Using an attenuator for NoiseLo/NoiseHi in NFM

A common method of making Noise Figure measurements of a receiver is to use a noise generator of known noise power. The output power of the DUT is measured with the generator off (NoiseLo) and on (NoiseHi), a Y factor calculated, and from that Noise Figure is calculated.

Continue reading Using an attenuator for NoiseLo/NoiseHi in NFM

ARRL Test Procedures Manual (Rev L) – Noise Figure calculation

(Allison et al 2011) detail the method used by the ARRL in their test reports on equipment.

Effectively they calculate NF=-174+27-MDS where MDS is measured in the CW mode using the 500 Hz, or closest available IF filter (or audio filters where IF filters are not available).

Continue reading ARRL Test Procedures Manual (Rev L) – Noise Figure calculation

ATU voltage verification

I described a method for designing antenna systems to avoid excessive voltages in baluns and ATUs at (Duffy 2011) .

This article reports post implementation measurements of an antenna system designed using that method and using a G5RV Inverted V with tuned feeder and ATR-30 ATU with integral 1:1 current balun. The tuned feeder is a home-made line section of 2mm diameter copper conductors spaced 50mm, and 9m in length. An additional 0.5m of 135Ω line connects from the antenna entrance panel to the ATU.

Continue reading ATU voltage verification

An inexpensive medium power tuner current balun for HF using Jaycar parts

This is a project to design and build a Guanella 1:1 (current) balun suited for up to 100W on HF with wire antennas and an ATU.

For use with a tuner, the most important design criteria are:

  • high voltage withstand;
  • high common mode impedance;
  • power handling.

Continue reading An inexpensive medium power tuner current balun for HF using Jaycar parts

Design / build project: Guanella 1:1 ‘tuner balun for HF’ – #3

Third part in the series..


Common mode current measurement

Direct measurement of common mode current in an antenna system is the best indicator or whether there is a common mode current problem.

In Common mode current and coaxial feed lines, I mentioned that common mode current is easily measured.


Continue reading Design / build project: Guanella 1:1 ‘tuner balun for HF’ – #3

Windowed ladder line loss – G3TXQ #2

I tried to glean some useful information from G3TXQ’s measurements of windowed ladder line loss at Windowed ladder line loss – G3TXQ.

In reviewing his article today (05/02/14), there is new information on a further series of measurements of the same line.


The shape and position of the two lines does not reconcile with the formulas stated, so I digitised the data points and analysed the data set to try to find the most appropriate model for the reported measurements. Note that although the chart above is in imperial units, my work is usually in ISO metric units, and usually basic units.

The digitised data points were converted to loss in dB/m, and fitted to the model MLL=k0+k1*f^0.5+k2*f using regression techniques. Note that the digitisation process introduces some noise, but it is estimated to be small compared to the noise in the underlying measurement data.

The coefficients k0, k1, k2 were reviewed to test that there was sufficient data to support the hypothesis that they were not zero, and all three passed that test, the standard error of the coefficient was significantly less than the coefficient. Note that k0 is not derived from a DC measurement of resistance as done by some modellers, but from the measurement data over the range of 3.6 to 48MHz in this case, and extrapolation beyond that frequency range increases uncertainty.

Clip 141

The above chart shows G3TXQ’s measurements as digitised from his published graph, and it shows the components of loss indicated from the model I built (the k0 component is allocated as conductor loss).

The “G3TXQ model” line is equivalent to his MLL=0.063+0.063*f^0.5 dB/100′ converted to dB/m, and as you can see it is not a good fit to the measurement data points, nor does MLL=0.063+0,063*f^0.5 dB/100′ reconcile with the blue line on G3TXQ’s chart earlier in this article.

G3TXQ’s measurement points (as digitised) are quite a good fit to the model MLL=0.001456+1.499e-6*f+5.631e-11*f dB/m where f is in Hz, and provide a good predictor of MLL over 3.6 to 48MHz.


Foundation manual on power measurement

My article Foundation watts explained triggered some discussion on the thorny issue of compliance with power limits of the LCD.

One correspondent was confident that the Foundation candidates are properly trained, which leads to examining the training materials.


Continue reading Foundation manual on power measurement

Do SWR meters make you stupid

Eric Nichols, KL7AJ, published a manifesto entitled “SWR Meters Make You Stupid” announced on eHam in March 2010. Eric is clearly a disciple of Walt Maxwell (W2DU SK), his first announcement states By popular demand, my complete treatise on transmission lines. Approved by Walt Maxwell, W2DU as if Walt’s blessing was an imprimatur from the ham radio church.

Continue reading Do SWR meters make you stupid

An inexpensive current limiter for flashing and initial testing of ESCs – Mk I

There is a risk of damage when flashing ESCs. It accrues from the fact that ESCs have a three legged H bridge and if a high and low FET are turned on simultaneously, damaging currents may flow. In fact, this can be an issue if the FETs are on together for just microseconds on each PWM cycle. Loading the wrong hex module is a recipe for disaster, it may turn on FETs in an unexpected way.

Continue reading An inexpensive current limiter for flashing and initial testing of ESCs – Mk I

Speaker cable as RF transmission line

Speaker cable and similar Figure-8 twin in various sizes is popular as RF transmission line, particularly with QRP operators, especially those operating portable in the field (eg SOTA activators). Indeed, SOTA seems to have triggered a revival in the use of these cables. With the large number of online recommendations, one could be forgiven for thinking that a dipole and feed line formed entirely from #24 speaker wire is the antenna of choice.

With that in mind, this article looks at the performance of Jaycar WB1702 speaker cable, 14×0.14mm conductors (#24) with PVC insulation, cost $0.50/m.

Continue reading Speaker cable as RF transmission line