The W6LVP magnetic loop antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who asks:

Just curious if you or anyone you know have any experience with Magnetic Loops from W6LVP? […]Here’s his eBay page – 458 feedbacks and 100%.

Thank, Troy! I’ve never used the W6LVP loop, but the price–in comparison with other wideband mag loop receive antennas–is very attractive.

W6LVP currently offers two models of loop antennas:

Here’s the product description of the Mag Loop with Power Inserter from the W6LVP website (where orders can also be made–pricing identical to eBay):

The Wellbrook Model ALA1530LN-2 and DX Engineering (Pixel/Inlogis) Model RF PRO-1B magnetic loops are both good amplified receive antennas.  However, they are both expensive.  Shipping the Wellbrook antenna from the UK to the US adds another $100.

Extensive side-by-side testing of the Wellbrook, DX Engineering, and W6LVP receive loops was compiled using simultaneous WSPR signal-to-noise reception reports on all LF, MF, and HF amateur bands.  In addition, extensive laboratory bench tests measuring gain, signal-to-noise ratio, and IMD were also performed.  Signal-to-noise ratio is important to pull weak signals out of the noise and IMD is important to reject distortion caused by nearby strong transmitters such as AM broadcast stations.  In both test regimens, all three antennas performed very well and without significant difference.

The antenna version listed here includes a power inserter for use with receivers or with transceivers that have a separate receive antenna input.  If your rig doesn’t have a receive antenna input, check out my antenna with a transmit/receive switch.

If you live in the shadow of one or more high-power AM broadcast transmitters, contact me about a special version just for you.  Please contact me at lplummer@vcnet.com.

W6LVP amplified receive-only magnetic loop antenna (boy is that mouthful):

  • The W6LVP mag loop is a complete receive antenna system delivering top-of-the-line performance to amateur radio operators and SWLs – particularly for those with space and/or budget limitations.  It is a great complement to vertical or wire transmit antennas.   You have a knob to turn up the power but don’t have one to turn up the received S/N.
  • Ten foot circumference (approximately 1 meter diameter) loop.  Small size yields a natural stealth for HOA challenges.  The loop is rigid enough to maintain its shape but flexible for portable transport or attic installation.
  • Includes a low-noise, broadband amplifier covering 2200 (135 kHz)  through 10 meters (30 MHz) with no tuning or adjustment.  Perfect match for continuous tuning SDR receivers.  Great for contesters to quickly check all bands.  Greater coverage is possible at reduced performance.
  • Light-weight antenna structure fabricated from furniture-grade PVC yields a strong but very light antenna weighing only 2 pounds (not including power inserter or power adapter).  Great for both portable/camping as well as fixed installations.  Light weight and small size make for lower shipping cost – particularly compared to shipping from the UK.
  • Directly compatible with a low-cost speaker tripod stand (not included) for portable operation.
  • Compatible with light-duty rotator (recommended) for fixed operation.  Loop can be rotated to null interference by up to 30 dB or enhance desired signals.
  • Includes low-noise linear AC power adapter to generate clean 12 volts for the loop amplifier.  Unlike the DX Engineering antenna which requires 24 VAC, power can be easily supplied by 12 volt batteries during portable operation.  Reverse polarity and short circuit protection provided by automatically resettable fuse.

Eham reviews are very positive–so far, 5 stars on all six reviews.

I also discovered this short video of W9OY comparing the W6LVP loop to a full size 80 meter vertical (verticals are much more susceptible to noise than loops):

Click here to view on YouTube.

I am very curious if any SWLing Post readers have ever compared the W6LVP loop to the Wellbrook or Pixel Loop antennas.

I actually own the Pixel Loop and might very well purchase, review and compare the W6LVP loop later this year (if time allows).

If you own the W6LVP loop and/or have compared it with the Pixel or Wellbrook, please comment!

Click here to view W6LVP antennas on eBay.

Click here to view the W6LVP website.

