How to Work 160M DX by K3WA + 24' HOA Flagpole Antenna

 

Greyline 24' HOA Flagpole Antenna performs on 160M!

"Do not give up on 160M," says K3WA. His 24' Greyline HF Vertical Antenna works 750-1000 miles on 1.8 MHz. That's not easy.

Please take our Q&A 160M Survey to learn how you can too!

Note: This survey reads like a Q&A (as if you called us to discuss it) of how to turn your 20-24' Flagpole Antenna into a 160M Real DX ham radio antenna for those using the lower impedance range (low cost) tuners.

The Greyline HF Antennas are designed to be QRV on all bands from 160-6M, even the 16-foot Flagpole Vertical Antenna enjoys QSOs on 160M (SGC ATU is the all-star here). Yet some using the low-cost, low-impedance-range tuners report tuning down to 160M doesn't quite get to the desired 1:1 SWR. This is understandable as afterall, 160M calls for 136-foot tall radio tower or 'wire in the tree' to be considered full-size. Well, Greyline antennas are designed as 1/2 wave vertical dipoles and in the early years we discovered many of the remote ATUs on the market tune Greyline antennas on all bands with relative ease. So, assuming a clean antenna site is the goal, the remaining options are one, a bigger better tuner or two adding a 4:1 Balun as discussed below. We have had enough folks from the field test 4:1 Baluns with success and with well-known and respected radio operators also chiming in on the topic, we had to share this information with you. Now you too can give it a try and enjoy 160M, which is so much fun in the darker seasons.

 

In the winter months of 2022 (December) we spotted a Greyline Flagpole Antenna owner in the results of the popular ARRL CW 160M Contest and was amazed to see just how many QSO's he worked from his HOA on 1.8 MHz. Look at those numbers, 61 Qs and 23 Sections around USA and Canada.

Soapbox: (snip)
I was able 
to work stations as far west as Illinois and North/south from VE3 to Florida.  So I did have fun!

Band     QSOs     Pts  Sec  Cty
        1.8      61     122   23    0
      Total     61     122   23    0

Rig:  Flex 6600, Power Genius Amp, AT-Auto antenna tuner
Antenna:  24 ft flagpole

73...   Bill K3WA

We've reported on Bill's exciting results working 1000+ QSO's in the ARRL contests on the other bands 80M to 10M, in the past couple of years. A feat typically bestowed on those with a tower and beam, and well deserved as again, he was using his then 20' Flagpole Antenna.

Like many of us, he has been very active in the hobby for decades and is considered a veteran of the game. He did previously have a tall tower with stacked Yagi antennas, and has since downsized to a more relaxed ham radio station in an HOA, deed restricted neighborhood. Again, maybe just like you.

His results are impressive on the higher bands but now we see the low band results too. It's basic math that tells us 160M requires an antenna to be 136' long to be considered full sized, and after what looks like 750-1000 miles range for him on 160M with a 24' vertical antenna, we really wanted a refresher on what else Bill, K3WA was doing. 

We sent him an email asking him to break down his installation for us. He replied in kind. 


Written by Bill, K3WA:
Aside from 160, I  feel that I  get out much better than I had any expectation.  Going from the 20 ft to the 24 ft antenna made a very big difference.  
FWIW, now I can run in most contests both domestic and DX when condx are decent on 40 thru 10.  Even on RTTY.  I never expected that.  Admittedly I do run the legal limit except on 160.
In my installation I run the twin lead to a 4:1 balun at the base and then about 60 ft coax into the shack to a tuner.  I have two tuners.  One is a Flex Tuner Genius which I use on 80 thru 10.  For 160 I use an AT-Auto which uses a traditional coil based approach.  As long as I keep my power down to 400 watts or so I don't get any arcing or anything.  The bandwidth is about 15kc so I have to retune fairly often. I get the same 160m results using an old Ameritron ATR30 tuner.
Please do remind folks to not write-off 160.  
 
73...   Bill 


Greyline writes: Well, there we have it. Bill uses a 4:1 Balun and a Tuner in the shack for 160M operation. He added a 4' extension (that Greyline can ship quick) going from 20' to 24' and saw a major increase on 80/160M. 

Would you like to work Real DX on 160M just like Bill? Consider testing a 4:1 Balun at your antenna site. Try this with your 20-foot antennas as well. Some of you may wish to try adding a 4' extension to your antenna too. Let us know what you find, email or call us. Thanks!


We hope you enjoyed this information and maybe learned something from it. Ham Radio is fun again! Pass it on...

73 Greyline Performance

Please take our 160M Survey

 

4:1 Balun Source:
Consider contacting Bob at Palomar Engineering for one of his 4:1 Baluns. They start at $20-40 each based on your power need.

4' Extension - here

 

How to Order a Flagpole Antenna, checklist.

  • "Real DX 160-6M at my HOA"
  • "4 Band DXCC in 3 months at my HOA."
  • "So pretty my XYL approves!"
  • "If I can hear it, I can work it."
We are grateful to serve you in this way. We enjoy our global fraternity and hobby and it is why we offer this service to our peers. 
Let's get you and your friends back on the air.
Ham Radio is fun again! Pass it on...

Greyling Performance Antennas logo

Please take our 160M Survey

This survey reads like a Q&A of how to turn your 20-24' Flagpole Antenna into an 80-160M Real DX antenna for those using the lower impedance range (low cost) tuners.  

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