Portable operators are always looking for effective multi-band antennas. Chameleon Antenna out of Sparks, NV has brought to market a portable-sized delta loop antenna that sets up in minutes and operates on all HF bands plus 6 meters. The heart of the TDL is the Hybrid Mini and/or the Hybrid Micro transformer. The Hybrid series of transformers differ only by their power rating, but both are able to tune the TDL (with the help of an antenna tuner) to an acceptable SWR match on 6-80 meters. The TDL requires no counterpoise wires.
I mounted the TDL on a 3′ section of 3/8-24 threaded rod into the Chameleon CHA spike. This helped lower the SWR while at the same time lowering ground losses. I was able to put the antenna up by myself with no problems. The TDL requires the use of two 213″ telescoping whips as well as a 25′ length of wire. I purchased the wire and the whips from Chameleon. Deployment is easier when each whip is extended individually.
I operated first on 20 meters CW before moving to 40 meters CW, 40 meters SSB, and then 20 meters SSB. Band conditions on 20 and 40 were not optimal. One of the first things I noticed about the TDL was the near elimination of background noise. My favorite spot at Lake Louisa is at the back of the park in the equestrian area. There is usually noticeable RFI from nearby power lines. That RFI was nearly non-existent. I also noticed that the TDL had a distinct broadside directionality. This directionality is not as distinct as a mag loop, but there was a attenuating effect when I rotated the antenna horizontal to the incoming signal.
I operated for 60 minutes and made a total of 52 contacts. 33 contacts were on CW and 19 on SSB. I had DX contacts into Belgium, Germany, Poland, and Italy. I also worked several stations in California, Oregon, and Washington State. Considering the subpar band conditions I was quite pleased with this initial use of the TDL. I will be using over the next few activations. I want to see how it performs on multiple HF bands in good conditions.
One additional note. All my contacts on 40 meters were in NVIS range which is exactly what I was hoping for. Living in a hurricane prone area, the ability to operate NVIS with an easy to deploy portable antenna is important. It seems that the Chameleon TDL will fill that role well.