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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Verticals; Wire; Loop | Wellbrook ALA-1530 Active Magnetic Loop Antenna Help


Reviews Summary for Wellbrook ALA-1530 Active Magnetic Loop Antenna
Wellbrook ALA-1530 Active Magnetic Loop Antenna Reviews: 26 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $200 £ + charge
Description: Active Magnetic Loop Antenna for medium and short waves listening operations
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.wellbrook.uk.com/
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You can write your own review of the Wellbrook ALA-1530 Active Magnetic Loop Antenna.

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GD4EIP Rating: 4/5 Mar 10, 2019 12:08 Send this review to a friend
Update   Time owned: more than 12 months
I have dismantled the loop and checked everything. First I had the external diode protection incorrect and removed it. Then I found the self tapped screws very loose. I drilled through and replace the screws wit a nuts and bolts. Everything tight. The loop now works 100% better. On LF and MF it is outstanding and on HF it is very good but not as good as a 133ft Windom. I am now pleased with the loop. I wonder if Andrew installs protection diodes.
 
VE7SHM Rating: 3/5 Mar 4, 2019 14:46 Send this review to a friend
It works ok for SWL  Time owned: more than 12 months
I use it for hf only its not quieter or receives as well as my 80 meter delta loop ....
 
OZ1DTF Rating: 5/5 May 28, 2018 07:02 Send this review to a friend
Amazing! Works as described.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
INTRODUCTION
This review deals with the "improved" version (new-design of the low noise amplifier) of ALA1530LNP which was introduced in the beginning of 2018 and discontinued a few months later.

Customers are now advised to choose the new "improved" ALA1530LN instead. Confused? The only difference between the LNP and LN is the "Antenna interface box" (+12V power inserter). The LNP has a 9dB low-noise amplifier in the box. The ALA1530LN head amplifier is identical to the one used on the ALA1530LNP. Hence, the LN model will provide a similar S/N to the LNP model when used with a sensitive receiver. Of course with the LNP you will get higher S-meter readings but what counts is readability!!

REVIEW
There may be many relevant reasons for a radio amateur to own a broadband separate RX antenna….and specially a magnetic loop.

The magnetic loop is known to be excellent for improving S/N ratio when you are plagued by local electrical noise. Electrical noise was the only reason for me to buy a magnetic loop antenna. The other property, bi-directional pattern with pronounced nulls can also be useful if mounted on a rotator.

I live in a small terraced house with a small space on both sides. On one side I have a short end-fed random wire as my one and only main antenna. This picks up so much local noise that I considered going QRT. Now I have the Wellbrook loop at the other side of the house as far away as possible (which here is 7 m/23 feet). The bottom of the loop is only 30 cm/1 foot) above the ground for stealth installation. I use 30 m/98 feet of RG-58 with BNC-BNC.

My rig is a barefoot TS-590S and now I always have the loop switched in as the RX antenna. Connection is easy as the rig features a separate RX antenna input.

When I with the loop tune into a signal and then press the button to listen on the main antenna, then in most cases the signal simply disappears!! The improvement with the loop is fantastic!

Prior to permanent outdoor installation I tried various locations of the loop including indoor. My conclusion is the same as written in the manual. Mount it away from the building/metal objects and at least 5 m.

There are several design features of this loop. The design of the Wellbrook loop is rugged! BNC instead of vulnerable F-connectors.

I truly believe the Wellbrook RX magnetic loop is a winner on all parameters: electrical and mechanical design, quality and pricing.
 
N0TLD Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2017 01:18 Send this review to a friend
Excellence  Time owned: more than 12 months
Not sure how some people find it unimpressive but to each their own I suppose. For me, this loop has been a fantastic DXing tool, not only on its own with a lightweight rotator, but as part of a phased system with other antennas.

Of COURSE its signal levels are going to be lower than that of a decent-height dipole and many other fuller sized antennas -- it's an amplified loop, a compromise antenna by definition, basically. The strength of this antenna is not in powerhouse signals; it is in signal to NOISE.

