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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: 86MSRP: 129-299 USD
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 - 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:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
N4SAX Rating: 2015-01-05
Great Performer! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I wholeheartedly echo all the other "5" reviews here! I received the Alexloop Walkham for Xmas. I first assembled it inside my shack and easily made 3 stateside contacts (MD, PA, and OK) - all on the first call! Very easy to set up and tune and really hears well! I then took the Alexloop Walkham and my IC-703 to a local park and had a blast with easy contacts with PA (W1AW/3 back-to-back on 15/20 meters!), CA, AZ, and NC. If you would like to see the antenna and IC-703 in action, just do an internet search for "Alexloop Xmas" and you will find my video on Youtube. All in all, I am highly satisfied with this great little portable antenna. I also purchased the Vivitar 1250 50" lightweight tripod, which fits neatly inside the Alexloop case. If you remove the camera platform attachment from the Vivitar tripod, the Alexloop will fit neatly over the remaining stem. Note: You should mark and stop the tripod's riser at about 4" so you don't allow too much of the riser stem to protrude/extend into the Alexloop's bottom tube. Bottom line: The AlexLoop Walkham is a GREAT QRP antenna!
AD7QQ Rating: 2015-01-02
Excellent Antenna Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I purchased the AlexLoop Walkham about 3 months ago as an alternative to the vertical multiband antenna I had used for SOTA but which could not tune the WARC bands. I was very pleased at the ease of setup and ease in tuning. The whole package was easy to add to my Icom 703 backpack settup even with the tripod. The selectivity of the magnetic loop antenna helped with loud stations on weekend contest days (my most common SOTA days as well). I could easily hit the midwest and southwest from Northern Idaho on 5 watts and felt that it was much more sensitive than the vertical. I set it up in my living room next to the wood stove and recliner chair and did PSK during the Christmas holidays and it worked great despite being indoors. I found the quieter the environment the easier it was to tune, but a good set of headphones would probably have overcome that minor issue. It truly takes about 45 seconds to tune the antenna to your operating frequency and I never had to deal with worse than a 1:2 SWR, and usually was better. I have used it on 7, 10, 14, 18, 21, and 28 MHZ with success. While expensive, I feel it was worth the investment and I have had a blast using it.
K1PMA Rating: 2014-12-28
Good alternative when space is at a premium Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Got this antenna because I wanted to see how good a magnetic loop antenna is in practice. Setup is easy and workmanship of the Alexloop is decent. Note that the max power is 20W SSB or 10W AM! You don't want to destroy your new toy inadvertently. Tuning is like this: you turn the knob for loudest signal (or just noise floor) and then you key up your radio and minutely (as in really teeny tiny increments) readjust for lowest SWR. This is why I did not give 5 stars, you need a pretty steady hand to find the exact sweet spot. Oh yes, and do not use/bypass any ATU you might have. I compared the Alexloop to several antennas i have in use: a G5RV up 25ft., a end fed wire almost 40ft up and a 30ft random wire with a 9:1 UNUN up about 15ft.

The Alexloop cannot beat the G5RV or the end-fed, which is OK and no surprise. The performance is more or less in line with a properly deployed random wire/buddipole. On some occasions the loop will be better, other times not. The loop has a certain degree of directionality which is a plus. While some say it performs better when held horizontally for DX I found vertical be be better, at least when close to the ground. Wish the loop could handle at least 50W as QRP-ish TX is not always an option.

Take care to never touch the two loop connectors which are basically just PL259, I keyed up with 20W while just barely touching one and smoking flesh was the result!

Overall I think the loop is another great tool for a ham's mobile operation.
K4EQ Rating: 2014-12-09
Impressive! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
There's not much I can add to what's already been said, but I can certainly affirm that this is a really neat, portable antenna. I'm not a backpacker but I work a lot of QRP. MY purpose for buying the AlexLoop was to have a backup in case I lost my R8 vertical in a storm in the winter. When I had knee replacement surgery a year ago and couldn't get to my downstairs shack, I put it in my bedroom and made several contacts in the midwest and west coast using my Elecraft K1 at 5 watts. This past summer I used it on our deck one afternoon and made a few more contacts at 5 watts. Then, with my batteries running low, I lowered the power to 3 watts, called CQ, and was answered by a G3 (England) station on 17 meters. That's certainly not exotic DX, but it was pretty cool given my setup.

