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Reviews For: AlexLoop Walkham Portable HF Small Magnetic Loop Antenna

Category: Antennas: HF Portable (not mobile)

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Review Summary For : AlexLoop Walkham Portable HF Small Magnetic Loop Antenna
Reviews: 85MSRP: 129-299 USD
Description:
The AlexLoop Walkham is a Small Magnetic Loop Antenna designed by Alex - PY1AHD after nine years of field tests with more than 800 confirmed QRP DXs.
The new model goes on a small cushioned bag designed to accommodate 3 small 15 inches pieces that can be easily assembled and disassembled in less than a minute.
It has a registered record on 17 meters on the Hall of Fame of the Hfpack group - http://hfpack.com/hall/ connected to a FT817 QRP transceiver.
It is the ultimate solution for those hams who loves to be on the air anytime and anywhere and for those living with limited space.
It covers continuously any frequency between 7 MHz to 30 MHz and can be quickie and easily installed on a window or a balcony. And can go to your vacation or business travel.
It is so light that you can even walk and talk holding in your hand while tune it with your thumb.
The maximum recommended power is 20 watts SSB or 10 watts AM/FM
Product is in production
More Info: http://www.alexloop.com/
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
15854.9
N6XJP Rating: 2018-11-10
A Little Magic? Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had this amazing loop for about 6 years. Portable set up this afternoon with the loop sitting in, and just above the bed of my pickup truck. I managed a solid 599 both ways at 1350 miles...using a whopping 5 watts. Playing around with the SKCC Weekend Sprint you just never know who is going to come out of the murk. Thanks Alex....dynamite antenna.
KR4EE Rating: 2018-09-03
Really fun Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I took an almost 10-year absence from the hobby due to a genetic degenerative disorder. But thanks to FT8 and this loop antenna I am back, QRP from my recliner & bed.
So far, this loop has worked 49 states minus Hawaii, and 22 countries including Falkland Islands, using 5 watts PEP and FT8 and JT65. WSPR is also fun to leave running overnight.
The loop is on a cheap speaker stand I got from Main Trading, and indoors, so I can't review the durability of the loop but it is lightweight and packs easily into the nylon zipper case.
K1YPB Rating: 2017-10-06
Very impressive for small antenna Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This really is a great little antenna! Well made, with great portability and easy setup. Consistently getting 3000 mile plus 5 watt contacts with JT-65 and this antenna mounted on a Buddipole tripod. I made a professional looking little PVC threaded adapter to mate the tripod and antenna for less than a few dollars from Home Depot. It’s ideal for modes like JT-65 where there is no need for QSY. Very high Q and narrow band width. But for Modes like JT-64 just set it and forget it. Always monitor your SWR for rig safety though. This little loop out performs my full size 20 meter quarter vertical, and that antenna is really good at this QTH. It is truly impressive what can be done with 5 watts and this neat little antenna.
WA6JFK Rating: 2017-09-22
Good quality product Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I would agree with the other poster that this is quite a nice antenna in a small package.
Very well constructed, nice Cordura case etc.
Should be used with an antenna analyzer as tuning for "maximum noise" does not get you were you need to be.
My one big complaint is the funky tripod mounting system, it's like some temporary thing you rigged up, not quality. I need to work on a better setup for that using some kind of photographic clamps or something.
VE3HG Rating: 2017-08-24
Amazing Performer Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I won the AlexLoop several years ago at the Four Days In May QRP dinner at Dayton and I've been remiss in not offering my review. First thanks to Alex Grimberg – PY1AHD, the builder of the Alex-Loop (site http://www.alexloop.com/) for his generous support of the QRP community. And now this amazing true story: I setup the AlexLoop at the Toronto Maker Fair under the massive concrete overhang that projects from the multi-storey Toronto Reference Library located in downtown Toronto. My wire antenna picked up only electrical noise but with the AlexLoop we heard Europe on 20 meter CW and worked guys in the US on 40 meters. During the summer I setup a Ham Radio demonstration station at Oakville's weekly Saturday summer farmer's market using the AlexLoop on a 5' bamboo pole taped to a tent support and regularly worked into Europe using a NorCal QRP rig. A wire antenna would not have been allowed around the crowds and the many children at the market.
HL1ZIX Rating: 2017-05-20
Great loop, but shipping makes price too high Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Update, because I felt my 4 rating was unfair. I would rather give 4.5.

