A QRP small transmitting loop evaluation

The ‘net abounds with articles describing easy to build low cost small transmitting loops (STL).

This article describes measurement of a STL for 4MHz using RG213 coaxial cable for the main loop and its tuning capacitance, and a smaller plain wire loop for transformation to 50Ω. Continue reading A QRP small transmitting loop evaluation

Precise RF small transmitting loop

Precise RF have announced two small transmitting loops for amateur radio, this article looks at the Precise High Gain Loop.

Description

The antenna is described at (Precise RF 2017).

Above is an extract from a table in the brochure comparing the subject antenna to some others.

On a quick scan, the standout figure is gain of 2.8dBd presumably at a loop height of 4.57m (15′), and without qualification of frequency. Elsewhere in the brochure there is a note that 80m requires an optional ‘resonator’… presumably a larger loop.

Lets review the meaning of dBd

The ITU Radio Regulations (ITU 2012) gives us a definition for antenna gain that captures the meaning of dBd that is accepted by most regulators and industry world wide.  Continue reading Precise RF small transmitting loop

The Mobius strip loop – ham benefits

(Baum 1964) describes his “Moibus strip loop” (sic).

In fact it is not made from a strip conductor but rather a circle of round tube  with a gap at the top, and containing a transmission line which is cross connected to the outer tube at the gap.

Two main features are claimed for this antenna:

  1. cancellation of induced Compton currents in the centre conductor due to incident gamma radiation; and
  2. transformation of the feed point voltage V to 2V at the transmission line at the loop feed T joint.

Feature 1 is claimed to improve S/N when irradiated by gamma radiation, the effect would be of most benefit in the event of a nearby nuclear bomb. Given that most ham stations are not EMP hardened, this is unlikely to be of material benefit to those ham stations. Continue reading The Mobius strip loop – ham benefits

LNR Precision small transmitting loop

LNR Precision have announced a small transmitting loop for amateur radio.

This article is a revision to take account of recently updated information published by LNR filling in some of the gaps in their original page. It is encouraging to see better product descriptions and measurement data.

Description

The antenna is described at (LNR Precision 2016).

The loop itself appears to be 3/8 Heliax or similar (nominally 9.5mm outer conductor diameter) in a rough circle of 45″ (1.143m) diameter.

Little information is given of the internals, but the promotional material gives a VSWR curve for a matched antenna at 7.065MHz. To their credit, they give the height above ground and ground type for their tests.

The VSWR=3 bandwidth scaled from the graph is 18kHz.

If we assume for a moment that the VSWR measurement was captured at a substantial height above ground, its behavior approaches that of the antenna in free space. Taking the assumption that the published curve is similar to the antenna in free space, we can estimate efficiency based on earlier assumptions. Such antennas very close to ground have a directivity of about 6dB (dependent on ground parameters), and that can be used with efficiency to estimate gain in proximity to ground.

The assumed values and published VSWR curve indicate an antenna system half power bandwidth of 15.6kHz and Q of 453 which implies efficiency of 2.8%.

The actual value for radiation resistance is likely to be with -50-+100% of the free space value used, and that rolls up as an uncertainty of +/-3dB in the calculated efficiency and gain. Continue reading LNR Precision small transmitting loop

Current and voltage implications of a small transmitting loop power ratings

This article gives a simple method for calculating the key voltage and current in a small transmitting loop using observed or expected behaviour and Calculate small transmitting loop gain from bandwidth measurement.

Method

Above is a model hypothetical 1m diameter loop of 10mm conductor on 40m with 1% radiation efficiency.

Lets say it is rated for input power being the lesser of 10W continuous, or 30W PEP SSB. Continue reading Current and voltage implications of a small transmitting loop power ratings

CHA P-Loop 2.0 small transmitting loop

Chameleon have released their CHA-P-Loop 2.0 small transmitting loop. This article considers the likely efficiency on 40m based on their published measurements and Efficiency and gain of Small Transmitting Loops (STL).

Description

The antenna is described at http://chameleonantenna.com/CHA%20P-LOOP%202.0/CHA%20P-LOOP%202.0.html.

This analysis does not consider the proprietary Power Compensator option for lack of sufficient information.

The loop itself appears to be LMR400 coax or similar (nominally 8.0mm outer conductor diameter) in a rough circle of 34″ (0.863m) diameter.

Little information is given of the internals, but the promotional material gives a VSWR curve for a matched antenna at 7.15MHz. To their credit, they give the height above ground and ground type for their tests, though elevation above ground was between 1/2 diameter to a full diameter of the P-LOOP 2.0 is a little vague.

Basic loop (34″)

The VSWR=3 bandwidth scaled from the graph is 27.0kHz. The shape of the curve near minimum suggests that were the scan points sufficiently close, the minimum VSWR would be very close to 1.0 and it is taken as 1.0.

