Greg Manfroi of WIUM/WIUW, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL,
sent us this idea on a construction method for the shielded-loop AM
Start with the electrical specifications as described in the companion
article. Once the loop is built, it must be supported in a ring to
yield the best results. One way of doing this is to create a loop of
PVC pipe. This will result in a square if 90-degree elbows are used or
an octagon if 135-degree elbows are used. Cutting the pipe and
assembling the loop can be time consuming. Instead of PVC, Greg
substituted a material that is sturdy, almost perfectly round, and in
most cases, easily found in any toy store or discount department store.
Greg’s idea was to use a hula hoop, which are available in large
and small sizes. The small size is just right. Some hoops have a seam
that can be easily opened, but if not, cut a hole so the "magic hula
beans" (as Greg calls them) can be removed. The wire is fed through the
A common hula hoop is a readily available item
that can be used to house a home-made shielded-loop AM antenna.
For the connector, Greg opened a 75-ohm cable splitter and drilled
out the dual-port side. The wire connections were made inside the
splitter shell. The shell was reassembled and then attached to the hoop
with a silicone sealant.
A standard splitter makes a convenient connector
and wire-termination housing.
Greg reports that only drawback to using a hula hoop is that they
come florescent colors that are typically not associated with
industrial-use applications. Greg was able to find a shade of blue that
was not too objectionable.
The result is a shielded-loop AM antenna in a perfect circle with a
built-in F connector. His cost of parts was less than $3.00 for the
hula hoop. He already had the wire and splitter.