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Show all reviews of the Pixel RF PRO-1A & 1B Shortwave Magnetic Loop Antenna
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of the Pixel RF PRO-1A & 1B Shortwave Magnetic Loop Antenna.
Feb 14, 2011 18:09
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A well-built low noise receiving antenna
Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My neighborhood is not plagued with restrictive covenants but my space for antennas is very limited. I've been using a DX Engineering 43' Thunderbolt which has been reasonably satisfactory--for a vertical--on transmit but terribly noisy on receive.
I previously owned a Wellbrook 1530 loop but found that the relatively lightweight (OK, flimsy) construction did not inspire confidence here in the land of hurricanes and severe thunderstorms. To make matters worse, the small plastic box in which the LNA is enclosed just crumbled and fell apart in the harsh Florida sunlight. While it worked, though, it proved to be a competent and quiet receive-only antenna.
A couple of months ago I ran across the PixelSat Moebius Loop Antenna and decided to give it a try. The all-metal construction quality is first rate, especially compared to the Wellbrook. I mounted it atop a 20 foot mast with rotator in the back yard, connected the power inserter, and fired it up.
My first impression was that the signal strength was quite low. This was only a momentary disappointment, however, as the noise level was even lower. Much lower. My Flex 5000 has ample AF and RF gain so I just cranked her up a little and found that I could pull stations out of the noise floor that I had never heard before.
I've been extremely pleased with the Pixel loop. The noise level is consistently far below that of the vertical. In the daytime, the loop can be rotated either to maximize signal or to null out noise. At night, of course, the effect is less noticeable but still sometimes useful.
Beyond ham work, the Pixel loop does a fine job at pulling out shortwave DX stations with my Drake R8B and Ten Tec 340.
To summarize, the loop is reasonably sensitive and very quiet, even in my hash-filled urban neighborhood. Construction quality is excellent with one exception. The LNA connects to the loop via a supplied short piece of RG6Q. Out of the other end of the amplifier box, one connects another piece of RG6Q that runs to the shack. These are all F connectors, apparently reflecting Pixel's main product lines--cable and satellite TV. When attaching the RG6 to the output of the amplifier, be sure to only hand-tighten the connector. I put a wrench on mine and promptly twisted off the wire inside the amplifier box. An email to Pixel and a dab of solder resolved that problem. Apparently, I am not the only person who has had this experience as the Pixel rep at Hamcation last Saturday told me that they have replaced that female F connector with a much sturdier product.
Speaking of Pixel reps, customer service could not be better. While I repaired the minor damage myself, they offered to do it for me at no charge. They were incredibly responsive, exchanging emails with me on a Saturday and Sunday.
The antenna was shipped the same day I ordered it and arrived from Colorado in three days. It was sturdily packed and included quite a variety of mounting hardware, cable adapters, etc. to accommodate all needs. Assembly takes maybe 15 minutes but be sure to follow the instructions carefully when it comes to using nylon washers to insulate the LNA from the antenna and the mast. Happily, the instructions are clear and complete, accompanied by multiple large photographs.
If a magnetic loop receiving antenna is what you need, the Pixel RF PRO-1A is an excellent choice.
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