The AlexLoop is the only magnetic loop antenna I've used, so I can't compare it to others. However, I must say that it is everything I hoped it would be and more. It's an impressive little gem.
M0GNA Rating: 2014-12-09
Magic Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I am more than impressed with the AlexLoop.It so easy to get it up and running.Tuning it is simple just use your ears and then just give a tweek one way or the other to flatten the SWR.I have only used it indoors and have still managed to work many European stations with just 5 watts with my FT 817nd getting good reports on all bands.I look forward to a field trip.Its well put together and so easy to carry about anywhere.For QRP I don't think it can be beaten,no radials,no tricky tuning,and all packed away in a handsome bag.Its a winner with me despite it being a bit pricey,but most ham stuff is anyway.
K8DSS Rating: 2014-11-21
Update - Tripod Suggestion Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I continue to believe that the AlexLoop is a fantastic antenna for quick setup and efficient operation. My portable operation with the AlexLoop is usually at local parks, preferably water side locations. Recently, I picked up a Paksun 2001 UT tripod on Amazon for about $18, incl, shipping. After removing the camera attachment/pan & tilt entirely, the remaining 3/4inch center tube fits into the AlexLoop just perfectly. Some electrical tape at the 4" level keeps the antenna from going to far onto the tube.

The result is a setup that supports the loop very well, allows rotation and has the bottom of the loop 48 inches off the ground.. The modified tripod weighs only 1.5 pounds.
N7KM Rating: 2014-11-13
To my surprise it really works. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I’m a retired electronics professional with a lot of communications experience. I have always been blessed with good locations and excellent antenna systems. I recently found myself in the worst radio situation I have ever faced. My XYL and I temporarily moved to a large city and found ourselves on the bottom floor of an apartment complex below ground level and no outdoor antennas allowed. For years my favorite relaxation has been a CW rag-chew each day, I was missing my hobby. I had my KX3 and simple indoor dipole antennas but building attenuation and noise made me give up after much frustration. I saw an Alexloop listed on the QRZ swap page so I researched it. I told my XYL “if I was home I could build one for under a hundred dollars and it looks like SNAKE OIL to me, but I want to buy it and if it doesn’t work I can sell it for what I paid.” When it arrived the first thing that impressed me was how its High Q erased the noise problem. This is a sweet receive antenna. I made several QSOs on 20 and 30 meter CW from the basement, the reports weren’t great but it worked. Next, I moved the rig to the picnic table outside the building with the loop mounted on a tripod four feet off the ground. The results were astounding; I have made a couple of dozen solid 20 to 40 minute stateside QSOs on 40, 30, 20 and 17 meters. I even condescended to SSB and it works well. One Saturday I joined in on a CW contest, which is not my thing, I easily worked station after station until I ran out of paper to log on. The local hams recently held a QSO party at the park. My 10 watts and Loop performed as well as the simple dipoles, the buddy pole dipole, end fed wires, and verticals. Not even once have I set up on a park bench and not be able to make multiple solid contacts. I’m a SOTA operator and when I return home my 32’ kite pole and big wire antenna will no long be going to mountain tops. Small antennas like this are a compromise, but this one is well engineered, small, light, and easy to setup and use. To my complete surprise it works much better than I think it should. If you find yourself in a bind as I did, buy one or build one and you too will have pleasant surprise.
KD2ALV Rating: 2014-09-22
GREAT QRP ANTENNA!!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought the AlexLoop with my KX3. Realizing that the Magnetic Loop is different than other QRP antennas I was very careful not to damage the radio nor the loop. So I sent Alex a couple of emails about the antenna's high SWR. He patiently explained how to lower the SWR. I recall what he said:
Firstly, one must bypass the internal antenna tuner. Then tune the Loop with its tuner and then depress and hold the KX3 "XMIT" button in order to manually lower the SWR with the radio's dial and NEVER USE THE "ATU TUNE BUTTON. I did and then immediately contacted the Netherlands with 5 watts from Bogota, Colombia without damaging the radio nor the antenna! Since then the antenna worked miraculously.
Alex is a first class Ham with a wonderful product.
I would not hesitate to recommend this antenna. It is light, easy to put-up and breakdown (probably 2 minutes), high quality, incredible receive and transmit antenna. If that were not enough value, you will also get generous, kind and prompt support from the designer and owner of the company. This combination cannot be beat!!!
Thanks Alex.
ON4TVT Rating: 2014-07-08
a real winner Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
since I have no time and not the necessary tools to make a HF loop antenna, I bought the Alexloop.
A loop in general is maybe a little bit difficult to use, especially in the beginning. However, the Alexloop, once familiarized with it, is a very reliable, robust, ultra portable lightweight antenna installed in minutes. For QRP portable, pedestrian use in the field this commercial loop is for the moment unbeatable. Moreover the bag of the antenna permits to transport some small accessories, including a tripod. Bravo Alex!!
KD5KC Rating: 2014-06-13
Unbeatable for PORTABLE operations. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Right from the start, let’s be clear on something. I operate a lot of HF portable. I manage the W5-SOTA association, and I operate from many mountaintop locations. My LoTW profile has over 50 QTH locations entered in it. A look at my QRZ profile will give you the idea. After much experimentation, I had settled on the 88 foot doublet as my primary portable antenna. It was big, the 31 foot mast was over 5 pounds, and it took 15 to 20 minutes to set up, usually requiring a helper. But it did work well.

