I would like to put up a relatively large loop antenna to cover all the HF bands. I have sloping terrain and geographically in a slight "bowl" with hills and/or ridges in many directions.

If I stick with the trees on the high part of my property, it looks like I could get somewhere around 400 ft. of wire up perhaps 25ft. high on average.

Or, I could extend the loop to the lower end of my property, where I at have some arbor vitae that I can almost see over when standing on my porch — this would allow me to get over 500ft but most of that extra would be lower.

My plan is to use a tuner in the house with around 20ft. of coax running to a balun outside, so I'm wondering what sort of tradeoffs I should consider here.

  • Is it better for a large horizontal loop to be 10ft higher on average, or 100ft longer total? Ignoring other factors, how would loop diameter and height (and slant!) affect the radiation pattern?
  • If I can't get an exact resonance on 160m, should I aim for some other particular length of wire (perhaps optimizing the higher bands, or to get some OCF-style impedance compromise), or just string from tree to tree around the lot and let the tuner deal with it?
  • $\begingroup$ Higher will reduce your ground losses. $\endgroup$ Feb 5, 2017 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


Rules of Thumb

ah... I can answer that

  • higher is better for DX (more lower angle lobes)
  • lower is better for NVIS (more higher angle lobes)
  • longer is better than shorter, but much longer than a full wave on lowest desired frequency is not needed
  • shorter feed is better than longer feed to the tuner to minimise feed-line losses
  • resonance is not needed if you have a short feed to tuner (or tuner at feed-point)
  • parallel to ground is better (more even lobes) regardless of ground at angle or curve, but slant when you need too.

I am sure that you will get more scientific answers, but those are the rules of thumb I have used in the past when doing (sky) loops.

I also kept the following in mind:

  • you are using lots of wire, spanning a larger area: I always make sure that I can take it down quickly in case a "situation" occurs. I always made sure that I could lower and "unhook the wire" without climbing ladders.
  • use counter weights to tie-off / tension: you are likely to use natural objects (such as trees) to support your loop. These objects move, therefore a counter weight tie-off-tension system will ensure you minimise damage, while maintaining tension on the wire, allowing the objects to move.


Experiment! Wire antenna's are easily to take down, change, put back up, and experiment. Sky loops are fun to play with; do expect "lobes" at "angles/azimuths" and some nulls as well...

Good Luck.


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