The NCC-2 has been an “elusive beast”. On Top Band, from a small suburban lot, the trickiest antenna effort I have ever had has been finding something that combats the man made noise and lets you hear very weak signal DX. I tried just about everything in the ON4UN Lowband DX Book, and have had what best could be described as a “meandering path”. Then one day, I accidentally had my DXE DV-40-P switched in on 160M – and Holy Moly Batman – it was like magic. That antenna became the one to beat.
I had some false starts. At one point the K9AY Loops were great. Then my neighbor did “something”, and they were swamped with noise – they became useless. I also tried several passive loops, and some had some success, but again, noise, noise noise.
Enter the Wellbrook ALA1530LNP. It has an amplifier that I seriously doubt ANY other loop can beat. But to make the NCC-2 sing, the best solution I have come up with is TWO Wellbrook ALA1530LNP Loops and the NCC-2.
Not only can I electrically steer the nulls, I can also physically rotate each antenna. Sometimes its for maximum gain, sometimes minimum noise, most of the time its both.
Here’s the funny thing – sometimes noise comes in from all kinds of weird directions here on my suburban lot. The rotators directions sometimes seems crazy, so I don’t care where they are pointed as much as I rotate until I get the best signal to noise ratio.
This is also why I like the loops way more than say two verticals. With verticals you can only electrically steer them. I can tell you from experience, when you also add in physical totation using cheapie rotators, then its like having 3D instead of 2D. Its a geometric imporvement for sure.
When testing the NCC-2 controls during the day, the most amazing test is at 1700 khz, where the Oakland International Airport is about 7 miles away as the crow flies, and where I can get the NCC-2 Phasing knob to select either the Oakland Airports 10 watt TSA station, or a high powered ESPN sports station in San Diego. To do this – one antenna is pointed South by Southwest and the other is actually more South by Southeast. Its the coolest thing. That test then leads to better DXing on 160M, like working OA4TT today. The S/N was quite a bit better than the DV-40-P, so I have hit a new milestone in my quest for the best RX antenna.
I would be surprised if I will ever beat this arrangement at this particular QTH. I just moved the rotators, and noise entered in. SO the physical rotation on top of electrical phasing in the NCC-2 just seems like something even better than anything else I can do.
Andy Ikin at Wellbrook is an expert in low noise high gain RX pre-amps, and the only way to make this better IMHO – is to follow Andy’s continual progress with his product development.