Adding a receive antenna

My stealth MFJ 1788 
There have been many a time when on one band I have wondered if conditions had changed and another band had opened up. I have the MFJ 1788 mag loop and with this antenna to check another band another a total retuning is required, this means loosing the sweet spot on the band I am on! It can get frustrating retuning the loop to find out the band you were checking out is more or less dead from my spot on the map. With the downturn of the bands of late and sometime reading on spotting networks how a certain band is now open but to find out after a retune of the loop the propagation gods really didn't allow my neck of the woods to benefit from any opening. I then have to venture back to the previous band and once again retune the loop antenna. Don't get me wrong I am very happy with the MFJ 1788 it has allowed me a means to get on the air from this very antenna restricted area that I am in. I have also made some amazing contacts and am still very much able to enjoy the hobby of ham radio......but the retune thing can get to be a real pain! It was due time to try to come up with a solution, here at VE3WDM it seems that I sell a piece of gear to only find out that later on I need it!!!!!
LF Engineering H-900 that was sold
The easiest way for me to find out what is going on with the bands and at the same time leaving  the mag loop antenna alone is to have a separate receive antenna. But in my case just to string up a separate "receive antenna is not so simple being Im a condo ham. The receive antenna still seemed to be the simplest and best solution for me. I had to knock a receive antenna down to condo size and the best way to do that is the "amplified active antenna". Oh thats right I used to have one of those (LF Engineering active antenna) but wise me sold it and now once again I need it!! Before I dish out some cash for an active antenna I wanted to see what the reception was like with a wire antenna from the condo. Before stringing a wire antenna in the condo I wanted to see what was available to me.....I had a receive antenna looking right at me! I have a curtain rod that is metal and about 20 feet long. I ran some coax up to the curtain rod and down to the Elecraft K3. On the K3 you can add what's called the KXV3A board ( I have one installed on my K3) it allows you do add a separate receive antenna via a BNC connector.
KVX3 board in K3
At this point I have not been able to honestly give my receive antenna/curtain rod a good work out. But I am one step closer to my goal of having a separate receive antenna.
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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