Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted DXer, Guy Atkins, for the following guest post:
Wellbrook 1530LNPro vs ALA1530S+ Imperium Loop Antennas
This past weekend I found some interesting results from medium wave DXing with both models of Wellbrook Imperium loop antennas at the “fabled” Rockworks cliffs near Manzanita, Oregon USA. This location has become popular the last few years with Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia DXers due to the signal enhancement at this narrow strip of land approx. 450 feet above the Pacific ocean. The main benefit seems to be splatter reduction of “pest” stations due to the signal blockage of the rock walls blasted into the cliffs for the coastal highway 101. However, a boost of signals around local sunrise is also beneficial, and is a common occurrence near salt water beaches.
Here is a Google Maps Street View of this beautiful “wide spot in the road” along the cliffs.
Because of the limited space along this scenic coastal highway, all antennas used for DXing need to be both compact and temporary. Wellbrook loops supported on pro-audio speaker stands are a great way to go, and can easily be set up in the pre-dawn darkness.
This is a comparison file of weak signal reception with the two models of Wellbrook Communications “Imperium” series loop antennas: the ALA1530LN “Pro” Imperium and the ALA1530S+ Imperium.
Both models of compact, 1-meter dia. active loops are excellent for reception from longwave & medium wave upwards. However, the ALA1530LN “Pro” excels at LW & MW with its low overall noise level and 9dB higher gain, engineered by Wellbrook for improved signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of up to 10 dB. S/N on the HF bands is reportedly better also.
On the weekend of October 24th, 2015 I was DXing at the “Rockworks” cliffs on the Oregon coast near Manzanita, OR. Both of these Imperium series antennas were in use and I was recording the medium wave band with an Elad FDM-S2 SDR receiver. Both antennas were fed with identical 25 ft. lengths of RG-58 coaxial cable.
The demonstration in this video begins with 10 seconds using the ALA1530LN Pro Imperium loop, alternating with 10 seconds with the ALA1530S+ Imperium loop.
The first signal tuned is aviation voice beacon “SQM” from Level Island, Alaska on 529 kHz (400 watts). The signal is weak, but audible as it rises above the noise floor. The reception improvement with the ALA1530LN Pro is evident.
Half way through the recording the frequency is switched to 1710 kHz, where an unidentified station (possibly a MW pirate) is audible playing the 1967 Zombies tune “Time of the Season”. Again, the clip starts with 10 seconds with the ALA1530LN Pro alternating with 10 seconds of the ALA1530S+ Imperium.
Each antenna is a worthy, compact loop for DXing, but for chasing the weakest signals with the best readability I think the ALA1530LN Pro shows its advantages.
Many thanks, Guy, for sharing your loop research!
What I love about your portable SDR set-up, is that you can go to the cliff side, set up your antennas and equipment, record the spectrum on your SDR, then go back home to analyze and listen to what you captured. It takes some of the pressure off while you’re on-site.
This year at the Dayton Hamvention, I purchased the Pixel Technologies RF PRO-1B mag loop antenna. I used it (for the first time) at the PARI DXpedition. We were all impressed with its performance. I would love to compare it with the ALA1530LN Pro at some point in the future.
Mark, it occurs to me that a better comparison antenna to the Bonito MegaLoop FX would be Wellbrook’s ALA100LN. This is a similar antenna to the MegaLoop FX in that the wire element can be a different circumference depending on need or requirements. The ALA1530LNP *does* have even lower noise circuitry than “LN” models, but the loop is fixed at 1-meter in diameter.
Thanks for that, interesting, I did not Know Wellbrook made a wire loop.
Now I really would love to test their 1 Meter LNP and this 20 meter Wire loop ! 🙂
I was impressed with the 1 meter ALA1530 , whether their 20 Meter Loop would be better for SWL is anyone’s guess.
I wasn’t able to catch RNZI while they were on the air while I was tuning the two Web SDR links, but I did check a few other frequencies on 31 and 25 meters. Your question is a difficult one because the two antennas are at different locations. There can be differences in: height above ground level, the quality of the earth (conductivity), orientation (azimuth) of the loops, local RFI noise environment, as well as nearby strong RF sources/stations (or not).
