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The Quantum Stick Plus+, better known as the Q-Stick Plus+, is an oversized tunable ferrite rod that covers both LW and MW and is used to boost the signals of portable radios. With a little practice and patience, the Q-Stick Plus+ can be used in a phasing mode to null stations not normally nullable by the radio alone. The Q-Stick Plus+ also serves as an external antenna tuner/coupler for boosting signals even more.
The Q-Stick Plus+ is really an old idea centered on the inductive coupling of a larger loop antenna to the small ferrite rod antennas generally found in portable radios. By placing a larger loop antenna near a portable radio and tuning the large loop to the same frequency as the radio, a dramatic increase in signal strength can be realized.
At the time the Q-Stick series was introduced, the only commercially available booster antenna was the Select-A-Tenna, an air-core loop that worked well but that I found a little on the bulky side and limited in its frequency coverage. I needed something more compact and something that covered the LW band; something that I could use with my Sony 7600G on the deck outside or on quick trips to the beach. A bonus that resulted from a little experimentation was that with a bit of practice I could increase the null depth of some undesired stations to improve the reception of a target station (via "poor man's phasing").
The Q-Stick Plus+ is nothing more than an oversized ferrite rod antenna complete with coils and a variable capacitor that is housed in a black Plexiglas cabinet. An external antenna jack is included for hooking up a random length of wire for increased signal capture. One thing that I found to be very useful for a mini-DXpedition to the nearby national seashore is hooking up a length of wire several hundred feet long, plugging it into the Q-Stick Plus+, and feeding the signal to a Sony 2010...some pretty impressive DX is possible.
FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS
-- TUNES 150-2000 KHZ
-- 7-1/2" FERRITE ROD WITH LITZT/WIRE COILS
-- VARIABLE CAPACITOR TUNING
-- NO BATTERIES REQUIRED
-- QUALITY CONSTRUCTION
-- "POOR MAN'S" PHASING
-- 3/8" ANTENNA JACK
END PANEL CONTROLS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
the Q-Stick Plus+ work with all portable radios?"
The Q-Stick Plus+ should work with all portable radios that have a ferrite rod antenna with a conventionally (i.e., solenoid) wound coil. To my knowledge, there is only one radio, the Panasonic RF-2200, that just doesn't work well with the Q-Stick Plus+ (reports from one DXer also stated that the RF-B600 may also be a problem).
In general terms, the smaller the antenna in the portable, the more noticeable will be the improvement in performance with the Q-Stick Plus+. In radios like the General Electric Superadio series which already have 7-7/8" ferrite rods, the 7-1/2" rod in the Q-Stick Plus+ will only contribute an additional 6 dB (approx.). This usually won't make much improvement during night time DX but can sometimes make a difference with very weak daytime DX targets.
"I tune the Q-Stick Plus+ on my local station but it doesn't make the signal any louder." That's because the radio's automatic gain control is trying its hardest to maintain a constant audio level output. Improvement is most noticeable on weak stations or on portable radios with some form of signal strength meter.
does the Q-Stick Plus+ compare to the Select-A-Tenna and the Radio Shack
First of all, the Q-Stick Plus+ is smaller and also covers the LW band.
In terms of MW performance, several side-by-side tests by others have indicated that performance of the Q-Stick Plus+ and the Select-A-Tenna is about the same. In my experience, the Q-Stick Plus+ is a little harder to tune (because of its higher Q) and its position relative to the radio is more critical.
My tests with the Q-Stick Plus+ versus the Radio Shack loop indicated that the degree of coupling was the critical variable. With a radio small enough to fit inside the winding of the Radio Shack loop, performance was a bit better than with the Q-Stick Plus+. With radios too large to fit within the Radio Shack's coil, the ability to locate the Q-Stick Plus+'s coil closer to the radio's internal coil often resulted in a slightly greater apparent signal gain. Again, the Q-Stick Plus+ required more careful tuning and positioning. In other words, some radios perform better with one; others perform better with the other.
if I hook up a Beverage antenna to the Q-Stick Plus+, won't it overload my
If you are using a really long antenna with the Q-Stick Plus+ and the front-end of your radio just can't handle it, simply move the Q-Stick Plus+ farther away from the radio or angle it so that it is less parallel to the radio's internal ferrite rod.
this about "poor man's" phasing?"
Instructions for "poor man's" phasing are included with each Q-Stick Plus+. Basically what you are trying to do is combine the signals of the radio's internal ferrite rod with the signal being picked up by the Q-Stick Plus+ in such a way that a single null (as opposed to the usual cosine, or figure-8, pattern provided by a single loop). This involves positioning the Q-Stick Plus+ at a distance from the radio such that the signal level it provides is about equal to that being gathered by the internal ferrite rod. Manipulating the angle of the Q-Stick Plus+ and/or its tuning knob can, with practice and patience, provide unusual nulling patterns.
I call this "poor man's" phasing because rather impressive results can be obtained; results previously limited to serious communications receivers and phasing unit set-ups.