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Reviews For: Array Solutions AS-SAL-30 Shared Apex Loop Array

Category: Antennas: VLF/LF/HF Receive only

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Review Summary For : Array Solutions AS-SAL-30 Shared Apex Loop Array
Reviews: 12MSRP: 840
Low band listening antenna using a closed loop and time delay technology.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
JW4PUA Rating: 2021-04-09
SAL-30 Mark II - I didn't get it to work Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Array Solutions AS-SAL 30 Mark II

The short story is that I didn’t get the antenna to work properly. I tried. I tried hard, but I ended up returning it and got it refunded. They refunded only the cost of the antenna, not the shipping.
For the antenna, I cannot give it a good rating.
For the company, here I have mixed feelings. Array Solutions have answered my emails most of the time and have always been polite. I didn’t get an answer to the most elementary questions though. More on that later. And, in the end, they took the antenna back and refunded it, but I lost a good deal of money.

I have no local noise. I wanted an antenna for directivity and gain.
I ordered the antenna after a recommendation from a friend. He has two of them and often take them on DX expeditions. I have heard his antenna and was impressed. I consider him as experienced with this antenna. He has the Mark 1 though.
I had a good experience with Array Solution in the buying process. I got good advice on which to buy, 12, 20 or 30. I choose the 30 model. I have my radio at my cabin, a small one store wooden building. The cabin is on a flat area and there is good space around. I have two verticals with groundplanes one side of the cabin. I put the SAL-30 on the other side of the cabin. More than 50m/170 feet away from the verticals and the cabin. The antenna was raised according to instructions and the receive testing started. There is some test to proceed to check if the antenna works properly. Some of the test failed. None of them actually shoved a good result. The antenna showed the same receive results as my Butternut 40/80 antenna. I did not get any more gain nor did I got the directivity as claimed. Another problem was that the antenna stopped working after transmitting. It went into some protection mode. Under 100 Watt SSB the antenna stopped some of the times, over 100 Watt SSB it stopped working every time. I emailed Array for help. I got answer after 4 emails and 4 weeks. I got a standard answer, do the testing according to the manual, but I did not get any answer of my questions: Is the antenna to close to the transmitting antenna? Is it a problem that the unit goes off after transmitting? And is it in the shack or out at the antenna the problem is? No answer.
I tried to tune the antenna. I re-grounded the station. I re-cabled the antenna feedline. I teared the antenna down and put it up again. No change. Lots of emails back and forth, but no real help. I then had my friend with experience of these antennas over. We teared the antenna down again and put it up again. Tried the tuning again. No change in results. My friend was surprised by the lack of gain and directivity. We suspected that the was something wrong inside the boxes. And during the testing one day the antenna stopped working at all. No signal from the box. After more dialog with Array I sent the boxes back for service/repair. They said they was repaired under warranty, but I had to pay for the transport ($150). I had to ask for an explanation of the repair. There was a failure in the preamp. I didn’t get any explanation of in which box or how it could happen or how I could avoid it to happen again. 6 months after purchase, I reassembled the antenna again. No change in results.
To sum up. I put up and adjusted the antenna with a lot of assistance from Array and my experienced friend. The receive capability was comparable to a vertical. And it was not possible to transmit without having it going into protection mode or stop working. I asked Array to take the antenna back and refund me and they did. However, they only refunded me for the antenna, not for the shipping. I had to pay for the shipping of the two boxes with electronics to service too. My total loss was around $500.

Why didn’t the antenna work better? I have no idea. I did not get any good answer. Ok that’s not true. After I returned the antenna, I got this information: "We know that it couples to verticals and will result in no pattern as expected 30-35 dB F/B." Could I have done anything to un-void that? Is the Mark II not as good as the Mark I?
And why didn’t the antenna tolerate the transmitted signal? Isn’t there a protection system?

I replaced the antenna with a simpler, one direction receiving antenna from RAØSMS. A flag delta loop. It cost $46 and work fine. Not only fine, but much better than the SAL. It also has what the SAL do not have; a PTT input from the radio to short it when transmit. Why don’t the SAL have that?

