It’s been just over one year since my wideband loop array went into operation. I thought it time for a candid loop array performance review. Here goes.
As I have previously described, my array consists of two wideband antennas – each with one-meter orthogonal loops – spaced 100′ apart. Each antenna uses the Active Antenna Amplifier provided by LZ1AQ. My loops are aluminum core PEX. All of my structural components are made with a 3D printer using PETG filament.
My focus in this loop array performance review is mainly on physical reliability after one year of Calgary weather. Hot summers, cold winters, strong winds. Our temperatures have ranged from +38°C to -35°C. Our winds have gusted to 90 km/h. For our American friends, this works out to 100°F, -33°F and 56 mph.
Each antenna is mounted on a piece of ABS pipe. I attach the mast to my chain link fence using 3D printed clamps and stainless steel posts. Lock nuts hold everything tight. My arrangement is shown to the right above.
My AAA-1C antenna box amplifier is attached with some custom plastic fittings. My loops are attached to some custom plastic structures which hold together using friction fit to the ABS pipe. I use silicone caulk for weather proofing and extra strength. Wires from the amplifier are connected to a terminal strip quick disconnect, and then mechanically to the aluminum loop with a custom nut holder. All this is shown above center.
Loop Array Performance Review Overall
All in all, results have been great. Wind blew down one of the antennas once, but there was no damage. The LZ1AQ mounting box is weatherproof, as advertised. The loops hold firm in their E-W and N-S orientations. Electronically, performance today is the same as a year ago. CAT cables – although not outdoor rated – have held up well.
Moisture has seeped into one of the loop mounts causing some rust and corrosion on the wire attachment, which I cleaned up. The seals on the other three mounts were better. PETG held up very well in cold weather.
In the future, I may replace the ABS masts with longer pieces to move the antenna further away from the fence.