Do SWR meters make you stupid

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.

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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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RG174 for portable HF operation

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.

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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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Wire dipole on 160m

Discussion with a correspondent recently ranged onto the effect of some conductor materials in antennas. This posting reports the feed point impedance and internal efficiency (meaning power not turned into heat in the structure divided by power input at the feed point) of a 160m half wave dipole (80m long, centre fed, 20m above average ground and using 2.6mm diameter single core wire).

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