Loop antenna for SDR question

Useful information regarding antennas for SDR products.
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Loop antenna for SDR question

Post by W0ACT » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:54 pm


I am getting ready to purchase either the SDR Play SDR2Pro or the SDR2DUO and trying to figure out which loop antenna would be the best fit for the radio.

I have read quite a few positive reviews for the following antennas but still am having a hard time trying to decide which one to purchase.

W6LVP Magnetic loop receive antenna
AOR LA400 Wideband Loop antenna
Palstar LA30 Rotating Loop stick antenna

I could put the W6LVP outside in the back yard on a Channel Master rotor CM9521HD which I am thinking will give the best results, or use either the LA400 & LA30 on the desk here in the shack in the basement.

Total cost for the W6LVP with a Channel Master rotor CM9521HD and 50' of coax will cost approx.. $400US plus shipping.

Total cost for AOR LA400 will cost approx.. $550US plus shipping.

Total cost for Palstar LA30 with all 3 loop sticks, will cost approx.. $515US plus shipping.

I am interested if anyone has any input with these antennas or feedback as I am open to any and all ideas.

Thanks in advance for your help,
Last edited by W0ACT on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am, edited 0 times in total.
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Re: Loop antenna for SDR question

Post by NK7Z » Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:20 pm

Why not build one, they are mindlessly simple to build, save yourself a ton of money.

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Re: Loop antenna for SDR question

Post by arcosine » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:47 pm

An outside antenna is much better. Get or make the biggest loop practical.

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Re: Loop antenna for SDR question

Post by franko » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:53 pm

Sorry for chiming in on the late side, but I have a Wellbrook ALA1530LNP loop antenna as well as a W6LVP loop. I've done a fair amount of side-by-side comparison with each connected to a separate SDRplay RSPduo, with them running simultaneously and monitoring the same HF FT8 band. Because of a strong MW AM broadcaster nearby, W6LVP made me a custom antenna amplifier with an integrated high-pass filter. With the Wellbrook I use an RTL-SDR.com high-pass filter.

Overall I'd call the Wellbrook's and W6LVP's performance comparable. I've sometimes seen relatively minor variations which may have to do with location and orientation of each antenna. In my tests so far, a wire dipole mounted sufficiently high (10-13 meters) has consistently outperformed either mag loop antenna. However, I find both loop antennas very useful as they are more compact and are not as sensitive to height.

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Re: Loop antenna for SDR question

Post by g1hbe » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:21 am

The real value of small loops such as the Wellbrook (etc) is their noise-busting properties. They will in general deliver lower signals to your receiver than a good longwire, but if you live in an urban or semi-urban environment then noise may be your limiting factor. It certainly is here - wires of ANY description are useless! If you live out in the countryside away from noisy electronics, an outdoor wire will probably be best.
If you are limited to indoor antennas, I'd suggest a loop of some type would be almost mandatory to avoid noise problems from your own devices. The Wellbrook 1530 is excellent, but if you live outside the UK it will cost a lot of money to ship.

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Re: Loop antenna for SDR question

Post by ON5HB » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:31 pm

Trough some wire over a few trees, for HF that will work a lot better.
It's not even critical and you van go around corners if you want.

You will be amazed how easy it is to make an HF wire antenna, typical just a long piece of wire and that 2 times, both in opposite directions.
Make it as long as you can, it works better then loops.

2 pieces of wire and some coax is just a few cents and often works really well, worth a try as you probably have it already in the form of speaker- or electric-wire.
For HF mostly 2x10m works wonders, the more the better.

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