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Old 24th Mar 2023, 2:34 pm   #1
Andrew2
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Default Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Not really sure where this belongs, but it seems that Wellbrook Communications is shutting its doors after 27 years making and selling excellent wideband loop antennas. Andy Ikin is retiring and once stocks are sold, that'll be it.

https://www.wellbrook.uk.com/loopantennas/

https://swling.com/blog/2023/03/well...-closing-shop/
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Old 24th Mar 2023, 3:56 pm   #2
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

I never owned a Wellbrook, only a Wellgood. They did a good job of breaking the magloop in to the amateur market, but soon had quite a few competitors, so maybe it's not surprising that they have called it a day.

B
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Old 24th Mar 2023, 5:00 pm   #3
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

It's a wonder someone like Moonraker or other well known antenna manufacturer doesn't want to buy the business? Considering the wide customer base.
I must admit, I am always wary of all closing down sales now and purchasing anything.
My caution is because I came unstuck years ago when Woolworths closed down. Nowhere to return the item for a refund.
Just my own opinion. Please do not turn my opinion into a discussion.
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Old 24th Mar 2023, 6:08 pm   #4
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Great aerials. I bought one last year and I'd say to anyone 'considering' to buy now before it's too late.
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Old 24th Mar 2023, 8:07 pm   #5
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

There are several antenna firms on the go who'd I'd have thought likely to be interested in an extra string to their bow, especially a product with a reputation and a following.

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Old 17th Jun 2023, 3:09 pm   #6
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

It is sad to hear
Never use product but I live in America.

I am surprised they sell the company any business running is jump start for next person.

Dave

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
Not really sure where this belongs, but it seems that Wellbrook Communications is shutting its doors after 27 years making and selling excellent wideband loop antennas. Andy Ikin is retiring and once stocks are sold, that'll be it.

https://www.wellbrook.uk.com/loopantennas/

https://swling.com/blog/2023/03/well...-closing-shop/
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Old 17th Jun 2023, 4:54 pm   #7
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Have a look at the George Smart website page https://www.george-smart.co.uk/proje...-loop-history/ which includes comprehensive construction details of his Wellbrook clone.

I build one a few years ago - noise on the inverted L main aerial can be S8; the loop reduces it to S3. I rotate the loop from the operating position to obtain a deep null, the position often varying from one day to the next.

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Old 17th Jun 2023, 8:54 pm   #8
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

I mean, not wanting to hurt a load of people on here, Wellbrook's business probably wasn't helped by the amount of reverse engineering and subsequent clones built! Hands up, I too would have built a clone had I the patience and time, so I'm no better in that respect. But I did buy a Wellbrook last year and I'm glad that I did.
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Old 17th Jun 2023, 11:03 pm   #9
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Further to the points made in my post #2, I think it is interesting to compare Wellbrook with the Datong company. The later was started as a one-man business (Dave Tong) in West Yorkshire in the 1960's. His first interesting product was a dual gate mosfet converter for use on 2m. He produced these at a good price (you'd have been pushed to build one for much less at home) , and he gave great after-sales service. For all of it's fine properties, the mosfet was a little "delicate" and often died if exposed to too much RF. Many of the converters needed occasional repairs, which Datong were happy to do at very fair prices. At the time, I don't think anybody ever took the trouble to reverse engineer one of those converters! I believe that today, Datong is still in business doing high-end products for professional users.

The Wellbrook loop was around £350, and that basically gave you two transistors on a piece of veroboard. The two transistors were deeply encased in resin. There were no repairs, only full-price replacements. From what is being said, it looks as if Wellbrook did not last as long as Datong.

I have no connection with either business.

B
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Old 18th Jun 2023, 10:07 am   #10
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
I mean, not wanting to hurt a load of people on here, Wellbrook's business probably wasn't helped by the amount of reverse engineering and subsequent clones built! Hands up, I too would have built a clone had I the patience and time, so I'm no better in that respect. But I did buy a Wellbrook last year and I'm glad that I did.
Hi Steve did you manage to find a rotator?

Mick.
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Old 18th Jun 2023, 10:49 am   #11
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

I was suggested that Welklbrook have sold out their US/Canadian stock. The Company seems to have now closed but does anyone know if there are actually any of the aerial units still available?

