The Basic Dipole Antenna for 160 meters
One of the major problems with a dipole on 160 meters is physical size. The formula 468/F will give the length for any given frequency, but for many hams the room isn’t available to put up such an antenna as for 1.9 megahertz as it requires 260 feet of space. If you have this room available to you then you have the ability to put up a full size antenna which will yield superior results especially if it can be mounted above 50 feet at the feed point.
Here is another approach that will have to be investigated such as a shortened dipole or loading coils. Whatever you do, don’t attempt a G5RV or Carolina Windom or an 80 meter dipole. These antennas should be only as a last resort as these will only give marginal results at best. Please keep in mind you can fold the dipole or bend it trying to keep a minimum of 90 degree in the bends if possible so as not to cancel out rf signal path any more than necessary.
The inverted L is another very good performer that requires only half the space approx. 125 feet of radiator worked against a ground rod and radial system will provide good performance and is a great DX antenna for 160.
Remember try to use as many radials within reason as possible, a good start is 8 or 12. Then you can add to increase performance.
The radials will minimize the ground losses inherent in a vertical type antenna. Also try to make the radiator portion as high as possible before you bend the top over. Typically 60 to 70 feet is a good goal to shoot for but good local results can be had with as short as 35 to 40 feet of vertical radiator, and then run the remainder out to complete the 1/4 wave of wire radiator.