So, I don’t think it’s possible to conclusively rate one antenna better than the other because of these reasons. Both are high quality antennas. I am much more famiiar with Wellbrook products and the designer behind them; I think the Wellbrook antennas excel at common mode noise rejection, and the LNP model of loop in particular has very, very low internal circuit noise.
However, it would be unfair of me to recommend the Wellbrook ALA1530LNP though over your Bonito model without first hand experience of the MegaLoop FX. Ideally, given enough time, it’s my preference to use a more “numerical” comparison using measured signal-to-noise ratios, as I did in this review a few years ago: http://www.dxing.info/equipment/ALA1530-vs-RFPRO-1AReview.pdf
Here’s another comparison, WWCR 1 on 6115 Khz ( Alex Jones Show )
My SDR with Bonito in Ireland http://emeraldsdr.ddns.net:8073/
And the Wellbrook on this Netherlands SDR http://emeraldsdr.ddns.net:8073/
Seems better on mine, less noisy ? So you could be right Guy as you said in the quote below.
“There can be differences in: height above ground level, the quality of the earth (conductivity), orientation (azimuth) of the loops, local RFI noise environment, as well as nearby strong RF sources/stations (or not).”
I’d still like a Wellbrook LNP to test ! 🙂
There still seems to be stronger signals on the 49 meter band with the wellbrook.
Here you can hear the difference , it’s quiet noticeable.
Radio New Zealand International on this Netherlands SDR 11610 Khz much better signal compared to my bonito FX 10 meter Loop.
Thie Netherlands SDR with Wellbrook http://kiwi-sdr1-leiden.impactam.nl:8073/
My Bonito http://emeraldsdr.ddns.net:8073/ 11610 Khz.
Could the difference be between Ireland and the Netherlands ? or is the wellbrook better for SWL ?
Thanks for the Reply, yes I read your excellent review it can be hard sometimes to know what’s the latest Wellbrook 🙂
I have the 10 meter Bonito Megaloop FX and impressed with its performance but I was impressed with the ALA1530 in the Netherlands SDR which I linked to above, I also linked to my Bonito. But the wellbrook seemed to have better gain for SWL.
How much better would the LNP be for SWL over the older ALA1530 ?
Here’s one Wellbrook I’ve found in the Netherlands I found to be a bit above my Bonito Loop, it’s an ALA1530 according to his SDR http://kiwi-sdr1-leiden.impactam.nl:8073/
So I would be interested to see how a newer Wellbrook performs.
According to Wellbrook site https://www.wellbrook.uk.com/loopantennas/Loop_Antennas/ALA1530LNP
The above is a new antenna or not ? the site says “The ALA1530LNP will not be available until the beginning of February 2018. ” so is that due to the Christmas Holidays or is it a brand new Antenna ?
Basically what is their latest ? confusing !
What do people reckon would be better for SW ? I’d be keen to try one out.
I believe that Wellbrook has just temporarily halted production until they catch up on orders of other products. They have done that before.
My article was written in 2016 I believe, and it had been already available for a few months at that time.
The ALA1530LNP is worth waiting for!
Hi Mark, thanks. I have been most impressed with the Bonito loop more than the wellbrooks, whether this is down to my location or the much larger 10 meter loop and or the Bonito preamp or perhaps both I am not sure but all of the Wellbrooks I listen to on Kiwi.sr are much noisier with weaker signal. I probably have yet to hear all the kiwis with wellbrooks so probably not fair to give them such a bashing + a lot of them can’t be mounted in a relatively QRM free location like mine either. I did have to do some work to do to rid myself of some switch mode PSUs, the one supplied with the Kiwi from the place I got it from was a seriously bad supply along with the broadband modem PSU, they’re linear now and the satellite receiver psu was also filthy which is now linear. It all cost a pretty penny too but it was worth it.
I have also compared it to some long wires, dipoles etc and while they might pull in stronger signal they can be far noisier where the signal on the bonito seems to be a lot cleaner.
I work shift and on nights I get to listen where I would otherwise not be able to and it’s really a pleasure to be able to log into the Kiwi from work.