If we assume for a moment that the VSWR measurement was captured at a substantial height above ground, its behaviour approaches that of the antenna in free space. Taking the assumption that the published curve is similar to the antenna in free space, we can estimate the gain and efficiency based on earlier assumptions.
Continue reading CHA P-Loop 2.0 small transmitting loop

QRP quarterly on small transmitting loop efficiency

A correspondent recently wrote regarding the theory expounded in (Findling et al 2012), and their measurements and performance predictions of the AlexLoop Walkham, Portable Magnetic Loop Antenna by PY1AHD.

The authors give a formula for lossless Q (to mean no loss other than by radiation) without explanation or justification.

The formula is wrong, possibly a result of slavish acceptance of Hart’s two factor incorrectly applied (see Duffy 2015, and Antennas and Q). This error feeds into an optimistic estimate of antenna efficiency.

Analysis of measurement data

(Findling et al 2012) presents a table of measured half power bandwidth for the Alexloop.

Taking the 40m case, lets calculate to Q for a lossless loop, Qrad in Findling’s terms.

Note that Q for the lossless loop is about half that of Findling. Continue reading QRP quarterly on small transmitting loop efficiency

NH7RO 7-foot diameter QRO STL for 40M

NH7RO describes his loop project at Building a 7-foot diameter QRO STL for 40M in my HOA backyard.

The loop appears to be made from 7/8″ copper tube, and is 7′ in diameter. He estimates its efficiency to be 66% and initially reports I’ve got it less than 4 feet above ground yet it tunes flat to 1.1>1 with roughly 10kHz bandwidth.. Curiously, 10kHz is the result calculated by AA5TB’s spreadsheet, though I have written elsewhere it is deeply flawed (Small transmitting loop calculators – a comparison).

Let us assume that these figures are correctly reported, and that the unqualified bandwidth means the half power bandwidth of a matched loop.

We can estimate the efficiency of a Small Transmitting Loop (STL) in free space.

Before getting excited about the results, let us question the validity of the model. There are three important factors that question the validity of the model:

  • bandwidth;
  • size of the loop; and
  • proximity to ground.

Continue reading NH7RO 7-foot diameter QRO STL for 40M

Review of Dunlavy’s STL patent gain claims

(Dunlavy 1967) sets out his description of a wide range tunable transmitting loop antenna and makes a broad efficiency claim of better than 30% (-5.3dB) for his system.

Minimum efficiencies of 30 percent are attainable with practical designs having a diameter of only 5 feet for 3-15 Megahertz coverage.

In a context where extravagant claims are often made for such antennas, his claims warrant review.

Dunlavey gives an example embodiment in approximate terms.

Practical loop designs for use in the range of 2-30 megahertz will utilize copper or aluminum tubular conductors having a diameter of 3 inches to 5 inches. A typical design for 3 to 15 Megahertz operation would be constructed as shown in FIG. 2 with a primary loop 4 having a diameter of about 5 feet and tuned by a high voltage vacuum capacitor 5 having a capacitance range of approximately 25 to l,000 picofarads. The tuned primary loop should be made of aluminum or
copper tubing having a diameter of approximately 4 inches-5 inches. The diameter of the feed loop, which is designated by the reference number 6, for 50 ohms impedance should be approximately l0 inches.

Lets take a perimeter of 4.8m (dia=5′) and copper conductor diameter of 100mm (4″) as the dimensions for further exploration.

Screenshot - 01_06_16 , 07_46_16

Above, Dunlavy’s Figure 5 gives gain relative to a monopole above perfectly conducting ground. Continue reading Review of Dunlavy’s STL patent gain claims

Some thoughts on a two turn small transmitting loop

Small transmitting loops (STL) are very popular with hams, and a fashion is developing for N turn loops. This article lays out some thoughts on a 2 turn STL.

Firstly, to the meaning of “small transmitting loop’. There are a range of definitions used, and they mostly centre around the concept of a size sufficiently small that current is approximately uniform. The issue is about the meaning of sufficiently. Accuracy of estimation of radiation resistance of small transmitting loops sets out a rationale for a single turn loop for criteria that perimeter<λ/10.

This article will compare NEC-4.2 models of loops with the following key parameters:

  • 1m diameter (the loop perimeter is 0.07λ);
  • 20mm copper conductor;
  • frequency is nominally 7.1MHz;
  • 16 segments per turn
  • when not specified as in free space, the loop centre is 1m above ‘average’ ground (0.005,13);
  • the loop is directly fed in the middle, opposite to the tuning capacitor position, cap down;
  • pitch is 0.15m.

The model is sensitive to all these parameters. Continue reading Some thoughts on a two turn small transmitting loop