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
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.
Continue reading Cobwebb antenna impedance matching scheme
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.
Continue reading Common mode current and coaxial feed lines
There are frequent recommendations of RG174 for portable stations (eg SOTA), usually running QRP, principally because it is light and easy to wind up into a small package to fit into a pack. RG174 commonly uses silver coated steel (SCS) centre conductor, sometimes copper clad steel (CCS), sometimes copper.
Continue reading RG174 for portable HF operation
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
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.)
Continue reading Measuring matched line loss
G3TXQ has published (undated) a set of measurements on commercial windowed ladder line at Wet ladderline (accessed 10/01/14).
His measurements are of interest as there is a dearth of credible measurement data for these types of lines below 50MHz. Continue reading Windowed ladder line loss – G3TXQ