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A Dual-Band Ferrite Sleeve Loop (FSL) Antenna

This is a summary design for a weather-resistant FSL with a 12-inch contra wound coil that allows full coverage between 15 and 1! "h# in two overla$$ing bands% The actual coil of the antenna is a$$ro&imately 12%5 inches in diameter' and it is housed in a large $lastic bo& which' other than two holes for the variable ca$acitors' $rovides a weather-tight enclosure for the delicate Lit# wire inside% This is intended to be more an illustration of how to design and build an FSL such as this' rather than a detailed e&$lanation giving e&act dimensions and construction ( wiring directions% For one thing' the ferrites ) used are no longer available' and you may find it $referable to substitute for other construction elements as well% The $arts ) eventually used are* 1 + ferrite rods' each 1, mm long and + mm in diameter% These were e&-Soviet sur$lus' obtained from an e-ay seller' which are unfortunately no longer available% .$$ro&imately 1 5 feet of ,, -// Lit# wire' available from a cou$le e-ay sellers% .n +-inch 012 cou$ler' ty$ically only available via mail order% Two 2&3/2 $f variable ca$acitors' available from e-ay seller #Lowe!' who also sells the necessary shafts and "nobs that go with the ca$acitors% 4alf-inch thic" foam wra$% 5ou can use 16/ foam wra$ 7more widely available8 and use two layers% . 19 Litre :L container from ;eally <seful -o&es' available through mail order in =orth .merica% The non-:L 19 litre bo& that is also sold wasn>t ?uite big enough% @ne A0AT switch' big enough to be secured to the 012 cou$ler% Some small wood bloc"s' ta$e' etc% as discussed below% . few design notes* The contra method of winding the coils allows for dual-band o$eration with the fli$ of a switch% . good discussion of this winding method is $resented by Aave Schmarder at htt$*66ma"earadio%com6coils6contracoils%$h$% ) ended u$ with two 1,-turn coils% )n series' they have about 1' u4 of inductance' and in $arallel 25 u4% . basic schematic of the circuit is shown on the last $age% <sing a A0AT' in one switch $osition the coils are in $arallel and use Bust one section of one of the variable ca$acitors% This is for the CD band' and it tunes 530-1700 kHz% 5es' ) got very luc"y here *-8 )n the other switch $osition' the coils are in series' and all four variable ca$acitor sections are engaged% This tunes from 14 to !50 kHz' covering the entire LD broadcast band' =A- band and a good chun" of the CD band%

First u$ is to $rovide the rather large and heavy FSL with a $lace to rest inside the enclosure% This $icture shows , bloc"s' held in $lace with double-stic" foam ta$e' which $rovide a suitable foundation% The bottom two bloc"s are high enough to $rovide about 16/ s$ace between the FSL>s coil and the bottom of the $lastic bo&% The side bloc"s $rovide about the same clearance to the side walls%

This rather blurry $icture shows the + 012 cou$ler sitting in the enclosure% .s you can see' the side bloc"s should be u$ higher a cou$le inches 7) eventually fi&ed that8% The bloc"s should be si#ed such that the 012 cou$ler rests fairly snugly' with minimal roc"ing or other movement% =ote that the 012 cou$ler stic"s u$ above the to$ edge of the bo&' which is fine since the lid is about 2 inches high%

The ne&t ste$ was to wra$ one layer of half-inch thic" foam around the cou$ler' $roviding a foundation for the ferrites% =ote that the foam sto$s about one inch from the edges of the 012 cou$ler in order to $rovide a $lace for the su$$orting bloc"s to contact the 012 cou$ler% ) used double-sided ta$e underneath the foam to hold it in $lace on the 012 cou$ler' and stra$$ing ta$e around the outside to secure the foam%

) ne&t $laced the ferrites onto the foam wra$% ) first $ut two stri$s of 2 white first aid adhesive ta$e down' with the adhesive side out' in order to $rovide a stic"y' $ermanent bed for the ferrites% For one of the ferrites' ) used two short $ieces of ferrite that allowed a ga$ in the center and each end for the wire to $ass through 7see ne&t ste$8% Two stri$s of stra$$ing ta$e went around the ferrites to securely hold them in $lace% Then' around the ferrite sleeve went another layer of half-inch foam wra$' which $rovides the se$aration between the ferrite sleeve and the coil of Lit# wire% =e&t' ) would the Lit# wire in contra orientation' leaving about 16/ between the two coils% .fter the coils were wound' and secured with adhesive ta$e' ) threaded the four wire end through the ferrite sleeve and into the center of the 012 cou$ler' in order that they could be secured to the band switch% ) also soldered short lengths of 1+gauge stranded wire onto the ends of the Lit# wire in order to more easily secure the wire to the band switch screw terminals%

) drilled a hole and mounted the band switch onto the 012 cou$ler% -y $lacing the switch here' ) had to use a fairly large switch with a long nec"' since the 012 cou$ler is very thic" and is also slightly curved% ) connected the Lit# wire ends to the a$$ro$riate $laces on the switch' and attached short lengths of wire that the variable ca$acitors would eventually attach to% ) ne&t mounted the two variable ca$acitors onto the bo&' drilling two holes and using good double-sided foam ta$e to secure them% The variable ca$acitors also have 2%5 mm screw holes%

)n order to lower the FSL into the enclosure' the FSL must be first $artially lowered in to clear the variable ca$acitors% @nce the ca$acitors and the switch are close enough together' the connections can be made' and the FSL can be lowered all the way in% This can be tric"y E you might want to have someone holding onto the FSL while you ma"e the connectionsF ) affi&ed alligator cli$s to the variable ca$acitors' rather than soldering things together with the FSL hovering in the container% This allows easy access for maintenance and alteration' but may slightly decrease tuning shar$ness' so it is a trade-off% @nce the FSL is lowered all the way in' it stays in $lace' although $utting some sort of non-s"id $ads on the wooden su$$ort bloc"s hel$s $revent the FSL from rotating' since this could $lace strain on the connecting wires between the switch and variable ca$acitors% .s seen at right' ) tied a length of $oly ro$e around the FSL' and leave it there in order to be able to easily hoist the FSL out of the bo& if need be%

To use the finished FSL' sim$ly select which band you want using the A0AT' and tune the antenna to the resonant fre?uency% ) $ur$osely $ut the band switch inside in order to ma"e the FSL more weather-resistant 7and to allow the 012 to fit inside the bo&8' and it is a sim$le matter of momentarily lifting the lid to switch bands% Dith a radio such as the Tecsun 0L-3+ ' which is rather insensitive on LD' the radio is best $laced right on the lid' as close to the Lit# coils as $ossible% 4owever' in the u$$er LD band and es$ecially in the CD band' the radio must be held several inches away in order to maintain sufficient tuning shar$ness% . $eculiar feature of FSLs is their e&treme sensitivity to surrounding metal obBects% 5ou also need to get it a fair distance off the ground in order to not ground the FSL% .s above' ) $lace it on two office crates' one of which ) trans$ort the FSL in and the other holds my radios and other gear% Cany than"s to Graham Caynard' Steve ;at#laff and Gary Ae-oc" for their generous su$$ort and insights into the construction and use of this and other FSL antennasF Hevin S' -ainbridge )sland' D.