Antenna analysers – the basics – QST Aug 2016

I was browsing Joe Hallas’ award winning article Antenna analysers – the basics in Aug 2016 QST when I saw some welcome news.

Screenshot - 12_08_16 , 17_32_17

In the notes to this graphic, Joe tells us that you can display any “individual plot” in Antscope. I would dearly like to NOT display the |Z| curve which is apparently there as a concession to the ham audience that doesn’t understand the complex nature of Z and the need to see it in two dimensions. Continue reading Antenna analysers – the basics – QST Aug 2016

RC electric drive noise

The website Mini Quad Test Bench by Ryan Harrell contains a growing set of test results for motors and ESCs.

In respect of ESCs, it appears to use BLHeli unless the ESC is incompatible in which case the proprietary firmware is used.

The configurations are targeted mainly at the mini quad racer part of the market, and the requirements for different size copters and different applications varies significantly.

The site contains an online editable graph facility that allows customisation of the graph.

Screenshot - 14_08_16 , 09_33_03

Above is a graph of current vs time for a uniform ramp servo input, and I have disabled most of the ESC types for clarity, selecting just the first two on the list and one which I use (F-30A). Continue reading RC electric drive noise

New hosting service – 2016/08/10 has been moved to a new HSP.

Though for the most part it should be transparent to visitors (if I have done my job correctly), the underlying IP addresses have changed and some software that caches IP addresses as part of their optimisation may need to be forced to refresh from the current site.

Further, the level of some key server software is inevitably different and although some considerable time has been spent on compatibility testing, there may be some defects that come to light in the coming days.

Hopefully we will put behind us the service experienced with A Small Orange, one of the EIG group companies.

Apologies for service disruption

Some changes were made by others that disrupted the site availability.

As a result, I am moving the site to another HSP, and that may result in some issues over the next week. It is quite a complex site and exposed to the way in which apache and PHP evolve (without 100% backwards compatibility).

My apologies.

Time to get some experience with 32bit microcontrollers – some progress

At Time to get some experience with 32bit microcontrollers I wrote that after almost 50 years working with 8bit microcomputers and microcontrollers, I thought it about time to get my hands dirty on some 32bit microcontrollers.

This article reports some work in the STM stream.

I abondoned the ST Discovery board in favour of a low cost basic ST32F103 development board costing about $4 on eBay. The chip is a 32bit microcontroller clocked at 72MHz.

As a learning vehicle, I decided to implement the functionality contained in Arduino thermistor thermometer – a tutorial.

The development environment is Eclipse with the GNU ARM toolchain, a debugger probe, the basic development board, and a 1602 LCD display with I2C backpack and an inexpensive CP2102 USB RS232-TTL interface.


Above is the working trial. The GDB debugger allows On Chip Debugging (OCD).
Continue reading Time to get some experience with 32bit microcontrollers – some progress

Exploiting your antenna analyser #23

Seeing recent discussion by online experts insisting that power relays are not suitable to RF prompts an interesting and relevant application of a good antenna analyser.

Screenshot - 03_08_16 , 14_12_56

Above is a sweep of an A/B changeover relay intended for HF application at up to 100W and lowish VSWR. The sweep is actually from 1 to 61MHz to be confident that there is not poor behaviour just outside of the HF range that might present on another implementation of the same design. Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #23

End fed half wave – NEC models for 20m


End Fed Half Wave antennas are again very fashionable with hams, accompanied by extraordinary claims and somewhat sparse understanding (the way of modern ham radio).

To add some light I have created a set of NEC 4.2 models of a half wave antenna on 20m to give some insight into the behaviour of a bottom fed vertical half wave over real ground.

This analysis does not consider harmonic operation, antennas are a half wave at 14.2MHz.

Four models are used:

  1. 20mHW-VEP – bottom fed vertical above perfect ground;
  2. 20mHW-VEA – bottom fed vertical above real ground;
  3. 20mHW-VCA – centre fed vertical above real ground (ie ground independent feed);
  4. 20mHW-HCA – centre fed horizontal at 5m height above ground;

NEC 4.2 model description:

  • 14.2MHz;
  • no conductor loss;
  • real ground assumed to have conductivity=0.005S, εr=13, of course results are dependent on these values;
  • conductors are ~10m long, 20mm diameter;
  • bottom fed vertical half wave uses a 10m x 20mm vertical driven ground electrode;
  • centre fed vertical is raised 200mm above ground;
  • feed line and feed line common mode current are excluded;
  • the centre of all antennas is ~5m above ground (real or perfect).


Above are the patterns from the models for discussion. Continue reading End fed half wave – NEC models for 20m

Mandarin & Lime Marmalade

I couldn’t help myself, Mandarins are falling and I had to try a marmalade of Mandarins and Limes. I made a small batch of marmalade using 50% Tahitian Lime and 50% Imperial Mandarin. Raw sugar was one third the added sugar to impart a darker colour.


The marmalade is light coloured, sweet and tangy. Continue reading Mandarin & Lime Marmalade

Accuracy of AIMuhf system – AIM910B vs several recent versions on a ferrite cored inductor


At Accuracy of AIMuhf system – AIM910A vs several recent versions on a ferrite cored inductor I reported significant problems reconciling several recent versions of AIM software measuring the same inductor. Continue reading Accuracy of AIMuhf system – AIM910B vs several recent versions on a ferrite cored inductor