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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Verticals; Wire; Loop | W6LVP Receiving Amplified Loop with transmit/receive switchbox Help


Reviews Summary for W6LVP Receiving Amplified Loop with transmit/receive switchbox
W6LVP Receiving Amplified Loop with transmit/receive switchbox Reviews: 42 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $295
Description: This amplified receiving loop includes a combination transmit/receive switch and power inserter box for the loop amp that allows radios such as the IC7300 to easily allow a low noise receive antenna and a transmit antenna.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.w6lvp.com
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N3HKN Rating: 5/5 Oct 6, 2018 10:04 Send this review to a friend
All Band Receiving  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I previously reviewed this antenna but wanted to illustrate a very nice feature that has not been mentioned. If you have been using a traditional tuned antenna (dipole/vertical) as you check various bands you may need a tuner and thus an adjustment for one or more bands to maximize receive performance. With this antenna I have an excellent wide band performance with no retuning. 10 meters or 80 meters. I find that I am sometimes reflexively reaching for the Dentron tuner when changing bands - not needed. Switching in the builtin 7300 tuner has never improved performance. It can't tune the loop since it sends RF down the line. However, tuned to my dipole on 40 and turning it on and off during receive there is no improvement.
 
HTHSWL Rating: 5/5 Oct 4, 2018 18:34 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Receive Antenna Loop - SWL's Review   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I contacted Larry thru his web site with an email. He responded very quickly which resulted in a phone call and a brief conversation. My issue in my location is 3 local AM Broadcast stations that overload many of my radios. I have several high quality radios ( Drake R8B, Icom IC R8600, Reuters RDR50C, and a Lowe HF-225 Europa ) One local transmitter is a 50K " Daytimer " that renders the AM broadcast band unusable, unless you engage a 10 / 20db attenuator. This 50K station also seems to raise the noise floor on the SW and Ham bands as well. The antenna used was a Wellbrook 1530, located in my attic. Larry did some research in my area and responded by suggesting 3 NOTCH filters for 3 separate frequencies in the AM Broadcast band. These notch filters would reduce the strength of each station by about 30 db. I asked him to go ahead and produce the antenna with these suggestions. I was skeptical, but NOT now. Once I received the antenna, it took me only about 20 minutes to take down the old Wellbrook 1530, and in it's place the W6LVP Receiving Loop. I used my Lowe HF-225 Europa, which is prone to overload. I could NOT believe the difference ! I did NOT need to use an attenuator. During the daytime, I tried to receive a station from Jacksonville, FL ( 600 kHz ) Normally it would be buried in noise, but I had a very readable signal at about S-7. This station is 225 miles from my location. I also must mention that this antenna is excellent for receiving the Ham and Shortwave bands. It is low noise, but also amplified. I found it was a significant improvement over the Wellbrook 1530. It has lowered my noise floor on most bands to an S-3 ( was S-5-7 ) I am very happy I made the purchase. The Loop is well constructed, and was easy to install, and came well packed. The Wellbrook 1530 is a fine antenna, however a new one would almost double the cost. Larry's W6LVP Receiving Loop antenna is a significant improvement in my location, and can honestly say I wish I had ordered earlier. It is certainly recommended by a SHORTWAVE enthusiast !
 
