Measuring a 1/4 wave balanced line – nanoVNA

A question was asked recently online:

I am about to measure a 1/4 wave of 450 ohm windowed twinlead for the 2m band using my NanoVNA. My question is, since I will be making an unbalanced to balanced connection, should I use a common mode choke, balun or add ferrites to the coax side to make the connection, or does it really matter at 2m frequencies? The coax lead from my VNA to the twinlead will be about 6″ to 12″ long. I will probably terminate the coax in two short wires to connect to the twinlead.

It is a common enough question and includes some related issues that are worthy of discussion. Continue reading Measuring a 1/4 wave balanced line – nanoVNA

Measure transmission line Zo – nanoVNA – PVC speaker twin – loss models comparison #3

Measure transmission line Zo – nanoVNA – PVC speaker twin demonstrated measurement of transmission line parameters of a sample of line based on measurement of the input impedances of a section of line with both a short circuit and open circuit termination. From Zsc and Zoc we can calculate the Zo, and the complex propagation constant \(\gamma=\alpha + \jmath \beta\), and from that, MLL.

Above is a plot of: Continue reading Measure transmission line Zo – nanoVNA – PVC speaker twin – loss models comparison #3

Measure transmission line Zo – nanoVNA – PVC speaker twin – loss model derivation

The article Measure transmission line Zo – nanoVNA – PVC speaker twin demonstrated measurement of transmission line parameters of a sample of line based on measurement of the input impedances of a section of line with both a short circuit and open circuit termination. From Zsc and Zoc we can calculate the Zo, and the complex propagation constant \(\gamma=\alpha + \jmath \beta\), and from that, MLL.

Measurement with nanoVNA

So, let’s measure a sample of 14×0.14, 0.22mm^2, 0.5mm dia PVC insulated small speaker twin.

Above is the nanoVNA setup for measurement. Note that common mode current on the transmission line is likely to impact the measured Zin significantly at some frequencies, the transformer balun (A 1:1 RF transformer for measurements – based on noelec 1:9 balun assembly) is to minimise the risk of that. Nevertheless, it is wise to critically review the measured |s11| for signs of ‘antenna effect’ due to common mode current. Continue reading Measure transmission line Zo – nanoVNA – PVC speaker twin – loss model derivation

Stacking two ferrite cores of different permeability for an RF inductor

One of the magic ham recipes often proposed is to stack two ferrite cores of different permeability for an RF inductor, but an explanation is rarely offered, I have not seen one.

An explanation

Starting with some basic magnetism…

The inductance of an inductor is given by \(L=N\frac{\phi}{I}\).

For a closed magnetic circuit of high permeability such as a ferrite cored toroid, the flux is almost entirely contained in the core and the relationship is \(\mathcal{F}=\phi \mathcal{R}\) where \(\mathcal{F}\) is the magnetomotive force, \(\phi\) is the flux, and \(\mathcal{R}\) is the magnetic reluctance. (Note the similarity to Ohm’s law.) Continue reading Stacking two ferrite cores of different permeability for an RF inductor

Shorting winding sections of a ferrite cored EFHW transformer

A chap recently posted some advice on construction of a dual ratio transformer for EFFHW antennas, advice with an informative pic, but without measurement evidence that it works well.

Pictured is a dual UnUn. I made this for experimenting. It’s both a 49 and 64 to 1 UnUn.

The 49 to 1 tap uses the SS eye bolt for the feed through electrical connection and the SS machine screw on the top is the 64 to 1 connection. If I want to use the 49 to 1 ratio, there’s a jumper on the eye bolt that connects to the top machine screw where the antenna wire is attached. The jumper shorts out the last two turns of the UnUn. Disconnect the jumper from the top connection and now you have a 64 to 1 ratio.

Continue reading Shorting winding sections of a ferrite cored EFHW transformer

A desk review of the MiniPa100 kit – #1: characterise the output transformer

This article is one in a series of a desk review, a pre-purchase study if you like, of the MiniPa100 kit widely sold on eBay and elsewhere online.

One of the first questions to mind is whether it is likely to deliver the rated power, so let’s review the MOSFET output circuit design from that perspective.

Sellers mostly seem to need to obscure the MOSFET type in their pics, so essentially you buy this with no assurance as to what is supplied, no comeback if the supplied MOSFET is not up to the task. Online experts suggest the MOSFET is probably a MRF9120 (or 2x IRF640 in a 70W build). The amplifier claims 100W from 12-16V DC supply.

Note that this module does not include the necessary output filter which will lose 5-10% of the power from this module.

In this case Carlos, VK1EA, connected a sample output transformer (T2) core from a recently purchased MiniPa100 kit to a EU1KY antenna analyser. The fixture is critically important, it is at my specification. Continue reading A desk review of the MiniPa100 kit – #1: characterise the output transformer

(How) does this balun work? A variation on the theme …

My article (How) does this balun work analysed a balun configuration sent to me by a correspondent, apparently published on Youtube channel TrxBench.

Essentially, my analysis was that it comprises two 12t winds of two wire transmission line in parallel on the ferrite ring. The potential benefit was that the characteristic impedance Zo of each transmission line is probably close to 100Ω, and the parallel combination is probably close to 50Ω.

Online experts following fashion are opining that a low Insertion VSWR balun is better made with two wire line(s) than winding a single 50Ω coax line. They make these claims without evidence, I am not convinced.

In that vein, here is a variation on the TrxBench balun above.

The designer describes it: Continue reading (How) does this balun work? A variation on the theme …

N6THN’s novel balun – flux leakage

N6THN’s novel balun presented measurement of the Insertion VSWR of the subject balun, and N6THN’s novel balun – an explanation gave explanation that included mention of flux leakage as a contributor to the quite high inductance per unit length of the transmission line formed by the two windings.

A correspondent suggested that with a ferrite core, flux leakage is insignificant. This article calculates the coupled coils scenario.

The balun as described

Above is the ‘schematic’ of the balun. Note the entire path from rig to dipole. Continue reading N6THN’s novel balun – flux leakage

N6THN’s novel balun

One sees lots of articles and videos on how to make a current balun suited to a low VSWR antenna. This one was recommended in an online discussion on QRZ.com. N6THN might not have invented this balun, but he made a video of it.

In this case, it is described in the referenced video as part of a half wave dipole antenna where you might expect the minimum feed point VSWR to be less than 2.

Apologies for the images, some are taken from the video and they are not good… but bear with me.

The balun as described

Above is the ‘schematic’ of the balun.Note the entire path from rig to dipole. Continue reading N6THN’s novel balun