Tag Archives: Bruce McCreath (VE3EAR)

Bruce compares two homebrew NCPL antennas to the Airspy Youloop

The Airspy Youloop

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bruce (VE3EAR), who writes:

I decided that more testing of the Noise-Cancelling Passive Loop (YouLoop) antenna was needed, but I wanted to start with a clean page.

I built two identical loops using some 3/8 inch heliax scraps I had on hand. Both are one metre in diameter and employ the same feed arrangement, with a balun wound on a half inch square binocular core of type 75 mix. There are four turns on the antenna side and eight on the feed line side, of #24 gauge plastic insulated wire. The feed line shield connects to the antenna shields. The only difference between the two antennas is at the top of the loop, opposite to the feed point. One has a simple one inch gap in the shield, with the centre conductor passing across the gap, while the second one uses the crossover connection of the YouLoop design.

I’ve been running some A-B comparison listening sessions, both mid-day and in the evenings after local sunset. The testing is done outside, with the antennas hanging on a low limb of a maple tree in front of the house. The feed line is about twenty feet of coax which connects to my Realistic DX-440 receiver on the front porch. Testing is done listening to the AM broadcast band and the 160, 80, and 40 metre ham bands, with the loop aligned both E-W and N-S and about one loop diameter off the ground.

Both loops work well, but I do have to give the nod to the YouLoop (by Airspy), which produces a stronger signal of two S-units higher than the conventional loop. It also has deeper and sharper nulls, which can sometimes produce total nulling of the station!

73, Bruce, VE3EAR

Thank you so much, Bruce, for sharing your findings with us! I, too, have found that the Youloop generally outperforms my homebrew NCPL antenna. I believe one of the reasons for this as Youssef at Airspy once told me is because the Youloop has a lower loss transformer than anything that can be wound by humans (0.28 dB)–this improves gain.

Click here to read our review of the Youloop and click here for step-by-step instructions on building your own Noise-Cancelling Passive Loop antenna.

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Bruce’s passion for SWLing and single transistor regenerative receivers

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bruce (VE3EAR), who shares the following:

I live in the village of Saltford, ON, Canada, near the eastern shore of Lake Huron. It’s a quiet location signal wise, and I’m lucky that I have enough property to erect some big antennas. My two favourites are a 1200 foot long terminated Beverage, aimed at 50 degrees true, which targets Europe and the UK. The other is a 333 foot perimeter delta-loop, apex up and oriented north-south. Both antennas are fed with RG-6 coaxial cables and impedence-matching transformers.

I use the loop with a recently acquired Airspy HF+ Discovery SDR and the Gqrx SDR software, in my iMac. I like to listen to amateur activity on 160, 80, and 40 metres, along with the few shortwave broadcast station that are still on the air. I also like to listen to the trans-Atlantic air traffic control stations in Shannon, Ireland and Gander, Canada.

I once heard a U2 spy plane returning from a mission over Russia!

My other hobby is designing and building simple, one transistor regen receivers, most of which tune the AM broadcast band, although I have built a couple covering the lower portion of the HF broadcast bands as well, just for a challenge. All my receivers are built breadboard style.

My favourite of them is one based upon the Vackar oscillator, with the addition of a diode detector and “Benny”, as is used in crystal radios.

Here is the schematic of the Vackar circuit:

The diode and “Benny” connect to the collector of the transistor, then to a pair of home made headphones using two telephone earpiece elements installed in a pair of hearing protectors. The receiver is both very selective and very sensitive. Here is a pic:

Most of the electronics are on a proto-board, which allowed easy component substitutions during the build. When I had it optimized, I decided to leave it that way! The controls, left to right, are on-off switch, regen, fine tuning, main tuning, and range selector switch, hidden behind the reduction drive. Audio is taken from the DET OUT jack, to either the headphones described above, or to an audio amplifier for listening with a speaker.

Bruce, it sounds like you certainly have an excellent spot and excellent antennas for DXing! I love regen receivers as well and radio design can hardly be more simple.

Thank you for sharing!

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