160 meters - or Bust!

NOTE: If you are a program chairman of a ham radio club I have a 20 minute presentation on the design and construction of this antenna. (Feel free to download the slide deck) and email me here if you are interested in  arranging a talk.

We start with my classic suburban lot (100' x 70') outside Boston which provides little room to build antennas for the lower bands.


While I was able to install a 100-foot dipole (along the back of the property) and tune well enough for 80 meter WAS, performance on 160 meters was sub-par. It's easy to see why, since the dipole was only 25 feet above ground - a fraction of a wavelength on 160 - meaning most of my signal was going up, not out, as we see in this EZNEC plot:


After exploring my options (including a sloper, inverted "U," several variations of an "L," some home-brew verticals with capacitive "top hats," as well as verticals sold by DxEngineering and MFJ) I decided to try an experiment suggested by Woody, WW1WW, to convert my 100-foot dipole, which was fed by twin-lead, into a vertical.


The EZNEC plot shows I would achieve the goal of radiating most of the station's RF at an angle:

Vertical EZNEC

The details of the design, testing, and optimization of this incredibly successful vertical (including the why and how of installing a loading coil to improve performance)  can be found on a page I call "The 160 Vertical Norse Saga" because of the effort required to find the optimal number and layout of radials on my property:


The vertical (and critical radials) immediately and dramatically improved performance on "the Gentleman's Band." My states total went from 15 (all east of the Mississippi) to all 50 states. I also went from a count of 12 entities (all on or near North America) to 77 - including New Zealand and Antarctica! Here are the lists of all my WAS contacts, followed by an ongoing list of entities I continue to rack up on 160:

50 States on 160 meters!

Mode Call Locator State Date
FT8 AL7TC BP15 AK 12/30/2019
JT65 KX4X EM62wi AL 11/16/2011
CW W5TZC EM34kh AR 11/14/2011
CW N7DD DM42lj AZ 1/28/2012
JT65 N6KMR CN91rn CA 12/31/2011
CW K0RF DN70jf CO 11/27/2011
SSB K1OQ FN41bp CT 8/24/2007
SSB N3PG FM28fw DE 5/6/2011
SSB WD3J EM70vk FL 5/16/2011
CW W1IBQ EM73um GA 12/28/2008
FT8 K9FD/KH6 BL11 HI 12/29/2019
JT65 W0MRZ EN42ea IA 11/16/2011
JT65 N7ESU DN17oq ID 12/31/2011
CW K9CT EM50aq IL 12/18/2011
JT65 W9THD EN71hp IN 11/23/2011
JT65 K0ASK EM28in KS 12/15/2012
CW W5MX EM77up KY 12/2/2011
JT65 W5ADD EM40wl LA 11/25/2011
SSB W1KQ FN42ip MA 8/24/2007
SSB K3WX FM19md MD 12/12/2008
CW W3HBM FN54vj ME 9/16/2011
HELL W8LEW EN72QP MI 2/06/2009
CW WI0S EN34ew MN 12/13/2008
JT65 K0TPP EM48rj MO 11/24/2011
JT65 N4UPX EM50jm MS 12/31/2011
JT65 N3RC DN45op MT 12/31/2011
CW W4MY FM15du NC 12/28/2008
JT65 ND0B EN07gn ND 3/5/2013
CW K0HA EN10lx NE 1/29/2012
CW K1BX FN43dc NH 1/11/2009
CW K2TTT FN20rw NJ 12/19/2010
JT65 AI5I DM65 NM 2/27/2013
CW K7CA DM26kc NV 12/28/2014
CW NN2L FN23ub NY 12/10/2008
CW KQ8M EN91hr OH 5/30/2010
CW K5CM EM25ir OK 12/4/2011
JT65 K7ZV CN82gk OR 1/4/2013
CW W8FJ FN20ic PA 12/28/2008
SSB W1XX FN41ej RI 2/27/2011
JT65 N4BAF EM84st SC 10/3/2011
JT65 WA0GMH Em19fa SD 1/29/2013
CW AD4EB EM65nt TN 12/2/2011
JT65 W5GW EM10ba TX 12/27/2011
JT65 KB7EEG DN31wd UT 1/4/2013
SSB W4NF FM18hq VA 2/27/2011
CW WB2MIC FN33jk VT 12/10/2008
JT65 K7LFY DN18bi WA 12/29/2011
CW NE9U EN54fl WI 12/3/2011
CW KE7/8 EM99 WV 1/21/2011
JT65 WY7FD DN74pm WY 12/10/2011

Now the list of entities contacted on 160. (I list Orkney Islands separately from Scotland - go to www.joeandnemo.com to learn why.)  Countries marked in red were collected after extending the vertical in January 2019 from 22' to 35' (thanks to a mighty pull on a slingshot, details on the The 160 Vertical Norse Saga page.)