A generous friend (HL1BX) allowed me to borrow his AlexLoop Walkham for testing. I have been running it for a few weeks, and here are my observations:

Pros: This is an extremely portable, and fast antenna to set up. It is well-made (also see cons), and it can be easily set on a tripod, or held-up by hand, which is something that other portable loops aren't so good at. It works very well on 20m, 17m, and 15m, given loop size. If you are buying a loop for mountain-top work, the AlexLoop Walkham is a great choice, because of it's light-duty construction and easy/quick set-up. Lastly, mag loops, like the AlexLoop, are great for city noise issues. I did notice nearly a 2s-unit drop in city noise. I was able to easily identify sources of noise, and keep the antenna turned from them. It's highly directional, and very sensitive. Remember, you need to turn these loops toward the signal, to experience max results, and it is generally within a tight area of 15 degrees, or so, that you hit the sweet spot. The AlexLoop is easily mounted at a decent height of around 5 feet, and simpler to turn, compared to table top models. It is easier to set up on a tripod than that MFJ loop tuner versions, for example (although the MFJ are almost half the price, and allow you to make your own loop sizes), and that is important, because I have found loops work FAR better at 5 to 6 feet up, compared to a tabletop. If you can get other loops up there, on a stand, then do it. Big difference! For best results, you will be turning the loop around, and tuning it constantly. Fun, as the rise/fall in signal is like turning a huge yagi, and you learn exactly where signals are coming from! Also, stay away from the loop! The MFJ's will handle up to 150w, which is very unhealthy to be close too, and dangerous. At QRP levels, radiation is far less, but you can still be injured badly, if you touch the loop at transmit. High voltage!

Cons: The price. This loop needs a price drop to be able to compete with what's out in the market, now, due to shipping prices (The new, well-built W4OP LNR Precision loop is less expensive, tests as more efficient on 40m, has markingsbto show where best to tune, and is capable of more bands). Second, I mentioned that the build quality is light duty. After using on four outings, over a few weeks, I began to notice that the paint on the plastic tube joints was showing stress fractures. The problem suddenly showed, after I tried to hold it in a horizontal position, by the handle. I happened to post this as a part of a discussion on a loop thread on another board, and the AlexLoop maker was watching. He responded that this is normal, and not to worry. I have concluded that this is not something you will be able to mount horizontally,from one-sided support, as it really seems like it would be too much stress, long-term, given what I saw for stress on the pipes and joints. It really should be supported in the middle, or at both ends, if horizontal. If you're buying this loop for typical portable put up/tear down work, then have no worries about it. I just wanted to mention that stress fractures in the paint will happen, if you hold horizontal, from one end. Lastly, as per performance, I found it was at least 2s down on 40m, and is a pretty big compromise there, but it does work on 40m. I never tried it, but if memory serves, you don't get 10m, and certainly not 80m. The LNR Precision loop would be a better buy, if you primarily work 40m, as its loop element is bigger. You need bigger loops to work the low bands, and shorter for high bands. In-between sizes will work more bands, but there are always compromises somewhere. There are online magnetic loop calculators that give you a rough idea of differences in efficiency, between loop sizes, for different bands.

Conclusion:
Overall, this is an impressive product, and hats off to the maker. I would consider this currently the best loop for deep portable work, given its light weight, and easy set-up. I would probably look at the W4OP from LNR Precision, or MFJ936B for home work, or just setting-up in the back yard, rather than the AlexLoop, given price and performance value. Whatever you get, mount it at least 5 feet up off of the ground! There are solid tests showing the LNR Precision bests the AlexLoop (primarily on 40m), if you google. On higher bands, I doubt there is much of any performance difference.

Speaking of performance, I managed a longpath contact to Italy, IK4GRO on 17m, SSB, at 10w with an Elecraft KX2, May 4, 2017, from Seoul, Korea, with this (I am HL1ZIX, while in Korea). That is well over 19,000 miles. I was on top of a 10-story building, and the building was probably working as my ground, too (loops aren't supposed to work so well, up so high, I was told). At that height, I easily worked out to 2,500 miles (into Russia and Oceana) at 5/7 to 5/9, on 15 through 20m, on a day when propagation was not great. Maybe it was because this building put me above all of the other buildings, around.

