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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Surfin': An Antenna Advantage

surfin' terk1_web terk2_web

Sunday afternoon, I added two stations to my AM radio log: WHDD on 1020 kHz in Sharon, Connecticut, and WWRL on 1600 kHz in New York City. The two are numbers 157 and 158 in the log that I started keeping about 18 months ago.

During those 18 months, I have used four different radios with four different external antennas. I added the latest loggings using a Crane CC SW Pocket AM/FM/SW radio and a Terk Advantage indoor AM antenna.

The Terk Advantage can be connected directly to a radio that has external antenna connectors, but may also be inductively coupled to a radio without external antenna connectors. Since the CC SW Pocket has no external antenna connectors, I have been using the inductive coupling option.

Initially, I placed the radio next to the antenna (see first figure). The problem with that configuration was that when I moved the antenna to null out or peak a signal, I then had to move the radio so that it was adjacent to the antenna.

Sometimes the null or peak would change slightly after I repositioned the radio and I would have to tweak the null or peak and reposition the radio again. There had to be a better way.

Since the CC SW Pocket is so small, I tried placing it inside the loop of the antenna (see second figure). It fit perfectly and when I moved the antenna to null or peak a signal, the radio moves with the antenna, thus I usually find the null and peak on the first attempt.

The Advantage is an excellent antenna. It is lightweight and compact with a 9-inch diameter.

It does a great job pulling in signals. Oftentimes, it picks up signals that the radio does not hear with its own internal antenna. Couple the radio with the antenna and suddenly there is a station on frequency that was not detectable sans the antenna.

The dial on the antenna allows you to peak the signal. It is labeled in kilohertz to simplify tuning the peak.

The Advantage also does a fine job of nulling signals. When I logged WWRL, WHNP in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was equally as strong on 1600 kHz. Although the two stations were approximately 180 degrees apart at my location, WWRL to my southwest and WHNP to my northeast, I was able to null out WHNP and hear WWRL in the clear.

One more thing: the Terk Advantage is the coolest looking antenna I have ever owned.

Until next time, keep on surfin'.

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