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21 thoughts on “The W6LVP magnetic loop antenna

  1. kj4jsn

    I would like to here from someone using this loop on 160 meters voice ssb …Not CW ???????I have a 25ft loop home brew with LMR-600 with a pe amp and its Ok……IC-7300

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Ivan performs two tests with the AirSpy HF+ | The SWLing Post

  3. David Messing

    I am an AM DX listener and this loop worked great. I had it for about 3 years, purchasing it at Dayton @ $400 from Pixel. It started getting scratchy and signal levels jumping. Removed the cover on the amp and saw the F Connectors had twisted breaking the ground wire inside both the input and output. While the case was making the ground from the F connector, it wasn’t good as the actual wire connected directly to the pc board. Pixel placed a glob of glue around the F connector to keep it from turning but over time glue was not sticking to the case, allowing free turning and breaking wires. Removed the old glue glob and used JB Weld to secure the F connectors. I tested following the repairs, some issues were improved, but had some static when there should not been any. Decided to check the loop. The board in the bottom of the loop was potted with two different hard materials. I saw where the seal wasn’t good enough from manufacturer and there was corrosion and rust around the F connector. I had only one choice but to remove the board from the potting. Was very careful. This board contains the female F connector, a PC board, a T1 transformer, and two parallel capacitors C1 (105) and C2(104). The T1 transformer has one side going to the loop, the opposite side connected to F connector and capacitors. T1 got some damage while removing the potting. I may be able to repair it, but it may be like brain surgery. The cover over T1 with the identifying numbers broke, I saw a WB or WD. Does anyone have knowledge on the T1 part number? As you may know the loop is described as a Moebius wound loop, its a one turn loop. At the top junction box, the two ends of the metal loop are not not connected. Following the wiring in a CW fashion, leaving the left side of the bottom junction box, a green insulated wire is threaded inside the metal loop, it passes the open space at the top and connects to the opposite metal loop or the right side. A second green insulated wire leaves the right side bottom junction box travels CCW to the top and is attached to the left half of the metal loop. Where this cross takes place is the Moebius part. At the top junction box both ends of the green insulated wire were striped too far back going inside the metal shield. Both bare ends were almost and mabe making contact with the shield. That was likely were my static was taking place when wind shook the loop. Too much wire stripped was a matter of workmanship. I called DX Engineering this afternoon to purchase the replacement board at the base of the loop. They are not available for sale, they suggested I buy the whole loop. Any knowledge for me on especially T1? I would appreciate your help. Great antenna, but being potted not making it possible for easy maintenance. I think if I have to replace it I will buy the MFJ equivalent for half the price. I am puzzled why the replacement parts can’t be sold? I have photos of before and after should anyone request them.
    Dave K0RWM Nebraska City.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Larry’s variation of the W6LVP amplified magnetic loop antenna | The SWLing Post

  5. Dave Freeman

    The W6LVP magnetic loop antenna stands out with excellent performance for my AM Medium Wave DX testing here is Queens. I already got areas far south and north such as Philadelphia and Connecticut using the Channel Master 9521A Rotator. Thanks Larry for your info about the antenna and setup suggestions.

    Reply
  6. Jordan Dobrikin

    Hi
    What we have here is the classic case in Marketing and setting Price Points.
    The cost of Materials and Labor are low. The R$D cost are already sunk and that amount can be spread out over many units over time.
    Pixel and Wellbrook can spread R&D costs over a larger number of units; Transmitting and Receive Only as well as slightly lower material cost for the Receive Only Model.

    So it comes doen to intrisnic value and “what the Market will bare”; IMHO
    The relatively high prices have lead to several Low Noise Wideband Differential Pre Amplifiers on Ebay to use with DIY Loops

    Reply
  7. Tom Reitzel

    As an owner of the original RF Pro-1B by Pixel, I can attest to its excellent performance. However, the cost is prohibitive for many potential customers so I’m pleased to see viable competition. Personally, magnetic loops are the only serious choice for most SWLs as they’re compact and effective so any reduction in price while maintaining quality is good for the AM band.

