Tonight was the night of the drunken sailor. Seriously. I’ve never cursed so much at an antenna until this loop. I’m not the best at soldering, I used to be really good. Had a lot of practice as a mechanic in the Army. My skills were a little rusty though, and shaky hands didn’t help at all. Patience isn’t my best virtue either. But alas, things are coming along nicely with the loop, below is a pic of where I had to solder some wire tags onto the variable capacitor terminals in order to connect to the ends of the loop:
These terminals were so small, the solder kept dripping onto other parts of the chassis, so I had to use electrical tape as a barrier of sorts, and was eventually able to get a decent stick. I have to give it to anyone who can solder detailed work (or even weld for that matter!). In order to connect these wire tags to the ends of the copper loop, i’ll have to hammer flat the ends, and heat the copper up enough so that the solder sticks. My original plan was to use some really thick 8 or 6 gauge copper wire for the conductor loop (the inner loop that will eventually be 1/5 the size of the outside loop), but the wire proved to be too hard to work with, so I decided to go with a 10 AWG stranded copper wire. I’ve read that you need to keep the sizes of the loops similar in order to keep the gamma match as close as possible. 10AWG doesn’t come anywhere near my 1/2″ copper tubing, but it’ll have to do for now. Meanwhile, I’ve been drooling at these other magnetic loops like the MFJ 1786, the Alpha Loop, the Alex Loop, and a few others, most range in price from $299 – $450. But as for someone who is restricted due to HOA these are seeming like a more viable option for me. I’ll see how this loop performs once I finish it, and if I’m satisfied with the results, I’ll just try to improve upon my design, maybe use a larger variable capacitor. Here’s a diagram that I went off of to aid in the connection process:
I know…. I know… soldering needs practice!
I didn’t want to have the coax running up through the middle of the loop though, so had to put it at the bottom, which resulted in a not so perfect faraday loop:
Here the loop is pretty much finished, i need to redo some poor connections. The connection points are critical as you want to keep the resistance as low as possible.
It’s completely out of view of the street, and seems pretty compact. So far I’ve been able to pickup local repeaters pretty well (2m), but haven’t had much luck on the other bands (it’s supposed to cover 25MHz to -1300MHz). So many bands to listen to but only so much space for antennas! I tried to do some weather image decoding but each time I check the satellite tracker I’ve just missed it!