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AM Loop Antenna

Posted:01:52 PM April 10, 2023 writer: ​NextPCB

Introduction to AM loop Antenna

An AM loop antenna is an ingenious device of the radio world. Specially designed to capture the electromagnetic fields that carry amplitude modulation signals. This type of magnetic antenna picks up powerful movement from a natural source, allowing users to receive crystal-clear audio and music with ease. Utilizing a loop of wire instead of relying on length to capture radio waves, the revolutionary innovation known as the Loop Antenna allows users to enjoy unprecedented reception quality. The loop is often shaped like a rectangle or a circle, with the wire wound around a frame made of plastic, wood, or metal.

The AM loop antennas are particularly useful for improving the reception of weak or distant AM signals. Small devices such as portable radios and clock radios regularly utilize them, yet they can also be integrated into more extensive radio systems.

AM loop antenna

Loop antennas offer the remarkable capability to focus on signals from a specific direction, making them an ideal choice for outdoor activities that require clear reception. Their compact size and portability only add to their appeal as perfect communications tools! When several radio signals are simultaneously present or when searching for a particular station, this method of tuning in can be incredibly helpful.

In this article,

How Does an AM Loop Antenna Work?

An AM loop antenna works by using the principle of magnetic induction to capture the radio signals transmitted by AM radio stations. Radio waves are captured and decoded through a loop antenna, whose unique design eliminates the need for lengthy wires that traditional antennas rely on. As they pass by, these radio signals induce an electric voltage in its wire loops to be amplified and read by our radios back home. Instead, the loop antenna uses the area of the loop to capture the radio waves. The bigger the area of the loop, the more proficient it is at snatching up radio waves.

AM loop antennas are a directional solution allowing users to tune into their desired frequency with pinpoint accuracy. By adjusting the resonance of its circuit and orientation, these antennas can efficiently capture signals. They can capture signals while ignoring interference from other channels.

Advantages of the AM Loop Antenna

Signal transmission

Taking advantage of an AM loop antenna can be incredibly beneficial, and here are just a few reasons why:

  • Directional reception: AM loop antennas are a great choice for clear reception. This allows you to hone in on one specific station. Not only do they reduce unwanted interference, but the angle can be adjusted. So it is optimized to easily lock onto your chosen frequency.
  • Improved signal quality: AM loop antennas capture the radio signal through magnetic induction. They can be more efficient at receiving weaker signals and improving signal quality.
  • Portability: AM loop antennas are often small and lightweight. This makes them ideal for use in portable devices such as clock radios, portable radios, and automotive radios.
  • Low cost: Despite its budget-friendly price tag, the AM loop antenna offers unbeatable performance when it comes to receiving quality radio signals.
  • Low noise: AM loop antennas are designed to pick up signals through magnetic induction. They are less susceptible to noise and interference from other electronic devices or sources of electromagnetic radiation.

Overall, AM loop antennas can be a useful tool for improving the reception of AM radio signals. Particularly in areas with weak signals or interference from other radio stations or sources of electromagnetic radiation.

Types of AM Loop Antennas

AM loop antennas come in a variety of forms, each with its own set of distinct attributes and benefits. Some of the most popular models include:

#1 Ferrite Core AM Loop Antennas

These antennas use a ferrite rod or bar as a core, around which the wire loop is wrapped. Ferrite core antennas are often found in portable radios and clock radios. And are well known for their high efficiency and directional reception.

#2 Air-core AM Loop Antennas

Wire entirely makes up these antennas, and they have no magnetic core. They are less efficient than ferrite core antennas but are often easier to construct. And these can be more versatile in terms of shape and size.

Air core AM loop antenna

#3 Passive AM Loop Antennas

These antennas do not require any external power source and rely on the radio receiver's internal amplifier to boost the signal. They are the most common type of AM loop antenna.

Passive AM loop antenna

#4 Active AM Loop Antennas:

These antennas include an internal amplifier or preamp, which helps to boost the signal and improve overall performance. For those challenging conditions in which signals are hard to reach, active antennas provide a clever solution that amplifies received radio transmissions for optimal reception.

#5 Tuned AM loop antennas:

Their design makes these antennas resonant at a particular frequency, which improves signal strength and reduces interference from other radio stations. People often use tuned antennas in areas with multiple radio stations broadcasting on different frequencies.

