WSPR/FT8 experiments with a balcony mounted 1-meter loop antenna

Let me be honest here – I had to – initially – resort to 100W and careful tuning and positioning of the antenna to reach the most distant locations.

In this picture, there are accumulated reports over several hours

BUT THEN I REDUCED THE POWER TO 5W WITH NO SIGNIFICANT LOSS.

After reducing the power to 5W I waited shortly after a TX and looked at “past 10 minutes”

There are so many variables involved, including the band conditions (I am mostly on 20m band) that there is not much to be deciphered from the results, except that it is great fun using the WSPR (Weak Signal Propagation Reporter) and related web site at http://wsprnet.org where results are near real-time, as such quite useful for testing out different settings.

Altogether in addition to the first somewhat long-distance FT8 QSO to Oman (A41ZZ), past few days have yet again proven that one needs to spend considerable time with the setup, learn to use all the components – the whole stack – and test nearly endless combinations. In regards to the situation at QTH and equipment used, I tend to think that despite initial excessive power rating for WSPR or FT8, I can still be relatively happy at the outcome.

It would however be important to reduce the power as much as possible, as that would indicate better skills and as a matter of fact many use diminutive power ratings, when operating these modes.

Here’s the antenna setup as used on the balcony during a previous test, which indicated much better reception from a distance of about 1500 km’s for voice communications. But what has really been the most important thing is to tune the antenna for the given position and the frequency, as loop antennas tend to have a very narrow bandwidth.

In general I need to bite the bullet and start experimenting with various wire antennas and verticals. Those may not be possible at the QTH, so it’s going to be mobile time, once the Buick has the broken front wheel bearing replaced, and we will be off to summer vacation. But for an apartment dweller, the loop has certainly been a success, albeit with a long learning curve.

– 73 de OH2BNF