I have slowly been adding 160 meter Band capability to my Station, mainly in some recent contests. With sunspots so low, and the high HF Bands suffering badly as a result, this seems like a good time to do some work on the Low Bands. I have started trying some antennas and have been able to work about 35 US States and a couple DX entities. Here is some background on my 160, antenna work so far:
Using an 80m Dipole on 160m
When discussing basic 160m capabilities, I was reminded by another PVRC Club member that you can use an 80m dipole to get some exposure to 160m. I had been using an 80m dipole fed with ladder line and using an externally-mounted remote antenna tuner. To use it on 160m, I had to tie the two wires from the ladder line together, and connect that to the unbalanced antenna connector on the tuner. that was tuned against a ground connection to a nearby ground rod. This worked well enough to get me started. The pain was that I now had to change the physical connections of the ladder line at the antenna tuner, when I wanted to change between 160m and the other Bands.
A Crooked 160m Dipole
I thought it would improve the situation if I extended the length of my 80m dipole, so it would work as a 160m dipole. That would allow me to work all Bands from 160m through 6 meters using the external Tuner, without making any wiring changes when changing Bands. My lot is not long enough to allow me to install a full-length 160m dipole. So I added enough wire to make a 160m dipole, then bent the two ends enough to fit it into the lot. I have always heard that you could bend the ends of a dipole in many ways without doing much harm to the radiation pattern. With my dipole for 160m at a height of about 40 feet, all the radiation is going nearly straight UP anyway.
This has worked fairly well, and has given me access to many more stations in a number of US States and into Canada. Still very little DX is being heard, so the next step is to work on Receive-only antennas. I will be experimenting with Beverage antennas on 160m, and will start posting results soon.