Delta Loop Antenna

Relatively being a newbie when it comes to the HF universe, I had never tried my hand with the magic 20 meter delta loop. I had established a 40 meter dipole and was happy with the results. Now it was time to move forward and put up a delta loop for the higher bands.

I had browsed a few articles on loops and attempted to visualize what I was going to do. I absorbed bits and pieces of information until I had enough knowledge to assemble the magic loop. In the beginning, I didn’t have a clue.

I read Yet Another Delta Loop Antenna, authored by WB3AYW, an experienced antenna specialist, and I was getting mentally prepared for my antenna building journey.

Other reads that I liked —  Delta Loops for HF by W5SDC, and 28 and 24 MHz Limited Space 3/4 Wave Delta Loop by KL7JR. These are a few ideas to get started.

There are several variations of the delta loop. I wanted to keep it simple but get the desired effect if possible. The formula for a full wave delta loop is 1005/F. This is 1005 divided by whatever frequency you are going to talk on.

Since the 12 gauge single strand copper wire worked well with my 40 meter half wave dipole, I opted to go with it again. I chose 14.200 MHz as my designated frequency. My wire length was 70 feet and 6 inches. I pushed off to a hardware store to have the wire measured and cut.

I chose not to use a balun or a matching stub. The loop is center-fed at the bottom, using 50 ohm coax as the feed going back to the shack. I’ve often wondered how the characteristics would differ with a matching stub.

The initial bench test was a bit confusing at first, because I was new at using a tuner. My HF rig is equipped with an internal tuner. It seemed like my new delta loop was more resonant on 17M instead of 20M and I was okay with that. I could have trimmed the wire to get a fully resonant antenna, but in the end I don’t believe it would’ve made much of a difference. Some compromise antennas require a tuner to get a broader range. 

Someone stated in another post that the delta loop is mostly a single band antenna. And for the most part its true. My delta loop will adequately tune on 20M, 17M, 15M, 12M, and 10M. It is versatile. The two bands that are most resonant are 17M and 20M. I do get a 1:1 SWR on all bands mentioned and I do transmit on 10M with no problem. Bands 15M and 12M are not as resonant but functional.

The receive is fantastic, although not as quiet as some have indicated. It even does fair hooked up to a police scanner.

Oh, a beam will no doubt be the better performer all the way around, but the loop is a great alternative.

My delta loop resembles a giant coathanger. The loop is forgiving when it comes to the shape. I tied one end to a utility pole and the other end to a tree (with rope of course). In the middle I attached the wire to an aluminum pole. The installation process wasn’t bad. Some elbow grease is required.

I highly recommend the 20 meter delta loop antenna if you’re set up for it. I am very satisfied with the outcome. I may try a 40 meter loop in the future.

Will this delta loop work you ask? I’ve talked all over the U.S. and Europe with this antenna. The height isn’t all that great either. The delta loop seems more directional than a dipole, but I’m not exactly sure about this one.

Have you tried a loop antenna? What was your experience?