N4EEB Rating: 5/5 Sep 2, 2018 16:08 Send this review to a friend
Very Satisfied with Product and Support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My motivation for looking into magnetic receive loops was not due to local man-made interference. I live on 2.5 acres in the country, and I am blessed that my QTH is RF quiet. I looked into this type of receiving antenna to increase the signal to noise ratio on the low bands when trying to copy weak signals. I contest a lot, especially on CW, and it only takes a little bit of QRN to kill a QSO. I did not want to install Beverage antennas or multiple phased vertical type of systems, so size and simplicity of installation and operation was a prime concern. The second concern was price. If it turned out that I didn't like the amplified magnetic loop, I wouldn't be out a fortune. After examining the available options, I became interested in the W6LVP product because of its price point and excellent reviews. (Also, the cool YouTube videos). I did have some questions about coax and installation before I purchased it, so I sent an email to Larry. I was surprised to get a response within the hour, and Larry took time to fully answer my questions in detail. I decided on the "power inserter" model, because my Kenwood TS-590SG has a receive antenna jack. Shipping was super fast. For the installation I wanted, I needed to make a quick trip to Home Depot to homebrew a short, heavy gauge, 2" OD PVC mast and some adapters. A spray can of PVC glue (with primer already mixed in) was used to put it all together. My loop is installed at approx. 8 ft. above ground. The structure starts with a metal pipe buried in a hole with fast setting concrete. A rotator is mounted to the pipe, and the PVC mast extends from the rotator to the supplied loop mast via my homemade adapter. I installed the loop about 130 feet away from house to reduce the possibility of any interfering electronics. I fed it with 160 ft. of Belden Type RG-11 Quadshield coax with BNC connectors on each end. I purchased the coax assembly pre-made by the supplier that Larry recommends on his website, and I was very impressed with them too. The coax and rotator control cables were buried about a foot underground (a friend had a gas trencher) to my shack. If you are making a permanent installation with this antenna like I did, I would highly recommend buying a bottle of "Liquid Tape" to weather proof the three BNC connectors on the antenna, especially the one for the feedline. Using a sealing tape is a little challenging to work with on the bottom connector, but a few generous applications of Liquid Tape made for a nice watertight seal. Make sure your connectors are properly seated, and wind the black weatherproofing tape in the direction of rotation. Make certain that you properly strain relief the coax at the feedpoint to avoid pressure/torque on the BNC connector that may cause it to loosen. This is particularly critical if you are using a large coax cable. I am absolutely amazed with the performance of this antenna. My reference antenna is a 135 ft. non-resonant multiband dipole at 30 ft. fed with 300 ohm line. On 160-30 meters I have easily found many signals that were not 100% copy on the dipole, but easy to copy with the loop. Having the ability to rotate the loop is cool. Sometimes it makes no difference in signal at all, most of the time you can find a better orientation that increases the signal/noise ratio, and sometimes the effect is dramatic. I use the loop on 160-10 meter receive, and I've been finding that I prefer to just leave it connected as a receiving antenna no matter what band or mode I'm on... it's just so convenient and quiet. On the AM broadcast band during the day, you can rotate the loop and receive 2, 3 and even 4 AM stations on the same frequency as you rotate in and out of nulls. It's also fun playing with NDB signals. No regrets on my purchase. It's a great addition to my toolkit of ham toys, and I'm having a lot of fun with this antenna. I highly recommend it. Customer service by Larry W6LVP is top notch.
 
KH6FHI Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2018 03:33 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Investment  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I live in a dense urban environment here in Honolulu. This loop has improved signal to noise ratio on all HF bands for me. Since purchasing the W6LVP loop, at least 90% of my contacts have been made using the loop and most would not have been possible without the improved S/N ratio it gives me. I average an S5 noise level using my 160M doublet and seldom have any noise with the magnetic loop.

While the loop worked ok when originally mounted at 8 feet above ground and fed with 30 feet of RG-6 coax, there was significant improvement once I raised it to it's now permanent position of 22 feet, even through 100 ft of RG-6. It is now clear of the roof lines of my and neighboring houses.

The transmit/receive switch/power insertion box works well. The delay in transmit/receive switching has not been detrimental to Winmore Winlink, FT-8, and other digital modes.

I also find that during NVIS contacts between the Islands, I can counteract sometimes strong QSB by switching back and forth between the horizontal polarization of my doublet and the vertical polarization of the loop. I also find being able to move between bands and up and down across a given band using the loop without tuning is a great help in finding activity, especially during contests.

