Working the WindoVert.. a short Marconi antenna in the ARRL 160M contest


Jeff   VE1ZAC


More than a year ago I had occasion, and need, to optimize a 160M antenna for my small urban lot in Halifax. My longest antenna on this lot is a Radio Works 80M Windom, which provides excellent results for a multi band antenna. ( The ends of this antenna actually leak off my property, but I have some co-operative neighbours).  For 160, I have a switching and match box mounted at the base of the feed line at the mast which converts the rig to a top loaded Marconi vertical working against some rather poor radials.


I have had all kinds of fun working DX with this antenna. However, last weekend, I had opportunity to spend a few hours working the ARRL 160M contest. This was a great opportunity to test the antenna and show how well a small antenna like this can perform. The band is alive with signals over the whole weekend. Many are from stations with high end antennas , including beverages, and lots of power who will receive and transmit well. They are hunting for signals that can come from limited antennas like mine. There are even more stations using similar limited antennas and low power.


To make a long story short, I was really thrilled with how well this antenna worked!  I ran my new IC7700 at 150 watts and had a lot of fun. Conditions were good too, which certainly helps.  Keep in mind that this is a pretty inefficient antenna.


Some of my better catches:

EW1UE   Belarus

PI4UEN  Netherlands

OM2UL  Slovak Republic

ON4UN  Belgium ( John Develdore, famed low band author)

TM6M    France

Z52AH  Cayman Islands


and in the US and Canada, my best hookup West of here:

W2IZL  Nebraska

5K0T    San Andres and Providence


I seem to have less luck with western continental contacts, but that might have a lot to do with my operating hours, and the fact that I am on the Atlantic Ocean, and probably favour the Eastern propagation paths as a result.


Not particularly exotic, but notable was a contact with K9AY, Gary Breed, of the K9AY Loop fame and noted all around RF guy.


A less than ideal 50 foot top loaded vertical can make some decent contacts !. Next time there is something like this on, I will try with power ( 600 watts in my case) to see how it performs. I should have a chance to work some of the Stew Parry Top Band event on Dec 27.