So the 80m skyloop is up, and the first video on it was published. In the video we go through the installation, benefits, and performance of the chameleon Skyloop 2.0.
Unfortunately that’s not quite the end of the story. Alhough the video was published and the antenna is up, there’s still some work to do before it’s perfect. Perhaps now might be a good time to take a look at the video, then come back and read the rest of this post.
As you can see in the video, skyloop performance has been absolutely magnificent. I have nothing but positive regards about the antenna. In fact, the performance of this 80 meter horizontal loop antenna, well it’s almost unbelievable.
Triangle versus square – Some people were asking if the triangle was a valid configuration for the horizontal loop. Definitely! In fact you can find this triangle or Delta configuration, in the ARRL antenna handbook 19th Edition, in chapter 5. There definitely are some compromises made when using a triangle configuration versus square! However the gain of this configuration is still better than a dipole, with its feed point at the same height.
Skyloop versus dipole – According to the ARRL antenna handbook, a horizontal loop antenna exhibits gain over a dipole, when measured with their feed points at the same height. A dipole for 80m also require significantly more real estate for the apex of the antenna, as well as the legs and anchors. Finally the horizontal loop has a much lower noise floor, than a dipole.
Skyloop versus vertical – The main benefit of the horizontal loop over a vertical is the extremely low noise floor. Observations also suggest improved regional (NVIS) over a vertical, but I have no supporting documentation to validate the observations.
Someone asked for a picture of the inside of the enclosure. Here you go
The reason I spend so much time on the noise floor topic is simple, “We can’t work stations we don’t hear!”. The full wave horizontal loop is an excellent weak signal tool, for those who have the real estate to put one up. Even in a noisy urban neighborhood, it’s astonishing how quiet the skyloop is. I understand this may sound like the rant of a fanboy. Be assured, full wave horizontal Loop is the best kept secret of amateur radio.
Here’s an example of the noise floor using the skyloop, with the Icom ic-705. Imagine having 100% copy on stations on SSB, which have no visible signal in the waterfall, or on the S-meter. Signals we wouldn’t be able to work if the noise floor was higher.
Whats left to do?
After getting the skyloop up on the tower and in the trees, I realized there were some things with the installation, which could have been done better.
- Use a non-conductive tower standoff to move the Transformer away from the tower leg.
- Replace the zip ties with uv-resistant zip ties.
- Waterproof the antenna wire attachment points against water ingress.
- Waterproof the coax connectors and and feed againt water ingress
- Take SWR scans of the skyloop at the antenna feed point, 80-6 meters.
I’ll update this article as each of these tasks gets done. I’ll also release part 2 video, showing the final installation of the skyloop.
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/
- The Ultimate wire antenna Chameleon SKYLOOP https://oh8stn.org/blog/2021/06/12/the-ultimate-wire-antenna-chameleon-skyloop-2-0/
You can find more information about the Chameleon SKYLOOP at Chameleon Antenna (https://chameleonantenna.com/shop-here/ols/products/cha-skyloop ).
Julian, I’m always learning something from your posts and videos. As I wrote on a previous post, replication of performance is critical; as an experimenter, we want to be sure that a positive result wasn’t simply the benefit of a particular environment and/or the skillset of a particular operator. Aside from comments about price or the space needed for installation, I have yet to read any negatively critical reviews of this antenna. It is interesting that you and Anthony Jaber use almost the exact language to express the sensation of experiencing the low noise floor of the Skyloop. Others have noted similar experiences. I don’t have the space for a Skyloop where I live (communities are rather tightly-packed in Japan, even in semi-rural areas, and even a sloper or inverted L is a challenge), but your work keeps inspiring me to try to find solutions. What I can’t believe is that you actually cut down the tree on your property line for firewood…
Sir, as always, your videos are educational, most interesting, and exciting to those who justly appreciate all that you put into your work. The music you provided, while working on the tower, was outstanding! In recognizing what you need to do, your attention to detail is commendable. Your training in the Corps shows your love for your fellow man, putting your mission, their safety, first. Bravo Zulu, Sir, and Thank-You. All the Best to You and Yours…
PS, because of your works, your videos and writing, I have purchased a TX-500, and will be buying a Deluxe Buddipole Long Version, and an Elecraft T-1. You are an inspiration to people everywhere. Again, Thank-You, Sir…
As usual, your content is informative and interesting. I have a Skyloop on order, so I’m interested in how you suspended the corners to adapt to tree movements. N4DPH
Thanks and that’s an easy question to answer. I used stretch cordage. A couple of a couple of strands together attaching it to the Delrin attachment rings on The Wire. There’s four of those rings on The Wire. One end of that stretch cord goes to the rings on The Wire, the other end of the stretch cord goes to the Rope which attaches to the tree. The stretch cord takes up the slack. It allows the tree to move in the Wind, while keeping the wire taught. Does that make sense?
Julian, well done! I might have space for this — at least I will measure. A lower noise floor where I live (Los Angeles) is always desired. If you formed a triangle, I’m wondering if it could be shaped irregularly in other ways? A pentagon or hexagon? David A., KK6DA
Definitely. Circle is optimal, square, triangle third, other variations are ok. Key point is the inside space. The bigger the space, the lower the noise floor. Give it a try 👍
Great Video, I’m planning one myself, have already everything needed here, i just have to do it;) only problem is, i don’t have a nice lift or bucket truck to get up in the trees. Two sides of my property is just forest, lots of room but have to cut a way thrue!
I found a lot useful information herehttps://palomar-engineers.com/tech-support/tech-topics/loop-antennas
From the turns setup on the toroid, it looks like a 9:1 balun transformer. What tuner do you use?
It’s a 2:5.1
Tested with these tuners.
– Internal tuner on my PA500 amp.
– Icom AH-705
– Internal tuner on Xiegu G99.
– Internal tuner on Xiegu x5105.
– LDG Z100+