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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | CHA F-LOOP (Chameleon Antenna) Help


Reviews Summary for CHA F-LOOP (Chameleon Antenna)
CHA F-LOOP (Chameleon Antenna) Reviews: 31 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $350 to 450
Description: The F-LOOP was designed with weight, durability, portability,
versatility and cost in mind.

The unique craftsmanship of the CHA F-LOOP distinguishes itself from
the competition. The antenna is built to last.

The unit covers everything between 10M to 60M (or 29,700MHz to
5,300MHz) continuously.

A single switch is used to tune the F-LOOP from 10M to 30M or from
40M and 60M.

The F-LOOP can be assembled and operated under 3 minutes.

The unit radiator is made of LMR-400.

The Faraday coupling loop is made of an aluminum bar which is
supported by a proprietary screw together hardline feeder.

Our specially and uniquely designed hardline feeder prevents SWR
fluctuations if the antenna is rotated or moved on itself which greatly
facilitated antenna tuning & operation.

The base of the unit is equipped with an anodized aluminum plate for
tripod assembly and for table top stability.

The F-LOOP antenna is fed from the rear of the unit by a SO-239 with
the provided coax cable.

The provided 12’ coax cable is equipped with an integral RFI choke
that will prevent or eliminate any possible RFI problems.

The front panel of the tuning unit is made of a clear piece of
polycarbonate which protects the tuning quadrant indicator.

The unassembled antenna comes into a high quality MOLE tactical bag
for easy carry and storage.

Each side of the tuning unit has been fitted with a custom designed
aluminum “L” shaped bracket that will be used to hold the optional 36”
diameter collapsible aluminum loop radiator.

The optional 36” diameter collapsible loop radiator is made of 1”
aluminum pipe. Each joints of the collapsible loop are made of high
tolerance aluminum connectors that minimize RF losses. With that
collapsible loop the F-LOOP will cover 10M to 40M.

The optional 36” diameter collapsible loop radiator greatly increase
antenna radiation by an average of 114%.

Specifications:
Frequency: 10M – 60M
Power: 10W CW or 25W SSB
RF Connection: SO-239
Weight: TBA

The antenna system consists of:

1 X CHA F-LOOP Matching Box
1 X LMR-400 Coax Cable
1 X 12' RG58A + Integrated RFI Choke
1 X Coupling Loop
1 X Screw Together Hard-Line
1 X Molle Bag
Product is in production.
More info: http://chameleonantenna.com/
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W9RTB Rating: 1/5 May 8, 2017 09:12 Send this review to a friend
F-Loop with Remote Control  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Order the F-Loop antenna with the remote tuner and rotor control.
After two hours of use in the drive way, the remote tuner control stopped work. Turns out the motor burned out and the gears where stripped. Emailed Chameleon that night. Here are the replies from Chameleon about the problem.
Money less shipping was refunded to my account the same night.
Chameleon Reply
“You should have emailed me before returning anything!! They manufacturer in Colorado could have sent you a brand you unit because the burning issue is a well know issue….He has been replacing the motors when they fail. The last batch of motors he received were defective!!!”
My Reply
Why would you sell a product with a know problem and or wait for a failure ?? Please credit my Pay Pal account.
Chameleon Reply
“Because the defect has been discovered just recently… They are not all defective but a small percentage of them had a chance to fail”
 
OH8STN Rating: 5/5 Apr 24, 2017 00:48 Send this review to a friend
Well thought out well engineered  Time owned: more than 12 months
At the time of writing this review, I own several different magnetic loop antennas.
- My DIY 80/60/40M Man Portable magnetic Loop.
- Alpha Loop 40-10M.
- Chameleon P-Loop (40-10M (Original).
- Chameleon P-Loop 2.0.
- Chameleon F-Loop Original.
- Chameleon F-Loop Plus.

These are all magnetic loops I own and use out in the field. So this review is based on my experience as a QRP field operator and not based on what the guy next to me on a SOTA summit was using. I might also add, I don't get paid for reviews or the videos and blogs posts I make. I am my own man.

I primarily operate QRP portable with an FT-817ND. Sometimes that might be an IOTA, or a ski adventure pulling a skipulk to the Arctic Circle, or at the pool on a Greek island resort. You just never know. It is exactly for this reason the F-Loop exists!

The F-Loop is built upon a modular platform, allowing its operator to configure it for whatever operating conditions or HF bands he'll find today. Tomorrow of course is a new day. The F-Loop gives me the ability to setup with a easy to carry coax radiator for 40-10M. Or add the double loop to extend it for 80 & 60M coverage. Add the aluminum radiator kit from the F-Loop+ and step it up even further. Add the RT-RR kit for remote tuning and rotating useful in antenna restricted areas. Finally, if you need even more efficiency, add the booster kit for 40-15M which takes the F-Loop to a higher performance level.

