Topband: Vertical antennas aren't always best for DX everywhere - the facts

donovanf at donovanf at
Thu Nov 22 11:56:23 EST 2018

Hi Rick and Steve, 

Steve's QTH is almost directly north of the south geomagnetic pole. 
His latitude is approximately 32 degrees south geographic latitude 
and approximately 43 degrees south geomagnetic latitude. His QTH 
is at approximately the same geomagnetic latitude as the Georgia 
in the northern hemisphere. 

I can't comment on the actual horizontal vs. vertical polarization 
experience of topband operators in the Georgia.; however, W8JI lives 
in Georgia and his experience with a very high horizontally polarized 
dipole was mostly unfavorable compared to his 4-square vertical 
array. Georgia probably has reasonably good soil conductivity. 

My suspicion is that the soil in the Fresnel zone of Steve's vertical 
antennas (the mostly far field region where ground gain is developed) 
has very poor conductivity. Poor Fresnel Zone conductivity has very 
little impact on the performance of horizontally polarized antennas. 

AM broadcast antenna engineers who have worked in VK6 may have 
some experience with soil conductivity impacts on the effectiveness 
of AM broadcasting antennas in that area. 


----- Original Message -----

From: "Richard (Rick) Karlquist" <richard at> 
To: "Steve Ireland" <vk6vz at>, n4is at, donovanf at, "Topband reflector" <topband at> 
Cc: "Dave Olean" <k1whs at> 
Sent: Thursday, November 22, 2018 3:40:10 PM 
Subject: Re: Topband: Vertical antennas aren't always best for DX everywhere - the facts 

Holy YMMV. Thanks for your great posting of what most of us didn't know 
(I know I didn't). Do you have any numerical data concerning the ground 
conductivity in VK6 vs the VK east coast? The conductivity at my 
QTH is around 30mS, so obviously you are in an alternative universe 
by comparison. I am trying to separate out ground conductivity vs 
geomagnetic latitude. Isn't the VK east basically at the same 
latitude as VK6? It would be interesting to try a vertical on 
the beach on the Indian Ocean in VK6. This would presumably eliminate 
the ground conductivity issue, leaving only the geomagnetic stuff. 

