I have published the final version of my wideband loop antenna mounts on Thingiverse. Anyone with a 3D printer can make these, cheap and cheerful.
After a number of requests, I have published my designs for my wideband loop antenna mounts. You can download these from Thingiverse and make them on your 3D printer.
Over the past 18 months, I have done a lot of experimenting with designs for wideband receiving (magnetic) loop antennas. It’s been lots of fun. On the electronics side, I have designed or made some amplifier boards with both integrated circuits and normal transistors, with mixed success. Now, I have settled on the active antenna amplifier board from LZ1AQ which works well.
For the loop itself, I am very happy with ½ inch aluminum core PEX. This is a thin tube of aluminum sandwiched between two layers of cross-linked polyethylene plastic. You will find this material easy to work with, rugged and relatively cheap. As for mounting, I have fabricated and used various plastic mounting structures.
At first, I tried to package everything together in a mounting box including the amplifier. More recently, I realized it is a lot easier to just mount the amplifier separately and run some extension wires from the loop terminals, as shown above. The basic loop mount can be used for a single loop, or for a pair of orthogonal loops. Alternatively, you can mount two loops one above the other and wire them in crossed-parallel for extra gain and lower noise.
Wideband Loop Antenna Mounts – Download and Print
Download all of the antenna mounts for both designs from Thingiverse. All you need is a few hours with a 3D printer and a few dollars worth of plastic filament. I print my exterior mounts using PETG filament with 15-20% infill. Both designs fit onto a short piece of 1½” ABS plumbing pipe, which you can easily attach to your fence.
The plastic mounts use friction fit to hold PEX and ABS connections. You can easily seal any holes with silicone calk. Remember to paint the PEX to protect from UV; I use latex. So far, these wideband loop antenna mounts have held up well in both hot and cold weather, as well as the Calgary winds.
Some of these parts require “supports” to 3D print properly. You can add supports automatically with slicing software like Simplify 3D.