My HF Rig and Antenna

HF station overview
HF station overview.
My HF setup consists of a HF transceiver which is connected to a loop antenna using coax cable. Impedance matching between loop antenna and coax cable is done using an ATU and a balun.
Click on the picture to enlarge. 
Kenwood TS-850 transceiver.
Kenwood TS-850 transceiver.

HF transceiver
My HF transceiver is a Kenwood TS-850S multimode transceiver. Receiving range is 100 kHz - 30 MHz. Transmit ranges are the ham bands from 1.8 MHz to 30 MHz. The transceiver is powered by a Kenwood PS-52 PSU.

This transceiver offers a multitude of features like all-band all-mode operation, digital read-out, dual VFOs, RIT/XIT, split mode, full break-in on CW,  notch filter, AGC off/fast/mid/slow, noise blanker, tone control, DSP filter, speech processor, monitoring of transmit signal on SSB/FSK, VOX, and all-mode squelch. Computer aided tuning is also available. Certainly, you can do without these features, but they are worthwhile additions and will increase your operating pleasure. 

The TS-850S has an accurate output meter. The RF level can easily be reduced to 5 W QRP.

Balun and automatic antenna tuner.
Balun and automatic antenna tuner.
An automatic antenna tuner (SG-239 from SGC) is housed inside a weather-proof plastic box and placed close to the feed-point of the loop antenna. DC power for the ATU is supplied via the coax cable. I use a bias-tee at the radio and at the ATU (not seen in the picture). The bias-tee injects/extracts 12 VDC from the coax cable.

A broadband balun (BL2 from Elecraft) is placed between the tuner and the antenna. It is housed inside a plastic box. The balanced side of the balun is connected to the loop antenna. The balun has two impedance options (1:1 or 1:4). I've selected the 1:4 option.   

When the operating frequency is changed (or when the antenna impedance changes due to weather conditions), the antenna tuner requires RF from the transceiver to align for best match and lowest SWR. A few seconds of RF carrier at 5 W is usually enough for this task.                 

Loop skywire antenna.
Loop skywire antenna.

My loop skywire antenna is 43 meters long and erected horizontally. The loop is supported in 4 corners and the feed-line is connected in one of them. The antenna resonates in the 40 meter band but is usable on the higher bands as well. The ATU provides impedance matching between coax cable and antenna at all times.

The loop is made of 1 mm enameled copper wire. The 4 insulators are made of makrolon (high tech polycarbonate) and they are connected to the support points using black 1.5 mm Dyneema rope. Insulators and rope were purchased at


Latest revision: Jan 15th, 2012 by Lars Petersen.