Chameleon DIY Magnetic Loop Starter kit First Build

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by OH8STN, Feb 19, 2017.

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  1. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    On the one hand, I'm very happy to see so many people experimenting with magnetic loops. This is the future for a lot of hams, keeping them on HF, or getting them on HF from limited spaces. And $99 for a starter antenna isn't too outrageous. My first HF antenna was a $99 MFJ "apartment antenna," and after making something like $99 worth of upgrades to it, I had finally learned to just build my own antennas. ;)

    On the other hand, I remember the first time I saw an AlexLoop for sale in the US. It proved to me that I was in totally the wrong business, because I could build two or three QRO loops for the same frequency range, for the same price as a single QRP AlexLoop. Again, I'm glad these kits are around as starter antennas for folks who want to tinker with magloops, but they are a little overpriced (or in the case of the AL, a lot overpriced) for something that is so easy to outgrow.

    The best antenna supply retailer I have found to date is Lowe's []. I still remember the first time I went to Lowe's for something that was actually a home-improvement item, and it was so strange to get such things from a ham store... ;)
    OH8STN and AD5KO like this.
  2. AD5KO

    AD5KO Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's where I go. :)

    They talk about these loops like it's a new idea but they have been around since before WW1. It's just that newer hams don't know about them. You can tune just about anything with a good sized capacitor.. wire fence, iron bath tub, flag pole, etc. It's not magic.
  3. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think that's a lot of it. Proper construction requires more care than a dipole, so most antenna books don't treat the magloop as a starter antenna. Wire antennas dominate the literature.

    I also see a lot of senior ham "experts" around the web who talk trash about magloops, as if it is impossible for a magloop to perform well. One Aussie ham in particular emailed me about one of my antennas, asking questions that made me realize that he hadn't even read my web article, because most of his questions were answered in the article. Then, he wrote his own article, reviewing my antenna, and after making numerous false and/or unsubstantiated assumptions about how all the extra losses that he knew my antenna had that I hadn't thought of, he pronounced my antenna to be a poor design. He did this to other people, too. I have done the models, so I know how it performs, but he went out of his way to make up bogus loss figures on an antenna he had never seen, because he was apparently on a quasi-religious quest to denounce magloops as poor antenna designs.

    People who do that kind of thing float around QRZ from time to time, and their "help" isn't "helpful" to the practice of magloop-building, either.
  4. AD5KO

    AD5KO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, I didn't say it didn't work, I just said it wasn't worth $99.00 :rolleyes:

    Now, I'm old and I'm going to bed. :D

  5. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    My comments were "present company excepted," of course. ;)

    Yeah, I'm hoping for nice enough weather tomorrow to put up my most recent 20m QRO loop. :cool:
  6. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks KK5JY. I like and agree with both sides of your comment, but even more, I like the way you said it. Comments like those from AD5KO only work to turn new hams away from this community. In fact, if the Zed had a feature like the Facebook 'Block' preventing abusive users from actually viewing or commenting on ones content, haters would be more inclined to behave!

    About the starter kit and the video. When I published the teaser video, lots of feedback came in from operators who asked if it would be possible to get their own parts. I said "Of course" and actually started this video over again, to include the statement "You can acquire the components yourself, that's perfectly fine, as this is a learning channel". It's also most the first point made in the video!
    So all these abusive comments are nothing more than the normal hate propagated on, by the same old haters, and allowed to fester without ever punishing them. Since it's the internet, there isn't much I can do about it but complain. Back in the day, in real life, bashing a bully in the kneecaps with a lead pipe, well, ...

    There are a couple of apples and oranges problems with the your comment, although in principle I agree.
    • I don't want to build a portable magnetic loop using plumbing parts, since a reasonable breakdown size will be difficult to achieve. I deploy from a skipulk or backpack, not a pickup truck so breakdown size is critical, and so is durability.
    • The coax based elements might seem like a foolish way to build a loop, but it's supports the man portable concept and breakdown of the build.
    • Yes you can order a vacuum cap and build a QRO magnetic loop antenna, but I ONLY OPERATE QRP! ;) Still I enjoyed this project so much that I plan on doing another video series later on, using a vacuum cap, stepper motor and Arduino for tuning and low SWR memories... That will be something nice for an FT-857 based field station.
    • Getting all the components for this loop, from one place, with a single shipping charge is actually cheaper for me, than buying all the same components from various outlets. That might not be true to other operators, in other locations around the globe. It is my unfortunately reality. Moreover, I just REFUSE to buy from China if I can avoid it.
    I also need to add, the build was not about the price, the build was focused on achieving certain design goals and practicality for a man portable collapsible loop. Something that would breakdown small enough to fit in my backpack, skipulk, motorcycle top box, ...

    Thanks for the very polite and well written reply, KK5JY. It's very much appreciated.

    de oh8stn
    KK5JY likes this.
  7. AD5KO

    AD5KO Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. AD5KO

    AD5KO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here is another one...

    Very enjoyable read... puts thing in perspective. Tells you how to make a mag loop.

    Could do this all night... but instead I will post some more as needed.

  9. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, here are some good sites to read about magnetic loop antennas
    There are many other pages to get good information. I'll publish them as I get a chance.

    de oh8stn
    1 person likes this.
  10. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm always happy to talk about magloops. ;)

    You made some very good points, and I know people personally who feel very similarly. The KX3 + AlexLoop is a very popular combination.

    One thing I will say for the coax-based magloop kits... for someone who is new to magloops, a $99 kit can help build confidence, because it lets the loop newbie start with a single, working antenna, and because it's a kit, they built it themselves. So it can be a good introduction to loop building.

    Anyway, we're on the same page, I think. Thanks for sharing your loop project. I would like to see more people experimenting with the more exotic antenna designs.
    K1XS and OH8STN like this.

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