Loops for HF listening ??

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Saint

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I am going to be getting back into utility listening in the HF bands, and I want to buy a loop antenna to put out on my 4th floor apartment balcony. The two antennas I am thinking about are the,

MJF 1886 loop or the Wellbrook loop. Can some one who has experience in using either of these antenna's give me the pro's and con's of what antenna I should buy between the two antenna's. The MJF antenna is a lot cheaper in price then the Wellbrook antenna but if one is better then another then price is not the issue for me. I have a low noise environment so noise is not an issue for me but I can not put any antenna's on the roof so I have to put the antenna on my balcony. I live in a 6 story apartment building and I'm on the fourth floor.
Steve
 

devicelab

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A lot of SWLs in Japan who live in very high multi-story apartment buildings love this antenna:

Apex Radio 303WA-2 Shortwave antenna. ApexRadio

Any kind of amplified loop will suffer a bit in that environment. A loop would still work but probably not nearly at its maximum or even close to that.

Also it's hard to believe your apartment building is low-noise. Before you take that kind of investment plunge I would go with a passive antenna like the one above.

The reasons?

1. Your investment is limited -- you're not breaking the bank.
2. The antenna is perfect for limited space.
3. It can be painted to make it stealthy.
4. If you truly have low-noise then this passive antenna then you shouldn't need an amplified antenna
5. Re: #4 above, you'll have a lower SNR without the need to amplify background noise

For #5 see this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbhb1zF7Sng

See how the noise floor drops significantly? The signal strength meter is deceptive in this case since you're amplifying noise as well as the signal you're trying to hear.
 
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devicelab

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If you decide you really want an amplified antenna then I would go with this kit:

Large Aperture Loop Antenna ALA100LN N. Am.

For < $200 you can make your own loop and play around with different aperture sizes, different wire gauges, different designs, etc.

I use the above in a 75m large aperture configuration and it beats the pants off the 1m Wellbrook fixed loop.

Sadly, the neighborhood RFI level has nearly quadrupled in the last couple of years and thus I need use other electronics to cancel the RFI.
 

Saint

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LOOP Antenna

If you decide you really want an amplified antenna then I would go with this kit:

Large Aperture Loop Antenna ALA100LN N. Am.

For < $200 you can make your own loop and play around with different aperture sizes, different wire gauges, different designs, etc.

I use the above in a 75m large aperture configuration and it beats the pants off the 1m Wellbrook fixed loop.

Sadly, the neighborhood RFI level has nearly quadrupled in the last couple of years and thus I need use other electronics to cancel the RFI.
Thanks for the info on the loops
Steve
 

Saint

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Wellbrook Loop

+1 on the Wellbrook. I have the Wellbrook Active Loop ALA1530S+ Imperium NA Active Loop ALA1530S+ Imperium NA and absolutely love it. I have no experience with either of the other two antennas mentioned so I can't speak for them. MFJ does have a reputation for lacking in quality.
Just found a tripod that will work great with the Wellbrook Loop so I will buy this also, Just got a email from Elad and they have put me on a list of people who will get an email when the new SDR radio is released.
Steve
 

ka3jjz

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The W6LVP one has a 5 out of 5 rating on eHam for the one with the T/R (transmit/receive) switch. No reason to think the receive only one would be any worse of a response. The reviews are linked in the loops wiki article, the link for which I gave in another thread, but for those that are reading this topic for the first time, here it is...

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Loops

Keep in mind that the OP is in Canada, so customs/VAT will apply here, regardless of what antenna he might order. Onward...

Mike
 
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devicelab

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A couple of years back, I was into SW listening and used to own a Wellbrook. Definitely, worth the money. I am getting back into SWL, but now am looking at alternatives to lower the costs. Dave Cassler made a couple of videos about a loop made by W6LVP and another by MFJ.
https://youtu.be/z9wJPKg_HdY
https://youtu.be/OEny55bZ8FA

Food for thought...
Look very carefully at his location... you could string up a 10ft wire and have great reception out there. He's kind of silly comparing these antennas as he clearly doesn't understand that it's all about location and lack of RFI.

A $20 portable SW radio and a 10ft wire antenna would probably receive better than my setup here in RFI-infested suburbia...
 

ka3jjz

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Keep in mind that lots of people that are getting started in this side of the hobby don't have large lots or parcels of land to string up whatever they like.

To an extent, loops like these are something of a compromise. But they'll beat the front end off any 10 foot wire anyplace or anytime, regardless of whether they happen to be in a rural environment or not.

Mike
 
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