NF6P "Red Neck" Loop Antenna

When we moved to California in 2005, I knew that I wanted to get my ham radio station back on the air.  We live on a 100' x 50' lot with CC&R's.  The challenge was more than interesting.  I knew something would work.  I had a few requirements.

  1. All Band operation (or at least 40 to 10 meters)

  2. Very inexpensive (I work in ministry so I'm cheep)

  3. As stealthy as possible

I also wanted to get up a medium gain multi-band VHF/UHF vertical and something that could work on 6-meters.

This is my story of turning a few "Home Depot" items into a great performing antenna system that's cheep, stealthy, and easy to remove if the covenant cops complain.

The Concept

I'm a huge fan of the loop antenna.  Quad loop, Delta Loop, Sky Loop, it doesn't matter, I know they perform very well.  At my Kentucky QTH, I erected a giant 270-foot long sky loop 70 feet high.  It was fed with 450-ohm open line and was an incredible performer from 80-meters on up.  From that experience I knew that a modified loop at my California home might work.

Why "Red Neck"?  We started the prospect of getting back on the air with stringing a basic 40-meter dipole over the roof. I didn't want to climb on my tile roof to get one leg over the roof, so I found my self duck taping a rope to a football to toss over.  It was at this point I realized a "Red Neck" moment.  Any guy who uses duck tape in this way should recognize our tendencies. So my, Red Neck Loop was born.

I had used 3/4" schedule 40 PVC pipe to build a 10 foot support for my weather stations sensors.  It worked well, so I experimented with 1-1/4" schedule 40 PVC for wire supports. 20-feet seemed like a good start. Since we have two cats, a supply of kitty litter tubs was always around.  Those and a bag of post hole concrete mix seemed to make a great base. They could be moved easily too.

I used the roof line to support the PVC about 10 feet above ground.  10 Feet above that I strung the "antenna" wire through holes in the PVC, attached ladder line to one corner and got on the air. The wire was insulated stranded 18 gage household wire.  (500 foot roll from Home depot, about $20)

This setup worked for the most part, and contacts were made. However, the floppiness of the semi-rigid PVC was not keeping my wire as high as possible.  It also looked a bit cheesy and un-professional, so an update of the design was planned.