Learning more about the Alexloop

What turning the loop can do
As times goes on and I use the Alexloop more and more I am coming to realize that this antenna may not be a bad choice for my condo antenna. The loop is small and I thought may not preform that well, stacked up against my Alpha Delta DX-EE dipole antenna yes it does not far very well. BUT for limited space, fast to assemble and take down and stealth the Alexloop is a great contender. Recently I have been only using the Alexloop indoors and either on the main floor or my second floor shack. The power has been set to 5 watts and as was said in my previous posts I was able to get into Europe with some decent reports. This weekend using the loop antenna along side my K3 (Up to this point I have only been using my KX3) they seem to get along very well. The tuning of the antenna has been made easier because of the P3 and external monitor. I am able to tune to peak noise using the band scope or otherwise known as the Elecraft P3. Peaking the noise level this way has almost netted me a perfect SWR on all bands. There was only a very minor self tune I had to do in order to get the SWR flat.

Man made noise on the band
I did notice on 30m today there was lots of man made interference and by simply rotating the loop most if not all the interference was eliminated. As well after rotating the loop the signals I was listening to were still there. That to me can be a great bonus once in the city of Toronto and the interference problem may increase and by turning the loop I may be able to rid myself of some of it. I also wanted to know what the loops receive bandwidth would look like on the P3 and I am please to say that's it's great. As for transmitting I have found the loop has to be re tuned anywhere from 10 to 25 Khz depending on the band. This was a good learning weekend for me regarding the Alexloop. I have been toying with the idea of the MFJ magnetic loop as you can tune it from your desk. I have tried to add some extra length to the Alexloops coax and have had some good and bad results with tuning the loop for best SWR. I have noticed as well that when tuning the loop your body has an affect on the SWR as well. You may see a great SWR but once you have moved back to  your radio the SWR goes from your tuned 1.2 to 1 to 2.2 to 1. This is not the case all the time but has happened now and then.
A nice bandwidth with the loop
One other element I wanted to try this weekend was Skimmer, there was a contest on and I wanted to see how well it did. The results were very pleasing and I was able to see how Skimmer can help me. I have played with Skimmer in the past and just could not get it working but I stuck with it this time and am pleased with the results.
Skimmer showing the picture
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “Learning more about the Alexloop”

  • Todd KD0TLS:

    Interesting hands-on report for the AlexLoop. Have you tried it horizontally?
    It’s nice that you found a solution for your condo. I’d like to hear more about how this works out for you. Ham radio isn’t going to make it into the future by being limited to suburban lots with towers.
    How stiff is the tuning screw on the AlexLoop? I’m thinking that a small stepper motor could do the job without inducing hand capacitance, but it would need to be low-torque to keep it relatively cheap.
    Also, what are you doing for grounding at the condo? That’s been one of my big challenges.

  • Ken KK4EIR:

    What kind of setup are you using with the Skimmer? I have a trial version and am not very impressed. Using it with my K3 I only get about 3khz bandwidth.

  • Mike VE3wdm:

    Good evening Todd, I have not as of yet tried the loop horizontally as I have to modify the antenna to tripod connection for that. The tuning knob is not stiff at all and Alex from Alexloop is working on some type of remote tuning for the loop. As for grounding I am not to sure about that area yet I was thinking of the MFJ artificial ground. To be honest I have not really looked all that close at it.
    Todd thanks for dropping by and giving your input.

  • Mike VE3wdm:

    Hello Ken, the setup I have and have had in the past is the LP Pan pan-adapter along side the creative labs 0202 usb sound card. The LP Pan and long side of the 0202 USB sound card gives me the better bandwidth. If you have any more questions about Skimmer and its setup please feel free to email me at my ve3wdm hotmail account.

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