FSL ANTENNA (Chapter 1)

Me at dawn at the listening spot.

Some months back, after a long and erratic journey from the States to Spain under COVID limitations, a 5″ FSL antenna reached home. This is the first Ferrite Sleeve Loop landing in Spain and Gary DeBock, designer and builder of these LW-MW models, offered me one to test it and use with UL Receivers in my DXpeditions in Spain and Portugal. The introductory design of this antenna was published first by DXer Graham Maynard back to 2011 and then Gary made it affordable for the DXing community. He and other American folks have showed the outstanding results reached with several diameter sizes in DXPs to the northwestern US coast, Hawaii, Hong-Kong, and recently also Australia and the frozen Alaska under extreme conditions.

Storms on 23rd Sept, 2021 @05:45 UTC

On 23rd September I made the first serious testing of my new ferrite loop to check its performance. Some readers and folks also asked me about the performance of a 5″ FSL antenna versus the AN-200 Loop, so I brought one to the site just to compare signal strengths. I chose my DEGEN DE-1103 Small Portable to check the Medium Wave Band. The listening spot was a viewpoint facing the sea, 500 m away of the vertical cliffs, at 145 masl (IN73rj54) in Asturias (Spain). This public pic-nic area has parking facilities, wooden tables, water and shelters in case of heavy rains.

I started the session at 05utc and first spent some time to adjust the air capacitor and the distance from the receiver to the FSL to get the maximum advantage towards America. I found the best nulls for Iberian stations at 260º WSW. Propagation was fair but unfortunately the band showed a high static noise level due to stormy weather over the Peninsula. Weather was mild with slow east wind, clean skies and a big full moon up in the dark. It was the first day of autumn in Northern Hemisphere.

I made seven recordings (one UNID) to show the signals arriving to the 5″ FSL antenna + DEGEN DE-1103 combo. I recorded audios with a digital Olympus linear PCM LS-10 recorder and monitoring the sound thru my headphones. Here they are:

1250 CJYE from Oakville, CAN (5 kW @5.901 km · ULDX Index: 1,180). Splatter from Rádio Renascença (Portugal) on 1251 kHz (MultiTxer 1 kW is noticeable).
1280 CFMB from Montréal, CAN (50 kW @5.367 km · ULDX Index: 0,107). Another UNID US/CAN station can be heard in the back with a woman talking.
1350 WEGA from Vega Baja, PTR (2,5 kW @6.399 km · ULDX Index: 2,559). Splatter from Spain on 1341 kHz and some other UNID stations in the back.
1360 UNID KSCJ? (Help wanted). There are two UNID stations indeed with the Smooth Radio (UK) heterodyne also heard.
1380 CKPC from Brantford, CAN (25 kW @5.962 km · ULDX Index: 0,238).
1390 WEGP from Presque Isle, USA (10 kW @4.918 km · ULDX Index: 0,491).
The listening spot and the DXing gear on the table.

I also made a test with both antennae, the FSL and the AN-200 Loop to test their performances. Recording was made with the DEGEN DE-1103 and identical conditions. I recorded a minute and a half with each and then selected the best 30 seconds to minimize the QSB. Results are a minute audio clip, being the first 30sec that I heard with the 5″ FSL and the other 30sec with the AN-200 loop.

1650 KCNZ from Cedar Falls, USA (1 kW @6.845 km · ULDX Index: 6,845). In the second half (AN-200 loop audio) the pulses of a near electric shepherd’s fence can be heard.

I find the FSL an interesting antenna to use and I am very satisfied with its performance. Despite the videos I saw in the net, with receivers being placed in the proximity of the FSL, mine got the best signal beside the loop. After the first comparison, the FSL clearly beats the Tecsun AN-200 loop, although this lighter one gives a good S/N level with low angled signals. I find the FSL very effective but heavy to be carried on foot for long distances. Fortunately there are several QRM-free places with easy access to enjoy the hobby. I will keep testing the loop in the season so other chapters will be added here in the coming future.

IberiaDX ©2021

2 comentarios en “FSL ANTENNA (Chapter 1)

    • Hola: Pues no sé nada de ella. Los que la tienen dicen que da buen resultado. Pero el mercado norteamericano es bastante diferente al europeo. En primer lugar son bastante más ‘localistas’ en lo que compran (les cuesta mucho dar el salto para adquirir productos ajenos a los EUA); por otro lado hay pocas antenas compactas que le ‘hagan daño’ a la Tecsun AN-200, aún siendo un loop pasivo, incluyendo la FSL en no pocos momentos. Saludos

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