The type of AM loop antenna you choose can drastically affect the performance, size, cost, and application. Each model has its own unique advantages and drawbacks. So it's important to consider your needs before investing in a particular option.

How to Build Your Own AM Loop Antenna?

Building your own AM loop antenna can be a fun and rewarding project, and it is possible to carry it out using just a few basic materials. Here's how to build a simple AM loop antenna:

  • 18-20 gauge insulated copper wire (about 5-10 feet)
  • A piece of cardboard or plastic for the frame
  • Electrical tape

A connector (such as an RCA plug) to attach the antenna to your radio

Steps to Build Your Own AM Loop Antenna:

  • 1# Cut a piece of cardboard or plastic to create the frame for the antenna. Crafting the perfect frame for your artwork can be an intimidating task but aim for a 6-8 inch diameter either in a circular or square shape to create the ideal framing.
  • 2# Wrap the copper wire around the frame, making around 20-30 turns. Keep the turns close together and as uniform as possible. Leave a few inches of wire at each end.
  • 3# Use electrical tape to secure the wire to the frame and to hold the turns in place.
  • 4# For optimal radio connection, attach the connector securely to each end of your wire and leave enough slack for seamless antenna installation.
  • 5# Connect the antenna to your radio and position the antenna for the best reception.

Note that the specific dimensions and number of turns may vary depending on the desired frequency range and application. To maximize results, antennas can employ complex features such as ferrite cores or tuned circuits - resulting in a more powerful performance.

How to Use an AM Loop Antenna?

To use an AM loop antenna, follow these steps:

  • Position the antenna: Maximize the signal strength of your antenna by placing it close to a window or far away from other electronics that may obstruct its performance.
  • Orient the antenna: Rotate the antenna so that the wire loop is perpendicular to the ground. Boost the antenna's ability to capture radio waves with this sensitive magnetic field technique.
  • Tune the antenna: Adjust the tuning of the antenna by moving it slightly or rotating it to find the optimal position. This will help to maximize the signal strength and minimize interference from other radio stations.
  • Connect the antenna: Connect the antenna to the radio receiver using the provided cable or connector. Make sure the connection is secure and tight to avoid any signal loss.
  • Tune the radio: Tune the radio to the desired frequency or station, and adjust the volume as needed. If necessary, fine-tune the antenna position or orientation to improve the signal quality.

Note that the specific steps for using an AM loop antenna may vary depending on the type of antenna and the radio receiver that is under usage. Consult the manufacturer's instructions for detailed guidance on how to use your specific antenna and receiver.

Applications of AM Loop Antenna

AM loop antennas have a wide range of applications, including:

  • AM radio reception: AM loop antennas are a great way to make your favorite FM radio show come through loud and clear, no matter what obstacles stand between you and the broadcast. Utilized in areas of weak signal strength or high interference from other sources, these devices enhance reception for stellar sound quality.
  • Portable radios: Due to their small size and efficiency, AM loop antennas find frequent use in portable radios, clock radios, and other small electronic devices.
  • Automotive radios: Many automotive radios use AM loop antennas to enhance the reception of AM radio signals during driving. 
  • Home stereo systems: AM loop antennas are possible to improve the performance of home stereo systems that include an AM radio tuner.
  • Ham radio: AM loop antennas are capable of transmitting and receiving signals in ham radio applications, especially in situations where a small, directional antenna is necessary.

Overall, AM loop antennas are a versatile and cost-effective solution for improving the reception of AM radio signals in a variety of settings and applications.


In conclusion, an AM loop antenna is a simple and effective way to improve the reception of AM radio signals. By using a wire loop to pick up the magnetic component of the radio waves, an AM loop antenna can provide higher signal strength and lower interference than other types of antennas. From portable radios to home stereo systems, AM loop antennas provide an efficient way of capturing frequencies.

Various varieties cater to different needs, such as ferrite core types that provide high levels of signal gain and tuned loops that exhibit exceptional noise rejection capabilities, making them an ideal fit for automotive use. Directional models also exist allowing users the flexibility to pick up radio signals from a particular direction or area with precision and accuracy. Building your own AM loop antenna is a fun and easy DIY project, requiring just a few basic materials and simple steps. Overall, an AM loop antenna is a valuable tool for anyone looking to improve their AM radio reception.

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