ON8DM Rating: 2020-09-29
a - b testing on 160 80 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
With respect to all reviewers...I did some A B C testing with other rx antennas on my contest qth. For this purpose i builded a K9AY , a pair of small phased amplified loops seperated 300m from each other and ofcourse switched from time to time to my regular phased rx arrays. The sal 30 is doing fine in comparison with the K9AY or the amplified small loops on 80m but there it stopped for me..I lost VE6WZ many times on 160 cw while he was still in on my phased loops or simple 1 w beverage . Same behave to JA ZL in the evening from JO10 on 160m... I have no clue on which rx antennas many reviewers are used to listen on . It is a nice toy if you dont have a ranch but for a few bucks you can build a simple pair of crossed loops with similar results.. Mich on8dm
OY1R Rating: 2020-01-08
super good rx antenna, needs reenforcement for OY wx. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Very good receiving antenna, it enabled us at the clubstation to get back on 160/80. I have been AM DXing like never before.
LF broadcast, NBD's and AM broadcast DX'ing is great fun on the SAL-30.
The TX antenna is a vertical tower and lately the noise in it was peaking at s9, with the SAL we have no noise in the daytime and sometimes up to s3 at night.
Being able to steer it, is fantastic, easy to dig out dx.
BUT, this thing is not suitable(as standard) for OY weather unfortunately.
We had a typical winter low pressure system here a few days ago, and the mast broke. On the poles, the reinforcement ring on the mating part broke and the section split open and upper section slid down into the lower section before the array came crashing down. So it lasted all but 2 months in the rough OY winter.
Luckily the relay/delay box is inside an extra box and was saved, so, if all goes well i new section or most likely an entire new mast is all we need to get this superb performer up and running again.
Base was sat on 2ft 2inch pipe bolted into basalt with expansion bolts and the guy wires were anchored with 8x 8mm expansion bolts and eye-nuts all hardware being A4 stainless.
The winds here are rough on antennas, they get whipped around.

I had an issue earlier where i transmitted into the antenna during the CQWW SSB.
After an email or two the antenna box was on the way to arraysolutions/hamation and it was fixed in a jiffy at flatrate price. Great service indeed.
N0AV Rating: 2018-12-02
Great RX Antenna Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought the SAL30 when it first came out. Since installing it 150 feet from my inverted L it has performed very well. I used to put up a 580ft beverage in my neighbors field every fall but the SAL30 hears just as well probably 90% of the time on 160 meters so I don't bother installing the EU beverage anymore. On 80 meters it receives as well or better than my Lazy Vee 4sq array. This thing is a keeper!
W3HKK Rating: 2018-01-07
good low area rx antenna Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Just added a new IC7610 xcvr to the shack. Reportedly it has a very quiet/low noise rcvr. I was on 160m tonight chasing DX and made an astounding discovery. After working SM5EDX with 5NN's both ways, I noticed the s-meter on the 7610 was resting on zero. with a few jumps to S-1, and fewer above that. I changed to the INV-L and saw an S-6 noise level, then back to the SAL and found S-0 for 90% of the time with a few jumps to S-1 or above. And there was SM5EDX still peaking 5nn. Yes its true. The 7610 is one mighty quiet rcvr, and the SAL-30 makes that big a difference over ( or under) a qtr wave inv. L.

Earlier 5-star review posted by W3HKK on 2016-11-10

Update: This will be my third season on 160 with this antenna. DXCC now stands at 94 worked/93 confirmed.

I use it as my preferred rx antenna on 160-through 40m, because it reduces QRN, really helps pick up LP signals on 40 in particular, and provides some useful rejection off the sides and rear. Above 40m it loses its directionality.

RX signals tend to be 1 S-unit down on 160 vs my qtr wave Inv-L supported by a 52 mast. Marginal DX signals are about 3 db better on the SAL30. RX signals on the other bands are as strong as or better than my wire antennas.

Last week I realigned the loop pairs to be more in line ( they were up to 10 degrees off, rechecked the dimensions on the bottom legs
(somehow the 25 ft dimension had changed over time by as much as 18 inches) so I reset all four bottom lengths. Then I found the distances to the center of the couplers had also moved substantially, and reset them to 155".

