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 ).