You see, when I was researching the various commercial loop options out there to buy (this was my first), I looked at most of the somewhat portable loops and their capabilities. The Alexloop, Chameleon M-Loop or F-Loop, Alpha loop, W4OP, or building it myself. The thing I noticed first were all of the comparisons from commercial loop manufacturers, were comparing themselves to the Alexloop and the Chameleon F-Loop. It was easy to understand these two were the benchmark all others were trying to copy or beat. So I decided to focus on the Alexloop and F-Loop.

The reason I chose the Chameleon F-Loop and also what the other loop manufacturers ignore when they compare themselves, is the "Lego Block" approach of the F-Loop. They compare themselves to one single configuration of the F-Loop and tell you it's bad compared to theirs. The truth is the modular F-Loop system allows the operator to set it up for many different operating scenarios. It is literally like working with Lego blocks.

So does the basic F-Loop outperform the W4OP? Probably not in it's basic configuration! But if you add the Booster kit (larger main loop and coupling loop kit) then it does. What about break down size? At the time the Alexloop and F-Loop were the only two which would pack down small enough to be called portable. The Alexloop remains more portable, but then it doesn't have the configuration options like the F-Loop.

So I guess what I am trying to say is at that time, when choosing my first loop, knowing I could only afford one, I choose the F-Loop because it could adapt to the way I chose to operate. The other loops were just static things bolted together without thinking about how the operator would use them.

So why didn't I build my own loop at that time? I simply didn't have the knowledge or confidence to do so.

Here are some of the key features leading to my decision.
- Extremely high quality components and manufacturing.
- 1/4 inch tripod mount on the base.
- 3/8 mount also on the base.
- Optional main loop kits
- expanded band coverage
- Small break down size
- Rigid coupling loop
- Remote mounting kit

I found it very frustrating to understand the comparisons between this loop and the other commercial loops. In the end I definitely made the right decision for a loop equally at home in the attic space above my shack, on the patio table next to me, or dragged along in my skipulk on a winter expedition to Lapland.

The F-Loop is form and function. There simply is no higher level of quality in the commercial magnetic loop market. I have and continue to recommended the F-Loop in all of it's variations to my friends.

de oh8stn
 
K5HH Rating: 5/5 Apr 13, 2017 09:02 Send this review to a friend
Can't go wrong with this quality Magnetic Loop  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
OVERVIEW
Features/Specs
Frequency: 10M – 60M (+ 80M with extra kit)
Power: 10W CW or 25W SSB
RF Connection: SO-239
Molle bag
Coax loop or High Efficiency Aluminum Loop
Easy assembly & Tuning
Coax feed line with integrated RFI choke

Design
As I've come to expect from Chameleon Antennas, A lot of thought went into designing a product that simplifies the life of the ham in operation and in quality(longevity) of the product. Top notch.

Workmanship/Sturdiness
Very sturdy piece of equipment. Just looking at it, it's obviously built to very tight professional specs. Then you pick it up and feel the quality. It feels substantial, without being very heavy. It's not light, really, but not so heavy that I'd have any problems backpacking with it. I've taken it out into the field many times. This unit could take a beating, not that I'd recommend it...
The coax connectors are solid, and there's no play in the lines, knob, or A/B switch. I think I'd suggest it ship with locking wingnuts for the Aluminum loop, as the wingnuts that came with the unit have come loose on me a couple times while hiking. After replacing two of them, I replaced them all with nylon insert locking wingnuts and never had a problem again.
Although some would say that hiking with the aluminum loop in the first place is a bit extreme... hahahah

SETUP
Ease of Installation/Use
Super easy to set up. I haven't quite got it up in 3 minutes yet, but 5 minutes is very doable for me. Hah. After it's put together, Make sure you're on the right A/B switch for the frequency, then fiddle with the knob until you get the loudest noise. Then fine tune to the SWR meter. Fine tuning is the hardest part for me and my ham hands ('scuze the pun). That's basically it.
I think I'll be purchasing the remote tuner. The proximity of your hand does change the tuning, so that gets a bit fiddly.
Maintenance
Other than replacing the wingnuts as stated above, no maintenance should be needed. Just don't beat on it, don't over tighten anything, don't push more wattage than specified, and this should last you many years.

