NEC study of Small Transmitting Loop Q vs frequency

Recent comments elsewhere on the shape of the plot of measured Q from (Austin et al 2014) gave reason to explore the behaviour of Q for a ‘good’ Small Transmitting Loop (STL) using an NEC-4.2 model.

The term Small Transmitting Loop means a loop sufficiently small that there is not a significant departure from smaller loop behaviour. Essentially this is true for perimeter less than about λ/10.

NEC-4.2 model

Key parameters are:

  • Octagonal loop of 20mm copper with area equal to that of a 1m diameter circle, loop perimeter=0.104λ at 10MHz;
  • centre height=2m;
  • Qcap=2000;
  • ground=0.007/17; and
  • freq=1-10MHz.

This is a quite practical small transmitting loop with current that is approximately uniform around the loop. Continue reading NEC study of Small Transmitting Loop Q vs frequency

K4PP’s 1m Small Transmitting Loop

K4PP described his Small Transmitting Loop (STL), including details of its construction and measured VSWR response.

The loop is a 1m diameter circle of 12.7mm dia copper tube with a high Q vacuum cap for tuning.

K4PP01

Using a quality capacitor and copper tube, this loop should be as efficient as they come for its size and location. Continue reading K4PP’s 1m Small Transmitting Loop

Review of Austin et al paper “Loss mechanisms in the electrically small loop antenna”

(Austin et al 2014) made measurements of feed point impedance of a small transmitting loop using a calibrated transformer, and discussed the loss mechanisms. They also extrapolated their measured data to a larger conductor.

This article is an update of my article of 05/02/2015 which contained some errors as a result of my incorrect interpretation of the legend in Austin’s Fig3. This article is a rework to correct that error and those that flowed from it, my apologies to the original authors and readers… Owen.

Let me focus on their measurements, the loop was:

  • a 1m diameter circular loop of 6.3mm copper;
  • tuned with a low loss tuning capacitor (ATC chip capacitor);
  • at heights of 3m and 6m above ground;
  • from 3.3 – 12.8MHz.

They did not report the capacitor loss, but gave some likely range from manufacturer’s data.

They used ground parameters G-0.007, εr=17 at 7MHz for their NEC models..

Clip 158

Above is a reconstruction of the measured data from their Fig 3. They measured Rin to their matching transformer and used calculated inductance (relying on the calibrated matching transformer) to calculate Q at each measurement frequency. Continue reading Review of Austin et al paper “Loss mechanisms in the electrically small loop antenna”

Dipole mode component of VK5BR’s 1m square loop for 20m

I mentioned in An NEC-4.2 model of VK5BR’s 1m square loop for 20m that Butler’s ~1m square loop was too large to be considered strictly a Small Transmitting Loop (STL):

Note that the loop is sufficiently large that the current is not uniform around the loop

(Butler 1991) gives a design for a Small Transmitting Loop (STL) for 14MHz and some other bands.

He gives key design data:

Tube Diameter d   0.75 inch
 Circumference S  12.7 feet
 Area A =   10 square feet
 Frequency f =  14.2MHz
 Power P   100 watts
 Radiation Resistance Rr =   0.137 ohm
 Loss Resistance RL =   0.064 ohm
 Efficiency n =  68%
 Inductance L =   3.27 micro-henry
 Q factor =   723
 Inductive reactance XL =   291 ohms
 Bandwidth B =   19.6kHz
 Distributed capacity Cd =   10.4pF
 Capacitor potential Vc =   4587V
 Tuning capacitor Ct =   28pF

The data above appear to ignore some important factors, and estimate some others based on an assumption of uniform current. Continue reading Dipole mode component of VK5BR’s 1m square loop for 20m

Dipole mode of Small Transmitting Loop per King

(Revised 12/11/2015)

Small Transmitting Loops (STL) are loops with approximately uniform current around the loop.

(King 1969) gives us expressions for an equivalent circuit of the ‘loop mode’ and ‘dipole mode’, it consists of parallel branches for each mode of series R and X:

  • R0: radiation resistance of loop mode;
  • X0: reactance of loop mode;
  • R1: radiation resistance of dipole mode; and
  • X1: reactance of loop mode.

Screenshot - 11_11_2015 , 01_31_53

Plotting these and the combined total Rt and Zt for a 1m diameter (perimeter p=3.14m) lossless circular loop of 20mm diameter conductor from 2-30MHz in free space gives an insight into their relative magnitudes at different frequencies. Continue reading Dipole mode of Small Transmitting Loop per King

Calculation of equivalent self capacitance of Small Transmitting Loop – ARRL

In Calculation of equivalent self capacitance of Small Transmitting Loop I mentioned that (Straw 2007), The ARRL Antenna Book 21, gave an expression for equivalent self capacitance of a Small Transmitting Loop of one turn:

C=HD where C is in pF, D in cm, and H comes from a given table of length/diameter ratios from 0.1 to 1.0. ARRL cites (Medhurst 1947) for this expression. Medhurst’s work was for solenoids.

