Kiwi Is Back

23 Jan 2022

Wellbrook ALA100LN Active Antenna

Last summer, I quickly threw together a ~10 M wire loop in order to finally test my Wellbrook ALA100LN active antenna that I’ve had in a box for an embarassingly long time.

I was impressed with the performance when used with my KiwiSDR, but alas, the antenna was far too close to my house, and at eye level from our deck, so my XYL was complaining about the appearance of it.

In the meantime, we had some windstorms and between the trees and the ad-hoc rigging I did on the antenna, it came down. That solved one of the problems.

Today, I finally put up a new antenna for the Wellbrook, a 15 M delta loop, at about 15 M above the ground. It is a reasonable distance from the house now too, probably about 30-40 M away.

While I am most interested in enhancing the SNR of the antenna and KiwiSDR combination, and no doubt some more work is needed in that area, I’m impressed in seeing some longwave broadcast carriers showing up from Europe here on the west coast of the US. The BBC Droitwich outlet on 198 kHz was only a ghostly smear, but Iceland on 207 kHz was very clear. I’m pretty certain the French transmitter at Allouis on 162 kHz was coming through too, but apparently it only carries a time signal now. The signal on 198 kHz is also interesting as it seems to show a pair of carriers very close together, which makes some sense as the BBC has three transmitters throughout the UK on that frequency, so perhaps they are not perfectly synchronized.

Ghostly LW BC carriers

More than likely none of these are at anywhere near listenable levels, but with an SDR’s waterfall display, the eye can pick out some amazingly weak signals.