Larry Plummer was very responsive and helpful. On his recommendation I paid extra for low and high pass filters. My results with the W6LVP loop's performance have been much better than other hams here in Honolulu who bought the loop with out filters and I attribute this to the incorporation of the filters. Thanks Larry!

I hope others using this loop can find the same benefit that I did and the great amount of enjoyment of the hobby that it has enabled.

Aloha,
KH6FHI

 
N7BWB Rating: 5/5 Jul 12, 2018 21:41 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Investment  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I'm currently using a Drake R8 and SDRPlay RSP1A with this antenna and couldn't be more pleased. I'm even able to listen to our local FM stations with full quieting with this antenna on the RSP1A. Highly recommended.
 
WD9GNG Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2018 01:24 Send this review to a friend
W6LVP Mag Loop 6 Month ARRL Field Day Review  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
What could be a better way to participate in ARRL Field Day than with a new IC-7300 and a W6LVP Magnetic Loop Antenna.
When I got the loop initially I thought it would only be needed on 40 Meters and below.

ARRL Field Day has changed my opinion. I found that the ARRL Field Day gave me a chance to optimize my roofing filters and pass band filtering as well as take advantage of the noise cancelling null and forward gain of my W6LVP Mag Loop from 80 to 6 Meters. The W6LVP made easy contesting with good results as a result of using the excellent W6LVP Mag Loop.

Just the ability to simply tune anyway in the contest bands and not have to waste a second to tune up first before checking hot band activity is amazing enough.

There are more and more video reviews on YouTube that verify just how much background noise from the signal can be removed. I kid a little but it does almost make 80 meters sound like 2 Meter FM :-)

Stopping by the W6LVP web site I have noticed that he now has several products using Magnetic Loop technology available for the DX, SWLer or QRP enthusiast.

Watch the videos then join in for low static and low noise receive available with a W6LVP Magnetic Loop Antenna.

Hope you get a chance to try one out!

Ken
WD9GNG






 
NE8P Rating: 5/5 May 28, 2018 16:04 Send this review to a friend
Saved by the Loop!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Moved from a low noise, rural location in Michigan where I had the good fortune to have a tower with horizontally polarized antennas to a city subdivision in Florida with an HOA. At this point, the only viable antenna option for me is a multi-band vertical antenna. So up went a Butternut HF9-V.

Imagine my surprise (horror?) when I fired up the rig and found I had S9 +10 db noise level 24/7 on 3.5 mhz along with decreasing, but correspondingly high, levels on up through 10 meters. I like to chase DX and participate in international DX contests. This all but KO'ed any enjoyment I might have doing such.

After convincing myself the source(s) of the noise were not from my household and driving around the area with my car radio on an unoccupied AM band channel, it seemed the (main) source of the noise might be HV (100+ kV) power lines that are about 500 feet west of me. So I submitted an RF interference complaint with our local power company. Got a quick initial response from an investigator, but to this date there's been no progress.

In the meantime the 3B7A dxpedition was activated, and I somehow managed to get in their log despite the fact that they were Q3 here at best. Then, for the Florida QSO Party I decided to run low power so that, hopefully, I could copy most of the stations that called me. The tactic worked but limited the QSO total significantly. After these two events, I decided to try and do something to improve the situation and decided to purchase one of Larry's loops.

Per his suggestion I used 100 feet of quad shielded RG6. Initially, I oriented the null of the loop due west towards the power lines I suspected are causing much of my noise issue. The noise levels were dramatically lower with the loop vs. the transmit antenna, BUT so were the received signals' level. The net effect was no meaningful improvement in signal-to-noise ratio.

All right, maybe my assumption about the location of the noise source was incorrect. So, I rotated the loop while observing the noise level on 80 meters and found that when the loop was pointed in the NNE/SSW direction the noise level dropped about 2.5 S-units (~15 db).

