I have never been able to transmit on the 160 meter band. As I hear it, it’s referenced as the ‘Gentleman’s Band’. So I just had to see what the fuss was all about! I’ve been able to ‘listen’ on 160m, but the LDG KT-100 tuner I use, would not tune the 137′ OCF or the 6BTV I had for ANY portion of the 160 meter band. It usually caps out around a 10:1 SWR.

160mband

There was no way I was going to be able to add anymore, take away, or make any adjustments to my OCF, so after a bit of research I discovered that there are a few methods other radio ops have used to get a very small slice of the 160m band on a Hustler vertical.

hustlersketch

Now this is on my 6BTV (6-band trap vertical), I’m not sure if this would work for the 5BTV or the 4BTV but I don’t see why it wouldn’t, your measurements would just be different (or any other type of similar vertical for that matter!). This entails simply inserting a piece of stranded copper wire in place of the whip that’s on the antenna now to make the antenna a resonant length ‘somewhere’ in the 160 meter band!

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14AWG FlexWeave Wire

 

I’m sure the problem for most folks would probably be elevating that other end, especially if you didn’t have a two story house you could attach it to, or a tree nearby, but I remembered that I have this nifty 31′ Jackite Pole that I haven’t used in awhile… Could I possibly attach one end to the tip of the jackite, and stretch it out to form an inverted-L of sorts? Let’s find out!

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Why 160? Simply put, why not? That’s another portion of the spectrum that I need to exercise my right to transmit on! I hear 160 meters can offer some pretty cool propagation characteristics & even surprise you at times, so figured I’d start to experiment with it a bit! (I’m not sure how else I could transmit on 160 on such a small city lot, so I feel very fortunate that this worked). I initially started out with way too long a piece of wire, somewhere around 22-23′ to be safe, but eventually trimmed it down to 17 feet 10 inches which is a bit shorter than I’ve seen other guys use, took me several tries with the antenna analyzer to get it just right.

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This was as good as I could get it!

 

Talk about a narrow slice of spectrum! If I ever wanted to try this in the voice portion of the band I would certainly have to cut another piece of wire, which I just may do, keep it spooled up and labeled for contest & special events, or maybe my first rag-chew on 160! I figured since it was such a narrow slice, it would be best to stick to digital because that would allow me to make more contacts on the band, as opposed to not being able to move around in the voice portion.

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I was afraid the wire and jackite pole would put too much stress on the vertical in any one direction, but there’s barely any pull on the wire, and I’ve since zip tied it to my concrete bucket anchor. The Hustler is also guyed in 4 spots which provides that needed stability. I don’t think this would fair well in high winds, unless you have the pole bolted to the fence or a stationary object somehow.

I immediately hopped on over to the 160m JT frequency (1.838) and proceeded to ‘attempt’ to make some contacts with WSJT-X version 1.7. It was already pitch dark outside by the time I finished with the adjustments. Keeping my fingers crossed I replied to a few CQ’s, first from K5DHY, William, at just over 200 miles away, I figured it was a good start and I’d have a better chance. To my surprise, Will came back to me immediately! I was astonished! I was getting out! Then to W9NED, Paul, up in Indiana, at just over 870 miles away, he also came back to me with a solid report! Thank you guys.

first160mjt

I was also anxious to transmit WSPR on 160 as I know there’s quite a bit of hype around 160 right now due to the low sunspot numbers. Seems every time I hop over to the WSPRnet user group, everyone is talking about 160! I’ve only ever been able to listen on 160 for WSPR and my furthest spot heard on 160 was Hawaii. So I gave the ‘new’ antenna 5 watts of juice from the 590SG, and hoped for the best!

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Checking my 160m spots on DXplorer.net

 

Only stateside spots, but my expectations for 160 weren’t even this high, especially with the numbers presented on the analyzer. Nonetheless, I’m thrilled that I now have access to 160 meters, hopefully with some tweaking, I might be able to improve the efficiency a bit more. The other experiment I want to try one day would be base loading the Hustler for 160 with a coil of some sort, but I imagine that would provide even less performance than this setup.

Adding this wire did result in the loss of 80 meters though, however my LDG KT-100 was able to tune 80 with the added wire, though very inefficient, I think the SWR was around 18 to 1, so that’s the trade off with this setup. There are other methods of adding an additional resonator at the top to keep 80 & add 160, but that comes at a much higher added expense of buying that tubing & resonator. This didn’t cost me a thing except for a spare piece of wire (which I’ve got LOTS of!), and some of my time (wish I had MORE of!). I fold the antenna over when I’m done using it anyways, so switching out the whips & different wires won’t be a problem, if your hustler is permanently deployed, those other options may be of interest to you so you can keep 80 meters. (Hustler also has a resonator for 75 meters).

Hope to join you on 160 meters one day!

Happy DX’ing. 73

K5ACL

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