What is the best indoor antenna for SWLing?

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VK5014SWL
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What is the best indoor antenna for SWLing?

Post by VK5014SWL »

My living arrangement makes it difficult to install an outdoor antenna. Recently I have been looking into indoor antennae. I'm wondering what my options are? I have an MLA-30+, but I seem to prefer the form factor of the Deshibo GA-450.

What other options might I consider? Ideally, a short run of coax leading to a nearby windowsill would suit perfectly.

What does one like to run on their listening setups, and what would one recommend?
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Andrew (grayhat)
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Re: What is the best indoor antenna for SWLing?

Post by Andrew (grayhat) »

VK5014SWL wrote: Tue Jun 07, 2022 8:27 am My living arrangement makes it difficult to install an outdoor antenna. Recently I have been looking into indoor antennae. I'm wondering what my options are? I have an MLA-30+, but I seem to prefer the form factor of the Deshibo GA-450.

What other options might I consider? Ideally, a short run of coax leading to a nearby windowsill would suit perfectly.

What does one like to run on their listening setups, and what would one recommend?
Well, to say it all, while an indoor antenna will work, to some extent, placing it outside will give you much better performance; don't you have a (small) balcony/terrace/porch ? As for the indoor antenna, the MLA-30+ is a cheap one, it works, sure, but don't expect much from it, also since it has some design mistakes (see here https://www.g8jnj.net/activeantennas.htm#MLA30 for details); sure one may pick a soldering iron and fix some of them, (and I tried that) but then... I'm still not sure if it's worth the effort, at that point it would probably be better using an NCPL antenna and hanging it near a window... assuming you don't have any external "space" (see my question above) otherwise there may be other idea (like this for example)
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VK5014SWL
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Re: What is the best indoor antenna for SWLing?

Post by VK5014SWL »

I have an original Airspy YouLoop, and to be honest, I have seen little success anywhere other than at my local mountain summit. That is not to say it doesn't work, as it performs similar to my telescopic antennas.

As for the MLA-30+, I planned to run it on a portable six-meter fibreglass mast. Unfortunately, I am yet to find the time.

Having an SDR is perfectly convenient because I can remotely control my computer whenever needed. But I am looking for a perfectly convenient antenna to suit, if that makes any sense.

As is almost always the case, over time, one accumulates more antennae than the number of radios. It's science.
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Andrew (grayhat)
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Re: What is the best indoor antenna for SWLing?

Post by Andrew (grayhat) »

VK5014SWL wrote: Tue Jun 07, 2022 9:33 am I have an original Airspy YouLoop, and to be honest, I have seen little success anywhere other than at my local mountain summit. That is not to say it doesn't work, as it performs similar to my telescopic antennas.
A way to boost the YouLoop signal a bit, if needed, may be adding a small preamp like (e.g.) this one

https://www.nooelec.com/store/lana-hf-barebones.html

the above will work from 50KHz to 150MHz and can be powered directly by the bias-T of the SDR, the idea is to connect the preamp between the YouLoop and the coax going to the receiver to boost the signal from the YouLoop antenna, but the "problem" of the antenna being indoor will remain, the S/N ratio won't probably be good, even with the "quieter" loop, on the other hand, the YouLoop with the preamp will work much better than the MLA-30
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VK5014SWL
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Re: What is the best indoor antenna for SWLing?

Post by VK5014SWL »

You must be reading my mind. I did try the NooElec Preamp on the YouLoop powered by my RSP1A's Bias-T. It does improve some signals, even indoors. However, the model I use covers 20MHz-4GHz. I am yet to acquire something like an LNA4HF. I am starting to think I have a problem? :lol:
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Andrew (grayhat)
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Re: What is the best indoor antenna for SWLing?

Post by Andrew (grayhat) »

VK5014SWL wrote: Tue Jun 07, 2022 10:01 am You must be reading my mind. I did try the NooElec Preamp on the YouLoop powered by my RSP1A's Bias-T. It does improve some signals, even indoors. However, the model I use covers 20MHz-4GHz. I am yet to acquire something like an LNA4HF. I am starting to think I have a problem? :lol:
well, the regular NooElec LanA which covers the upper frequencies will make little good to the YouLoop since that antenna is designed for LW/MW/SW reception, the LanA HF will instead boost the signals in the range where the YouLoop works better, not just that, here's another idea for your indoor antenna; let's say you buy the LanA-HF and add to the order the 9:1 Balun https://www.nooelec.com/store/balun-one ... bones.html once you'll have them, you may start by trying the LanA with the YouLoop, if the results won't satisfy you, pick a run of speaker wire (the black/wire "zipcord" one, separate the two wires and use them to form a loop running near the ceiling around the perimeter of your room, connect the ends of the loop to the balun, the balun to the preamp and finally, using a run of coax, the preamp to your receiver
lthanlon
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Re: What is the best indoor antenna for SWLing?

Post by lthanlon »

I live in a highrise Faraday cage and my unit doesn't have a balcony, so SWLing always is a challenge. I've been using The Square, an antenna sold by peanutpaster, for about a year. I prop the antenna against a window and clip its wire to my Eton's whip. Reception is improved significantly.
Leigh T. Hanlon
Chicago, USA
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Andrew (grayhat)
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Re: What is the best indoor antenna for SWLing?

Post by Andrew (grayhat) »

lthanlon wrote: Tue Jun 07, 2022 6:14 pm I live in a highrise Faraday cage and my unit doesn't have a balcony, so SWLing always is a challenge. I've been using The Square, an antenna sold by peanutpaster, for about a year. I prop the antenna against a window and clip its wire to my Eton's whip. Reception is improved significantly.

an L shaped support hanging outside a window and supporting a loop may be viable, I think, won't it ?
lthanlon
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Re: What is the best indoor antenna for SWLing?

Post by lthanlon »

Andrew (grayhat) wrote: Tue Jun 07, 2022 6:31 pm an L shaped support hanging outside a window and supporting a loop may be viable, I think, won't it?
We're not allowed to hang anything outside. And with my luck, if I tried, it would fall 50 floors to street level and decapitate someone. :lol:
Leigh T. Hanlon
Chicago, USA
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Andrew (grayhat)
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Re: What is the best indoor antenna for SWLing?

Post by Andrew (grayhat) »

lthanlon wrote: Tue Jun 07, 2022 7:16 pm
Andrew (grayhat) wrote: Tue Jun 07, 2022 6:31 pm an L shaped support hanging outside a window and supporting a loop may be viable, I think, won't it?
We're not allowed to hang anything outside. And with my luck, if I tried, it would fall 50 floors to street level and decapitate someone. :lol:

ok... but you can still use the old "tape loop"; pick some wire, form a loop on the inside (glass) of a window...
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