If you want a sense of how well magnetic antennas can perform, check out the VA6OK remote wideband loop for yourself. It’s one click away.
Over the past few years, I have listened to many of the remote monitoring stations on OpenWebRx online. You will notice that this server provides links to more than 400 HF monitoring stations around the world.
Many of these resources used wideband antennas, both loops and voltage probes. Most use KiwiSDR systems, a wonderful 14-bit SDR connected to a BeagleBone single board computer. This is a wonderful system which can feed 10 kHz to 30 MHz to four or more remote users at the same time.
I have found the main downside of these remote listening systems is local noise. Many of the stations are located in poor locations with tons of local RFI. So, you have to look around to find the sites that work best to let your hear signals rather than noise!
Guess what? One of the best remote stations is right here in Alberta. It’s the VA6OK remote wideband loop, located in Coronation, Alberta. Coronation is located in east central Alberta, equidistant from Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary.
Dale, VA6OK, lives on a large farm, a fairly RF quiet location. You can see his one meter loop sitting in a wheat field in the picture above.
VA6OK Remote Wideband Loop – Technical Details
So why do I call the VA6OK remote wideband loop “my benchmark’? Simply put, if I can get my loop systems to work this well I will be a very happy camper. It provides strong signals from LF through upper HF and appears largely free of local RFI.
His one meter loop is made from coaxial cable, protected by PEX weather protection. Dale’s amplifier is the popular HiLetGo LNA available on Amazon and E-bay for around $10. You can check out how to connect this amplifier to a coax loop on the KA7U web site.