After a bunch of ABABAB testing and having made over 1000 contacts in the recent CQWW WPX CW contest using the loop, I can say that there is a SIGNIFICANT improvement in S/N with the loop null pointed at the noise source - significant to the point that I actually enjoyed the contest and could copy 99+% of those that called me. (Luckily, the noise source is not directly in line with Europe!)

So, at this point, I'm happy that I can continue to enjoy ham radio as I have done so in the past. The W6LVP loop antenna is currently critical this!

A few other points:
- The W6LVP loop is very light, and easy to set up, store and transport.
- It worked first time and has survived 20+ contest hours being 40 feet away from the transmit antenna using up to 900 watts of transmitted power.
- In my case, while the loop significantly improves S/N on 80 (probably 160 as well) through 20 meters, it does not do so on 17 through 10 meters. It's about a wash on 17 meters, and it's worse on 15 through 10 meters. I don't know why this is. It could be that at those higher frequencies, the NNE/SSW noise is not a factor, and that my noise level is due to all the electrical/electronic noise sources spread about in my neighborhood.
- I did not detect any strong signal distortion relate issues associated with the wide band amplifier during the contest. I have four 1 kW AM radio station antennas between 3.5 - 10 miles from me.
- As an added benefit the loop is a nice BC/SW listening antenna (up through 20 mHz or so.)
- Larry is great to work with, and he offers an outstanding no questions asked 30 day return policy (which I will NOT be invoking!)
- The dark color of the coax cable loop and support blends in well with my backyard foliage.

I am extremely satisfied with this loop antenna.

Mike
 
JRT3 Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2018 17:18 Send this review to a friend
Good low-noise loop!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've had a Pixel/DX Eng RF Pro-1a loop for nine years. Nearly five years ago I moved to a garden home in a community that does not permit outside antennas. A tall walk-up attic seemed the obvious place for my loop - I was rewarded with great reception - for a while. The un-taped type-F (CATV) connectors loosened aperiodically by thermal cycling, finally not correctable - I needed a new loop - I elected to try the new loop from Larry Plummer. As an SWL, I did not need the T/R version.

Larry offered to make me one with F connectors - impatient, I ordered one with BNC's - it arrived nicely packaged in a couple days via Priority Mail in a smaller box than I expected. I had a 100ft of new Belden RG-6QS which I doubled and fished back up the wall as I found a loose splice in the RF Pro-1a feed. The two loops have equal 50ft feeds and the loops were // and 20ft apart.

The old loop was 2+ S-units higher reading in BG level than the W6LVP loop. On local LW NDB and MW BCB stations alike, the new loop is 1 - 1.5 S units lower - which translates to a 3 - 6+ dB higher S/N! I really like this loop. I have two Lowe HF-225 receivers - one for each loop, which are now at 90 degrees with respective to each other - a crude 'diversity' reception. If I could keep only one loop - it'd be the W6LVP.
 
K6JV Rating: 5/5 Apr 23, 2018 06:22 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I live in a very noisy neighborhood with high voltage lines running right behind the house. I have an OCF dipole that has an 58 noise level on all bands. I tried several active antennas without any success. Larry's loop antenna dropped the noise level to under S2 on all bands and with a low cost Channel Master rotator, I can now hear signals that were below the noise floor before. Great product at a reasonble cost.
 
WA9GVK Rating: 5/5 Mar 15, 2018 18:41 Send this review to a friend
Superb performance 550 kHz through 10M while nulling RFI  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My installation is not only fixed, but is confined to an attic because of HOA restrictions. The loop isn’t too lonely, though, as I have many nearby dipole antennas spread all over the attic. With the commotion of all the antenna wires, electrical lines and metal pipes under the roof, my loop installation is quite atypical. The results provided in this review may be substantially different for loop installations on the roof or in the open field. In other words, your mileage may vary and will probably be better than mine!

