Loops Help with a Youloop Setup on Military Housing

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Deadguy

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Hey everybody. Here's where I'm at...

I'm new-ish to HF and I am starting my first HF receiver setup. I'm using an Airspy HF+ Discovery and a brand new Youloop. I bought it specifically because I have the following limitations:

1. I live on an Air Force base...so ANY sort of outdoor antenna worth anything is forbidden. I cant even attach anything to the roof. I get that. The aircraft fly so low I can throw a rock at them.

2. There are powerlines in my backyard.

3. We have solar panels on the roof.

I'm here asking for a bit of help. From what I've seen so far, my Youloop is a very decent antenna, especially for the price. It was advertised as being able to handle the noise from inside a house. To be honest I don't really know any better. With that said, the antenna works WAY better outside...obviously.

Does anyone have any ideas about what I can do to increase my indoor reception? I understand that the more power I can turn off in the house the better. Thing is...I have a wife who, to her credit, puts up with a TON, and 2 boys who are always doing something electrical.

What about any ideas about how to keep my loop in a roughly circular shape? The coax is decently stiff...it's meant to be portable and fold up.

I know I have a lot of LIMFACs here...any help is VERY much appreciated! I'm not expecting a miracle, just some improvement wherever I can make it.
 

KE5MC

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I just got my YouLoop today. Not really played with it yet, but have mounted it on a medium size moving box from Lowe's or Homedepot. When purchased they are flat, leave it that way. Then used ty-raps to hold in place. Strictly an indoor setup and not likely to move it outside. PCV pipe can make a good structural support more for outdoor use of the loop after it is weatherproof.

I'll be playing with it tomorrow. Give it a try indoors for now as a baseline and then move outdoors for any improvements.
 

Deadguy

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...but have mounted it on a medium size moving box from Lowe's or Homedepot. When purchased they are flat, leave it that way. Then used ty-raps to hold in place. Strictly an indoor setup and not likely to move it outside.

Awesome idea...thank you. Ideas like that are why I continue to come here! I can get all of that from work.

I can leave it on there and store it behind a book case or something...that will keep Momma happy too.

I get it with this being an indoor setup as well...that's also what I am aiming for.
 

KE5MC

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Actually its a small size moving box not the medium. I couldn't wait until morning. :) I have my OCF dipole on antenna A and the loop on C of a SDR RSPdx. Easy to switch between the two. Dipole is a compromise in itself, but first impression its much better than the loop. I'll need more time to tell if the loop has merit. For tonight 20 minutes is not enough time to tell.
Mike
 

w2dsx

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Youloop or any small antenna are compromises which will never beat lots of wire in the air. However, if you are stuck inside due to covenants, regulations, etc., they can certainly help. Keep in mind that also that the Youloop was tailored for use with certain SDR's such as Airspy's HF+/Discovery or the SDRPlay RSPdx in HDR mode. It can be used with any other receiver of course, but keep in mind the balun and size was tailored to the dynamic range of those SDR's. The beauty of any loop is you can rotate it and null out nearby noise while getting a good peak in the direction of the signal you want. Also you can break down to get carried in a small package, although I recommend handling/bending it as little as possible. It's also passive, unlike some of the PA0RDT Mini-whip antennas I've used for portable operation, which need power and box for the bias, so it's much easier.

I was impressed with my Youloop. I slapped it on a bamboo cross, hung it outside under a patio shelter and moved the laptop as far as I could. I rotated it with a hockey stick and was amazed at how well it did. It's huge being able to rotate out noise (can't do that with a mini-whip) and I was able to see stuff I normally couldn't see with my other portable antennas. I immediately was able to pick out Canadian NDB's, and was able to find different DGPS stations by rotating out other stations on the same frequency. Definitely going to be going with me when portable. Was also good for reception up to about the 70 cm ham band, although I didn't try higher. I have made loops for LF in the past, big 6' ones with multiple turns, tuning capacitors etc., and they would obviously out-perform the Youloop, especially inside, but for quick and dirty but simple listening, by all means try it. Great price and they did leave the schematics if you have the time or patience to make your own.

Outside is better than inside (but weather proof everything), if inside keep away if possible from the house mains, power supplies, etc. while also being near a window. Good luck with it! Also, some AFB may have MARS stations, or club amateur radio stations. Seek that out where you are, you might be surprised.
 

Deadguy

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Thank you both for your responses! I am definitely going to use the box idea ad I reckon I will be doing some experimentation to see if I can find at least a decent spot inside. With that said....the good thing about outside is that there's plenty of room...
 

KE5MC

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Propped up on desk for picture. White cord in top center is loop to hang. Cut-out to leave some room to check that connections are tight. They seem to loosen easy. Some hand capacitance effected reception so I made cutouts to keep box material to a minimum. Likely the bamboo would be less with good support. I really need to get it outside.

LoopOnBox.jpeg
 

w2dsx

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If you're unable to get out and find you've a lot of noise, look about for what folks use to mitigate noise with SDR set-ups. I try different programs such as SDR#, HDSDR, SDRUno, etc. and some may work better than others for dealing with certain kinds of noise. It will take some trial and error. I've also used outboard filters, such as high-pass or low-pass filters to deal with AM or FM broadcasters. One thing that was worth it's weight in gold was something called a line isolator from MFJ (MFJ-915), which really helped clear up my waterfall. Some things nearby may also cause it, and you can use (carefully) the loop to find it by tuning into your noise source and then rotating the loop to look for the culprit. Solar panels can be bad, also I had issues from a inverter on a slim jim AC system in my house. Sucks but when you're restricted, that's what you got to deal with.

Stealthy disguises may help you if you try to get it outside, I'm thought of a fake/plastic wreath, etc. to cover it. Weatherproof the connections if you do leave it out. Inexpensive RG-6 from Home Depot, etc. could be used to feed it, if you can deal with the connectors. I just crimp mine and also use a shield ground when I get it in the house. Good luck with it! Part of the fun of the hobby is learning to get "blood from a stone" or wringing out the most from my antennas.
 
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