Apparently the wind moved the coupler and perhaps the wire through the triangle corners as well, and/or the wire in the loop stretches.

Having done so, the lower wire is no longer truely horizontal, as recommended by AS, but that is a project for another day.
N6RW Rating: 2017-12-06
Amazing RX antenna Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I think I just discovered the down side of putting up a SAL-30 - now I can hear better than I can transmit. I used to hear comments on the Low-Band Chat group, about how loud my signal was on 160 meters in Europe from here in Arizona, but I often could not hear them at all. I did manage to work a lot of the DX I could hear with the Inverted L, but missed a lot of opportunities. Now, with the SAL-30, I am calling distant DX that I hear Q5 and they can't hear me, so now, I need to figure out how to get louder with the Inverted L TX antenna.

I live in an area near Prescott AZ, where there is no man-made noise on 160 meters. I can hear DX on 160 meters with the SAL-30 that doesn't exist on the Inverted L. On 80m, using my SteppIR DB-36 dipole, the SAL normally receives a few dB better. On 60m using FT-8, the SAL is about 5 to 6 dB better than the DB-36 dipole.

Another benefit of the SAL-30 is having fun listening to AM Broadcast stations. I love to tune down to the frequencies where stations share frequencies. By "rotating"the antenna on many frequencies, I can hear two to three different stations - one at a time.
NC3Z Rating: 2017-01-22
Game changer Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I made my installation a bit more permanent and raised it about 7' AGL.

The performance on 160-40M is amazing compared to my verticals and dipoles. Using WSPR to do some quantitative comparison I am observing at least 12dB SNR improvement. I am working DX that the L's or dipoles can not make out, but are Q5 on the SAL-30.

I have some pictures and videos on my QRZ page.
N3BB Rating: 2016-01-30
SAL-30 Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
What an amazing receiving antenna. I almost cried when I realized how good this thing is. In my case, I ended up re-stalling it on an elevated wooden base, and with elevated "anchor poles" in order to get the horizontal sections up to seven or eight feet high(above deer and other critters) and also so get the base and anchors embedded in concrete as the antenna is on a low flood-plane along a creek. This "re-do" made the thing flood and critter proof. I just love this antenna!
N9NS Rating: 2015-11-18
Excellent receive antenna! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I put my antenna up about a week ago by myself. I set a 6x6 post in the ground with two mast house bracket mounted on it. I was able to raise the mast and secure it to the post where it stood self-supported for a few minutes while I set the guys.

A couple of nights ago I was listening to a VP2 on 40 SSB. With the SAL Southeast he was peaking S-7/S-8, flip to Northwest and was still copyable but S3 to S4, almost at the noise level. Surprisingly he was an S-unit or so stronger on the SAL than on my 2 element 40M beam at 72 ft. It performs about the same on 80 over my dipole at 70 feet. The SAL has a preamp in it which may account for the difference. The directional ability falls off on 30 meters to maybe an S-unit or two. It also has a generally lower noise level than the other antennas.

I noticed yesterday afternoon on 40 meters when the band was just opening to Europe the beam was an S-unit better, but later after dark the SAL was better.

For checking directional characteristics there are websites where you can find local AM radio stations. Like here:

Then there are other sites like here:
which will give you the co-ordinates of their transmitters.

And there are websites like here:
which will calculate the bearing to the station. Or there are mapping softwares like Delorme Topo North America which will calculate bearings.

Generally it shows front-to-back as good as 25 dB from broadcast band up thru 40 meters. I think the null off the back is rather sharp. Stations off to one side a little are not down that much.

Overall a great receive antenna. Makes life on the low bands much more fun!

K9REK Rating: 2014-11-03
Good RX Solution. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The antenna performs as described and installation went well with the exception of one coupler feed line, the polarity was reversed at the coupler end. Once this issue was identified and optimization was completed it performs similar to my short beverage. F/B is good and the bottom line is I hear what I can't with my TX low band antennas which are a ¼ wave vertical for 75/80 and a another 80 meter ¼ wave vertical top loaded for 160 meters. All hardware is FB and I am pleasantly pleased with the initial performance.