OPERATION
Performance
In the field, I've put it on a tripod about one loop diameter above the ground and have generated contacts from Texas to Italy, Canada, Abu Dhabi, England, and various American cities. So far, so good.
I live on the 7th floor in a 1920's brick and concrete building in downtown Dallas. Being a historic protected building, we're not allowed to change the exterior of the building, so I can't attach a permanent antenna to the outside. So, I've been using my F-loop inside, next to a window, primarly using PSK31 and have had great success with this antenna and my KX3. So, perfomance seems to be great for me. I routinely connect SSB to nets in the south every week on 80m from inside my loft. Generally getting 59 reports.

CONCLUSION
Cost/Value
As with all things Chameleon, this isn't the cheapest. However, you DO get what you pay for here. You're getting a piece of equipment that has been well thought out, very well constructed, and will last you for years. Also, the customer service that Chameleon antenna provides is second to none. I had a problem with my feed line and Carl took care of the problem immediately.

Overall Rating

I've had this antenna for almost a year now, and it's hard to argue with something that works so well. I love this antenna.
5 stars.


 
M0VOX Rating: 5/5 Apr 4, 2017 12:13 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Product for Portable Use  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased the Chameleon F Loop about 6 months ago (October 2016). Upon opening the box, I was impressed with the care with which it had been packed, and also the build quality; all the components were well machined.

My first tests were undertaken inside the house using a combination of digital (WSPR, PSK31/63) and voice (SSB) modes. The results were outstanding. On PSK31, with only 5w, I was able to close contacts over 4000 miles away on 40m (all from inside the house).

I then ordered the RT-RR kit, with which I have been equally impressed.

Not only does this product do exactly what it says on the tin, but it has far exceeded my expectations. Whenever I work portable from now on, it will be the first thing (other than the radio) that I take with me.
 
VE9SY Rating: 5/5 Mar 24, 2017 07:05 Send this review to a friend
Great Portable Antenna  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Ordered the antenna first of Dec and got it fairly quickly. Carl is a excellent person to deal with. He solved a few problems before I was even able to order the unit. I ordered the optional rotatory unit and I am so glad I did.

Setup is quick. From pulling it out of the box to hooking it up to the radio the first time was less than 10 minutes.

First few tests were without using the remote unit. Tuning by ear I can get within 2 to 3:1 without issue. Then by pressing the tune button on the KX2 I can get a 1:1 every time. Worst match I've gotten so far was a 1.5:1. In all tuning usually takes less than a few seconds.

Using the remote is great not only does it allow you to tune the antenna from a distance, the rotor is also great . As a loop is directional, it allows you to better find and bring in that weaker signal. It has a very fine tuning range. More than a khz or 2 you will need to tweak the settings. But I find once you tune you can scan the band pretty well before tuning to transmit.

I've made a few contacts from the apartment I live in, but there is a LOT of noise here. This antenna is less noisy than others I've tried, but the reason I bought it is for getting out to play.

Over all learning how to Tune the antenna takes minutes. Setup Minutes Fun for hours. I highly recommend the antenna and the company. The build Quality is excellent. Nothing is cheap about the build. The use the best quality materials.
 
KA3OUC Rating: 5/5 Mar 20, 2017 14:54 Send this review to a friend
Best Antenna So Far  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This F-loop really works well. It is the best antenna I have ever owned. It works well pulling in stations using it in my bedroom. Works ever better when outside. Used it outside and I was getting station from all over. Looking forward to doing more outside work now that winter is over I can't wait. Using F-Loop with my IC-7100 doing HF D-Star. This antenna is worth every penny. I am glad I went with Chameleon , it's a sure bet.
 
KM6DOV Rating: 4/5 Mar 18, 2017 00:00 Send this review to a friend
Decent compact antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the Chameleon F-Loop 10-40m with 80m add-on. Assembly was fairly easy. I did initially mistakenly attempt to stretch out the two loop segments with the barrel connector, but soon realized that it needed to be coiled over double. Additionally, the photos were slightly unclear, and I was under the impression that the barrel was a + shaped junction, and that I might be missing a component. No, you just double the loop, strap it to the small loop, and let it hang down to the bottom of the hardline. Figuring out the tuning took a few days, during which I thought I burned out the finals on my radio by transmitting too much power into a high SWR. The tuning window is VERY small on this antenna, and you will have to re-tune it every 15 kHz or so or the SWR will go off the chart. It doesn't take long to get into a rhythm of tuning the antenna as you tune the radio. Using a tuner other than your hand (or the optional RT-RR tuner/rotator) is not recommended with this very sensitive apparatus. If you need a compact HF antenna because of space considerations, portability/mobility, or installation restrictions, this is probably the antenna for you. If you're impatient or imprecise and would rather have the hardware do all the work for you, seek another solution.
 