    Reply
  8. Larry Plummer

    First, thanks to Thomas for the information on my amplified receive-only magnetic loop antenna.

    There are really only three antennas of this type available that cover 2200 meters to 30 meters (135 kHz to 20 MHz) with no tuning or other adjustments. Most of the loop antennas that are available are tuned which require adjustment for any frequency change.

    The other two antennas besides mine are the Wellbrook from the UK and the DX Engineering (Pixel) which don’t cost $300. The list price for the DX Engineering antenna is $500 not including shipping. The Wellbrook is about $300 when its price in British Pounds is converted to dollars plus it costs another $100 to ship it to the US.

    On the other hand, the price of the W6LVP loop for use by SWLs is $250. Considering the cost of the components to build the antenna plus the labor to assemble it, the price is very fair.

    Larry
    W6LVP

    Reply
    1. 13dka

      Well I’d love to try one of those, I’m afraid the shipping costs to the EU will bring a bit of a markup tho. BTW, there’s also the 2 NTi loops (ML52+200), the HDLA, Reuter RLA, Rafansys, AOR LA-nnn, the LZ1AQ stuff, RF Systems…all active systems doing VLF through shortwave and beyond w/o tuning, most of them are in the 300-400€ range tho.

      Reply
    2. Rolf Hangman

      My Wellbrook ALA loop cost $278 and shipped in three days for $70! Last year or so.

      Greatest part of it all in addition to legendary performance, is Andrews customer service, with respect to him I will not go into specific detail of what he has done for me or others users I spoke with. Safe to say, you would be amazed, after worrying of what you may think you would have to pay upon incurring damage to any component of his loop, and then see what all he does for you. Service second to none…Be assured!

      Having said, as a loop fan I have my eye on the W6LVP loop, not in hurry to purchase, maybe hoping for a sale of some sorts, I will get one to run along with my Wellbrook into my phaser.

      I for one would just be more impressed with the products actual performance, as opposed to over-inflated pricing quotes, product promotion.
      As educated buyers we know what everything costs, Just let the product and the end users word of mouth do the promoting.

      Having said;
      I’m happy for W6LVP and his product,

      Reply
  9. rtc

    Agree…one thing is the low noise amp,clean with no hash.
    Also decent three foot (1m) diameter,etc.
    There are smaller ones on the market for a couple
    hundred more,too.
    Wish there was a kit.

    Reply
    1. RonF

      Me neither. None of the loops I’ve made from scratch – amplified &/or tuned, using copper tubing or heliax (with its associated expensive connectors!), & all bought at ridiculous Oz retail prices – haven’t come to more than ~$100 in parts all up, including cases, power feed/tuning, etc.

      While I don’t begrudge anyone a reasonable markup, I can only assume people charge just a little less than Wellbrook/Pixel/etc – and the market is small so their prices are what the market will bear & have little relation to production/distribution cost.

      In short, DIY people!

      Reply
    2. Mike Agner

      A good bit of the cost is, without a doubt, designing and implementing the amp. Without it, the loop wouldn’t be very effective across such a wide range of frequencies. Proper shielding (so that the amp doesn’t inadvertently interact with the loop), as well as making the amp resistant to MW or FM spurs can be something of a challenge, particularly when used in an urban area. Heck, you could build the loop for just a couple of bucks (less if you have a good junk box), but the amp is quite another matter.

      Reply
      1. Larry Plummer

        Couldn’t have said it better.

        I spent a year, a significant investment, and went down many dead ends before arriving at an amp design that competes favorably with the established leaders – Wellbrook and Pixel. I also needed a couple of hooks to provide differentiation. While one – the ability to connect my loop to a transceiver without a separate receive antenna input – isn’t interesting to SWLs. I am sure my second feature – half the price – is of interest to everyone.

        Larry
        W6LVP

        Reply
  10. Pingback: Another US made loop antenna - The RadioReference.com Forums

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