Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jamie, who writes:
I would like to ask a few questions about what would be a good set up for my situation.
I am in a 2 storey property, which is not owned by me (renting via community/public housing), located in a large city in Australia. I currently have an SDRPlay RSP2, along with standalone AM/FM tuners – Sony XDR-F1HD and Onkyo T4970. The computer and all radios are upstairs at the back in a room that is not attached.
Given renting would limit what I can do, what would be best for me to get. For MW and SW frequencies, I am trying to decide between the MLA30+ or the AOR LA400. For above 30MHz (6m, 2m, broadcast FM etc) I am deciding between the AOR SA7000 or a Discone.
I have been told that putting antennas in the roof space is not recommended. Would they work fine in the room near a window? I should mention, I do have a 50ft end fed longwire with 9:1 balun, that has been in storage and never used.
I am also looking at upgrading my receiver. Trying to choose between the WinRadio WR-G305e or the Icom IC-R8600 (would also get the RS-R8600 CD software for computer controlling the receiver). How do the specs compare between these two?
Thanks for your time, and hope that wasn’t too many questions.
Thank you for your inquiry, Jamie, and I hope you don’t mind, but I’m sharing this message as a post as we have readers who are in the same type of living situation and listening environment. In addition, I believe owners of the gear you’ve mentioned might be able to offer some helpful advice!
I can tell you that you’re correct: in general, antennas want to be near windows or, better yet, outdoors. Even placing an antenna on a balcony can make a big difference in terms of lowering the noise floor. This is less an issue with VHF/UHF, but those antennas also benefit from being outside since there’ll be less attenuation from obstructions.
For HF, I would personally suggest you check out the MLA-30 loop first since it’s such a modest investment and is fairly flexible in terms of how you can configure it. I’m sure our regular contributor, Grayhat, will have some helpful advice as he’s a bit of an expert with urban HF antennas.
Also, the IC-R8600 is a brilliant wideband receiver. Depending on what you wish to have for frequency coverage, I would also suggest you check out the Icom IC-705 transceiver (noting that its RX coverage is not as comprehensive as that of the IC-R-8600).
Post readers: Please feel free to comment with some suggestions for Jamie, especially if you have experience with urban radio listening.
One of the cool things about Klaus’ antenna is that he can easily position it vertically (see above), or fold it over into a horizontal position (see below).
While one would think Klaus would get optimal performance from his loop while vertically-oriented, it’s not always the case. Klaus has discovered that on some frequencies, placing the antenna in the horizontal position lowers the noise level and increases the target signal’s strength.
To demonstrate, Klaus made the following short video for us:
That’s a pretty amazing difference, Klaus! I’m no antenna expert, but perhaps what’s happening is you’re eliminating noise that is polarized in the plane of your antenna, thus the signal “pops out” much better when oriented horizontally?
I’m curious if any readers can explain this. I know very little about loop antennas–especially small loops since so much of their surroundings affect their performance.
Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Klaus Boecker, who originally posted these images of his homebrew magnetic loop antenna on the Shortwave Radio Station Listening Facebook page.
I love the design of his mag loop which easily allows for a vertical or horizontal orientation. Kaus has discovered, in certain cases, places the loop in a horizontal position dramatically decreases the noise level.
Having a little fun with what I call “urban camouflage” Klaus recently decorated his antennas to match the neighborhood flower boxes!
I’m sure more than one neighbor may be wondering what sort of creative floral arrangement Klaus has planted!
Klaus notes that the vertical to the left of the loop is a a 2m / 70cm J-Antenna.
Thank you again, Kalus, for allowing me to share your images here on the SWLing Post. I imagine your modest home-grown antenna farm works some serious DX on occasion!
Thanks again for sharing!
Readers: Have you camouflaged or decorated your antenna(s)? Please share your photos!
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