KN4VV Rating: 5/5 Dec 26, 2016 16:14 Send this review to a friend
Excellent!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Update: I thought I ought to update my review posted at the end of October:

1. The ease of use w/ the RT-RR can't be overestimated, especially for a semi-permanent installation, as it allows flexibility in siting, several meters hence adequate (?) exposure spacing, and easy qsy tuning.

2. I continue to get satisfactory results considering a qrp antenna used indoors. A criticism of my comments is that I haven't experimented with many alternatives. Two reasons I haven't:

First, I want a semi-permanent installation as I typically have 20-30 min at a time to 'play radio' and if setup/takedown consumes that, what's the point?

Second, my results are not motivating me to experiment. Casual (mostly cw) operating since my 1 October install, I have LoTW confirmed 16 DXCC and 18 WAS.

I guess I don't know what I'm not hearing, but when there's activity the bands sound alive and I can hear a high percentage of dx spots (I think reception is more constrained by urban/suburban qrn hash and having to be indoors than the antenna design and build?).

QRP w/ a small antenna may not be a good pile-up breaker, but on the higher bands if I have a 'clear shot' (which I figure I have if I'm responding to a string of unanswered cqs), I usually make the qso.

On 40m, it performs as well as I think I can expect from the design; I can't get PV8ADI to answer me but I've gotten several qsos!

I have yet not used it on 12m, 17m, 30m, 60m, or 80m.

3. I think someone considering the loop design for qrp would be very satisfied with the Chameleon F-Loop Plus iteration.

------------------------

First, a bit of background. I am not an engineer. I am, in the literal sense, an amateur radio "operator", and I have some experience operating loops, having used the original AEA "IsoLoop" back in the late 1980s/early 1990s and also having an AOR receiving loop.

So what follows are my subjective thoughts after my first weekend on the air w/ the F Loop "Plus" - loop with aluminum loop.

1. The build quality is excellent. Obviously Carl and Chameleon take great pride in workmanship.

2. The packaging was very well done. No concerns about damage in transit, or that any parts were missing.

3. The documentation (which is also available on the website?) is easy to understand: I got the antenna to work!

4. Customer service is excellent - quick responses to questions about accessories (RT-RR)

5. Performance is remarkable, at least in my opinion! I installed it this past Saturday (10/1) morning on a photo tripod in an upstairs spare bedroom/office. My experience is loops are very dependent on location, and I think this location is a good one.

It works extremely well! I didn't have much chance to operate this past weekend, but what time I did have I spent chasing the Cali qso party, logging 5 contacts: 3 cw and 2 ssb - 5 watts with a loop in upstairs bedroom, from Northern Virginia to California! Impressive, even though all 5 look to be 'big guns'.

It seems to 'hear' quite well and it is easy to use and has a small footprint.

[Also, I have the RT-RR, which does enhance operations quite a bit, allowing the antenna to be operated from farther than the 2x+ diameter I've seen referenced elsewhere.]

Bottom line: I am very pleased and highly recommend it!
 
M0GNA Rating: 5/5 Aug 9, 2016 08:06 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Don't try the rest get the best.Less than 10 minutes to get on the air.I placed it indoors on my bedside cabinet and hooked up to my FT817 and tuned it on twenty,conditions were real poor but I got a 55 from a station in Croatia,2500 miles plus.The build quality is outstanding,it will last a lifetime.The best Mag-Loop by far.
 
KJ4FGI Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2016 20:05 Send this review to a friend
The best and made in the USA  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been experimenting with magnetic loop antennas for over two years, my first ones were air variable capacitors. I did a lot of reading and researching before starting my venture with experimentation on magnetic loop antennas.

Magnetic loop antennas work well, very well, I wanted to put out more power, I did with Vacuum Variable capacitors.

I have successfully experimented with vacuum variable capacitors putting out 100 watts.

One thing my projects were missing, the appearance of a professionally built antenna.

I was looking at three portable magnetic loop antennas, it came down to two of them that look professional. The chameleon F loop and the Alex loop. The Alex loop was $399 plus $60 international shipping, that's $459. I did find there was one USA distributor and that was $399 with free shipping.The chameleon F loop was $399 with free shipping.

I contacted chameleon support, had an email correspondence with Carl, his email is support@chameleonantenna.com. He sent me a picture of the inside of the control box of a chameleon antenna and the Alex loop, you can't post pictures here so they are pictured on my QRZ website, just type in my callsign KJ4FGI and you'll see it at the bottom of the page.