I’m spreading the word about the bonito because I would like to see a lot more reviews and comparisons with the wellbrooks to see if people are getting such good results as I am because to me it seems a whole lot better than the wellbrooks ! The Bonito MA 305 is getting excellent reports too which is remarkable given it’s tiny size.
I would love the funds to test one of the Wellbrooks and the Bonito MA 305.
I was really keen to find comparisons between the Bonito megaloop FX Loops and the Wellbrooks, but there are no reviews of the Bonito Loops ? how come there are no reviews here ? 🙂 I only read a great review of the Bonito whip.
Anyway, because there are so many Wellbrook loops I decided to buy the 10 Meter Bonito Megaloop FX, and the convenient bit is that you can review it yourself here on my Kiwi SDR.
If mods wish they can start a new topic on this loop rather than have it here ?
let me know what ye think, I had to replace some PSU’s with Linear supplies, the Kiwi and broadband modem are powered by linear supplies, the difference was amazing. I also replaced a dirty LED bulb and satellite receiver psu with a linear.
Hey, Mark that Bonito Megaloop is working a treat! I am using your KIwi right now to listen to the Nth Korean domestic service on 9665kHz. It’s smashing in with fantastic signals to you in Ireland (right now you have darkness for the full path). The strength you are getting on 9665 is weaker than I am receiving here right now in Freemans Reach, Australia on my Wellbrook, but your signal is a little more listenable as I have Southern Hemisphere Pacific thunderstorm noise here – its summer down here!
The loop’s performance is quite impressive!
I’ve been down the same road, too, when considering different power sources. Here are my thoughts:
–Vehicle’s own DC supply. Dangerous to use due the the chance of voltage spikes if your gear is still connected when starting or shutting down your car. Also, noise from the various keep-alive electronic circuits and CPUs in most cars could ruin your reception. In my opinion the problem is not so much the range of voltage from a vehicle, but simply spikes and noise.
–Other battery options. With 12-volt sealed lead acid (SLA) gel cell batteries so inexpensive and widely available (Ebay & Amazon for instance), there’s no need to adapt a less common, higher voltage battery such as found in portable power tools. The 7.0 Amp-Hour versions commonly sold for emergency lighting or alarm systems in buildings are a good value; I’ve found these brand new in the low ~$20 range. They will power the Wellbrook products for many hours.
A DXer could get fancy with the high tech battery styles like LiPo or LiFePo4, but these require unique chargers and special care.
If he doesn’t want to bother with a gel cell battery and charger, your friend could simply go with a couple of 6-volt alkaline “lantern” batteries in series. It wouldn’t take many DX outings for a small sealed lead acid rechargeable battery to become a less expensive approach though.
I typically don’t bother with fusing the power cord, as the interface boxes for the Wellbrook loops and modules have integral fuse holders. Be aware though that the physical size of fuse supplied for these UK-built antennas is not as common in the USA. It’s good to have some extra fuses on hand prior to DXpeditions, just in case.
Guy, you mentioned the 5.5 mm OD / 2.1 mm ID power plug.
A friend of mine has the Wellbrook 1530 LNP Loop and wants to operate from his car at the beach.
Would a regular fused car lighter plug wired to the plug be acceptable?
Car battery voltage can range between 12 and 14 volts. Does that sound like too much variation?
If a series diode is inserted, you’d be roughly in the 11.4 to 13.4 range of voltage … perhaps safer.
What about using a power tool or laptop battery (16-20 V nominal) into a 7812 regulator with suitable fusing, bypass capacitors, and polarity protection diode(s)?
Mark Connelly, WA1ION
South Yarmouth, MA, USA
Looks like Wellbrook again improved the specs on the ALA1530LNP in August of 2016. Like to see some reviews with the new improved model.
Thank you for the comments. I’ve already ordered my
(1) – New Wellbrook Ultra low noise High Gain Active ALA1530LNPro IMPERIUM Loop Antenna (USA Version).
(1) – New ProLine LS-T2BK Speaker Stand Black.
So I’m going to see how well they perform. My next question is what kind of coxial anteena connector does the New ALA1530LNPro use? My guess is BNC?