Construction - The loop is made of coax approximately 36” in diameter. The coax ends are terminated with connectors into a small box at the base to house a filter and preamplifier. The construction appears to be quite durable and professionally made. Larry Plummer, W6LVP, even includes a fresh roll of black electric tape to protect all connectors from the elements for outdoor installations.

Installation – Finding a free and clear location among all the attic trusses, braces, and antenna wires was quite a challenge. The loop must allow rotation up to 180 degrees. I had to settle for a position that unfortunately is only a few feet away from the aluminum house siding. (I’d rather have the signals go through wood than metal.) The antenna is rotated by an inexpensive Channel Master 9521A Rotator that Larry recommended. To extend the antenna height to a point just under the roof I added a 12” PVC pipe to the loop’s lower PVC pipe using a Homewerks Worldwide 1 inch PVC Compression Coupling, available at Home Depot. The rotator was placed upon a metal tripod screwed down to the attic joists.

Instructions – Both Quick-Start and detailed set-up and operations guide instructions are provided. The instructions are very thorough. Most importantly instructions explain how to connect the Transmit/Receive Switch included with the antenna. Several different configurations are explained including 1) using the antenna without a separate receive antenna input, 2) using with a high power amplifier, and 3) with a transceiver with a separate receive antenna input.

Cost - The W6LVP loop antenna comes with a T/R switch required for transceivers that don’t have a separate receive antenna input (like my ICOM 746Pro.) There is no extra charge for the switch. Thus the overall loop cost is significantly less than other comparable magnetic loop antennas that don’t provide the switch gratis.

T/R Switch -The switch comes with a power supply that also provides power to the antenna pre-amp via the coax feed-line. The switch is keyed from an accessory output from the transceiver. (For the ICOM 746Pro it was the Send Control Jack RCA connector). There also is a failsafe mechanism that switches upon sensing transmitter power flow.

Customer Service – Anyone reading the eHam.net reviews for this product can readily conclude that Larry provides superb customer service. My review is no different. You can’t get better amateur radio customer service than what Larry provides and I’ve been a ham for 55 years. It is obvious that Larry takes pride in his product and wants everyone to be a happy customer. After I ordered the antenna, Larry performed a study of commercial broadcasting stations near my QTH and concluded that I would need a low-pass 45 MHz filter installed in front of the pre-amp. He provided that at no additional cost. After receiving the antenna and setting it up, I had a question on the interface with ICOM. Larry replied immediately. When I had a potential issue with the T/R switch, later identified to be a bad coax section in the attic, Larry personally called to walk me through the trouble shooting procedures. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Antenna Performance (Well it’s about time!!!)

Operating in an attic isn’t my only challenge. My environment is electrically noisy with emissions from nearby LED lights, dimmer/switches, and who knows what else. Homes are packed in just a few feet apart. Bottom line: Not a good ham operational environment.

From the time we all were baby hams we were conditioned to think that a high S-Unit reading on our receiver was good. With the advent of digital modes, our thinking has evolved. Now it’s all about having a good signal-to-noise ratio. I mention this because in all amateur band tests, the loop antenna provided a significantly lower S-Unit level than a full-size dipole cut for the same band. But the real issue is how the loop performs in terms of signal-to-noise, and ability to null out undesirable signals.

Commercial 525 – 1700 Hz AM Radio Band – Why do I even mention this? For years I’ve used the ICOM 746Pro as an AM receiver mostly to tune in a local sports station. Up until now, my 40-meter full-size inverted V dipole was the best antenna for AM use but still had a hard time pulling in acceptable noise-less signals even when the station was running full power during the day. I also have a terrible problem with RFI from a bedroom light dimmer controlling several LED-ceiling bulbs.

Rotating the loop to null out a local RFI, the noise drop was an impressive four (4) S-Units. Rotating the loop between max and minimum desired signals, the difference was six (6) S-Units.

I can now receive sports radio any time of day with minimal background noise!

