One of the aerials I wanted to test was the Youssef Loop (YouLoop). I own a good passive loop antenna made by Tecsun (AN-200) but this is a mini one to use with portable receivers. A video showing the test of this ‘mini-loop’ can be seen in my YouTube channel. My main loop for serious DXing is the Wellbrook 1530LN, but this is an active loop that easily beats any other passive ones. It’s close to be the perfect loop for me as I live in a rural valley with low noise level in the bands so I enjoy every minute of my listening sessions. However I wanted to test this newcomer passive loop, but wasn’t satisfied just hanging it from a pinetree branch, so I decided to bring about my DIY YouLoop portable frame project.
So I had to find something to get a rigid (but light) support for the loop itself allowing an easy rotation to achieve deep nulls. So… what could I built?
I am professionally involved in the heritage and communication sector, so was easy for me to refit some dismissed display rolls where I found a 1,5 m thin supporting tube made in fiberglass that suited my needs. I cut a piece of 120 cm and then splitted it into 2x60cm, tightening both in the middle with a fine bolt. I placed two plastic hooks up and down of the vertical tube to hold both Youloop modules. The horizontal arm was lengthened with two bamboo meat skewers firmly inserted into the tube, allowing to slide onto it. Two small holes in the bamboo pieces were good enough to secure the cable with a short wire. All this was well fixed with clamps and vulcanized tape to an extra piece of vertical tube.
Finally all this was inserted into a thicker aluminium tube and then into a wider one in order to fit everything into the tripod hole and then get a smooth and efficient rotation of the antenna. As a base I reffited an old heavy metallic tripod manufactured by Manfrotto (Italy) that I used it often for birdwatching daytrips. I gave back an unexpected new life for this piece of metal, always in the field close to Nature!
The whole assembly can be easily transported in the car. Aluminium tubes slide one into the other, being rapidly detachable from the loop itself. This is a cheap and DIY project to get the maximum of this surprising and low noise passive loop.
This aerial gives its best performance when used in the field. There, QRM levels are low or non existent at all. It is a must to rotate it easily and then get sharp nulls. SMA connector nuts must be well tightened as they tend to loosen easily, but beware to force them as an extra twisting could damage inner connections.
This is the first post of a serie called «BricoDX» where I will show how to refit or build accesories to get unexpensive and practical DIY projects for our listening sessions.