Also Wellbrook recommends RG58C 50 Ohm coaxial feeder cable. I know Buddipole makes a very nice RG58 A/U 50 ohm coaxial cable in 25 ft and 50 ft. I do not know where to get 100 ft or 125 ft at. Depends on where I will mount or use it. Any recommendations on coax and connectors used?
I just wanted to add that the Tropical Band filter I use is the Qik Zep RECV-CHK-LB Tropical Band Filter Choke which is hooked up to the ALA1530S+ antenna.
I have been following this discussion since it first started. Based on Guy’s recommendation, I purchased the 1530 LNPro back in November 2015. I have had the 1530S+ Imperium for two years allready. I got the LNPro basically for portable automobile DXing. I’ve used the 1530LNPro for about two months now. I haven’t had a chance to take it out in the car yet. I’m waiting for the weather to get milder here on the East coast.
I will say that based on my equipment, setup, location, and accessories, the ALA1530 S+ is the better antenna hands down for SW DXing. I have had both antennas hooked up to my Winradio G33DDC Excalibur Pro receiver, and the 1530S+ picks up much better especially on the Tropical bands. I basically only DX the SW bands, so that’s my only comparison level between the two antennas.
I do have a few accessories hooked up to the 1530S+ that are not on the 1530LNPro. One is a tropical band filter, that the 1530LNPro’s power unit won’t run with it atrached to my coax outside the upstairs window, so I’m running the 1530LNPro’s coax strait to the receiver. I do have a GAP Hear It In Line Noise module that is hooked up to the audio feed out of my laptop in line with the speakers I use. Also both antennas have a single Winradio WR-CMC-30 Common Mode Choke hooked up to the coax before it enters the Antenna Power Unit due to RFI issues around my QTH.
The 1530 LNPro is a great antenna, and I’m not unhappy I bought it, but for me it’s not as good as my trusty ALA 1530S+ for DXing at home. If I did it again I would have bought another ALA 1530S+ just for portable work as my original is mounted and a little hard to just take it down for the car. The ALA 1530S+ is mounted about 7 feet up where the 1530LNPro is only two feet off the ground on a small pole. The distance from the house is the same for both 25 feet, orientated in a north east direction looking through the center of the loop.
Just my two cents worth! The Wellbrook line of antennas are the best I have used for my DX activities and well worth the cost.
I went ahead and just ordered (1) New ProLine LS-T2BK Speaker Stand Black $34.54
I saw this same LS-T2BK speaker stand used on a Pixal RF PRO-1B Loop antenna at a Hamfest used by Flex Radio. I took a few photos of the stand including the model #.
The image description says that it’s a “pro audio” speaker stand. What I’m seeing on the pics also looks a lot like the standard portable sat dish tripods you can get off Amazon etc. pretty cheap. I think I’ve read that metal structures close to the loop are maybe not ideal though, so I was always looking for something in plastic or carbon fibre but the latter are pricy as hell of course. I’ll be trying one of those sat dish tripods for my tiny VHF/UHF active LPDA soon – if it fits into the tiny trunk of my tiny car that is.
I am now interested in what is a “GOOD TRIPOD” for the Wellbrook Ultra low noise High Gain Active ALA1530LNPro IMPERIUM Loop Antenna (USA Version). I want one that looks good and compliments the New Loop Antenna as well as works well.
The “Gemini ST04” is the pro audio speaker stand I use; I have a pair of them for the two Wellbrook 1m. active loops I own right now. Here is a link on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QG4WE4?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage I have seen the pricing vary from ~$18.00 to nearly $40! The current $24.99 price is very fair, considering the high quality, sturdy construction.
I also use these mounting brackets which are very handy: http://www.amazon.com/EB9760-Exterior-Speaker-Mounting-Bracket/dp/B0007SL856/ref=pd_bxgy_267_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1B5K07YJCA46ACAB6M8P They fit perfectly on the stands, and I use sturdy, square “U-Bolts” to hold the antenna to the bracket. I’ve never been able to make much use of the short pole section that Wellbrook includes with the loops since the thread on the end (and the supplied flange) are metric threaded. I would have liked to find a longer length of the same threaded pipe, or have a bare piece threaded locally, but none of the shops would do the metric threading. I avoided this problem by trying a totally different mounting method– essentially “clamping” the antenna’s base to the mounting bracket using the U-Bolt.
