is not a gimmic
April 19, 2000
After years of experimenting with wire antennas while living in
a very noisy urban environment, I have concluded that the RF Systems
MLB is indeed not a gimmic, and totally destroys the ICE
180 hands down!
Test Antenna: Two Slinkys Welded Together, stretched out
to 45 feet, unterminated. If you could straighten the Slikys out,
it would be about 160 feet of stainless steel wire.
Test Receiver: RS DX 394 with collins filters, and reliable
chasis earth ground (8 foot ground rod).
Test Frequency Range: Every band I could get out of my 394
by pressing the "meters button". In short, I did random sampling
over the period of a few days from .150 - 30 mhz (including 20 meter
amateur and CB).
Test case #1:
Test antenna fed with 4 inches of #14 wire into a HOME MADE long
wire balun with RG58 from balun to test reciever. The results were
aweful. Less noise and less signal. I wasn't impressed. My refrigerator
motor and bathroom lights were right up there with WWV.
Test case #2:
Test antenna fed with 4 inches of #14 wire into a ICE 180 (a ham
friend of mine actually had one!!) long wire balun with RG58 from
balun to test reciever. All signals were up at lease 1.5db but reception
overall was NOISIER than than it was with the test antenna and no
balun. I could still hear my lights and my refrigerator. Joy!! This
setup also received my 700mhz pentium III workstation loud and clear.
Thats why the ICE 180 only cats like $20.00 US. I hadn't even thought
of computer noise before this. Never heard it before.
Test case #3:
Test antenna fed with 4 inches of #14 wire into a RF Syetems MLB
long wire balun with RG58 from balun to test reciever. Very slight
flourescent light noise, no refrigerator noise, no computer noise,
and signal strength on WWV was up 2db from the test anteanna without
Yes, the price of the MLB is insane. The thing literally ships in
a plastic baggie and weighs mere ounces. The binding post doesn't
have a hole in it (unlike a real binding post) so #14 house wire
is tad difficult to attach, but I managed it. The fact is that is
does work as advertised and has exceeded my expectations. I have
read some pretty negative theories on the MLB and I was out of ideas
for my noise problem.
The ICE 180 is built more solidly but honestly made matters worse
with or without an earth ground. I gave it back to my friend and
asked him to throw it away. He said thats why he had it lkying around.
It made its own noise.