Now here’s an analogy! Here at ON5ZO’s we like to cook and eat. We buy fresh products. I prefer biological grown vegetables and meat from ‘clean’ animals. Nothing beats fish fresh from the boat. Heck I even make my own ice cream with fresh dairy products. Yet once a year we find ourselves in a Maccy D fast food joint. Then we regret it for the coming 364 days. Yes the stomach is filled but with what? And at what cost!

Fear not esteemed reader, ON5ZO has not jumped the cooking blog bandwagon! I have the same feeling when it comes to a specific antenna. I like to homebrew simple antennas. Loops, (multiband) dipoles, (multiband) verticals. It’s easy and fun to build those. Commercial off the shelf items cost much more than the cost of aluminium tubing and copper wire. If it weren’t for the fact that my good as new second hand tribander came for less than the price of the parts to homebrew a similar model, I’d have built the yagi myself.

Yes I am soothing my conscience here. I just don’t have the time right now – just look at the pile of parts for all the projects I came up with last summer. What was I thinking? Retirement is still 30 years away. The gigantic box of unprocessed QSL cards, untouched since late January, has only grown heavier. And the to do list that covers the household-garden chores has a bunch of unchecked items too. So I cracked and spent a relatively obnoxious amount of hard earned cash and bought myself a Wellbrook AL1530 low band receiving loop.

Here’s the deal. I have quite some acres of real estate, but it’s not huge. Roughly measured about 40m x 30m. One half of this rectangle is useless for ham radio (granted: it houses the shack): it’s the house, garage, terrace and driveway. The other half is the lawn and the tower is pretty much in the centre of my property which makes it suitable to suspend dipoles running over the house. As you might know, I have managed to squeeze everything out of this one tower / tribander / wires setup, even with limited SO2R. The only aspect that needs a lot of improvement is low band reception. Simplest and cheapest thing to do would be two beverages but this means a) running the wire over other people’s territory and b) crossing the street twice, once for NA and again for JA. Too much unknown and even illegal parameters for a low profile station. I tried a K9AY loop once (remember?). The K9AY loop is a tight fit. I can cram it between the TX antennas but that’s not what you want to do. The loop and TX wires almost touch so to speak. So exit the K9AY loop here. Now that I’m talking about running wires over other property: I put up down a BOG once too! How could I forget: here.

The third option was home brewing a magnetic coaxial RX loopish thingy. Anything is better than nothing! The WWW is full of designs, each more feasible and effective than the other. I started gathering parts and cutting 75Ω hardline but I just lack the time to finish and tweak it. So there you go: I spent 300 Euros on an aluminium hula-hoop and some discrete components. This is largely funded by a recent sale of unused stuff but still. Now I need to find the time and inclination to drop everything else, mount it and test it. I wonder where to put it. And how to make it turn. And this darn thing better be working!

PS: Note to self: http://w6lsn.com/blog/electronic-symbols-in-wordpress-html/

2 Responses to Desperate attempt to improve low band RX

  • Hi Franki!!!
    Congrats or not (we will see) on your new buy.
    I’m almost the same in situation with property size and also desperate to improve
    RX side on the low bands.
    I passed almost excatly the same way as you did trying to improve my RX
    ability on 160/80/40m.
    I was also hardly considered to buy this Wellbrook loop but never was convincend
    to this antenna.
    Will be waiting impatiently for your honest opinion how this antenna works for you on lower bands.

    73,
    Mirek SP1NY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.