I have a number of other antennas of various types, all of which can bring in weak signals that send my S meter swinging much higher than the loop can, but it doesn't do much good if the noise floor devours most of it. And more importantly I hear signals on the ALA loop that I CAN'T hear on any other antenna simply from its superior signal-to-noise ratio.

I'm not sure how it ISN'T a valuable tool for DXing MW and SW. It's easy to set up and easy to use, and doesn't need to be mounted high in the air to give you exactly what it it has promised to give you -- lots of signals and a lot less noise.

Add a rotator to the equation and you're sitting very pretty.

It's certainly the best of the current crop of amped RX loop antennas offered commercially, and costs less, even with shipping to the U.S., than its U.S. competitors.

It's not cheap and it's not for everyone, but it's a damned good, and very useful antenna. Andrew Ikin deserves, has earned, the excellent reputation for quality and service he's received over the years.
 
N1BBR Rating: 3/5 Jul 25, 2017 17:32 Send this review to a friend
Not all that impressed  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The plus side is you have an antenna that is open-banded such that one doesn't have to worry about tuning.

The minus side is the sensitivity to DX (unless your talking 200kw BC stations) is no where near what one would have with a moderately high dipole.

I snagged a used 1530 at good price. Unless one is located in restricted or high noise location one would be well advised to visit a friend who has one before spending $$ for new.
 
K4QET Rating: 5/5 Nov 7, 2016 07:00 Send this review to a friend
Works great, thanks Andrew  Time owned: more than 12 months
Works great as stated.

Had some amp-loop screw connection problems for a while, at some point couldn't get it to work, Andrew sent me a whole new amplifier gratis after 3 years, of course solved the problem.

I especially like being able to listen to the 9kc area using TenTec OMNI VII!

 
KC0EKQ Rating: 5/5 Jun 14, 2016 00:34 Send this review to a friend
Stunning.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This a review for the Wellbrook ALA1530LNP loop antenna, which has higher gain and (in my ears anyway) a slightly longer 'reach' in sensitivity than the 1530LN or indeed any of the ALA loops I've used before it.

First, anyone following this review thread already knows the Wellbrooks have a good, strong reputation for an excellent product and just as excellent customer service from Andrew Ikin. All of that is dead-on correct.

You also already know it ain't cheap. At the time of this review/writing, the LNP version ships to the US for about $460. I'll get back to this fact in a moment.

I've been a loop antenna maniac since I was a kid **ahemcough*--years ago. I have built so many different kinds of loop antennas, mostly for receive only, that I couldn't coount or remember them all. From depth wound wood framed MW loops to spiral wound PVC SW loops to giant copper tubing loops outside and untuned, some remotely tuned... just, you name it, I built it and tried it.

Some of them were pretty lousy, due mostly to builder/operator error, I am very willing to concede. Most were good, decent, 'worked' as they should, and were very fun to make and use.

But there were a few that really stood out, which I have been using since I first built them years ago. One is passive except for remote tuning, for MW reception and noise killing; the other two are SW, amplified and untuned, and as broadband as I could make them given my tools and skills and knowledge... which I admit is likely not so vast as many of you in here.

The ALA1530LNP outshines each and every one of them, not always by a LOT but certainly by a useable SNR, and meaningful gain where it counts -- at the edge of listenability at the noise floor of my QTH.

I am proud to say one of my untuned amp'ed loops hears almost everything the LNP hears, but doesn't hear them nearly so clean and present as the LNP does. It is always just stunning to me when a new antenna (built or bought) suddenly brings a new station, a new ID one hasn't heard or logged before... and the LNP garnered three such signals the very first day I used it.

It was very easy to assemble -- everything you need is provided except for the cable needed to go between the mounted loop and the control box in the shack. In my case about 50ft was perfect, and Wellbrook says up to 100ft should be generally safe from losses and noise.

As well, you will need a mount for it. The LNP comes with a 7" end threaded aluminum pipe and flange fitting to bolt to the underside of the loop amplifier, but you will likely need to adapt it to your own needs and materials to get it just right for you.

