Looking at my options I decided to re-use the antenna materials and make a delta loop for 7 Mhz band.

Using Kok Chen's (W7AY) CocoaNEC software I created a NEC2 model for Delta Loop.

Using a programming language resembling C it is really easy to create these models - see Fig 2. and code sample below:

model("deltaloop - corner feed ")

{

real h, dh, fr, l, vf;

element _e1, _e2, _e3;

vf = 0.95; //velocity factor of wire

fr = 7.1; //frequency in Mhz

l = c/fr/vf; // length l = 44.44662 m @ 7.1 Mhz

h = 5; // height of the bottom h = 5m, apex at h+dh = 17.8m

dh = sqrt((l/3*l/3) - (l/6)*(l/6));

// three elements are each L / 3 length - using #14 AWG wire // and 21 segments for each element in the model

_e1 = wire(0, -l/6, h, 0, l/6, h, #14, 21) ;

_e2 = wire(0, -l/6, h, 0, 0, h+dh, #14, 21) ;

_e3 = wire(0, l/6, h, 0, 0, h+dh, #14, 21) ;

voltageFeedAtSegment(_e3,1.000000,0.000000,1);

averageGround();

frequencySweep(6.9, 7.3, 40);

}

Fig1. Delta Loop Current Magnitude |

Fig2. Model dimensions |

Fig 3. SWR plot of NEC2 model |

Fig 4. 3D shape of radiation pattern |

The NEC2 model above is designed for SWR minimum at 7.1 Mhz.

Fig 3. shows that Zmag at resonance is about 140 ohms making SWR at the minimum about 2.8 : 1 without any impedance matching.

By changing model parameters like feed point, height and ground quality you can influence the impedance.

In my back yard I have about 70 ft tall tree so having the loop apex pulled up at ~ 60 ft is doable with a proper support rope going through the top branches of the tree.

In my back yard I have about 70 ft tall tree so having the loop apex pulled up at ~ 60 ft is doable with a proper support rope going through the top branches of the tree.

The model also shows the 3D radiation pattern that has a weird looking indentation on one side. This is also visible on the azimuth graph Fig 5. below.

The antenna feed point (Delta-C Center Insulator) is at the bottom loop corner very close to the house - see the picture below. I added two ferrite chokes to suppress common mode current and also put some new self fusing silicone coax tape around the PL239 connector to prevent moisture entering the coaxial cable.

Fig 7. The apex of the delta loop |

The apex is barely visible in the Fig 7. Following the black support rope from left bottom corner (from apex of my 18 Mhz delta loop) towards middle of the photo you can see a gray insulator in the middle of the branches.

Fig8. The 7 Mhz delta loop - 145 feet total wire length |

I wanted to get the resonance frequency at 7.1 Mhz. After doing some measurements using AIMuhf antenna analyzer I added 11 ft of wire to the existing 80 m half wave dipole to convert it to a full wavelength 7.1 Mhz loop antenna.

Original 80 m antenna was 134 feet, so the new length is 145 feet (44.196 meters). This corresponds to the NEC2 model fairly closely (NEC2 model L = 44.44 meters).

From the delta loop articles in the internet you can get all kind of formulas such as L = 1005/f for the wire length.

As the local environment influences the antenna it is better to make the wire a bit longer and use an antenna analyzer to cut it to the resonance length.

The SWR minimum 1.33:1 was at 7.1 Mhz after adjusting the wire length. SWR is below 2.0 between 7.0 and 7.2 Mhz as demonstrated by the red line in Fig 9. below. To validate AIMUhf results I measured SWR and it was around 1.5 also according to my other SWR meters.

From the NEC2 model I expected that I would need a 2:1 balun or some other impedance matching network as the model did show 140 ohm impedance at the feed point.

However, the measured Zmag (green line) is 37.5 Ohm at 7.1 Mhz resonance frequency. This measurement was not done at the feed point but at the end of a 112 feet 50 Ohm coax line. The coax line usually impacts the complex impedance. At 7.1 Mhz the wavelength is L = (300/7.1)*0.82 = 34.65 m (113.67 ft) as Belden RG8X that I am using has velocity factor of 82%. This is within 1% the length of the coax so we can ignore the coax line as it is 2x half wavelength and according the wikipedia in this special case.

It looks like I need to analyze this discrepancy between the model and real antenna a bit more.

However, the measured Zmag (green line) is 37.5 Ohm at 7.1 Mhz resonance frequency. This measurement was not done at the feed point but at the end of a 112 feet 50 Ohm coax line. The coax line usually impacts the complex impedance. At 7.1 Mhz the wavelength is L = (300/7.1)*0.82 = 34.65 m (113.67 ft) as Belden RG8X that I am using has velocity factor of 82%. This is within 1% the length of the coax so we can ignore the coax line as it is 2x half wavelength and according the wikipedia in this special case.

It looks like I need to analyze this discrepancy between the model and real antenna a bit more.

Fig 9. AIMuhf Antenna Analyzer output |

I looked at my coax cables to find out where this discrepancy is coming from. I turned out to be more complicated than I thought. I had 25 ft RG8X coax from ham shack to my feedthrough panel. Then I had 37.5 ft of RG8U connected to 50 ft of RG213/U coax that was feeding the antenna. Total length was 112.5 ft and all this coax is supposed to be 50 Ohm but one problem was that all these coax cables have different velocity factors.

RG213/U should be 66% and RG8U should be 78% (foam). I did not measure VF of these two latter ones.

I decided to simplify this coaxial setup and use only one type of coaxial cable. I had 20 ft and 50 ft RG213/U cables that was just enough to get to the antenna feed point. After re-cabling this setup I measured coax length using AIMuhf TDR function, see Fig 10. below. I was surprised to see a big variation between 30 - 42 Ohms on the coax impedance that should nominally be 50 Ohms. I re-calibrated AIMuhf but got the same results.

Fig 10. 25ft + 50 ft of RG213/U coax cables |

Using this newly installed 70 ft RG213/U cable I measured the delta loop again. The SWR minimum has shifted 10 kHz lower to 7090 kHz.

Fig 11. Delta loop SWR measurement. |

Using VK1OD.net RF transmission line calculator and taking Zmag 45.7 from above to Zin I got the following results:

# RF Transmission Line Loss Calculator

Parameters | |

Transmission Line | RG-213/U |

Code | RG-213/U |

Data source | DSE |

Frequency | 7.100 MHz |

Length | 70.000 ft |

Zin | 45.70+j0.00 Ω |

Yin | 0.021882+j0.000000 S |

Results | |

Zo | 50.00-j0.39 Ω |

Velocity Factor, VF^{ -2} | 0.660, 2.296 |

Length | 275.63 °, 0.766 λ, 21.336 m |

Line Loss (matched) | 0.355 dB |

Line Loss | 0.356 dB |

Efficiency | 92.13 % |

Zload | 55.12+j0.17 Ω |

Yload | 0.018142-j0.000056 S |

VSWR(50)load | 1.10 |

Once again the NEC2 model and reality seem to be far off -- the Zload results above 55.12 Ohms +j0.17 does not seem to match with 140 Ohms predicted by NEC2 model.

Looks like this investigation will continue.

In any case I did work several stations with this new delta loop antenna with good results.

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