Dave W
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Old 18th Jun 2023, 12:29 pm   #12
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinrads View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
I mean, not wanting to hurt a load of people on here, Wellbrook's business probably wasn't helped by the amount of reverse engineering and subsequent clones built! Hands up, I too would have built a clone had I the patience and time, so I'm no better in that respect. But I did buy a Wellbrook last year and I'm glad that I did.
Hi Steve did you manage to find a rotator?

Mick.
Yes I bought a new one, the SHARMAN AR-600 VHF/UHF Antenna Rotator.
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Old 18th Jun 2023, 12:31 pm   #13
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave walsh View Post
I was suggested that Welklbrook have sold out their US/Canadian stock. The Company seems to have now closed but does anyone know if there are actually any of the aerial units still available?

Dave W
Why not get it from the horse's mouth? : https://www.wellbrook.uk.com/loopant...mation/contact
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Old 18th Jun 2023, 2:03 pm   #14
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazz4CQJ View Post
The Wellbrook loop was around £350, and that basically gave you two transistors on a piece of veroboard. The two transistors were deeply encased in resin. There were no repairs, only full-price replacements. From what is being said, it looks as if Wellbrook did not last as long as Datong.

I have no connection with either business.

B
The X-Rays of the encapsulated circuitry revealed a very basic two-transistor design.

That in itself mattered little - the impressive performance of simple active loop antennas has been known about for decades. But a strip of Veroboard in a commercial product priced at £350? Really? I found that quite surreal, especially given that the rest of the antenna - the loop and hardware - at least from the pictures in ads, seems to be of good quality.

Wellbrook has enjoyed a good reputation developed over27 years, and it's clear that even after the 'Vero exposure', some forum members have bought, and are very pleased with, the performance of the Wellbrook. Setting aside the questionable legality and ethics of 'reverse engineering' the Wellbrook design, the Wellgood clone kit is simple, but it still leaves the loop and other hardware to be made, which is considerable. For anyone who is 'time poor'/'cash rich', who enjoys listening to radio rather than homebrewing, and doesn't have a well-equipped workshop, £350 may seem OK. (£58 of that is VAT of course).

That Wellbrook is closing down is certainly not a cause for celebration.

Back to active loop antennas. These circuits have similarities to the genesis of the Wellbrook 2-transistor design:

John Hawes, G8CQX/G4UAZ June 1986 Radcom 'Technical Topics' article ‘HF Receiving Loop Antenna’:

https://www.qsl.net/m0ayf/G8CQX-Loop-antenna.html

September 2012: Dutch amateur, PA1M: A’ Simple Active Receiving Loop Antenna’

https://www.pa1m.nl/simple-active-receive-loop/

A Wideband Bandwidth HF Active Receiving Loop Receiving Antenna’ M0AYF:

https://www.qsl.net/m0ayf/active-loo...g-antenna.html

Gary Tempest, (who owns a Wellbrook loop, which, as I recall failed due to the ingress of water), designed a 5-transistor active loop antenna which featured in the Autumn 2016 BVWS Bulletin. He created a 'Manhattan' style PCB, which in 2017 I copied to design an etched PCB. Write up is here:

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...t=Loop+Antenna

In 2018 Gary designed a clone of the 'Wellgood' 2-transistor active loop which featured in the Spring 2018 BVWS Bulletin, which again using Manhattan' construction, which I again copied to design an etched PCB, which I did a write up here, including how to bend a 1 Metre diameter loop from 15mm diam copper pipe:

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=156263

The two-transistor version performed just as well as the earlier 5-transistor version. In terms of signal strength and very low noise levels, anyone who uses an active loop antenna, be it a Wellbrook or not, would confirm that they're vastly superior to wire antennas. (In my case, a 60ft end-fed wire).
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Old 18th Jun 2023, 2:10 pm   #15
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Just checking Steve [p13*]. I wasn't sure about purchase or if they were [in fact] still contactable on the site, given the perhaps unhappy cirumstances. I will make enquiries. There is not supposed to be that much out there these days but I read, in the Idler magazine [my son bought me a subscripton only last year] an article rercommending SW listening as a hobby

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Old 18th Jun 2023, 3:44 pm   #16
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Oh indeed, I love scanning the Short Waves. It's often impossible to understand what is being said, but there's something magical about listening to strange music coming from say China. There's also the 'here today gone tomorrow' aspect about Short Wave listening that makes it more fun.
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Old 19th Jun 2023, 6:29 pm   #17
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

It isn't just short wave. Now medium wave is a lot quieter in Europe, exotic DX is a lot easier to catch. I don't have a Wellbrook, but I do have a home made tunable loop with FET preamp.
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Old 19th Jun 2023, 6:49 pm   #18
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

If need one I would build one and save money.

