ALEXLOOP ANTENNA and FT 817 ND
by Danny Garris, KJ4FH
This is my Fully Portable HF operating System! Transmit & Receive ANY Frequency from 7Mhz to 30Mhz
1. AlexLoop WalkHam Antenna – Click here (and wait 5 seconds) to go to the website and have more info.
2. Yaesu FT-817ND
The AlexLoop WalkHam Portable 36″ Magnetic HF Antenna will transmit and receive 20 watts SSB and 10 watts CW from 7Mhz to 30Mhz. You can carry it in your hand and walk down the beach or a mountain top, however I have found after awhile you will want to place it on a nice tripod. Your hand will become tired quickly and your hands will be free to operate the radio.
My Radio is a fully modified Yaesu FT-817ND with W4RT’s Bhi DSP filter, MARS Mod, 500Hz CW/2.3Khz SSB Filters, One BIG Punch Mic, 3000mHa Wincamp Polymer Lithium 12.6v Battery Pak, Euro Kranker Knob (not shown), Custom Mic holder, Black Carbon fiber sport side kick-stand legs, and more.
Everything can hang nicely from the custom tripod I made. Although the Radio has an internal 3000mHa Windcamp battery, I can use my larger 7Ah 12v Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) Battery for long hours of use along with my Grundig Headphones in noisy environments. I use a YouKits FG-01 Antenna Analyzer for Quick “No-Guess” Tuning of my AlexLoop. Having the RIGHT Tripod is The secert as you will learn most ALL other WILL fall over on windy days. I learned this the hard way! You want a tripod like this that has legs that open far enough to avoid wind fall. Get a good tripod!! Special thanks to Mike Olbrisch, KD5KC who helped me greatly in finding the right tripod to use for the AlexLoop outdoors and how to make a special mic holder for the Yaseu FT-817 neck strap. I will share this information in the article.
I purchased my tripod from Amazon. You can purchase the same tripod in Lowe’s or HomeDepot in the spring/Summer in the garden section in the color of Green or silver however I wanted BLACK because I wanted it to look streamline and factory. So I researched for hours and found the same exact tripod Mike, KD5KC suggested (only in Black) on Amazom: “Orbit 62120 Garden Enforcer Motion Activated Sprinkler” I took the sprinkler head off the tripod and found a PVC pipe at Lowe’s that screwed right into the top of the tripod and I cut the length of my pipe to 6.5″ Next I cut 1/8″ grooves into the top of my pipe using a 1/4″ rat tail file so that my Alexloop Antenna will not spin around in Winds. The Alexloop is directional and it does make a difference so you want to keep the antenna from turning in high winds. The Alexloop will slide perfectly over the pipe! I placed a couple turns of electrical tape on my pipe to give a slightly better fit and friction for my Alexloop.
Next I cut my water hose fitting of the bottom of my tripod and fitted a threaded pipe to “Store” my 6.5″ Notched top pipe for easy compact storing in my tripod bag. Another tip shared with me by Mike Olbrisch, KD5KC. Mike was very helpful in giving me details and photos to help me make my own customized tripod setup for my Alexloop Antenna. He has years of experience using the Alexloop with the Yaesu FT-817.
My Threaded pipe fitting contains a brass insert fitting with threads that taps into my tripod pipe and then a 1/2″ thread metal coupling I threaded onto the brass fitting. Then I simply wrapped it up neatly in Black electrical tape to match up with the look of the tripod.
Both the AlexLoop & Tripod are all contained in these two small bags!! A full complete HF operating system ready for Mountain tops, beach, Camping, ARES, Field Day, SOTA or DX Outings/Events are ALL contained inside these two small light-weight bags!
Alex, PY1AHD suggested a small light weight silver VIV-VPT-1250 Vivatar tripod $12.95 (eBay or Amazon) many Hams were using that fit right inside the AlexLoop bag along with the Antenna. I would ONLY use this tripod.
VIV-VPT-1250 Vivatar tripod $12.95 (eBay or Amazon) for Use ONLY inside or for DEMOing your AlexLoop.
The Vivatar Tripod is ONLY used indoors.
Fully extended it can be used in a hotel room.
My Personal Favorite INDOOR AlexLoop Tripod is the “AlphaLoop” Tripod $64. https://amateurradiostore.com I like using it in the house because it does not take up so much room and is lighter and less bulky than my Orbit Tripod. AGAIN I DO NOT recommend this tripod for outdoor use!!! It fell over on me in a wind gust!! But it is a really nice tripod for Indoors. I have sat this Setup in my Living room on a rainy day next to my sofa and fireplace while watching tv and worked the World on 5 watts. Even placed it in my Hallway and did the same. It is a lot easier than moving around my Orbiter Outdoor Tripod. I Love my Orbiter Tripod! This “AlphaLoop” tripod is also nice but ONLY for indoor use. I tried both the “AlphaLoop” and “AlexLoop” Antennas and Hands-down the AlexLoop won for many reasons I will not go into now.