Regarding the SDRplay with the rather high gain ALA1530LN Pro Imperium, if you are in an “RF jungle” its possible you’ll have overloading with that SDR. I’ve heard of a few others using this antenna with SDRs who have had problems. Andrew Ikin at Wellbrook *may* be able to help with a replacement, lower gain interface box in that situation. If you have overloading, contact Wellbrook and ask what they would suggest. Another option would be to place an attenuator in-line, or try any attenuator settings in your SDR software of choice.
You seem to be highly interested in cosmetic issues like how well it looks. It just reminded me of when I was younger and a friend had an old beat up 56 Chevy that had rust spots and a lousy paint job. Inside the engine compartment where it counted, was a brand new 327 with a Holly four barrel carb and thrush headers, that’s what won him many races. I saw him drag against many “prettier” cars and he wasted them in the quarter mile. I think that this is the same with SW DXing. It’s what’s inside, and how it stands up to bad conditions. Just a thought.
Yes, Your Right! ….I would be that same guy with the 56′ Chevy with the brand new 327 with a Holly four barrel carb and thrush headers… That ALSO had a nice paint job and interior and nice wheels!! Nothing wrong with having BOTH. Especially if your willing to do the work and research. 🙂
I have the SDRplay RSP and have the NEW Wellbrook Ultra low noise High Gain Active ALA1530LNPro IMPERIUM Loop Antenna (USA Version) currently on order now. I guess once it arrives and I have time to test it I will know myself.
It would be tremendously great if you’d share your insights on that when you got it! Congrats on getting this fine antenna! Very curious to know if the $150 RSP warrants a more than twice as expensive antenna. 🙂
I’m quite curious whether or not anyone has tried a(ny) Wellbrook loop with the SDRplay RSP?
I’m quite tempted to buy a Wellbrook, but I found just found out how problematic the RSP can be when the signals are getting a bit hotter, and the active wideband loops are, well, very wideband, which might not exactly help with that. I know that an ALA would be an investment for future receivers too, but it would suck if it just fills my waterfall with images from DC to daylight and I get to enjoy it only when I also purchase at least an FDM. 🙂
Well I went ahead and ordered the Wellbrook ALA1530LNP-2 NA today.
The NA on the end of the Model number means NA = North American version.
Also the -2 = North American version as well.
So I guess the best way to tell is to get in in and try it out as the reviews have been very good.
I’m confident you’ll be very pleased with the ALA1530LN Pro.
I don’t know of any source for high resolution or large photos of these antennas… but I agree with you–we radio types like all the juicy details and up close images!
Both of my antennas that are featured in this blog post are of the newer, “amp outside the loop” construction. Andrew Ikin at Wellbrook moved to this design a while ago for his loops, so that in case of a failure you only have to replace the amp module (and not have to replace the entire antenna assembly).
You can indeed paint the aluminum loop element black or another color. I’ve used black electrical tape before on one of mine previously, as well as used “camo” tape. In fact, there’s a page on the Web which shows a fellow who did a very convincing camo paint job on his Wellbrook loop. It hides perfectly among the trees and bushes in his yard:
I should ALSO make mention I would like to find a nice looking and matching Tripod for the ALA1530LNPro IMPERIUM Loop Antenna (USA Version)
I like the setup in the photo you have on this page but it looks like perhaps a different model or older model loop compared to the newer model which has the electronics outside the loop?
That would be a GREAT Article with lots of photos to have a good looking setup with this Loop and tripod featured for the MANY radio enthusiasts like myself and others to see and read.
Photos help so much to make that final decision to purchase!
It would be nice to see Wellbrook at the Dayton Hamvention this year! I’d love to see a comparison with the Pixel too though if performance is close, the Wellbrook has the price advantage, even with the expensive international shipping. But if they came to Dayton, shaving an extra 40 to 50 quid off the price would mean less explaining to the XYL hi hi!
