Sunday, November 10, 2019

MLA-30 active receive loop antenna

After reading a glowing review of the low cost MLA-30 active receive loop antenna, I ordered one from Aliexpress for just AU$55. Here are my initial impressions.

The components are of good quality and you get a generous run of coax.


The phantom power box is good (although the power LED is very bright). It's powered from a micro USB socket which might add to the noise floor.


I installed it on the balcony on a PVC pipe. I haven't done a good job of getting the steel wire to be circular but it's a good start. At least it has a low wind profile.


Comparison here is rather unfair on 40m as I have an excellent dipole. Here's reception on the dipole.


Here's reception on the loop. The noise floor is certainly higher.


Of course, the benefit of the loop is that it covers all of HF so beats the dipole on bands like 80m.

Here's a snippet of the ARNSW Sunday broadcast received on 80m using the loop.



Connectors are SMA which works well with SDR receivers. Here is a recording of 9MHz shortwave using the loop. It's not as good as my big dipole but I'm really impressed with what you can hear with a small loop on the balcony.


I'm impressed with this receive loop. If you have space for a full size dipole then that's the way to go but if you only have a balcony then this is a great way to listen.

G8jnj has reverse engineered the circuit of the MLA-30 here.

Check out this comparison from "Scanner and SDR Radio" between several receive loops, some much more expensive.


The author has replaced the co-ax with better stuff and used a larger loop.

1 comment:

VE9KK (Formally VE3WDM) said...

I have the LF Engineering H-800 active antenna it's not a loop antenna as you reviewed but I too have a higher noise floor when compared to my Endfed antenna.
73,
Mike
VE9KK