Dave

Quote:
Originally Posted by David G4EBT View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazz4CQJ View Post
The Wellbrook loop was around £350, and that basically gave you two transistors on a piece of veroboard. The two transistors were deeply encased in resin. There were no repairs, only full-price replacements. From what is being said, it looks as if Wellbrook did not last as long as Datong.

I have no connection with either business.

B
The X-Rays of the encapsulated circuitry revealed a very basic two-transistor design.

That in itself mattered little - the impressive performance of simple active loop antennas has been known about for decades. But a strip of Veroboard in a commercial product priced at £350? Really? I found that quite surreal, especially given that the rest of the antenna - the loop and hardware - at least from the pictures in ads, seems to be of good quality.

Wellbrook has enjoyed a good reputation developed over27 years, and it's clear that even after the 'Vero exposure', some forum members have bought, and are very pleased with, the performance of the Wellbrook. Setting aside the questionable legality and ethics of 'reverse engineering' the Wellbrook design, the Wellgood clone kit is simple, but it still leaves the loop and other hardware to be made, which is considerable. For anyone who is 'time poor'/'cash rich', who enjoys listening to radio rather than homebrewing, and doesn't have a well-equipped workshop, £350 may seem OK. (£58 of that is VAT of course).

That Wellbrook is closing down is certainly not a cause for celebration.

Back to active loop antennas. These circuits have similarities to the genesis of the Wellbrook 2-transistor design:

John Hawes, G8CQX/G4UAZ June 1986 Radcom 'Technical Topics' article ‘HF Receiving Loop Antenna’:

https://www.qsl.net/m0ayf/G8CQX-Loop-antenna.html

September 2012: Dutch amateur, PA1M: A’ Simple Active Receiving Loop Antenna’

https://www.pa1m.nl/simple-active-receive-loop/

A Wideband Bandwidth HF Active Receiving Loop Receiving Antenna’ M0AYF:

https://www.qsl.net/m0ayf/active-loo...g-antenna.html

Gary Tempest, (who owns a Wellbrook loop, which, as I recall failed due to the ingress of water), designed a 5-transistor active loop antenna which featured in the Autumn 2016 BVWS Bulletin. He created a 'Manhattan' style PCB, which in 2017 I copied to design an etched PCB. Write up is here:

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...t=Loop+Antenna

In 2018 Gary designed a clone of the 'Wellgood' 2-transistor active loop which featured in the Spring 2018 BVWS Bulletin, which again using Manhattan' construction, which I again copied to design an etched PCB, which I did a write up here, including how to bend a 1 Metre diameter loop from 15mm diam copper pipe:

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=156263

The two-transistor version performed just as well as the earlier 5-transistor version. In terms of signal strength and very low noise levels, anyone who uses an active loop antenna, be it a Wellbrook or not, would confirm that they're vastly superior to wire antennas. (In my case, a 60ft end-fed wire).
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Old 19th Jun 2023, 8:46 pm   #19
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Hi.
I bought a Wellbrook ALA1530 in 2007. It worked well for around three years then went intermittent. The issue was the ferrite that is inside the loop at the preamp had cracked. I contacted Welbrook and I was told a replacement amplifier could be purchased at the discount price of £100. I declined the the offer. I subsequently constructed a two transistor balanced amp myself housed in an IP66 box filled with epoxy.
I have to say it performed better than it did before. When I became a radio amateur I used it as my receiving antenna as I suffer with very bad QRM here. A relay switching unit was constructed to switch between the loop and a 4BTV I had at the time, months in it failed and RF blew the loop amplifier.
I rebuilt it once again with higher rated transistors 2N3866's and back to back diodes in parallel with the loop all built on copper laminate board Manhattan style, works beautifully.
Have now though given it to a friend. A sloper EHFW and another home made loop is now in service.

PS. Initially I built this on Vero but after changing to Manhattan style there was useful gain up to 100Mhz.
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Old 20th Jun 2023, 3:27 am   #20
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Default Re: Wellbrook shuts up shop.

Re resin, my Wellgood is built in a plastic box, not sure if it met any standard for water-proofing, but all the seams were originally sealed with Blue Hylomar and the box was left without any resin filling. I took it down and opened it up after ~3 years, and so far as I could see, there were no signs that any moisture had got in causing any visible tarnish or corrosion.

B
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