Lastly, you'll see other low-end loops with a loop that can be broken down into several parts. That is wrong on so many levels. Those loops lose efficiency with every single broken, or soldered connection, and I would hate to take the time to put them together and take them apart. You want a loop that is one solid loop, and not multiple pieces. The AlexLoop is one thick piece of coax, and although there are soldered wires connecting the connectors to the capacitor inside, it is, at least, one solid loop, on the outside.
KC9OMS Rating: 2017-04-30
super portable antenna Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased the AlexLoop about a year and half ago. I use it for portable operations. With a few pvc parts from the hardware store, I mount it on my Buddipole tripod. I do mainly PSK31 opps with a laptop, FT-817, & HardRock-50 amp powered down to 15-18 watts. I have gotten 599s and have worked all over the lower 48 states from parks and parking lots. This antenna works great and I find it easy to tune and it has the band width needed for my PSK work. It is a super, portable antenna.
KG9H Rating: 2017-04-24
Great performer from condo locations Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Well after 2-1/2 years still a great performer. I have made contacts out to 5,300 miles with 3 watts on a KX3 and an FT-817. Mostly on CW as it is "quiet" on a balcony for operation. Does what it says, would recommend it to anyone that is balcony-bound. Have not tried it on a beach or camping but no reason it would not operate well there as well.

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Earlier 5-star review posted by KG9H on 2014-11-09

I don't have much time to build my own so.. I decided to buy one of these. I am old school - long wires make the best antennas right? Well.... I tried it out in my 3 season room as it was about 35 degrees out. I tried it with a KX3 and with an Icom 703. With both tuners removed out of line.. I had a ball until my hand got tired of holding it. It was not hard to tune it and hold it but.. I really need a tripod!
I worked from New York to Washington to Arizona to Florida. I got 58 to 59 reports on 40 through 10 meters. Follow Alex's instructions on tuning it up. Most of my use of this will be from a hotel room or condo about 5-7 stories up. I am SOLD On this antenna. It will replace a Walkabout with a 30' ground wire.
Pretty pleased with this antenna. Highly suggest to anyone that operates portable. Next step... /4 from a condo.
PY1ZB Rating: 2016-12-18
Quick to assemble and easy to use Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have been a Ham Op for 6 years, I live in a restricted antenna space apartment, I have already tried many configurations (dipole, longwire, vertical, loaded coil, etc) always with poor/regular results, and now I tried the AlexLoop just for curiosity.

I fixed my AlexLoop in a balcony with a small mast/tripod, making it easy to be rotated. It's very light and easy to handle too, it's small and can fit anywhere away from objects. The whole process of building/tuning/using it, took less than 5 minutes.

It surprised me that operating in QRP (5w SSB), I was able to make contacts hundreds/thousands of kilometers away, and also using weak signal modes (JT65, WSPR) I made QSOs as far as 10.000 kilometers using nothing more than 3 watts. This proves the efficiency of this loop antenna. I validated it in 40/15/12/10 meter bands.

I've tested vertical and horizontal polarization/angular positions, feeling the differences in reception and transmission; the tuning process needs to be very accurate, and having a high Q sensible tuning, it can receive without QRM; every time I change the frequency, I must re-tune it slowly; but tuning process is quick and takes no more than few seconds.

I recommend it for every ham in portable operation, in restricted spaces, or just as a simple fixed configuration.

Now I should do another field tests in the top of mountains or near a salt water beach.

73 de PY1ZB
Roney
WB4NRE Rating: 2016-12-01
Excellent portable antenna Time Owned: more than 12 months.
On a trip to Bonaire from 11/5-11/12/16 I worked several stations from the waters edge using my Alex Loop on a tripod and an Elecraft KX3 with 5-10 watts SSB.
You just peak the noise using the PX3 and let the ATU do the rest. Contacts included many stateside but the best was JH1OCC from Japan! I worked mainly on 17 and 20 mtrs. Excellent product and much easier to configure than the Buddipole I have taken in the past.Wish it could handle slightly more power.