Products & Product Reviews

Choosing an Active Magnetic Receiving Antenna

Whether you’re a Ham Radio operator, AM DXer, or short-wave listener, active magnetic receiving antennas offer distinct listening advantages over more common antennas—most notably lower-noise reception and the ability to hear weak signals that could not be copied by other antennas.

Why an Active Magnetic Loop Antenna?

Unlike other active antennas, magnetic loop antennas respond primarily to the magnetic-field part of an electro-magnetic radio wave. This results in high rejection of nearby electric-fields, which are typically more intense than the magnetic field when an antenna is close to interference sources such as TVs, fluorescent lamps, and power line wiring. Magnetic loop antennas reject the electric-field, leading to a reduction in interference compared to other types of active and passive antennas. Further, a magnetic loop’s figure-eight directivity pattern can be used to null out or reduce interference coming from a specific local or distant direction.

The RF-PRO-1B from DX Engineering

One of the leaders in this category is DX Engineering’s rotatable DXE-RF-PRO-1B Active Magnetic Loop Antenna, designed for reception of signals from 100 kHz to 30 MHz. It has been manufactured by DX Engineering since 2016.

Measuring a stealthy 38 inches in diameter, the low-profile RF-PRO-1B makes an excellent HF receiving antenna for Hams who don’t have the space for a typical beverage system. It includes a high dynamic-range low-noise preamplifier for minimum intermodulation distortion in the presence of high-level signals that would normally overload most preamplifiers. Nonlinearity in the preamp can cause second and third order intermodulation that affects performance. The RF-PRO-1B’s preamp has been specially designed to minimize spurious signals which interfere with reception.

Other features:

  • Up to 30 dB rejection of locally radiated noise compared to other receive antennas
  • Figure-eight directivity and deep nulls to further reduce interference from local or distant signals
  • Low IMD, 27 dB low-noise preamp ensures good performance in both strong and weak signal environments
  • Rugged construction, easily mounts to a pole or flat vertical surface
  • 3/4 inch aluminum loop, supplied with preamplifier, power inserter and DC power supply
  • No manual tuning necessary
  • No Home Owners Association problems: It features a low-profile design, is easy to camouflage and works at a few feet above ground level
  • Modular design for easy installation and maintenance
  • Internal transmit/receive relay disconnects the antenna/preamplifier from receiver when transmitting

What do Hams think?

“Just installed the mag loop receive antenna and connected to my IC-7610. My main antenna is a SteppIR vertical and we all know how noisy a vertical can be. When switching over to the loop from the vertical, the noise floor drops away. Already worked a DX CW station I could not select out with the radio using the vertical.” 

Check out this video review by K2RWF of DX Engineering’s RF-PRO-1B here.

For more details, check out the RF-PRO-1B at DXEngineering.com. Or for an in-depth look, find the comprehensive instruction manual here.

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