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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | Clifton Labs Z1501 Active antenna / Z1203A Power Coupler Kit Help

Reviews Summary for Clifton Labs Z1501 Active antenna / Z1203A Power Coupler Kit
Reviews: 3 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $210
Description: Active whip receiving antenna with remote high performance preamplifier. The DC Power Coupler interface provides power to the preamp over the coax and also offers overload protection features.
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Clifton Labs Z1501 Active antenna / Z1203A Power Coupler Kit.

N1LF Rating: 5/5 Apr 22, 2015 23:36 Send this review to a friend
Best Active Whip, Period!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've owned a number of active whip antennas over the year, including those from DX Engineering, MFJ, LF Engineering, Dytek, and others. Some have worked well, but all of them had "issues" of one type or another.

Some were easily overloaded, or sensitive to local noise, even with careful placement. The Clifon Labs active whip is the exception to all those rules. Quite simply, it just works--and amazingly well across the entire frequency range.

I listen to LF signals such as NDBs and the Medium Wave experiments at 500 KHz--it works great here. Low noise, and very sensitive.

I'm also a very serious medium wave broadcast band DX'er--again, Clifton Labs whip outperforms any AM antenna that I've owned in the past.

And I love to chase 10 Meter beacons at 28 Mhz--again, the antenna works great here.

It's simple. Buy one. You won't regret it, or return it. It's bulletproof, built like a tank, and a high performer even in today's noisy RF world.

K0FTC Rating: 5/5 Jun 28, 2012 12:44 Send this review to a friend
Great with SDR-IQ  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My primary use of the SDR-IQ is to search for CW signals on HF, using CW Skimmer. I've used a variety of long wire antennas with it, but it was not hearng DX a RBN Skimmer was finding a few miles away. I contacted Jack at Clifton labs and decided to give his antenna and coupler a go. I was having a few issues with other equipment and jumper settings and he communicated quickly and directly with me and we had the problem resovled in no time. It is amazing to see what happens when you turn the coupler on. Where there were only traces of a few signals, now many more jump out of the noise, solid and bright on the screen. Now my Skimmer mostly mirrors the RBN Skimmer, and has found signals that the other Skimmer has not found. So I feel comfortable recommending both the products and the customer service at Clifton Labs.
AC0DS Rating: 5/5 Sep 22, 2010 08:18 Send this review to a friend
Very nice RX Antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This product is a receive-only active whip antenna covering the frequency range of 20 KHz to 30 MHz. It includes a very robust high performance preamp that matches the antenna impedance to coax for use with ham/swl receivers. The antenna and coupler are optimized for use with nearby transmitters with provision for disrupting power to the antenna when the transmitter is active.

The preamp is housed in a small weatherproof box directly under the collapsible whip. This makes for a very small assembly, requiring a footprint of only a few square inches. The whip can be extended to a maximum height of 10 feet. It is designed to be mounted to a small pipe driven into the ground or it can be bolted to a vertical surface. Ideal for limited space applications.

I was looking for a second receive antenna for use with my diversity RX system, and this looked ideal. I've been impressed with Jack Smith's designs in the past, so ordered the kit as soon as it became available. A fun kit to build. As usual, the mechanical design was first-class. Lots of attention to detail and high quality parts in the remote preamp box. A very nice black steel enclosure for the in-shack control unit. Some of the point-to-point wiring in the control unit was somewhat time consuming, but the current version of the kit resolves this by moving more components onto the PCB. Very complete instructions included for testing the unit.

I made one modification to the control unit. I added a yellow LED to the panel to monitor the status of power to the antenna itself in addition to the green LED indicating power to the control unit. Also mounted a 3 position toggle switch to the panel so that I can manually select "power off", "power on", or "auto" operation of the antenna. The "auto" position cycles power to the antenna so that it is inactive when your transmitter is on. The kit includes instructions and capability for accomplishing this for a wide variety of ham transmitters by means of jumper settings on the PCB. It worked just fine with my Elecraft K3.

I installed the antenna by bolting it to a wooden fence post at a height of about 6 feet, and 30 feet away from my house. The coax routing required a total feedline length of 80 ft. Used a ground rod under the antenna and also used common-mode chokes in the feedline at two locations as well as one additional ground connection. I optimized this for minimal common-mode reception with the antenna disconnected.

Performance has been very good. My comparison antenna is a 2/3 size K9AY array. Of course I get no directivity with the whip, but in other respects it is approximately equal. It has higher gain and signal levels than the K9AY, but is slightly noisier. Overall, the S/N ratios of the two antennas compare favorably. I look forward to using the two of them for diversity reception.

I would recommend this product for hams with a need such as mine or for SWLs. I haven't tried it below the MW BCB, but the Clifton Labs website has some very good data on using it at lower frequencies. The power through coax arrangement is quite convenient. Just remember that the 13V is there - attenuators, etc., need to be installed between the coupler and receiver rather than in the antenna lead.


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