YouLoop Portable Passive HF/VHF Loop Antenna now Available in our Store

We have recently been able to obtain a small number of YouLoop HF/VHF portable receive only passive antennas that were produced by the owner of Airspy. The YouLoop is available in our store priced at US$34.95 including free worldwide shipping. It comes with the balun "tee" connector, coax inverter, 2x 1m semi-rigid coax cables for a ~60cm loop, and 1x 2m semi-rigid coax for the feedline. Note that US customers may wish to purchase from airspy.us as they have local US stock. We are focusing on non-US orders for this product and we only have very limited stock at the moment - UPDATE: Now out of stock. We have reordered more and should be back in stock by end of March.

YouLoop Portable Passive Magnetic Loop Antenna for HF and VHF
YouLoop Portable Passive Magnetic Loop Antenna for HF and VHF

If you don't know what a "YouLoop" is, it is a simple passive magnetic loop antenna design which consists of a ring of coax cable and a low loss 1:1 or 4:1 balun. The design was recently popularized by Youssef (prog) the owner of Airspy, and he has put up a page explaining how the design works here. Many users on Twitter have been reporting good results with HF reception with the design. It appears to be especially useful in urban environments where there is lots of local noise.

Being passive, it has no amplification and so it works best with a low noise SDR like an Airspy HF+. However we have also found decent results with SDRplay SDRs, and a standard RTL-SDR Blog V3 running in direct sampling mode, although RTL AGC mode needs to be turned on for an extra boost. Improved results can be obtained by using a low cost HF amplifier on the front end, and even our wideband LNA which is advertised as working down to 50 MHz still does actually give a decent boost from 5 MHz and up.

Also the design has some advantages in that it has very low electrical interference pickup, and has no electronics that can overload from signals that are too strong. Overloading from strong signals is something that can easily affect cheap magnetic loop antennas like the MLA-30, and even higher end loop antennas too. Being a magnetic loop, it also naturally filters out electric field interference which is extremely common in urban environments, and is the reason why e-field antennas like miniwhips often perform poorly.  

The antenna is designed to be extremely portable, being lightweight and easy to assemble/disassemble. As such it is not designed to be weatherproof, so if you do decide to mount it permanently please make use of weatherproofing tape.

Unlike fixed magnetic loops, the YouLoop design is also easy to experiment with. By using longer coax cables you can easily create a larger loop which can result in stronger signals. We found that replacing the 1m loop cables with 2m lengths gave quite nice results for us. If you have the space you could try even larger loops too. 

The design also doubles as a great VHF antenna with reception up to 300 MHz possible when used in a folded dipole configuration. To do that, simply flatten the loop into a dipole shape.

Finally, if you prefer the YouLoop can also be constructed by yourself. The Twitter post below shows the basic design. Search Twitter for "YouLoop antenna" for more discussion on the design too.

In the future we hope to offer a comparison between other loop antennas like the MLA-30 and Wellbrook.

15 comments

  1. Fabio

    How would you mount this? Is there any example? I’m new to this hobby and this antenna design puzzles me. Thanks,

  2. Adam Ebel

    I got mine yesterday, and I tested it on the short wave bands, and it worked very good on the station I was listening to which was WTWW from Lebanon, TN on 5.085 MHz. But when I went to test it on the MW band, it only gave me half of the signal compared to the ferrite rod built in the radio. It did a great job nulling out the electrical interference which is between 350 kHz to 800 kHz, but still did not bring in the distant AM signals at night real strong. I would recommend still a RF preamp for some receivers and some SDR’s without RF gain to pull in those weak signals, and I am going to be shopping around for a RF preamp for my You Loop antenna to get great MW coverage. I am glad to see that this antenna does cover VLF to HF and also VHF which is a great wide band antenna from 10 kHz to 300 MHz.

  3. VSWL

    Amazing indoor antenna with the HF+ Discovery.
    What is a good source for the RG402 cable that it uses? I want to try the 2m lengths. I’m in US.

  4. Brian H.

    I just ordered one from Airspy. I live in an apartment and have no way of mounting anything outside so I’m not expecting much from this but we’ll see soon.

  5. Francis Borg

    I have just received my YouLoop this morning and first impressions on its design and build is great. Wish I could say same about its performance to be honest is quite dismal. Not sure if I am being fair to it yet but hooking it up indoors is well below expectations. I can confirm it removes the noise floor completely but the peaks are also well below that obtained with my home version without a balun as well a my random 10m wire slung from the roof light to the washing line mast. Very disappointed indeed but will do a bit more work to see if I can improve its performance. Any comments by other users might be of help. At the moment I am thinking I have just wasted 34$

    • Andrew

      Francis, maybe I’m wrong (and in such a case someone else will probably correct me), but I believe that the purpose for the youloop (and similar antennas) isn’t to BOOST the signals, but to improve the signal to noise ratio; sure, with other antennas you may hear signals at S9+ but then, look at the noise level; hidden INSIDE that noise there may be signals which you can’t (or can barely) “read”, now, my suggestion is to avoid looking at the “s-meter” and, instead, judging the antenna “by ear” and not by “signal strength”

    • Bertie

      I’m curious, is your SDR an Airspy HF+ Discovery (or a modified Airspy HF+ dual port) or something else ?

      From their website:
      Compatibility
      Airspy HF+ Discovery (Recommended)
      Airspy HF+ Dual Port (with R3 shorted)
      Any other SDR with MDS <= -140 dBm

      • Bertie

        From this article https://www.rtl-sdr.com/swling-blog-building-a-homemade-youloop-noise-cancelling-passive-loop-antenna/ “We also expect there to be a high quality pre-amp available for sale in a few months too which will help those with higher noise figure radios or longer feed line runs.” so even if your SDR is not compatible, a well chosen low noise amplifier could bring the signal above the MDS (Minimum Detectable Signal) floor of your receiver. My understanding is that the youloop is a passive antenna, so you will not see strong signals, but if you should rotate it and reposition it to null out unwanted local signals it should improve the signal to noise on what you are actually chasing.

    • Frank - W4FJM

      Funny, but so far, I’ve had quite opposing results. I just received my loop and gave it a quick test using my County Com GP-5 hand held receiver. (Tecsun PL360). The shortwave bands were pretty dead, but I was able to receive just about every MW BCB station for miles around. AND even with the loop orientation aimed away from the optimum direction to receive them. A little twist of the wrist and most came up to full quieting. And that is in a first floor apartment with the loop mounted right next to a metal window framework. My expectations were exceeded. And with a preamplifier, who knows how much better?

  6. Robet

    Will this be as good on the SDRPlay RSP1A? I know it’s made for AirSpy SDR’s, but I have an RSP1A.

  7. Nelson

    Although the Airspy blog states that it is compatible with Airspy’s SDR and other RTL-SDRs, could it be used with another receivers, like the Tecsun PL-880 ?

    • admin

      Probably won’t be great as the NF probably isn’t that good on a Tecsun, but if you can wait until Airspy start making the HF amp addon, then it could be a good choice.

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