Frankly, I had seen the Alex-Loop antenna advertized a few times, and my thought was “Snake Oil”. How can a 3 foot diameter antenna possibly function well across 40m through 10m? I wasn’t willing to risk the price of the Alex Loop only to find out it was a gimmick.

In May of 2011 I was pondering a problem. I was going to Germany for 3 weeks and I needed a small antenna. I had lived in Germany for 8 years as a soldier, and I had many ham radio friends there. It was imperative that I get on the air with them for my visit. I had a Yaesu FT-817 portable radio, but I had no idea of how to get my 88 foot doublet and 31 foot Jackite Pole to pack small enough to carry on an overseas flight.

A week before the flight I still had no idea for the antenna. I was getting desperate. This was when an Alex-Loop Walk-Ham fell in to my lap.

With just a few days to go it arrived in the mail. The Alex-Loop Walk-Ham antenna came in a nice padded carry bag, and the total weight was just less than 3 pounds. The small size and weight would be easy to pack. In fact, it fit inside the backpack I used for my carry-on, and my entire portable station would fit in that back-pack.

After unpacking it, I read through the directions quickly, and set it up for a test. I stuck it up in a camera tripod on my patio. The antenna was about 4 feet off the ground. I only had time to make 4 QSOs on it before packing to leave. It was a very hot West Texas afternoon in early June. The first two QSOs were on 20m, and were at a range of about 1200 miles. The reports were promising. Not S-9+, but fully readable with 5-watts SSB from my FT-817.

I quickly tuned to 40m. Now, 40m on a hot West Texas summer afternoon isn’t the best band. The D-layer is active, and absorption is high. I wasn’t expecting much. But I heard two guys talking, so I broke in. They replied, and I had 2 nice contacts 400 miles away in Arizona. Again, this was with the FT-817 at 5-watts SSB. Surprising, to say the least. So I said a quick prayer, packed the Alex Loop with the rest of my gear, and got ready to fly to Germany.

That was 3 years ago. In that time, the Alex-Loop has become my #1 portable antenna. I have over 3000 portable QSOs on it now. The compact size has allowed me to operate portable from places where my doublet or even a buddi-pole with wire radials would have been impossible.

From the W5 region, using the FT-817 at 5-watts SSB or CW, I have worked into Alaska, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Eastern Kiribati (T32C), England, European Russia, Germany, Hawaii, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Martinique, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Slovenia, Spain, Virgin Islands, Venezuela and Wales.

From Central Europe, again using the FT-817 at 5-watts SSB or CW, I have worked Asiatic Russia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary Island, Czech republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, European Russia, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sardinia, Scotland, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United States and Wales. IT just works!

I have even been successful using it inside motel rooms, as long as it was near a large window.

About the antenna….

Alex Grimberg – PY1AHD is the builder of the Alex-Loop. His web site is full of information and ideas, and Alex is easy to talk to via E-mail. Alex is more than ready to help you build your own loop. He will answer questions and give suggestions to help anyone successfully roll their own.

The Alex Loop itself is made up of PVC pipe, coax, a variable capacitor, and assorted wire and other hardware. Someone with a good junk box could build one easily for a few $$$$. There is nothing magic or secret about it, and many have built their own.