I think it's a bit of a drag that they've installed BNC connecters for the long cable and the control box-to-receiver cable (supplied/built into the control box); I understand BNC is more popular in the UK... but in my experience they are weaker in reliability and endurance, and don't always make a solid connection, especially for an antenna mounted outdoors. SO239/PL259 connections are more robust and reliable and long-lived.

But a few 'BNC-to-whatever-adapters' make things right again, and this thing is RIGHT, anyway you look at it.

I already mentioned hearing signals I'd never heard before on any other loop (let alone any random long wire or other outdoor wire antenna). It also nulls noise and recovers signals hidden under other stations or buried under the noise floor of your location, and does so very VERY efficiently. On a cheap, lightweight antenna rotator, this loop is a real champion of low noise listening and DXing. Stunning, I say again.

Oh, about the price I mentioned earlier -- and I am not trying to ruffle feathers or make enemies or put anyone down -- for the performance you get with the correctly assembled and deployed/mounted 1530LNP loop, Wellbrook could charge much more than the average $450USD and still have a product worth every penny. I applaud their ability to sell their products at the prices they do, especially after seeing just how expensive it is to manufacture antennas and accessories.

But a further point about the price is that I am an American first and foremost when it comes to my real shopping and supplying for all of my interests, and before I bought any Wellbrook UK products I bought a Pixel (now Inlogis) RF-Pro-1B loop from DX Engineering in Ohio, in the good ol' US of A... for a bit over $500USD.

And it worked. For a while it was the best antenna on my lot, and I have nothing to say against the product per se... but even with weatherproofing (remember I've been at this for decades) it had moments of breakdown and power issues and just plain not working.

I guess I'm trying to say that the RF-Pro-1B is a fine antenna but at around $50USD more than the Wellbrook, and at the performance level I have now been seeing/getting with the LNP compared to the Pro-1B's performance, well... it doesn't make sense to me to spend more money to get what *I* feel to be less of an antenna.

I know a lot of us are quite pleased with the RF Pro-1B, and that's great. But now, run a Wellbrook for a bit, and try to tell me you don't hear and see and know a pretty meaningful difference in performance.

This is a stunning product, a champion of RX loop antennas, and if one can afford it, the ALA1530LNP will immediately and absolutely prove to you why it is worth every penny.

 
G1HBE Rating: 5/5 Jan 4, 2016 05:55 Send this review to a friend
A solid performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm trying to remember when I got my ALA1530 and it must be around the year 2000, and it has spent most of that time being punished by the Pennine weather here in Cheshire, England. Like most SWL's and Radio Amateurs, I have been greatly depressed by rising noise levels and my favourite lowbands have been badly hit over recent years. Listening with a random wire antenna is now a lost cause.
Once I'd got the 1530 mounted outside at gutter height I was amazed at how the local noise dropped from S8 down to S1, and troublesome noises could be nulled by rotating the loop. My MW(AM) listening is now back on track and I am able to operate on the noisy 160m band again. This year the loop was badly damaged in the storms and I decided to replace it with....another ALA1530! I did consider the Pixel Loop, but after reading a few reviews and listening to some comparison MP3's I'll stick with the Wellbrook.
 
KB8NTY Rating: 5/5 Oct 21, 2015 21:06 Send this review to a friend
A VERY PROVEN PERFORMER!...EXCELLENT!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I wanted to submit my review-experience of my Wellbrook ALA-1530 loop...

My experience is based on my specific application, which was for amateur radio. The ALA-1530 covers a nice range of frequencies but my focus was for the ham bands.

Hopefully this review will address your Ham Radio use concerns.


Overall it has exceeded my every expectation!

My original target was to be used on the low bands, 80, 40 & 30 meters as my transmit vertical worked well but was noisy of-course. The ALA-1530 presented an acceptable signal to noise ratio that allowed for the signals to be copied above the associated low-band noise.

On the remainder of the HF bands, 20-17-15-12 & 10 meters produced results that were not expected!...Meaning I did not expect to hear signals on my loop that I just couldn't hear on my 4 element Yagi.

Keep in mind my ALA-1530 is mounted on a ground mounted tripod no higher than 10 feet above ground, rotated with a rotor to allow me to null specific noise I didn't want to hear.