I doubt that Wellbrook would ever exhibit at Dayton, especially if sales continue at the same crazy pace that they have for years! Wellbrook is essentially a one-man operation, similar to the business run by my long time friend Craig, the owner and talented individual behind Kiwa Electronics.
The owner of Wellbrook Communications is kept very busy with orders not only to amateurs and radio hobbyists but to embassies, governments, and commercial concerns around the world. His efforts to produce best-in-class loop antennas have paid off with a steady (sometimes nearly overwhelming) stream of orders. With little advertising and no distributors, he typically has more business than he can handle.
There was a time in the 1990s when Wellbrook refused to sell their products outside of the EU. Through quite a bit of coaxing on my part, they finally agreed to start shipping overseas. I know a lot of DXers are happy they did :^)
I have the EXACT SAME Question as Ed. I have a Pixal RF PRO-1B and I am considering the purchase of a Wellbrook 1530 LN-PRO or the Imperium. More likely the Wellbrook 1530 LN-PRO. How does the Pixal RF PRO-1B stack up against the Wellbrook 1530 LN-PRO? Is the Wellbrook 1530 LN-PRO the BEST Loop available from Wellbrook?
Hi Dan (and Ed),
The ALA1530LN Pro Imperium is indeed Wellbrook’s best compact loop offering to date. The core of Wellbrook’s description of this antenna is:
This antenna together with the ALA1530LN are the only 1m dia. loops in production to use an ultra low noise JFET design. The loop has recently had a significant design change to improve LW/MW and SW reception. The antenna gain is increase by 9dB and the LW and MW signal to noise ratio s/n is up to 10dB higher, with an improved s/n on the HF bands. The LW and MW 3rd order IMD is now approx. 20dB lower when compared to the ALA1530 and the ALA1530S+. This being a combination of altering the gain distribution the lower IMD of the JFETs.
Note that the improved S/N performance comes at the expense of somewhat reduced 3rd order IMD on long wave and medium wave. If you plan to use this antenna in an *extremely* high RF environment, you may be better off with the ALA1530 or ALA1530S+. Personally, I’ve found no issues whatsoever with the ALA1530LN Pro at home or on DXpeditions.
Also, if your interests favor VLF and LF, consider getting the ALA1530LF, which is optimized for that frequency range.
I have not experienced the Pixel RF Pro-1B, but I did write an extensive review of the Pixel RF Pro-1A model in comparison to the Wellbrook ALA1530. The accurate signal display of a Perseus SDR was used to accurately measure S/N ratios of numerous signals heard with each antenna: http://www.dxing.info/equipment/ALA1530-vs-RFPRO-1AReview.pdf
Thank you Guy,
I had previously read the superb review that you wrote. I have a Wellbrook ALA1530LNPro Imperium inbound. This is after consulting your review, corresponding with both the RF Pro and Wellbrook staff, comparing prices, and consulting with some other professionals, most of whom felt the differences, if any, I was not likely to notice, if for no other reason that my skill set is not that refined. We’ll see. I confess part of my decision was to try something different from what I had, and although the RF Pro folks were polite, their reps were not particularly helpful in responding to my novice questions about how to determine if my Pro-1A has lost some of its “zip.”
My RF Pro-1A is mounted outdoors (unfortunately on a reverse slop “hole”) and the Wellbrook is going to be indoors (2nd floor/attic), so there is not going to be an accurate comparison, but I ought to be able to draw some conclusions wrt my particular setup. Since I have had less than optimum results at my location with several types of outdoor and indoor antennas, it will be interesting to see if the Wellbrook behaves any better than the others. In any case, it will be fun finding out!
Thank you for taking the time to respond to our questions.
Yes I read with great interest your review of the Pixel RF Pro-1A model in comparison to the Wellbrook ALA1530, First off I do not know what the difference is (if any) between the Pixel RF Pro-1A model -vs- 1B. Next, The Wellbrook Loop Antennas have so many different models it can be a little confusing.