I placed 2 rows of electrical tape on the AlphaLoop tripod just like I did on my Orbit Tripod to give the AlexLoop Antenna a good fit. The I took a small hacksaw and made a mark on the pipe so I would know where to lock my tripod at for best fit for my AlexLoop Antenna. This is a really good-looking tripod with a good fit for the AlexLoop BUT ONLY FOR INDOOR USE!!!! You will want the Orbit Tripod for ALL OUTDOOR USE!!!
The AlexLoop Antenna is a Wonderful HF Antenna! I’ve had so much fun operating with it. I have it here setup in the parking lot at my Electronic Service Center. The Orbit Tripod looks almost Factory along with the AlexLoop and that was my intention. The legs spread out far enough that wind will not blow it over.
I took three nice Velcro straps available at most hardware stores and strapped the coax of my AlexLoop to the mast to keep the coax from dangling around in the wind and to give the AlexLoop a Stream-line appearance. This does not affect the performance in any way.
The AlexLoop works all Frequencies from 7 Mhz to 30 Mhz Continuous with a low SWR that is adjustable by turning the knob on the bottom of this box. You tune for Max reception and fine tune from there. When I first got my AlexLoop I was on the air in 5 minutes. I had no SWR meter, I just tuned 20M for max reception and worked W1AW/4 in GA with a 5/9 Signal running only 5 watts from my Yaesu FT-817ND. I have a Brand-new Buddipole and Buddistick that I have not even taken out of the bag yet since I got my AlexLoop! I can take a 5 minute break and grab my AlexLoop mounted on it’s Custom Orbit Tripod and walk outside in my parkinglot and make a contact in less than 3 minutes!!! It really brings back the FUN of Amateur Radio w/o all the fuss!!
I invested in the YouKits FG-01 SWR Antenna Analyzer available from Ten Tec’s Website after much research and I’m SO GLAD I did!! This thing makes tuning ANY antenna a breeze!!!! I can REALLY FINE TUNE my AlexLoop for MIN SWR and that helps get my signal out even MORE!!!
I can hang my Yaesu FT-817ND from my Orbit Tripod along with headphones for noisy outdoor use and my custom made Mic clip for the side of my neck strap! I am tuned to 14.300 Mhz USB and working a the Maritime Net running only 5 watts. I can pick up the entire tripod and radio with one hand and move it around or walk inside the house and continue operating. I also have TONS of Fun on DIGITAL modes such as PSK-31, JT65-HF, APRS, RTTY, SSTV, CW, and more using my Signalink USB and Acer 10″ Portable Netbook which opens a whole new FUN world to DIGITAL Communications!! You can work the World with less than 1w with PSK-31. So 5 watts is no problem!!! I can set this Tripod inside my house next to my sofa and with my Netbook work dozens on PSK contacts by my comfortable fireplace while watching TV! Click at the end of the page on the arrow to see the video about the LOOP antenna!
You will want to do the Mic clip Mod because when using the Yaesu FT-817ND around your neck the factory mic clip is located on the shoulder part of the strap which is behind your neck. This is a REALLY nice and very easy Mod to do yourself. You will want to locate a WORKMAN MH4 or MH4B Mic Holder of eBay $6.50 and removed the adhesive backing and using a dremel tool with a small 1″ cutting wheel make a cut on the bottom and top to allow the strap to pass thru and place it on the neck strap as shown. This was a very helpful tip given to me by Mike Olbrisch, KD5KC.
I placed 2 pieces of electrical tape on my top PVC pipe to allow the AlexLoop to fit perfectly without too much play or too little play! About 3 turns of tape was perfect. Yours may vary. The notches allow the AlexLoop to not spin in high winds. Also note how far the legs stretch out giving excellent stability. After all this WAS a Sprinkler tripod and lots of water pressure was designed to spray out the top of the tripod so this was the PERFECT tripod to use for the AlexLoop! (Thanks again to Mike Olbrisch, KD5KC for his helpful suggestion). Mike uses 3 of these tripods he Loves them so much! Except his are Green because in the dessert heat things that are metal and Black are not good to grab onto!! A thought for those who will be in Hotter climates. Me, I am on the beach and flatlands of Eastern NC. When I’m not using my setup I store it as seen below ready to go inside my Electronic Service Center so I can use it at any moment. I lower the tripod so I can get it outside the door, then raise it and operate in less than 3 minutes!
Click down here on the arrow to see the video about the LOOP antenna! 73 de Dennis