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An 80 meters DX Antenna: A Spiral Loop

A half-wave dipole would have a length of 40 meters in this band (3.75 MHz), difficult to install at home due to lack of space. Not to mention the complaints from our neighbors.

A spiral loop is attractive for its small size and relative ease of tuning because it is basically an inductor to which a variable capacitor is connected at the feed point to achieve resonance. However, the radiation resistance is extremely small, on the order of milliohms and therefore the efficiency is very low.

Unfortunately any small loss severely affects the antenna efficiency, such as losses in the capacitor, wires, interconnections, solder joints, surrounding objects, ground plane, to name just a few. In fact, this antenna can be tuned and get a wide bandwidth thanks to all the losses. The maximum radiation occurs upwards when the antenna is installed vertical to the ground plane, so some have suggested installing it horizontally. We should emphasize, however, that it is a popular design due to its ease of installation and small size, but we must be careful because high voltages can be expected, especially in the tuning capacitor.

This AN-SOF model consists of a frame of 50 cm on each side (0.00625 of the wavelength) with 7 turns of wire. This is another example where we need to simulate with very short wire segments, very close to each other and bent at right angles.

In these results we can see the effect on the input resistance of adding losses in the ground plane and surrounding objects, such as a wall,

Perfect ground: 4 milliohm
“Cities industrial poor” ground: 1.3 Ohm
“Cities industrial poor” ground + wall: 49 Ohm

This design can be easily transformed into a multi-band antenna by shorting turns of wire, much like a variable inductor, to make it operate on the 40, 30 and 20 meter bands.

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Modeling an 80 m Spiral Loop with AN-SOF.
Modeling an 80 m Spiral Loop with AN-SOF.

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