Walter Maxwell’s teachings on system wide conjugate matching – a SimSmith example

I have written on Walt Maxell’s proposition about simultaneous system wide conjugate matching in antenna systems. I will repeat a little to set the context…

Walt Maxwell (W2DU) made much of conjugate matching in antenna systems, he wrote of his volume in the preface to (Maxwell 2001 24.5):

It explains in great detail how the antenna tuner at the input terminals of the feed line provides a conjugate match at the antenna terminals, and tunes a non-resonant antenna to resonance while also providing an impedance match for the output of the transceiver.

Walt Maxwell made much of conjugate matching, and wrote often of it as though at some optimal adjustment of an ATU there was a system wide state of conjugate match conferred, that at each and every point in an antenna system the impedance looking towards the source was the conjugate of the impedance looking towards the load.

This is popularly held to be some nirvana, a heavenly state where transmitters are “happy” and all is good. Happiness of transmitters is often given in online discussion by hams as the raison d’être for ATUs, anthropomorphism over science. Continue reading Walter Maxwell’s teachings on system wide conjugate matching – a SimSmith example

Cooking the books on VSWR – Bird43 indication

A reader of Cooking the books on VSWR asked

…so you are telling me that I could measure this Prev>Pfwd with a directional wattmeter like my Bird43… I have never seen it and I don’t believe it.

For clarification, I did not discuss Prev or Pfwd in respect of the three scenarios (other than to say Pref cannot exceed Pfwd).

I did discuss line voltage measurements you can make with a simple RF volt meter which was in the article’s reference quote. But, let’s discuss what you might measure by inserting a 50Ω Bird43 directional wattmeter in the Load case 2 scenario.

Above is a calculated plot of the expected Pfwd and -Prev readings, Prev is shown negated so you can add it by eye with Pfwd to obtain the net power Power (blue line). Continue reading Cooking the books on VSWR – Bird43 indication

Cooking the books on VSWR

Having recently seen the suggestion that …

Most tools and most derivations of SWR will produce negative SWR reports because they are more interested in mathematics than in measurements you can make with a simple RF volt meter.

…, this article explores the expected voltage on a practical transmission line under two mismatch scenarios, voltage that ought be measurable with a simple RF voltmeter.

VSWR concepts… by the book

Textbooks on transmission lines often introduce the concept of standing waves by presenting a plot of voltage along a mismatched lossless transmission line.

Above is a plot of calculated line voltage vs displacement from the load, -ve is towards the source. Continue reading Cooking the books on VSWR

nanovna-saver – a first look

The NanoVNA is a new low cost community developed VNA with assembled units coming out of China for <$50.

I have long held the view that these things are most useful when accompanied by a capable PC client that performs flexible text book presentations of data.

Considering buying one, my first step was to perform a desk evaluation of a popular PC client, which seems to be nanovna-saver.

Before downloading it, I examined the first screenshot on the github page.

It gives evidence that the author does not follow industry standard convention for transmission line terms and theory.

In the results shown above (s11) impedance is 39.105+j39.292Ω and some transformations of that value. Continue reading nanovna-saver – a first look

Diagnosing a possible antenna problem by comparison with a baseline

Recently I have had difficult reaching the local DMR repeater on 70cm, and needed to check that the antenna system had not deteriorated.

I took a baseline measurement with an AA-600 after some refurbishment work in Jan 2018, and was able to compare a current sweep to that baseline.

Above, a wide Return Loss sweep of the Diamond X-50N with feed line compared to the baseline (the thin blue line). Continue reading Diagnosing a possible antenna problem by comparison with a baseline

Matching a 5/8λ ground plane – a single stub tuner example

A chap seeking details for a matching inductor for his 5/8λ vertical on 20m reported “my AA54 RigExpert analyser gives the following reading (SWR 8,2). (R 81,5). (X -158) ” measured looking into a “length of rg58 about 15-20 cm” and asked “is the inductor coil going to be enough or will I need an L match to bring the real resistance to 50 ohms”. Continue reading Matching a 5/8λ ground plane – a single stub tuner example

Do Distortionless Lines exist?

I am asked about my use of the term Distortionless Lines from time to time, often in the vein of they don’t exist, so why discuss them?

Concept

The concept derives from the work of Heaviside and others in seeking a solution to distortion in long telegraph lines.

The problem was that digital telegraph pulses were distorted due to different attenuation and propagation time for different components of the square waves.

Heaviside proposed that transmission lines could be modelled as distributed resistance (R), inductance (L), conductance (G) and capacitance (C) elements.

In each incremental length Δx, there is incremental R, L, G and C. Continue reading Do Distortionless Lines exist?

Transmission lines: departure from ideal Zo

The article On the concept of that P=Pfwd-Prev discussed the question of the validity of the concept of that P=Pfwd-Prev, exploring an example of a common nominally 50Ω coaxial cable at 100kHz. The relatively low frequency was used to accentuate the departure from ideal.

This article digs a little further with analyses at both 100kHz and 10MHz.

100kHz

A plot was given of the components and sum of terms of the expression for power at a point along the line.

Lets look at the power calculated from voltages and currents for the example at 100kHz where Zo=50.71-j8.35Ω and Zload=5+j50Ω.

Above, the four component terms are plotted along with the sum of the terms. Continue reading Transmission lines: departure from ideal Zo

From lossless transmission line to practical – Zo and γ

On the concept of that P=Pfwd-Prev discussed the expression for power at a point on a line in terms of the travelling wave voltage and current components.

The expansion of P=real((Vf+Vr)*conjugate(If+Ir)) gives rise to four terms.

This article looks at the components of that expansion for a mismatched line for a range of scenarios.

The scenarios

  • Lossless Line;
  • Distortionless Line; and
  • practical line.

We will override the imaginary part of Zo and the real part of γ (the complex propagation coefficient) to create those scenarios. The practical line is nominally 50Ω and has a load of 10+j0Ω, and models are at 100kHz.

Lossless Line

A Lossless Line is a special case of a Distortionless Line, we will deal with it first.

A Lossless Line has imaginary part of Zo equal to zero and the real part of γ equal to zero.

Above is a plot of the four components of power and their sum at distances along the line (+ve towards the load). Continue reading From lossless transmission line to practical – Zo and γ

SimSmith example of VSWR assessment

A reader of On the concept of that P=Pfwd-Prev asked if / how the scenario discussed could be modeled in SimSmith.

SimSmith uses different transmission line modelling to what was used in that article, but a SimSmith model of RG58A/U allows illustration of the principles and it will deliver similar results.

Let’s explore the voltage maximum and minimum nearest the load to show that VSWR calculated from the magnitude of reflection coefficient is pretty meaningless in this scenario.

Above is the basic model. I have created two line sections, one from the load to the first voltage maximum, and another to the first voltage minimum where I have placed the source. I have set Zo to the actual Zo of the line as calculated by SimSmith (56.952373-j8.8572664Ω), effZ as SimSmith calls it, so the Smith chart relates to the real transmission line. Continue reading SimSmith example of VSWR assessment