Small transmitting loop enthusiasts search for explanations of why their antennas are so fantastic.
One of those fantastic explanation is from KK5JY:
I have spent some time thinking about this discrepancy, and how to account for it within the typical ham home-made loop. This is not to say that I am asserting this as correct, but I suspect there are straightforward reasons why the efficiency of a small loop of typical construction could be better than the classic formulae predict.
One simple possibility has to do with construction. Many loop designs, mine included, use open-ended copper tubing for the radiating element. Mechanically, this means that the loop itself actually has two conductors, wired in parallel. One is the outside of the loop conductor, and one is the inside of the loop conductor. The reason for this is skin effect. Anybody who has run high power RF into a coaxial cable that is poorly matched to a balanced antenna is familiar with the “feedline radiation” effect, where the shield of the coaxial cable forms two conductors, with current flowing on both. In the loop case, The outer and inner surfaces of the loop conductor are connected together at the ends, so the two conductor shells carry current in parallel. Depending on the difference in diameter of the two surfaces, the effective increase in surface area can be almost 100%, roughly doubling the surface area of the main element. “But the inner conductor is shielded from the environment by the outer conductor,” someone might object. This is true for the electrical field, but not the magnetic field, which just happens to be the largest component of the EM near-field created by this type of antenna. A small loop is driven almost completely by the magnetic field generated by the driven element, and the lines of magnetic flux cut both the inner and outer surfaces of the main (large) loop, inducing current flow into each one, independently, and the two are able to create a combined magnetic field around the antenna.
At radio frequencies where skin depth is small wrt tube wall thickness, a wave can propagate along the inside of an empty copper tube, provided the frequency is sufficiently high. The tube is functioning as a waveguide, and propagation is practical above its cutoff frequency, which for 20mm ID tube is almost 8.8GHz (fc=1.85*c0/(2πr)).
Below the cutoff frequency, attenuation is very high. One online calculator (that I have not checked) gives the attenuation in 3m of 20mm ID tube as 4800dB at 7MHz.
No, there is unlikely to be any significant current flow inside the tube in a HF STL. KK5JY is confused.