Rick N6RK 

On 11/22/2018 1:49 AM, Steve Ireland wrote: 
> Hi JC 
> In my experience, here in the southern hemisphere and relatively close 
> to the equator, I wish that "Vertical TX antenna is the only way to work 
> DX on topband!" 
> Unfortunately vertical antennas mostly don't work here well where I am 
> in south-western WA - there is too much ground loss in the far field and 
> poor geomagnetic latitude for them. 
> When I lived in the UK and was G3ZZD (1971 to 1989) , I used verticals, 
> inverted-Ls and inverted-tees over elevated radials exclusively for 
> low-band DXing. It was very disappointing to find that when I moved into 
> the Perth Hills in 1995 and got back on 160m that verticals didn't work 
> like they did at my previous QTHs in the UK. 
> Mystified by this situation, I contacted Dr Nick Hall-Patch, a 
> radio/physics scientist at a university in British Columbia, who 
> explained the wonders of geomagnetic lat/long to me - and pointed out at 
> my geomagnetic lat/long a (mainly) vertical polarised antenna might only 
> break even with a (mainly) horizontal antenna, even if the ground 
> conductivity was good. 
> Mike VK6HD, who was my mentor on 160m, had learnt about the favouring of 
> our location for predominantly horizontal polarisation many years before 
> - and, after trying a raft of inverted-Ls and various ways of 
> shunt-loading his tower, settled on using a flat-top dipole or inverted 
> vee dipole as high in the air as he could get it. Independently, Phil 
> VK6GX (formerly VK6ABL) went a similar journey to Mike and also settled 
> an identical philosophy for 160m antennas. 
> As outlined in my tribute on Mike's page, when Mike moved to his 
> final QTH, near Albany, on several hectares besides the Kalgan River 
> estuary, he finally thought he had found a location where a vertical 
> would work. Over about 18 months, he laid down a full-size broadcast 
> ground screen of 120 quarter wave radials and put up an inverted-L with 
> an 80 feet vertical section over it. He compared this very carefully 
> against an inverted vee dipole at 90', which was detuned/shorted when 
> the vertical was in use. 
> Mike then embarked on 18 months of testing - and much to his 
> disappointment discovered that the inverted-L was mostly up to two 'S' 
> points down on the inverted vee dipole. The only times the vertical was 
> better was occasionally over one and half hours before sunrise - and 
> similarly it could sometimes be better over one a half hours after sunset. 
> The good news is once in a blue moon the vertical would work better than 
> the dipole on long distance DX - and enabled Mike to work P4 (Aruba) and 
> HC. 
> Almost entirely the rest of Mike's 260+ countries on 160m were worked on 
> flat-top or inverted vee dipoles. 
> After another year or so, Mike quietly took the inverted-L down - and 
> concentrated instead on improving his 160m reception through the use of 
> Beverage antennas. 
> For many years, Mike and I were treated by several knowledgeable 160m 
> DXers as being either incompetent or deluded about a simple horizontal 
> cloud warmer being better than a vertical in south-western WA. I used 
> to get angry about it, but Mike (who was older and wiser) would just 
> laugh and say let those in the rest of the world have their own beliefs 
> about what actually happens where we live. 
> If the books in English on 160m antennas and operating had been written 
> in VK6, rather than in high latitude USA and Europe, they would say very 
> different things about verticals, along the lines of: "Don't torture 
> yourself." ;-) Note also that verticals seem to work just fine in the 
> rest of Australia on 160m, but not in relatively coastal south-western VK6 
> Practically for me, verticals of all kinds are occasionally useful at 
> this QTH in working middle distances around 1,000 to 5,000 km, such as 
> in the western Pacific. Later this year, I'll carry out the switching 
> arrangements so I can use my 160m doublet as a top-loaded vertical, but 
> I'm not expecting much in the way of good results, except at these 
> distances (in which I've already just about worked all the countries 
> there is ;-)). 
> By the way, I have a ground screen of over 30 x 30m radials and a K2AV 
> counterpoise over them - for all the good they (don't) do me. If I was 
> back in Kent as G3ZZD they would do very well for me. 
> Vy 73 
> Steve, VK6VZ (also G3ZZD and VY2LF) 
> -----Original Message----- From: n4is at 
> Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2018 8:38 PM 
> To: 'Steve Ireland' ; donovanf at ; 'Topband reflector' 
> Cc: 'Dave Olean' 
> Subject: RE: Topband: Vertical and horizontal polarized antennas in the 
> same space (was Propagation improves from VK6 into Europe) 
> Hi Steve. 
> You are 100 % right, the V works like a top hat for a vertical TX antenna. 
> I it simple to detune any vertical TX antenna. Vertical TX antenna is 
> the only way to work DX on topband! 
> You may ask about the inverted V or low dipole, they are not 100% 
> horizontal, actually they are 50% horizontal on the broadside and 50% 
> vertical along the wire. 
> Ground reflects horizontal signals -1, it means 180 degree out of phase, 
> and the reflected signal cancels the arriving signal, The Arriving 
> signal is maximum only near 1 1/2 wave high above ground 750ft!!!. 
> The vertical reflected signal has +1 and add to the arriving signal 
> producing gain, ground gain. 
> Detuning a TX antenna is like a LC circuit, you need high impedance 
> between the antenna and the ground. The UNIPOLE or cage antenna works 
> very well to detune grounded towers up to 30 db, and it is easy to feed 
> with 200 ohms, becoming a very large broadband antenna. Isolated towers 
> or inverted V is the same, they need high isolation from ground. 
> I sed the same configuration for over 20 years, the open line works very 
> well 80 - 10m. 
> Regards 
> JC 
> M4IS 
> --- 
> This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software. 
> _________________ 
> Searchable Archives: - Topband Reflector 
Searchable Archives: - Topband Reflector 

More information about the Topband mailing list