Country/Entity Callsign Grid Mode Miles
New Zealand
ZL4AS RE43vt FT8 9488
Antarctica RN1ANL JB59 FT8 8792
Argentina LU8DPM GF03 FT8 5567
Cyprus 5B4AMM
KM65 FT8 5265
European Russia
RT6T LN05xb FT8 5125
Hawaii K9FD/KH6 BL11 FT8 5031
Crete SV9CVY KM25ka FT8 4915
Bulgaria LZ2WO KN22oo CW 4604
Ukraine UX1UA KO50em FT8 4470
Serbia YU1EL KN03ev FT8 4353
Belarus EU1WW KO34 FT8 4187
Bosnia-Herzegovina E77DX JN84ix CW 4182
Hungary HA7TM JN97 FT8 4171
Slovenia S51V JN86cm CW 4105
Croatia 9A1A JN75vn CW 4101
Lithuania LY7Z KO15we CW 4086
Slovak Republic OM2XW JN88ss CW 4079
Austria OE8SKQ JN76jn CW 4045
Czech Republic OL7M JO80cf CW 3977
Poland SP3DOI JO81vp FT8 3972
Finland OH1XX KP10ok CW 3886
Mauritania 5T5PA IL40li FT8 3774
Aaland Island OH0Z JP90we CW 3773
Italy IK4ADE JN54oe FT8 3758
Sweden SM3NRY JO99ah CW 3758
Switzerland HB3YAT JN46bt JT65 3758
Denmark OZ3AEV JO65gq JT65 3672
Spain EA3NE JN11an JT65 3652
Germany DL8GP JN39lh JT65 3634
Peru OA4AZP FI20ge JT65 3630
France F6ECI JN05sa JT65 3524
Morocco CN2CO IM64 FT8 3512
Belgium ON4GPE JO21nb FT8 3511
France F6GCP JN16gq FT8 3497
Norway LA7QIA JO29ta FT8 3335
Svalbard JW7QIA JO29ta FT8 3334
Portugal CT7ANG IM67 FT8 3334
Canary Islands EA8AT IL38 FT8 3289
England G3BJ IO82om CW 3157
Wales GW5R IO82 CW 3112
Scotland MM0SJH IO89jb SSB 3042
Scotland (Orkney Is)
MM0EAX IO89ka FT8 3031
Northern Ireland MI/3Z0X IO64pp FT8 2951
Ireland EI4KF IO54ue CW 2908
Iceland TF3DT IP04rr FT8 2547
Venezuela YV1KK FJ66wp CW 2512
Mexico XE1GRR DL80ho JT65 2418
Costa Rica
TI7W EK80aa CW 2379
Trinidad & Tobago 9Y4/VE3EY FK90ik CW 2308
Azores CU2CE HM58xl SSB 2270
Madeira Is. CT3MD HM58qm FT8 2239
Nicaragua H7/RM0F EK72is CW 2237
Colombia HK1T FK20ox SSB 2203
Grenada J38XX FK92aa CW 2190
Barbados 8P9AE GK03fe CW 2154
Saint Vincent J88HL FK93jg CW 2119
Curacao Is. PJ2T FK52kg CW 2105
Bonaire Island
PJ4A FK52me CW 2103
HR1LW EK84JB FT8 2090
Aruba P49X FK52al FT8 2076
Saint Lucia J68GU FK94mb FT8 2070
Martinique FM5CD FK94kq CW 2025
Belize V31YN EK58 FT8 1965
Dominica J79WTA FK95 FT8 1964
Montserrat VP2MSN FK86vq CW 1872
St. Kitts & Nevis Island
V47KA FK87pg FT8 1816
St. Eustatius & Saba Is PJ5/SP6IXF
FK87ml FT8 1798
US Virgin Is. NP2J FK77ps CW 1762
St. Martin
FS/VA7XW FK88 FT8 1754
Puerto Rico KP4KE FK68kl CW 1687
Greenland XP3A GP44de FT8 1684
Cayman Islands
ZF2CW EK99 LSB 1680
Dominican Rep. HI3K FK49ps SSB 1581
Turks & Caicos Is. VP5CW FL41aa CW 1495
Bahamas C6ANA FL24aa SSB 1315
Cuba CO8LY FK29bx JT65 920
Bermuda VP9/WW3S FM72ph CW 792
Jamaica 6Y5WJ EN82jl CW 619
Canada VA3WU FN03jc FT8 414
USA K1DG FN42ht CW 38