The Model I am interested in is the “latest” Newer Model which is improved and uses low noise J-FET’s. It’s the NEW Wellbrook Ultra low noise High Gain Active ALA1530LNPro IMPERIUM Loop Antenna (USA Version)
It seems to look a tad different with the electronics mounted “outside” the physical loop itself. There are not enough photos anywhere on line to see how and where these outside components mount and look on this newer improved loop.
My goals are for mainly Shortwave listening and Ham bands listening! I am not into AM DX listening although that might prove to be fun in the future. I do enjoy sometimes listening to see what can be heard on the bands below AM but my major “listening” is above AM broadcast.
I have a Eton E1XM Modified with internal Bhi DSP and other features as well as a Tecsun PL-880 and also a SDRPlay. I’m currently using my Pixal Loop Antenna inside near a window with good results. Future plans would be to find a nice place to mount it outside. I’m not sure I will be using a bulky rotor or just manually turning it. Only my using it more and playing with it over time will tell.
So which antenna is the best and I also care about the “look” of the antenna just as much as the performance. I like the look of my Pixal. Can you paint the Wellbrook loop black if desired w/o performance losses? Are there any places to see LOTS of close-up photos of this newest Wellbrook loop antenna other than the one they have mounted on a wooden fence in a farm Pasteur. Don’t they know us “Radio” guys are into fine details and would like to see more close up photos to see how the external electronics might mount. (smile) I’ve search the web for MORE photos of this Model loop Antenna but have found none however other older Models that have the electronics built in I have seen.
Well thank you for ANY replies or comments. I would order this antenna “right now” but some more info would be soooo greatful and I am sure many others who visit this post would also benefit as this appears to be a popular Loop receiving Antenna.
I am on the cusp of a purchase decision. RF Pro-1b vs. Wellbrook 1530 LN pro or the Imperium. Has anyone done the comparison mentioned here? “This year at the Dayton Hamvention, I purchased the Pixel Technologies RF PRO-1B mag loop antenna. I used it (for the first time) at the PARI DXpedition. We were all impressed with its performance. I would love to compare it with the ALA1530LN Pro at some point in the future.”
There seems to be a lot of interest and questions on using this particular DX set up. I know I have several questions still but am holding off asking because I think they are a little to basic. With RFI issues being what they are at my QTH I have wanted to do more automobile DXing but the antenna issue has been the problem. I’ve used a Pars sloper, long wire, and a Wellbrook balen with 6 meters of wire on each end based on a suggestion by London SW for noise reduction while using an SDR with USB power. My reception of stations has been good, but not what I wanted or expected . I have only been in the hobby for a few years so I am still learning.
I figure the key is the antenna and using the Wellbrook could be the answer. My portable DX kit consists of an SDR-IQ, Acer-laptop with quad core processors running 2.4 ghz, using SDRConsole, and a BHI portable Hear It In Line Module that runs on 2 batteries for noise reduction. For portable power needs I have a Goal Zero Yeti 150 power pack that I could use to power the WB. I have several areas I use that are “quiet” and provide good reception but they are limited in parking space and I would not be able to run a Beverage antenna which I have explored also. If any of the readers have any suggestions, please let me know. I can be reached at [email protected]
Interesting report, Guy, many thanks for it.
Btw: Why do you use HDSDR instead of the original Elad FDM-S2 software when DXing? Is it so much better?
I and some other DXers I know use HDSDR because the basic interface is quicker and simpler to operate during the often rapidly changing dawn enhancement conditions at the Pacific coast. There are times when signals can fade up and down quickly, and even DX conditions can begin to change from Asian region reception (“TPs”) to Australia & New Zealand (“DUs”) in the span of just a few minutes. The best software in these fluid situations is a program that is intuitive and uses the least keystrokes, mouse clicks, or cursor movements.
Granted, with SDR captures of the entire band (if you’re MW DXing), the changing conditions are somewhat less of a factor when you can rewind the DX and chase it again and again with various parameters of filter bandwidth, modes, passband offsets, etc. I guess the biggest difference I like is the slider in HDSDR for adjusting the zoom amount for the waterfall and spectrum display. I can move around faster to look at carrier traces than with Elad software’s mouse click-click-click or keyboard shortcuts for the zoom.
