Topband: Balun or no balun

Dan Maguire via Topband topband at
Tue Nov 11 18:38:32 EST 2014

Tom wrote:
>>> A resonant 160 meter loop around 20-30 feet above the ground has a feedpoint impedance of around 50 ohms on 160, and about 80 ohms on 80 meters. The antenna impedance isn't really high until 40 meters, where it would be resonant far outside the band and have a terrible mismatch to any feedline.

Expanding a bit on what Tom said, the source resistance at resonance will also depend on the type of ground.

With AutoEZ, I first used this dialog to create a 4-sided horizontal loop having a perimeter of "P" ft at a height of "H" ft above ground.

I then created a series of test cases with "H" ranging from 10 to 90 ft (~0.02 to 0.16 λ at 1.8 MHz) in 5 ft steps and with "P" having an initial value of 560 ft (~1005/Freq).  Then the "Resonate" button was used to automatically adjust the loop perimeter "P" for resonance at each height.

Repeating that process for three different ground types gives this result for the source resistance.

With the perimeter frozen at 560 ft, on 40m the loop will not be resonant, as Tom said.  The source *reactance* will be a few hundred ohms negative.  The source *resistance* will look like this.

On the other hand, if you calculate the source resistance for a 40m *resonant* loop (*not* the scenario that the OP described nor which Tom addressed but just to illustrate), where the loop perimeter is ~145 ft and where 90 ft above ground is ~0.65 λ instead of ~0.16 λ, you'll get this.

If you'd like to duplicate these results, or run calculations for a different band, the following model file is suitable for use with the free demo version of AutoEZ (  You'll also need EZNEC and Microsoft Excel.

Download that file, use the AutoEZ "Open Model File" button to open it, tab to the Calculate sheet, select all the "P" values (cells D11-D27), and click the "Resonate" button.  Or change all the frequencies to your new choice and set all the initial "P" values to ~1005/Freq (initial value not critical), then click "Resonate".  Or just set all the frequencies and "P" values as desired and click "Calculate All Rows" instead of "Resonate".  In any case, make sure EZNEC is already open in a separate window beforehand.

When the calculations finish tab to the Custom chart sheet.  Select "R at Src" for the chart Y axis and "Variable 1" (which is "H", height) for the chart X axis.

Dan, AC6LA

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