Updated 28 march 2017. Apparently, enough of the viewers bugged Chameleon Antenna about a review, that Carl from Chameleon, decided to send one over. Thank you viewers, and very much appreciated Carl!
I’ve now published my first video on the system. The rest of the article i’s still very much relevant.
The Chameleon P-LOOP 2.0 is a natural evolution in man-portable magnetic loop antennas. At first glance it would appear that much of the feedback from myself, Commsprepper, K6UDA, and of course the P-LOOP community, has been adopted, and engineered into this new portable system.
Here are just a few observations
- Much smaller breakdown size making it easier to pack.
- Quick release mechanism to separate the telescopic mast from the housing.
- The housing is half the size of the original P-LOOP.
- Weatherproof housing for all-weather deployment.
- The tuning dial has a larger diameter making it easier to tune than the original P-LOOP.
- Machined billet aluminum tripod adapter on the base of the telescopic mast.
- Upgrades, serious upgrades!
As I sit here looking at the P-LOOP 2.0 out of the window, I can’t help think that “yes, we have finally arrived”. I know there are going to be those people who say “a plastic box, coax, and a capacitor, and you paid ..?”. Well now having the experience of building my own DIY Magnetic Loop for HF, I realise a good man-portable magnetic loop is more than the sum of its components. Rather, it’s about the engineering which went into putting it all together.
You might often read or hear me refer to antennas as “Systems”. Antenna systems is really the correct way to look at this. We have antenna systems like the Chameleon MPAS, the Super Antenna MP1DXMAX, the Buddipole, the Chameleon F-LOOP. All of these “Systems” have been designed to maximize operator capabilities, with a single kit. In the case of the Chameleon P-LOOP 2.0 the system is based upon integrating its “components” to achieve:
- Reduction in weight
- Improvement in the breakdown size.
- Allowing for add ons and upgrades
- Improvement in it’s all weather operating capabilities.
- Reduction in its deployment time.
Options & Upgrades
I was very happy to see these options for the P-LOOP 2.0
- Firstly, the Power Compensator which is a power up mod (30W CW or 60W SSB) for the P-LOOP 2.0.
- The Booster Kit, which is a larger radiating element and coupling loop combination. This kits will increase the efficiency of the P-LOOP 2.0 by increasing the loop diameter, and supplying an adequately sized coupling loop and radiator.
I’ll definitely be testing the upgrades to let you all know if the performance improvements are worth the price. Bigger loop, with a matched coupling loop. Sounds like a no-brainer already. The only question is buying the kit, or making it yourself. Without letting an opinion slip out, Chameleon has stepped up the manufacturing quality again. No matter how many times I receive gear from them, the production quality, the way its packed and presented when you do the unboxing well, it’s just like the bright eyes of a kid who just got his first Heathkit!
I delayed this blog by one day to get the P-LOOP 2.0 outside above the sea ice at my favourite local radio spot. Setup and tear down were predictably simple. In the freezing cold and wind, it took me around 5 minutes to deploy from scratch. If you pre-config some parts, I bet we could get that down to 3 minutes. or less (in warm weather). I should mention, being able to remove the telescopic mast is a big plus. Anyway, you’ll just have to wait and see.
What I’ve written here are the facts about the system. There is little if any of my personal opinion. If these facts support your operating requirements, you’ll likely like the P-LOOP 2.0. If they don’t then you should certainly keep on looking.
Although I am often accused of being fanboy, one should take a moment to ask Carl what a pain in Chameleons arse I can be with my “silly opinions”. In the end, if the ham community gets a better product, I’m good with all the name calling.
For the record!
I often read things like “That guy gets paid to make BS reviews”. I don’t get paid anything, and this is not a review. Chameleon Antenna hasn’t a clue what I am about to say in this blog, or my upcoming video on this system. Neither does any other company whose radio gear I test & review. Still, if you have been with me for a while, you’ll know that it takes a pretty confident company, with well-engineered products, to have nerve enough to send anything up here to 65°N. Doing so means that product will be brutalized and ravaged so you, the readers and viewers, can see what it is all about!
Companies send cars up to the Arctic for testing. Should it be any wonder that ham radio gear manufacturers send gear up to the Arctic as well? When they do, they know they will get an honest review, feedback from the field, blogs, images, and videos made about their products. Hell, if it works up here, someone in forgiving place will certainly be happy with it. Other Ham radio YouTubers seem to be happy just getting some gear. Well, I’m kind of jerkish about that. I’m only happy if a company has sent a well-engineered piece of kit, that myself and my followers can appreciate. When that happens, i’ll invest hundreds or thousands of hours over months or years, letting you know how things are going over the long run, with a piece of kit.
There are no free rides.