HDSDR’s zoom slider is also grouped closely to other frequently used controls, and that’s handy.
My personal practice is to use HDSDR to capture the DX session to WAV files on a hard drive, and then do the actual DXing of the signals in Studio 1. The files generated by HDSDR are compatible with Studio 1, and I’m starting to prefer Studio 1’s noise reduction, “soft filters” option, overall audio quality, and especially Studio 1’s synchronous AM detection. The author of Studio 1 claims his program has unique DSP code that provides higher dynamic range and less CPU load on the computer, too.
This article has inspired me to take my own Afedri SDR and Wellbrook antenna on a mobile mini-DXpedition this coming weekend.
Question, what bands could be good at sunrise on eastern North America?
An excellent comparative demonstration of these antennas! Thanks Guy. Well done and informative.
Very nice report, Guy. I know exactly where this is too, and am now living in the Portland/Vancouver area. Manzanita is one of my favorite coast camping locations, and generally my visits have been quiet (from an audible sense, not RF). It has been on my short list for doing a DX weekend, but I didn’t know about the turnout, so I’ll have to try some listening there.
Brendan, if you try DXing from these turnouts on Highway 101, I highly recommend setting up at the specific one shown in the Google Street View link I shared. It is the turnout with the rock spire on the south end of the parking area.
I have done trans-Pacific MW signal-to-noise comparisons with an SDR receiver between the three turnouts in this area, and for some reason this particular turnout has less “splatter” from pest stations on the band. This makes a worthwhile difference for pulling out audio on the foreign medium wave stations (9 kHz spacing). My friends and I think this is due to the size and positioning of the rock walls blasted into the cliff for the highway; they evidently attenuate unwanted signals to the east more than at the other turnouts.
Thanks, Guy. I’ll be sure to check it out when I next go out to the coast.
I forgot to thank you for the Wellbrook reviews, naturally, and I’ve wanted to know more about them for some time, so thank you for the good words!
One more detail to add… the DC coaxial connector size required for the cable from the battery to the loop interface is 5.0 mm OD, with an ID of 2.1 mm. The center connection is positive (+).
Thank you very much for the helpful information. I’m really intrigued on using the ALA 1530+ I have in a portable mode. I will probably try it in a week or two after I get the battery etc. thanks again.
Correction! The outer dimension of the plug I mentioned above is 5.5 mm, *not* 5.0 mm.
The ID is correct at 2.1 mm.
Sorry for the error, and thanks to SWLing Post reader “Newbie” for questioning this.
Please yet me know how you hooked up the Wellbrook power pack in the car?
Hi Broadwing, I don’t know if my first reply went through, so I’ll answer here briefly and mention that I usually use “SLA” Sealed Lead Acid gel cell rechargeable batteries to power the DC interface of the Wellbrook loop antennas.
This is an example of a good battery of this type to use: http://www.amazon.com/ExpertPower-EXP1270-Black-Rechargeable-Battery/dp/B003S1RQ2S/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1446408053
This 7.0 Amp-Hour size will operate a loop antenna for many, many hours before needing to be recharged.
There are SLA batteries larger and smaller in size, but I like these 7 Amp-Hour versions. I also use these for powering other devices like antenna phasing units while doing “DC-only” DX listening sessions.
Beware of trying a Li-Ion multi-voltage power pack, or a 12V vehicle power adapter. These items have switching type power supplies inside and can emit a lot of RF noise (QRM) that will interfere with weak signal reception. The last thing you want when DXing in a nice, RF-quiet rural area is to destroy your reception with interference from your own equipment!
Puyallup, WA USA
And on another note….besides the DXing the drive down the Oregon coast is very very special. Absolutely beautiful.
I have had an ALA1530+ Imperium, for around two years now and I have never been disappointed by its performance. This I the first I’ve heard of the Pro model. One question I have is what did you use for portable power on the antenna box that the WB has. I’ve never considered portable DXing because of the need for power. I just might snag a Pro model on down the road for Portable DXing. Must figure out a way to sneak it in first though as I doubt I could justify the price just for portable use. Thanks for the video and test info. Great Antennas.