On copper loss in transmitting baluns

Designs appearing in the ham literature and online articles tend to espouse relatively large diameter conductors, conductors that can be challenging to wind onto the toroidal cores often used.

This article analyses the copper losses in a practical Guanella 1:1 balun where a fabricated twisted pair line is used.

Total losses comprise core losses and transmission line losses. Continue reading On copper loss in transmitting baluns

MultiStar 5200mAh 3S Lipo – initial tests

This article documents initial tests on a MultiStar 5200mAh 3S Lipo.

Two of these were purchased for about A$24 ea + delivery from the HK Australian warehouse.

On delivery, the batteries were served a balance charge to full capacity.

MultiStar52003SAbove, one of the batteries with the usual mods to suit my quadcopters. A heavy heatshrink encapsulation to reduce the risk of battery damage from crashes and flying propeller bits, rocks etc. A little velcro path to help stabilise the battery on the quad, a ‘gripper’ for the balance plug, balance plug secured to keep it out of the props, and a charge indicator for convenience.
Continue reading MultiStar 5200mAh 3S Lipo – initial tests

Exploiting your antenna analyser #20

Finding resistance and reactance with some low end analysers #2

Exploiting your antenna analyser #8 was about finding resistance and reactance with some low end analysers that don’t directly display those values of interest. The article showed how to calculate the values starting with |Z| from the analyser and included links to a calculator to perform the calcs.

This article describes an extension to that calculator Find |Z|,R,|X| from VSWR,|Z|,R,Ro to use R, VSWR, and Ro as the starting point. Note that the sign of X and the sign of the phase of Z cannot be determined from this starting point, there just isn’t enough information.

You will probably not find the equation for |X|(R,VSWR,Ro) in text books or handbooks, and the derivation is not shown here but if there is interest, I may publish a separate paper.

Lets say you knew VSWR=2, R=75Ω, Ro=50Ω, what is |X|?

Screenshot - 24_05_16 , 08_20_01

Above, entering the values in the calculator we find that |X|=35.4Ω. Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #20

Analysis of a certain dipole animation – OCF implications

A correspondent having read Analysis of a certain dipole animation questioned the validity of the lossy transmission line model of the dipole, citing the case of an OCF half wave which has an approximately resistive feed point.

Since the OCF lacks the symmetry exploited in earlier study, we must consider each half of the OCF dipole and combine them. To assist, I have produced a similar plot of the transmission line but note the changed X axis.

The scenario is again a 2mm diameter copper wire, 3m above ground at 1MHz.

Zo can be approximated as 138*log(2h/r)=138*log(2×3/0.001)=521Ω.

Clip 199

Above is a plot of calculated V and I at displacements from the open end, and calculated phase of V/I. Continue reading Analysis of a certain dipole animation – OCF implications

Exploiting your antenna analyser #19

Critically review your measurements

A recent post on an online forum provides a relevant example to discussion of this subject.

I have personally seen ratios similar to 3:1 or higher at the feed point become 1:1 at the rig over 100 or so feet of coax cable.

First point is that in good transmission line, it takes an infinite length to deliver the observations made above. Less might deliver almost VSWR=1 at the input end of the line.

Let us consider a practical scenario, 100′ of RG58A/U with a load of 150+j0Ω at 14MHz, the load end VSWR(50) is 3, the input impedance is 32.50-j22.86Ω and input VSWR(50) is 2.01. In this scenario, the line loss is 2.5dB which might be unacceptable for some applications. Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #19

Analysis of a certain dipole animation

Modern people look for videos and animations for their learning, and these are often not from reputable sources and raise more questions than they answer.

An example is an animation of a half wave dipole on the Internet, and being discussed on QRZ.


Above, the animated graphic.

Without trying to understand the problem, lets just extract two cases for further discussion, an analysis in the limits if you like. Continue reading Analysis of a certain dipole animation

The old wheelbarrow will not die

We bought a cheap wheelbarrow 6 years ago, and it is like grandfather’s axe: 6 new handles and 3 new heads and its 100 years old.

This thing has had numerous tyre patches (some due to defects in the cheap Chines tubes), three new tubes, two new tyres, it is trying to rust out, and the concreters working here last Winter used it to carry fully loads of concrete… splitting the side of the poly tray. The split has been growing slowly with temperature cycling, I should have drilled some small holes to defuse the stress raiser at the ends of the split.


Whilst I have replaced the barrow, we continue to use this one to exhaustion… and I succumbed and plastic welded the split in the tub. A similar bead on the inside dressed with a burr to remove edged that would catch on tools compete the job… we will se how long it lasts.

Transformerless power supply for PAROT

This article documents design of a capacitive transformerless power supply for operating low voltage, low power logic from power mains. The intended application is PAROT (Duffy 2013), though it has potentially wider application.

(Microchip 2004) gives a method for design of a capacitive transformerless power supply for operating low voltage, low power logic from power mains. The equations seem simplistic for a circuit whose apparent simplicity belies the complexity of an optimal design that properly tolerates supply voltage and load variations. For that reason, a SPICE simulation was used to refine a design.

The immediate application is for the PAROT chip driving a 40A SSR.

Clip 197

Above is measured characteristic of a Fotek 40A SSR, it seems typical of several similar types on hand. It appears that much smaller SSRs in the 2A range require fairly similar current. Continue reading Transformerless power supply for PAROT

Variac refurb

I purchased a Yokoyama 5A Variac quite some years ago which was unsafe as purchased (with a current Test’nTag tag) and boxed up for repair / restoration.

It is needed for a current project, so time to fix it!


Above is the terminal block of the Variac. The defects include exposed input active and neutral terminals, exposed single insulated conductors, and the earth terminal has no spring washer or like and the screw also secures the resilent plastic P clip so it does not provide a reliable low resistance independent connection to the frame. There is no sign that there was ever a cover for this terminal block. It is noted that the terminal markings have been somewhat defaced.
Continue reading Variac refurb