Cobwebb antenna impedance matching scheme

From time to time, correspondents have asked how the Cobwebb antenna works, and particularly how the impedance matching scheme works.

Firstly, what is the Cobwebb?

It is an innovative antenna for small spaces, quite compact and as I recall originally intended to cover five amateur bands from 20-10m.

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Common mode current and coaxial feed lines

An antenna feed line is intended to convey energy from the transmitter to the antenna, and usually without giving rise to radiation itself.

The term “common mode” comes from consideration of the currents on an open two wire line, and it refers to the net  or unbalance current, ie the current that would give rise to external fields, to radiation.

This article looks at the equivalent common mode current in a coaxial transmission line.

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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.

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Measuring matched line loss

Matched Line Loss (MLL) is the loss or attenuation of a transmission line terminated in its actual characteristic impedance, and usually give for some length, eg dB/100′, dB/100m, dB/m.

One method that occurs in ham radio articles is to measure the input resistance of a resonant s/c or o/c stub, and to calculate MLL as 8.686*Rin/Zo/length dB/unitlength. (This is not the only method, or even a good one, but it is commonly used.)

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