Extrapolating VSWR of a simple series resonant antenna

An online expert helped recently helped his Small Transmitting Loop (STL) disciples with:

Also remember that the bandwidth given by the calculators is the half power point. That’s equivalent to an SWR of about 4.3 at the ends.

Whats that?

Most STL, and lots of other resonant antenna systems exhibit a classic VSWR curve being that of a approximatly constant resistance in series with an ideal capacitor and inductor.

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Above is that classic VSWR curve.  Continue reading Extrapolating VSWR of a simple series resonant antenna

Finding the inductance of the outside of LDF4-50A

There are applications for estimating the inductance of the outside of LDF4-50A at radio frequencies.

For the purpose of calculating the inductance, the geometric mean radius is appropriate. This article offers two methods for estimating the geometric mean diameter (GMD) of the conductor.

Above a section of LDF4-50A.

 

Above is a magnified view of the profile, it is corrugated copper outer conductor with a shallow but not quite symmetric profile.  Continue reading Finding the inductance of the outside of LDF4-50A

The sign of reactance – SM6WHY’s take

As the popularity of low cost, low end antenna analysers increases, client software appears to enhance the capability of the analyser.

The SARC-100 is one of these low end analysers, it and its many close derivatives are marketed under various model names.

The sign of reactance discusses a major weakness of these and many other low end instruments in that they do not ‘measure’ the sign of reactance, displaying the magnitude of reactance and leaving it to the user to solve the sign problem.

SM6WHY is one of the many who have produced software for the SARC-100 that purports to solve the sign of reactance problem. He gives this graphic on his website to demonstrate the capability of his software used with a SARC-100 (which does not sense the sign of reactance).

Above is part of the graphic he offers. Though the image is poor quality, the VSWR plot appears smooth and quite typical of that which might be obtained by measuring an antenna system near its VSWR minimum.

However the accompanying Smith chart plot which has points plotted with both negative and positive reactance is inconsistent with the VSWR plot and appears flawed.  Continue reading The sign of reactance – SM6WHY’s take

Power in a mismatched transmission line

This is a republication of an article posted on VK1OD.net Jun 2012.

This article presents a derivation of the power at a point in a transmission line in terms of ρ (the magnitude of the complex reflection coefficient Γ) and Forward Power and Reflected Power as might be indicated by a Directional Wattmeter. Mismatch Loss is also explained. Continue reading Power in a mismatched transmission line

80m half wave dipole made from 0.91mm steel MIG wire

Hams being innovative come up with a myriad of cheap alternatives for wire for antennas. One of those alternatives is common 0.91mm steel MIG wire.

Steel MIG wire is often coated with copper and is claimed by some online experts to “work real good”, particularly as a stealth antenna.

But is it the makings of a reasonably efficient antenna?

This article applies the model developed at A model of current distribution in copper clad steel conductors at RF to estimate the effective RF resistance of the wire at 3.5MHz.

Copper coated round steel conductor (MIG wire) – 0.91mm single core

In fact copper is an undesirable and restricted contaminant of steel welding wire, high grade MIG wire is not copper coated.

Copper content is held to less than 0.05% in the core, and less than 0.05% in the coating… which on my calcs says the coating of common 0.91mm MIG wire is less than 0.125µm…. basically it is a small diameter wire with low conductivity and high permeability. Continue reading 80m half wave dipole made from 0.91mm steel MIG wire

80m half wave dipole made from galvanised fence wire

Hams being innovative come up with a myriad of cheap alternatives for wire for antennas. One of those alternatives is galvanised steel fence wire.

A small roll of galvanised tie wire can be purchased from Bunnings hardware for about $10 for 95m… so at $0.10/m it looks like an economical solution.

But is it the makings of a reasonably efficient antenna?

This article applies the model developed at A model of current distribution in copper clad steel conductors at RF to estimate the effective RF resistance of the wire at 3.5MHz.

Galvanised round steel conductor – 1.5mm single core

A sample of new unweathered wire was measured to determine the approximate zinc coating depth, it was 15µm. Note that zinc is a sacrificial coating and it will erode through life, so this study is an optimistic one of wire when new. Continue reading 80m half wave dipole made from galvanised fence wire

Skin depth in copper at 1.8MHz according to QRZ

Having just written again on skin effect and copper clad steel (CCS) conductors on HF, and the potential for less than copper performance, it was interesting to note a thread on QRZ where the OP asked for advice on the issue with budget CCS RG-11.

Two late posts as I write this were:

There really is no real issue with skin effect on HF bands with copper clad materials.

and…

At 1.8 MHz, the skin depth in copper is 0.654 micro-meters (.0000654 mm), so the copper cladding on the center conductor of most RG-11 type coaxial cables is more than sufficient for any of our current bands.

The specific advice above looks interesting, convincing even… but thankfully, the skin depth in copper is nowhere near either of the figures he gave. Continue reading Skin depth in copper at 1.8MHz according to QRZ

Reconciliation of Duffy CCS model with N7WS ladder line measurements

In developing and implementing A model of current distribution in copper clad steel conductors at RF reconciliation against some other published data was important.

(Stewart 1999) published a set of measurements of the popular Wireman windowed ladder line products. His measurements were in the range 50-150MHz. They form the basis for most calculators on quantitative analyses at HF, despite the fact that it is a dangerous extrapolation for CCS construction.

Nevertheless, the directly stated measurements at 50MHz are a useful calibration point for reconciliation.

Above is Table 1 from Stewart, it sets out measurements of four Wireman m.products and a plain copper line.

The table below compares Stewart’s measurements with the CCS model and with TLDetails results (where available). Continue reading Reconciliation of Duffy CCS model with N7WS ladder line measurements

A model of current distribution in copper clad steel conductors at RF

A model for current distribution in a conductor is that for a homogenous conducting half space with surface current parallel to the interface. Current density at depth d is given by the expression J=Js*e^(-(1+j)*d/δ) where δ is the skin depth (δ=(ω*µ*σ)^0.5, σ is the conductivity).

Copper round conductor – 1.024mm (#18) single core

Fig 1:

Fig 1 is a plot of the current distribution in a 1mm dia (#18) round copper conductor at 1.8MHz as implied by the model. Note that while the magnitude of current decays exponentially with depth, there is an imaginary component that hints a curl of the E and H fields within the conductor. Continue reading A model of current distribution in copper clad steel conductors at RF

Loss of ladder line: copper vs CCS (DXE-LL300-1C)

DXE sell a nominal 300Ω ladder line, DX Engineering 300-ohm Ladder Line DXE-LL300-1C, and to their credit they give measured matched line loss (MLL) figures.

They make the common ham mistake of writing loss figures as -ve dB where in fact by definition they are +ve (MLL=10*log(Pin/Pout)).

The line is described as 19 strand #18 (1mm) CCS and the line has velocity factor (vf) 0.88 and Zo of 272Ω.

Let us calculate using TWLLC the loss at 2MHz of a similar line but using pure solid copper conductor with same conductor diameter, vf and Zo. We will assume dielectric loss is negligible at 2MHz Continue reading Loss of ladder line: copper vs CCS (DXE-LL300-1C)