JS8, … (These are not even the best results). Notice for most every place my station is heard, I can also hear the receiving station. This is no crocodile antenna. In fact, I think it is the weak signal operators best friend. Horizontally polarized, low noise, better gain than a dipole … I had an already low noise floor. Now when using the Skyloop, the station has no noise floor at all! Show me a dipole or quarter wave multi-band vertical which cancels out the noise. Other than a very large magnetic loop, I couldn’t find one! That was just one of the benefits of using the Skyloop over my DX Commander or other vertical antennas. Although a reasonable performer, the quarter wave vertical in a neighborhood environment, is quite horrific for noise. The Skyloop installed in the same location is so quiet, one might wonder if it is actually working.
Another benefit is the multiband capabilities. The is an 81 meter long closed loop antenna. That is a full wavelength on 80 meters. My tuner also tunes up every band between 80 and 6 meters with equally as good performance results. I do understand “tuner insertion losses”. Using Aircell 7 coax and good soldered connectors, I have not seen a loss of performance when tuning up on non resonant bands. Certainly there is some loss, but it remains negligible.
I didn’t have the trees for a square skyloop so I improvised a bit. I used one leg of the tower, plus two birch tress to hang the skyloop at 12 meters or about 40 feet. I used elastic cordage to add a buffer between the line and trees, so the wire would not get stretched on windy days. So far so good! I also grounded the ground lug of the transformer, to one of the tower legs. This helps further reduce noise, and adds a good path to ground.
The performance of this skyloop was instantly apparent! Somehoe I could now hear low power stations on the other side of the planet, I could never heatr before. Stations coming in each day now, like clockwork. Moreover, Winlink stations in Scandinavia impossible to hit previously, are now coming in like they are next door. Yes the performnce is insane! So much so that I tested, tested again, then tested once more because its performance was unimaginable!
The next video on the channel will cover the installation and performance of the skyloop in much more detail. This post is here for a couple of reasons. First to say thank you to Chameleon Antenna, for improving on their already amazing wire antennas for the home and field stations. Second, to tell you all about my excitement with this amazing antenna design. If someone really wanted to “win” a contest field day, had the space, and help to put it up, the skyloop will undoubtedly put them over the top!
Looking at the price and complexity of some of other antenna options for home stations, some are hundreds of dollars, some require radial or counterpoise networks making a tentacle monster jeolous. Lots of hoops and hurdles to achieve best performance. Some need to be a couple of wavelengths in the air to perform well,. This one requires space, but height and configuration options are quite modest. Having the space and some trees, needing to reduce the noise floor, getting improved performance over a dipole or telescopic pole, this one will beat out most of them, in one way or another.
I’ll close by saying “This is not an advertisement”. I don’t give a rats a** if you buy the Chameleon Skyloop, or build a skyloop yourself. All I want to do is inform the community about the amazing results this full wave 80m loop antenna has brought to my home station. A station now in an entirely different weight class than it ever has been. A station which can now run 10 watts instead of 20, while remaining as effective. A station making the most of its low power, and competing much bigger guns.
If you’re not an antenna builder, don’t have the tools or shop to tinker with an antenna build, do try the SKYLOOP 2.0 from Chameleon Antenna.
More skyloop articles
- Planning an 80m skyloop for winlink https://oh8stn.org/blog/2021/04/27/skyloop-antenna-hybrid-winlink-network-part-1/
- Annual Army NETCOM QRPX Competition https://oh8stn.org/blog/2021/04/10/qrpx-army-netcom-annual-hf-low-power-competition/
Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m interested. My trees would also move me toward a triangle, but a large tree would be in the middle of the triangle area. I wonder if the tree would affect the performance. I’ll have to do some research on the affect of trees before I make the investment. N4DPH
Very interesting, Julian. Everything you have experienced reinforces what Anthony Jaber reported of his experiences in using this antenna in the U.S. Army HF Low-Power Competition (QRPX). Similar experiences amongst multiple users suggests that your results (and Jaber, et. al.) are not unique.
So: home base, Skyloop; portable: TDL (Tactical Delta Loop)?
At 40ft high how is your NVIS, or performance to nearby stations for your Winlink or JS8 traffic?
Yup, love my 80M loop ,I run mostly qrp and can hit every continent on 10w or less. Mine is home grown 12awg heavy insulation wire and has given me 7+yrs in service.I run it mostly NVIS about 10′ over the ground.