Sunday, February 13, 2011

Super Loop Antenna


G5RV verses Superloop 80

Many operators with small lots, a G5RV is what can fit for the 80 and 40 meter bands. The G5RV is 102 feet long and has a 34 footsection of twinlead followed by coax into the shack, possibly with some sort of RF choke on the coax. The ends are typically supported by ropes up inthe trees. An 80 meter dipole would be about 134 feet long.

A tiny lot is limited in antenna potential and zoning laws prevent real towers.

RadioWorks “Superloop III” designed by Jim, W4FTU, and refined over the years, is a good alternative


The standard arrangement is shown in Fig. 1. It looks like an inverted delta loop and is 112 feet across the top. It fit on the same ropes as my G5RV used and the coax even started at about the same point in space. The wire is heavy 14 gauge copper. If your space doesn’t quite allow this, the top corner insulators can be moved to shorten the 112 foot dimension; also additional insulators can be added to the diagonal wires to make a rectangular
shape and raise the bottom balun up in the air more. I also added 6 feet of wire to move the resonant freq closer to the band bottoms for digital work.

The loop can also be mounted upside down and slanted if you only have a single support available. As with all loops, the area enclosed is important and so is the average height; the standard inverted delta shape is a very good compromise.


The “trick” to the Superloop is the 30′ length of ladder line hanging down from the center insulator. This length has been tuned so that appears to be a open-circuit stub on 40 meters; thus the antenna becomes two full-wave wires (at 40 meters) and is commonly referred to as the Bi-Square antenna. On 80 meters, it appears to be a short and the antenna becomes a single wave vertical loop. This happens automatically and no switching is involved.

A special balun is provided which gives a match between the 50 ohm coax lead-in and the higher resistance of the loop. For best matching, a 1/2 wavelength coax is recommended (e.g. 99′ of RG-8X); however mine is about 70 feet into my diff-T tuner and the SWR < 2 points are 3495 to 3787 but the short coax gives a minimum on 40 of 2.05 at 7090 KHz. If you need to run without a tuner, close attention to the coax length will help. The balun is the typical ferrite rod in a PVC pipe with foaming urethane inside. This has the effect of heat insulating; mine works fine on 500 RTTY watts contesting, but real high power may be a problem on RTTY; but those guys all have beams, right?


The diagonal wires make it partially a vertical antenna with a nice reduction in polarization QSB. You can possibly double contacts on 80/40 over the G5RV. RITTY can help on the reception. The Superloop tunes up fine on the 20,15,10 bands Antenna, ropes, and coax will run you about $US 135. RadioWorks advertises in CQ and QST and have an interesting catalog.

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