Assembling the loop is as easy as slipping PVC pipe together, screwing in pl-259 connectors, and turning a knob. My portable station goes from back-pack to calling CQ in under five minutes. Packing it up to leave is just as quick. Tuning portable antennas (especially loaded verticals) can be a challenge, but the Alex-Loop will QSY from band to band in fifteen seconds or less. When properly tuned, I have never seen the SWR exceed 1.5:1 on any band. Best of all, there are no small pieces to lose.

Because the antenna has a high current when at resonance, it is imperative that the connections be clean and tight, or losses will kill the efficiency. This is why Alex uses gold-plated connectors, a nice touch. But you still must be certain the connections are clean and tight.

The Magnetic Loop antenna is a High-Q device. Getting it tuned properly to function is an absolute must. Trying to use it off-resonance will just end in frustration. Using an external tuner is just another exercise in frustration. Forget using a tuner, just get the loop tuned right and use it.

Being such a High-Q antenna has advantages and disadvantages.

The disadvantage is that the antenna tuning is critical, and you must constantly watch to see you stay in resonance. If you QSY, check it. It only takes a few seconds to re-tune. On the 10m, 12m, 15m and 17m bands, the loop is very easy to tune and a small QSY +/- a few KHz is not a problem. On 20m the tuning is a little more critical. On 30m the tuning is very tight, and on 40m I would call it “touchy”. Getting a good match on 40m takes a steady hand, and a QSY of 10 KHz will certainly require a re-tune.

The advantages of a High-Q antenna are that being so narrow banded, it does a very good job at rejecting out of band signals. I have often worked on a summit with two or three other portable operators. The High-Q of the Alex-Loop has allowed me to even share a band if I stayed at one end and they stayed at the other end, and we were only 30 yards apart. Try that with your random wires or verticals.

Another advantage of the loop is the radiation pattern. The loop exhibits a very broad radiation pattern in a figure-8 shape, with two sharp nulls. Often I have used these hulls to help block QRM coming from another direction while working others in crowded bands.

Although the Alex-Loop can be hand-held, and even tuned while holding it in your hand, after a while it does tend to get heavy. I have adapted a few tripods for working with the Alex-Loop. I have also from time to time stuck it on a Yucca Stalk, or a piece of PVC pipe tied to my camp chair.

If you are looking for a small, light-weight, multi-band compact portable antenna that is easy to set up, easy to use, and works well….. this one is for you. I see it has an average rating of 4.9. That says a lot.

Comparing the Alex-Loop Walk-Ham to the MFJ loop is just ridiculous. Of course a larger diameter loop with more skin effect will be more efficient. And also more difficult to fit in your backpack. Try putting the MFJ loop in your pack! A very unfair comparison indeed. Anyone who says they had trouble with the Alex Loop just didn’t know what they were doing, or has an ax to grind.

More recently the copy-cat ALPHA LOOP has appeared on the market. I had an opportunity to look one over. The main loop is made of several sections that need to be bolted together to form the loop. More connections just means more opportunity to have a poor connection, as aluminum does oxidize. Furthermore, stripping, losing or breaking a bolt or nut could put the whole operation at risk unless you carry spare nuts and bolts. Finally, the Alpha Loop web page is mis-leading. The Alpha Loop can be configured to work 40m through 15m, or 30m through 10m, but not 40m through 10m continuously tuned like the Alex Loop. You only learn this after reading the assembly manual. Since the prices are nearly identical, you decide.

Since I started using my Alex Loop 3 years ago, at least a dozen have been purchased by friends and SOTA operators. Not a single report of “RF burns” from anyone. And a quick check with a multimeter will show you that indeed the center and shield of the coax connector ARE SHORTED. You just need to use your multimeter to see that.

The Alex Loop Walk-Ham is a mighty fine antenna, allowing the portable ham to operate in places a wire or vertical with radials will not fit. It tunes continuously from 40m through 10m, and assembles quickly with no small parts to lose or break. If you want to build your own, contact Alex. He will help you along. But if you do not have the time, or the parts, or the skills…. or for whatever reason, the Alex-Loop Walk-Ham antenna isn’t Snake Oil. It works, and works quite well for portable operating.

If you are still unsure, trust me…. Take the chance on it. If you are truly unhappy with it, you will have no problem selling it used for only a few $$$$ less than you paid for it.