It is sad to say both antennas, the same price, the Alex loop control box is a piece of junk.

I'm only calling it junk because you're selling this for $400 it does not look $400 professional, and I know what I'm talking about after two years of magnetic loop antenna experimentation.

Now what you get for $400, frequency coverage: the Alex loop states 6.9 MHz to 30 MHz, the chameleon, 3.5 MHz to 29.7 MHz

Now for the control box, I wish you could see the pictures, let's start with the chameleon, the air variable capacitor has a heavy duty gear reduction transmission which, according to the interior picture is mounted to a Plexiglas plate approximately a quarter inch thick which in turn is attached to a 4.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 heavy-duty electrical box.

The electrical box is attached to a flat aluminum plate which is a full quarter inch thick, 3 1/2 inches wide and 6 inches long. The control box has four SO-239 connectors, two on the sides for the secondary loop (large loop) one on the top for the primary loop and one in the back for the cable that goes to your radio.

The idea of having a connector on the top of the box going to your primary loop is a fantastic idea because if you ever damaged one of the hard-line cables going up to the primary loop you just need to replace that one piece, the Alex loop you would have to buy the whole cable assembly. What a fantastic, well thought through, engineering design.

Now for the Alex loop control box, the air variable capacitor is attached directly to the control box, it looks like the capacitor is actually too big for the control box and it was forced in, which deforms the cheap box, here's a link to the picture:https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmschneid/11997251703


In the picture you can see the little rinky-dink gear reduction assembly, you really need to see a picture of the chameleon F loop control box. The alpha loop control box has 2S0 239 connectors for the secondary loop the primary loop and the cable going to the radio is all one assembly, try getting a replacement part for that when the cable wears out. Chameleon F loop gives you a separate 12 foot cable with an RF choke built into the cable. The only difference the only

Now, they show the Alex loop being held by hand the chameleon is heavier than the Alex loop, I know people that have the Alex loop and a so you can hold it more than for a couple minutes before your risk it's really tired. When your wrist gets tired you can't just put the Alex loop down, you have to buy a tripod for the Alex loop.

The chameleon antenna has that nice flat aluminum plate on the bottom and the way that everything is weight displaced you could take it and put it right on a picnic table and the wind won't blow it down, oh, yes the wind, you cannot hold the Alex loop in your hand according to the people I spoke to when it's windy out.

The Alex loop does come with a bag you could pull it apart and put it in a bag but so does the chameleon the chameleon also has a primary loop made of solid aluminum not some flimsy coax.

You're about to spend $400 on an antenna, I am now talking from somebody who has had a lot of experience with magnetic loop antennas through design.

The Alex loop does not give you the frequency coverage, is not sturdy at all, needs a tripod, is cheaply made, I could see this antenna going for about $199 maybe $225 but for $400, you've gotta be kidding me.

The chameleon antenna is worth $400, a full 80 to 10 m coverage, it is made solid and the quality of the parts used, all silver connectors, the gear reduction mechanism is superior, go to my Q RZ page and take a look at the pictures or email Carl at support@chameleonantennas.com and ask.

I have nothing to do with the company, I have no financial interest in the company, and I'm not a salesman for the company, my name is Eddie I my ham radio operator who’s experimented with magnetic loop antennas and I'm in the lower middle class so I know what a dollar means to me.

I don't want to see any hams ripped off or spending more money and getting a very very sub- quality magnetic loop antenna, and I'll be honest, reading the reviews on the Alex loop and it looked so nice and came in its little baggie and I was about ready to purchase it even though the frequency coverage wasn't so good. Well the chameleon antenna comes with a heavy duty bag made in the USA great quality.

Once I looked at the picture of the inside of the control box, the words, "what a piece of junk" came out of my mouth and I couldn't believe I was going to buy that.

Knowing what I know about magnetic loop antennas I went for the one inch diameter aluminum loop accessory, you see, the larger the diameter better, the efficiency of the antenna highly increased, but I have to tell you, I was blown away when I hooked this antenna up to my radio.

Again, the reason why I use the word piece of junk, was because they want $400 for the Alex loop antenna with variable capacitor that is too big for the box, if they wanted $199 for it, the word junk wouldn't come out of my mouth, but you're charging my fellow ham radio operators $400 for this, what a ripoff.

Hey, it's your decision, don't go by what I said here, research it yourself, when I received it in the mail and opened up the box and pulled out, I couldn't believe the quality, the pictures that you see do not depict the true quality of this unit.

You could build one that looks just as good as the Alex loop for about $75.
God bless and 73's

Eddie KJ4FG
 
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