Values of the Constant H for Distributed Capacitance

Length to
Diameter
Ratio       H
=====       =====
0.10        0.96
0.15        0.79
0.20        0.78
0.25        0.64
0.30        0.60
0.35        0.57
0.40        0.54
0.50        0.50
1.00        0.46

A 1m diameter loop of 10mm diameter conductor has l/d=0.01, so it is not covered by the table, and you might form the view from the table that H tends to 1.0 or thereabouts as l/d approaches 0, but that is an extrapolation and dangerous. Continue reading Calculation of equivalent self capacitance of Small Transmitting Loop – ARRL

Calculation of equivalent self capacitance of Small Transmitting Loop

Small Transmitting Loops behave fairly much like an ideal inductance in series with some small resistance. They do however exhibit a self resonance at a frequency where the perimeter is approximately a half wavelength. This can be expected to slightly alter the Xl vs frequency characteristic below the self resonant frequency (SRF), more so as the SRF is approached.

This departure can be compensated for to some extent by addition of a small equivalent shunt capacitance. Continue reading Calculation of equivalent self capacitance of Small Transmitting Loop

An NEC-4.2 model of VK5BR’s 1m square loop for 20m

(Butler 1991) gives a design for a Small Transmitting Loop (STL) for 14MHz and some other bands.

He gives key design data:

Tube Diameter d   0.75 inch
 Circumference S  12.7 feet
 Area A =   10 square feet
 Frequency f =  14.2MHz
 Power P   100 watts
 Radiation Resistance Rr =   0.137 ohm
 Loss Resistance RL =   0.064 ohm
 Efficiency n =  68%
 Inductance L =   3.27 micro-henry
 Q factor =   723
 Inductive reactance XL =   291 ohms
 Bandwidth B =   19.6kHz
 Distributed capacity Cd =   10.4pF
 Capacitor potential Vc =   4587V
 Tuning capacitor Ct =   28pF

The data above appear to ignore some important factors, and estimate some others based on an assumption of uniform current. Continue reading An NEC-4.2 model of VK5BR’s 1m square loop for 20m

Underhill on Small Transmitting Loop efficiency

The meaning of the terms efficiency and radiation resistance are often critical to understanding written work on antennas, yet different authors use them differently, often without declaring their intended meaning.

Mike Underhill (G3LHZ) is an enthusiastic proponent of Small Transmitting Loops and in his slide presentation (Underhill 2006) challenges the proposition that their efficiency is low.

The line taken broadly is to introduce his own interpretation of efficiency and to challenge by experimental evidence other views on expected efficiency. Continue reading Underhill on Small Transmitting Loop efficiency

DK7ZB’s balun

(Steyer nd) describes the DK7ZB balun / match for VHF and UHF Yagis.

unsymm_engl

To understand how the “DK7ZB-Match” works look at the left picture. Inside the coax cable we have two currents I1 and I2 with the same amount but with a phase shift of 180°.

No. At any point along the coaxial line, a current I on the outer surface of the inner conductor causes an equal current in the opposite direction on the inner surface of the outer conductor.

As the currents are shown with the designated directions, I2=I1, not I2=I1<180.

A consequent simplification is that I4=I2-I3=I1-I3.

There is an issue with the current arrow I3 in the lower right of the diagram. It might imply that the only current in the conductors is I3, but the current between the nearby node and lower end of the shield is I3-I1.

If the structure was much much shorter than the wavelength, there would be negligible phase change in currents along the structure, so I1 would be uniform along the centre conductor, I2 uniform along the inside surface of the outer conductor, and I3 uniform along the outer surface of the outer conductor.

The diagram notation does show that I3 (which is equal to the dipole drive imbalance) is uniform along the structure, and that I3 flows to ground.

DK7ZB goes on:

If we connect a dipole or the radiator of a Yagi direct to the coax, a part of I2 is not running to the arm 2 but down the outer part of the coax shield. Therefore I1 and I4 are not in balance and the dipole is fed asymmetric.

But how can we suppress the common-mode current I3? A simple solution is to ground the outer shield in a distance of lambda/4 at the peak of the current.

So, the length of the structure is in fact a quarter wavelength electrically, or close to it to achieve the choking effect. I3 will be in the form of a standing wave with current maximum at the lower (‘grounded’) end, and current minimum at the upper end.

It happens also that his usual configuration of this balun is that there is a standing wave on the inside of the coax, and so I1 and I2 are not uniform along the conductor, and whilst it is relevant to the designed impedance transformation, it is inconsequential to reduction of dipole current imbalance.

DK7ZB continues with the development of his variation of a Pawsey balun:

But now we get a new interesting problem: For the transformation 28/50 Ohm we need a quarterwave piece of coax with an impedance of 37,5 Ohm (2×75 Ohm parallel). The velocity of the wave inside the coax is lower than outside (VF = 0,667 for PE).

The outside of the shield has air (and a litle bit of insulation) in the surrounding and VF = 0,97. For grounding the common mode currents this piece should have a length of 50 cm, with a VF = 0,667 and a length of 34,5 cm this piece of coax is to short. By making a loop of this two cables as shown in the picture down we get an additional inductivity and we come closer to an electrical length of lambda/4. Ideal is coax cable with foam-PE and a VF = 0,82

schleifeAbove is DK7ZB’s implementation of his balun with the loop and additional inductivity.

I copied the above implementation and measured the common mode impedance Zcm.

Dk7zbBalun144

Above is the Zcm measurement. There is a quite narrow self resonance where Zcm is quite high for about 10MHz bandwidth centred on 125MHz, but at 144MHz Zcm=83-j260Ω which is too low to qualify as a good common mode choke.

Like all narrowband / tuned common mode chokes, tuning to the desired frequency band is essential to their effective operation.

Like most published balun designs, this one is published without measurements to demonstrate its operation or effectiveness.

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