160M and 80M – I don’t have a transmit antenna for either band so a direct comparison with the loop was not possible, but FT8 and WSPRnet stations came through with S/N of -24 to +5 db.

On both 160M and 80M the front-to-side ratio of the antenna receiving a desired signal was three (3) S-Units. It also provided a very effective three (3) S-Unit null for RFI buzzing noise.

40M Amateur Band -There was a four (4) S-unit difference between max and minimum atmospheric noise as the loop was rotated and a three (3) S-Unit variation while receiving the desired signal.

My 40M full-size inverted V dipole was used to compare performance with the loop. As suggested by W6LVP, the loop is first turned for minimal noise. I used the WSPRnet for comparative antenna testing. The test was conducted over a 24 minute duration—Six (6) 2-minute test cycles on the dipole; Six (6) 2-minute test cycles for the loop. Because I was using only one receiver, the antennas were not compared simultaneously, nor are the antennas positioned in the exact same location. Furthermore the results are further affected by fading. So why do I do this test? It’s really just to get a ballpark feel for antenna goodness using some level of metrics.

In the on-air WSPR test, the resulting mean signal-to-noise level of all stations was -18 db for the dipole and -17 db for the loop.

I also like to compare antennas using FT8 to approximate the number of received signals over two 15-second cycles. This test effectively compares the number of received signals having a S/N of -24 or better. The numbers were quite comparable.

20M Amateur Band –I found an approximate one (1) S-unit difference between max and minimum atmospheric noise when the loop was rotated; same for max/min on a desired signal. (I intuitively didn’t expect this lower variation compared to the lower band findings.)

I used a full-size 20M attic antenna dipole to compare performance with the loop. I again used the WSPRnet for comparative testing. The resulting mean dipole signal-to-noise level was -20 db; for the loop: -17 db. As previously mentioned there are many reasons for the variation not actually due to antenna performance. The FT8 test also showed an approximate equivalence to the number of received signals over two 15-second cycles.

15M Amateur Band –There was a one (1) S-unit difference between max and minimum atmospheric noise as the loop was rotated; same for reception of a desired signal.

For comparison purposes I used a 15M horizontal double-bazooka dipole. (I can hear the groans.) Comparing a sampling of FT8 signals on a brief band opening:

CO8LY (Cuba): -9, 0, 5, 2 on loop; -1, 2 on dipole
PU2NBI (Brazil): -10., -9, -7, -13 on loop; -11, -10 on dipole
CX7BBR (Uruguay): -15, -17 on loop; -14, -16 , -12 on dipole
K8TL: -16, -18 on loop; -16, -14, -14 on dipole

Looking at the numbers of FT8 signals received over multiple 15 second transmit cycles show a “rough” degree of equivalence between the antennas.

10M Amateur Band - I found an approximate half (1/2) S-unit difference between max and minimum noise as the loop was rotated.

I used the DXEE antenna to compare performance with the loop. At a weak band opening I compared FT8 S/N reception of TG9ADG (Guatemala);

On loop: -7, -1, -2, 0, 1, 3, 0 db
On DXEE: -3, 0, -6, -4, 1, 0, 2 db

Without splitting hairs, the antennas were in a similar performance ballpark.

SWL Bands – A quick scan across the 41, 31 & 25-meter bands with the loop revealed good all-around listening performance. This obviated the need to switch to different amateur dipoles to optimize shortwave reception. No surprises here.

Summary & Conclusions - In both qualitative listening and quantitative on-air measurements the loop antenna for attic use performed superbly across the AM broadcast band up through 10 meters. Loop performance was on par with, and sometimes even better than, my half-wave attic antennas. A key feature is the ability of the antenna to null out pesky local RFI especially on the lower bands. Hams in physically restricted operating environments will enjoy solid reception using the loop as a general purpose HF receive antenna. Packaged with a T/R switch, this loop antenna is a great value and comes with fabulous customer support from Larry Plummer W6LVP.
 
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