KY6R Big Mag Loop is Even Better on Top Band!

RDF is 9 and F/B is 27 dB – perfect for Top Band DXCC chasing . . . 

This antenna system beats what I used to make DXCC on Top Band – which was two Wellbrook ALA1530LNP’s phased through the NCC-2. Turns out – its also killer on 80M.


Key Learnings From My RX Antenna Project

The Failed KY6R Optimized 40M Delta Flag

1. For Receiving and eliminating man made noise, magnetic loop antennas are the way to go. While my Delta Flag modeled better in EZNec, the KY6R Big Mag Loop ran rings around it (bad pun intended).

The Hugely successful KY6R Big Mag Loop

2. Wellbrook offers a very nice set of different RX preamps, and while my favorite used to be the smaller ALA1530LNP, I can say without hesitation that my 3/4″ copper mag loops, with their 24′ circumference, when fed with a Wellbrook ALA100LN is far and away the best 160/80M RX antenna I’ve ever built. I also can vouch for Andy Ikin as far as the performance of his gear. They do perform and live up to the marketing “hype”. They are very much worth the cost

Some tout the W6LVP Loop as less expensive than the Wellbrook, but I didn’t find that to be true. Plus, I like a solid metal loop much better than a coax loop.

3. The DX Engineering NCC-2 is rediculously expensive, but now that I have used it with such great antennas, I feel my investment is well worth it.

4. I haven’t been able to measure any Common Mode, but should still do more testing

5. Even with just the K3 RX In and no second receiver Dual Diversity, I’m a very happy camper. I need to try dual Diversity at our sunset and listening to several bands. On the BCB I need to listen to KLIB, and on 160, 80 and 40, some CW or SSB

I’ll post later today after trying dual Diversity.

Wellbrook: My Favorite RX Antenna Preamps

Nothing beats a Wellbrook RX Preamp IMHO

When I say nothing beats a Wellbrook RX Preamp, I mean a remote preamp that is installed at the feedpoint of a magnetic loop antenna.

The preamps in the NCC-2 are also very good as part of the NCC-2 architecture. However, I’m finding that the only preamp that is a must are the Wellbrooks. For weak signals I can’t use the preamps in the NCC-2 because they further amplify the signal so much that adjacent strong stations take over.

The most interesting thing in all of this is the fact that it is possible to have too much gain at the receiver.

The KY6R Big Mag Loop with Wellbrook ALA100LN preamps is clearly the best 160 and 80M receiving antenna that I’ve built so far.

Nothing else (that I’ve tried) comes close.

KBOI – from Zero to S8

Before the Wellbrook ALA100LN preamps – I did not hear KBOI in Boise, Idaho at all. That was a real surprise since its a Clear Channel 50KW station:

They are a 50KW station, but at night are directional with their coverage

Its amazing that before the Wellbrook ALA100LN’s I could not hear a peep out of this station, and now – they are very strong.

KBND is now S9 +20 – which is an incredible improvement. I know they were below S9 before the ALA100LN. And as advertised – the preamp is very low noise. KAGO is also up signal wise the same amount.

I’m very pleased that I listened and tuned around for this past week – because I have a great baseline for my test.

The Wellbrook ALA100LN’s are the bomb!

Creepy Xmas Music Caper Solved! (KLIB – Roseville)

Sometimes, fact is stranger than fiction . . .

Mike, KJ4Z wins the big prize for guessing that the radio station I have been hearing – that plays this creepy “generic” repeating Christmas music in a loop is KLIB from Roseville. In fact, I have “tapes”!

This is when I first start hearing the music and station – at about 4:20 PM PST (how appropriate):

Using the new Wellbrook ALA100LN preamps and several settings on the DX Engineering NCC-2, I can pull that really weak signal out of the noise:

This was the moment I realized that the KY6R Big Magnetic Loops was a crushingly good success! However – on 160 and 80M – not on 40M – more on that in a subsequent post. Lets continue down this mysterious creepy Xmas music trail.

This might have been about as loud as it got. Remember – its February 8 now – and this station only pops up into view (ear) between about 4 PM to 5 PM – but really, from 4:20 – 5 PM with any strength.

By 4:39 it starts fading. I heard a station ID – loud and clear. YEP – it was KLIB in Roseville for sure. It fades out completely at 4:45 PM PST – but then makes a comeback:

Yeah – my partner and I are tag teaming this mystery . . . 

By 5 PM, it was pretty much gone – and the Bend, Oregon station, KBND started taking over.

I can still hear the stations I have been hearing before I added the ALA100LN preamps – but now I am also hearing the really weird weak stations – like KLIB.

It just so happens that I have a very personal connection to Roseville – but I’ll save that story for another time and place.

Stay tuned . . .


KY6R V2.0 (QRP, SWL, Experimenter)

Elecraft K3 with Win4K3Suite, NCC-2, Begali Sculpture Mono and test gear

Now that the KY6R Big Mag Loops are done, and all modules are installed in the DX Engineering NCC-2, I was able to take a shack “action shot”. Speaking of Big Mag Loops:

The KY6R Big Mag Loop Feedpoint – Wellbrook ALA100LN preamps

I used a step drill bit to open a hole in the bottom of each box which would let me plug the BNC connector in the preamp with no problem, and also allow for any condensation to escape at the bottom.

Feedpoint boxes all buttoned up with a weather tight gasketed cover

The first thing I did was test for the Oakland International “TIS” or travelers information service AM radio station at 1700 AM. Its a low power (I think 10 watt) station that I couldn’t receive before – without the preamp at the antenna. So, that’s a first good result as far as my tests go. Here is a recording showing the TIS station and then when you hear the static – that is me just switching the NCC-2 from Norm to Rev – which reverses the phase, sometimes called anti-phase. Yowza – night and day.

I will test the two new Wellbrook ALA100LN preamps for at least a few days, then I’ll try the Dual Diversity feature on the K3 – by plugging the output of the NCC-2 into the RF AUX in on the K3.

The tests after that will be with the NCC-1 and where I start concentrating on 40M and even 20M – since there are filters in the NCC-1 for those bands.

What I Want in a KX-4

After a walk in the Ham Radio wilds, I’m again a 100% Elecraft fanboy. The reason? “Extensibility and Versatility”. No other manufacturer comes close as far as being able to customize the radio to your requirements.

If the KX-3 had two receivers as my new (used) K3 does, I wouldn’t have bought the K3. However, the K3 with KPOD and with the Xonar U7 MKIII sound card, Win4K3Suite and the NCC-2, it’s way more of a dream than the K4 is. I have succeeded in souping up a K3 to exceed the features that come with the newer radios.

And one thing I no longer want is an LCD screen built into the radio.

I really wanted to try a Flex, but when you can buy a fully loaded K3 with 2 receivers at a maximum price of $1800, it’s half of what a Flex with 2 receivers would cost. And the K4 is in a price range that is beyond what I want to spend.

Now a KX-4 with dual Diversity receive at $1800, that’s my dream. No LCD screen, please. They add to the cost and drain the battery. That’s why for me, that new Icom KX-3 competitor is a non starter.