Last Sunday my nephew and I put up the K9AY loop. A temporary setup for testing purposes only. Apart from a light sunburn, all went well. Except I discovered the PVC sticks I bought in a garden supplies store are in fact metal sticks covered with a layer of PVC. I use these as corner supports for the wires. I did some initial testing at about 15.00 utc on all HF bands between 7 MHz and 28 MHz. Not really the targeted bands for such a loop nor the right time. The plan was to test at night when the Low Bands would show some life. But around 19.30 the sky began to darken and roar. So I took the wires down and disconnected all coaxes. Glad I did: half an hour later we had a severe T-storm with nearby lightning strikes.
So further testing is in order when I find a more permanent place to put it down. I must say that the loop seems to hear as well as any TX antenna here on the higher bands. But I only heard signals in a 1000 km radius. Directivity wasn’t great but that might be due to the proximity of the signals or to the corner supports that turn out to be conductive after all. I should look for strong bamboo sticks and find a way to jam them into the ground without breaking them. The setup works so I only need to tweak it and do some serious nighttime testing.
Speaking of antennas: I found a REALLY interesting article on 4SQ antennas on the RRDXA website (link here). It’s written by DF6QV who designed the 4 square arrays used on TS7N, 5A7A and more recently VP6DX. Reading the article makes me (and you?) dream of big 80m arrays. My garden is a tidbit too small for that. And it would only be blown over by the storm on every contest weekend. As a coincidence I received my VP6DX QSL card in the mail today. In fact it is not quite a card – it’s a real 16 page booklet the size of a QSL card. It’s full with descriptions of the setup and the expedition in general with a lot of nice color pictures. Great signals, great expedition, great QSL!