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Cold Weather Loop Performance

cold weather loop

Now that I have been through most of a Calgary winter, I thought a few comments were in order about cold weather loop performance.

Calgary can get pretty cold in the Canadian winter, at least for short spells. Our coldest months are December and January, occasionally February, too. Temperatures typically range from -3C during the day, to -12C at night. But averages can be misleading. We are also fairly windy which can add wind chill.

This winter, we have experienced some weeks where temperatures stayed between -20C to -30C, maximum and minimum. We experienced wind chills of -35C to -40C for several days in a row. Too cold to go for a walk.

My good news is that my wideband loops with their active antenna amplifiers from LZ1AQ performed fine during these cold spells. Even with snow build-up on the loops, directional patterns remained strong. Even at the -40C wind chills. the antenna amplifier put out consistent signals. I guess the amplifier parts are specified properly for cold weather loop performance.

Making my loops from aluminum core PEX probably helps with snow build-up. The PEX plastic protects the inner aluminum active element. Although I can’t find any cold weather ratings for cross-linked polyethylene, Calgary winter does not pose a problem.

Also, for my CAT7, I did not install outdoor rated cable.  Regular indoor cable seems to work fine in the winter, especially if it does not have to move around. We will see how long term works.

Cold Weather Loop Structures Performance

As I have described previously, my wideband loop support structures are plastic, mainly 3D printer parts. My choice of plastic material is PETG. Polyethylene terephthalate Glycol filament turns out robust parts less brittle than many plastics, as well as UV and weather resistant. So far, no cracks or failures in the cold weather.

All in all, I am very happy with the performance of these loops in very hot and very cold weather.

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