These types of loops are not like a gain type of antenna that you use a rotor to peak signals...It is bi-directional with figure of eight reception pattern so basically I can simply use 1/2 of the rotors capability as 180 degrees gives you what you need.

I live in a very noisy city neighborhood, my yard surrounded with power and other types of lines. My Wellbrook loop has made a huge difference and improvement in my operating success.

I can honestly say in the year I have owned my ALA-1530 loop it has allowed me to work 4-5 all time new countries...At 300+ those new ones are hard to come by...Honest I was amazed that my loop heard signals that my 4-element Yagi did not! and truly made the difference of working those new ones or not...because they were just not there with my Yagi.

It was just like magic, using my ALA-1530 loop the stations signal just appeared, it came right out of the noise allowing a true Q-5 copy! No signal showing on the S-meter but a true Q-5 effortless copy...switching back to the Yagi the signal completely vanished into the noise level...not even a trace to be heard!

It made me think of just how many signals I have missed without my Wellbrook ALA-1530 loop!

At over 300+ countries those 5 new countries were every bit worth the price of my loop!...Some may not understand this statement, however many certainly will!


My goal of this review is to assure any Ham radio operator who is contemplating purchasing the Wellbrook ALA-1530 loop for amateur radio use...Please be assured you will not be disappointed...Not at all!

For the most part the loop will not increase signal strength, what it does is reduce the noise allowing for that signal to appear right out and above the noise!..I swear its almost like magic!

My ALA-1530 has become a very important part of my station set-up, at this point I couldn't think of operating without it.

It is low profile, lightweight, good looking and very well constructed!

Oh yea it's also unbelievable on the Broadcast band...The other night I was tuning the AM broadcast band, I'm located in Ohio I was listening to WCCO 830 kHz in Minnesota, As I turned the rotor...WCCO slowly faded away and up came XELA / XEITE in Mexico city, Mexico!...How cool by simply turning the antenna I was able to hear two stations on the very same frequency, one in Minnesota, the other in Mexico!

Just one sample of what all this loop can do.

This loop provides the user hours and hours of an intriguing listening experience.

Regardless if its AM broadcast band listening, Shortwave listening, or Ham Radio...This Wellbrook ALA-1530 is a proven winner...Please Be assured!

It is worth every penny.

The build quality is truly great and just recently the amp module is now manufactured as a stand alone, allowing one to easily remove just the module for either repair-replace,upgrade whatever your need may possibly ever be, without having to include the complete loop antenna!..Just Great!

My concern as others may be was the shipping time..I can tell you my delivery experience time was actually quicker than some domestic purchases I have made!...You will not be disappointed, I was so impressed with the short time it actually took.

The effort put into packaging allowed for a very safe and secure delivery...No issues.

Fast shipping with complete shipping communication, tracking etc, throughout the complete way.

Customer service?..Let me just say this company provides personalized service second to none. I have been beyond satisfied with the service I have received from Wellbrook.


I have to say my ALA-1530 loop antenna and experience with the Wellbrook company has been without peer!...A truly complete pleasant experience!

With the service that Wellbrook provides and such hi-tech quality product, guarantees that this company and its products is here to stay.

Your *complete* satisfaction in every way will be exceeded!...Be Assured!...


***Thank You Wellbrook***








 
W5DMT Rating: 5/5 Apr 11, 2015 00:03 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic Little Receive antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was a bit hesitant to drop this much money on a receive antenna. I would love to have the space for a Shared Apex Loop, but I simply don't. I bought this expecting it to be a compromise at best. I was extremely wrong.

I mounted my loop on a 6 foot pipe that I pounded about 3 feet into the ground, and then put in on a Yaesu G450 rotor. (Overkill!) I use it on 40, 75 and for listening to AM Radio on my Kenwood TS-590SG. As I'm sitting here typing this, I'm listening to a station in Los Angeles. It gets a lot more directional the lower you go.

I purchased the version without the preamp. My 590 has a hot receiver, so I was told that I just wouldn't need it. (How's that for a company telling the truth?)

My advice, buy one. It's a quiet receive antenna, and well worth the effort!
 
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