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Having lived in Northern Calif and now in Colorado the propagation from further west than Illinois where you live, is a big factor.
Nevertheless, there are mysteries in 160M propagation. A friend (SK) who lived here, K9BWI had around 300 countries on 160M from Colorado and the rest of us wondered why--a 50ft shunt fed tower in a city neighborhood. We have various conjectures on why, mine is the grounding of his house, being that soil conductivity is very poor here, others are "golden ears", an exceptional operator (worth many S units).
Another example is W0ZV (now W4ZV) who worked many countries on 160M from Colorado years ago. When I saw his antenna the explanation was clear: a 160ft tower with a cage radiator and 32 elevated radials, a rural (quiet) location on top of a small hill. This guy was not only a really good engineer but an exceptional operator as well.
Not being an expert on 160M propagation, I'd guess that the path from W6 to EU going through the auroral zone is an additional challenge.
On 4/28/21 8:59 AM, Lyn Norstad wrote:
I figured it would be an impressive assortment of 160m antennas, and you don't disappoint. With all that going for you, there must be something else holding back 160 at your location (terrain? ground conductivity? bad connection somewhere?). I say that because you mention needing to run full legal power on 160 to work EU.
You'd probably laugh at my 160 setup, but basically it's a simple 5/8 wave dipole (360 feet E-W with max sig N-S) center fed with 600 ohm ladder line (160 feet) with all the appropriate impedance matching, choke, etc. I seldom run more than 50 watts (can go to 500 if needed, but hardly ever do on any band). Yet in 2 short years, I have made over 4,000 contacts on 160 including 61 DXCC entities and separately, WAS in a long weekend. I generally receive better sig reports than I give. And as you know, I am dead center in the dreaded "Black Hole" of DX.
Maybe all those redwoods are a factor? Or ground conductivity?
From: Elecraft-K3@groups.io [mailto:Elecraft-K3@groups.io] On Behalf Of Jim Brown
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 9:34 PM
Subject: Re: [Elecraft-K3] K3 power adjustment
On 4/27/2021 4:48 PM, Lyn Norstad wrote:
Jim -Hi Len,
What are you using for an antenna on 160?
I have three for TX. The first, a Tee with the top supported to about
100 ft between two redwoods, with about 60 on-ground radials; the other
two are wires sloping to the east and to the west from the 120 ft tower
that holds my straight 3-el SteppIR, 30 ft long 6M Yagi, and feedpoint
for 40M wire Yagi. The wires are insulated from the tower, and fed, one
at a time, from the base against 4 radials elevated about 20 ft. The
tower acts as a passive reflector. The tower also acts as a reflector
for the Tee to the south. The tower has 8-10 on-ground radials
For RX, I have two reversible Beverages using DX Eng hardware, 550 ft to
EU/VK, and 500 ft to SA/JA. And I have a pair of VE3DO loops spaced 5/8
wave and aimed at EU, that I can steer +/- 30 degrees with a DX Eng NCC-1.
There's something wrong with the two sloping wires that I need to fix
during the summer. It's got directivity, but negative gain, so I suspect
something with the connection of the tower's radial system.