The conjugate match stuff crashes out again

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 was recently cited in a discussion about techniques to measure high impedances with a VNA:

WHEN the L and C’s of the tuner are set to produce a high performance return loss as measured by the vna, then in essence, if the tuner were terminated (where the vna was positioned) with 50 ohms and we were to look into the TUNER where the antenna was connected, we would see the ANTENNA Z CONJUGATE. Wow, that’s a mouth full. The best was to see this is to do an example problem and a simulator like LT Spice is a nice tool to learn. Or there are other SMITH GRAPHIC programs that are quite helpful to assist in this process. Standby and I will see what I can assemble.

The example subsequently described set about demonstrating the effect. The example characterised a certain antenna as having an equivalent circuit of 500Ω resistance in series with 4.19µH of inductance and 120pF of capacitance (@ 7.1MHz, Z=500-j0.119, not quite resonant, but very close). A lossless L network (where do you get them?) was then found that gave a near perfect match to 50+j0Ω. The proposition is that if you now look into the L network from the load end, that you see the complex conjugate of the antenna, Z=500+j0.119.

I asked where do you get a lossless L network? Only in the imagination, they are not a thing of the real world. Continue reading The conjugate match stuff crashes out again

Update for NFM software (v1.19.0)

NFM has been updated to v1.19.0.

The update corrects an error in conversion between ENR and temperature where Tcold<>290K.

References

  • Duffy, O. 2007. Noise Figure Meter software (NFM). https://owenduffy.net/software/nfm/index.htm (accessed 01/04/2014).

Online calculator of ferrite material permeability interpolations – more detail

The Ferrite permeability interpolations calculator performs interpolations of tables of complex permeability data.

From manufacturer’s curves

Some of the data is derived from manufacturer’s published complex permeability curves. The plot above shows the Ferroxcube’s published curve for 3C81 material, and points at which it was digitised to extract a table of µ’ and µ”. Continue reading Online calculator of ferrite material permeability interpolations – more detail

Comparison of BN43-202 / 5t with BN73-202 / 2t for rx only on low HF – small broadband RF transformer – 50:200Ω

Several correspondents refer to my article Feasibility study – loop in ground for rx only on low HF – small broadband RF transformer using medium µ ferrite core for receiving use – 50:200Ω and suggest “I got it wrong, #73 is the proven material choice for such a thing, and a 2t primary is optimal”.

In fact, I did explore #73 as an option, this article presents some key comparisons. The two key statistics shown in this article provided the basis for selecting the design.

Note that the scales are different from plot to plot.

Insertion VSWR

Where the magnetising impedance appears in shunt with an ideal transformer with Zin=50+j0Ω, Insertion VSWR can be calculated.

2t on BN73-202

5t on BN43-202

Continue reading Comparison of BN43-202 / 5t with BN73-202 / 2t for rx only on low HF – small broadband RF transformer – 50:200Ω

RF transformer design with ferrite cores – saturation calcs

Ferrite cored inductors and transformers saturate at relatively low magnetising force.

#61 material example

Lets work through an example of a FT50-61 core with 10t primary at 3.5MHz.

Magnetic saturation is one limit on power handling capacity of such a transformer, and likely the most significant one for very low loss cores (#61 material losses are very low at 3.5MHz).

Let’s calculate the expected magnetising impedance @ 3.5MHz.

Zm=0.966+j144Ω, |Zm|=144Ω. Continue reading RF transformer design with ferrite cores – saturation calcs

RF transformer design with ferrite cores – initial steps

A review of transformer design

In a process of designing a transformer, we often start with an approximate low frequency equivalent circuit. “Low frequency” is a relative term, it means at frequencies where each winding current phase is uniform, and the effects of distributed capacitance are insignificant.

Above is a commonly used low frequency equivalent of a transformer. Z1 and Z2 represent leakage impedances (ie the effect of magnetic flux leakage) and winding conductor loss. Zm is the magnetising impedance and represents the self inductance of the primary winding and core losses (hysteresis and eddy current losses). Continue reading RF transformer design with ferrite cores – initial steps

An online expert on the unsuitability of #43 for HF UNUNs

An online expert recently advised:

…The spec for type 43 makes it clear that it should never be used for HF unun construction. It is specifically engineered with a complex permeability that makes the core lossy on most HF frequencies. Since an unun is not a TLT (transmission line transformer) but rather an autotransformer, a low loss core is essential for efficient operation….

Now it contains the very common FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) that masquerades as science in ham radio, but without being specific enough to prove it categorically wrong. To a certain extent, the discussion goes to the meaning of efficient operation. Continue reading An online expert on the unsuitability of #43 for HF UNUNs

Exploiting your antenna analyser #30

Quality of termination used for calibration

Some of us use a resistor as a load for testing a transmitter or other RF source. In this application they are often rated for quite high power and commonly called a dummy load. In that role, they usually do not need to be of highly accurate impedance, and commercial dummy loads will often be specified to have maximum VSWR in the range 1.1 to 1.5 (Return Loss (RL) from 26 to 14dB) over a specified frequency range.

We also use a known value resistor for measurement purposes, and often relatively low power rating but higher impedance accuracy. They are commonly caused terminations, and will often be specified to have maximum VSWR in the range 1.01 to 1.1 (RL from 46 to 26dB) over a specified frequency range.

Return Loss

It is more logical to discuss this subject in terms of Return Loss rather than VSWR.

Return Loss is defined as the ratio of incident to reflected power at a reference plane of a network. It is expressed in dB as 20*log(Vfwd/Vref). Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #30

EFHW exploration – Part 2: practical examples of EFHW

EFHW exploration – Part 1: basic EFHW explored the basic half wave dipole driven by an integral source as a means of understanding that component of a bigger antenna system.

The EFHW can be deployed in a miriad of topologies, this article goes on to explore three popular practical means of feeding such a dipole.

The models are of the antenna system over average ground, and do not include conductive support structures (eg towers / masts), other conductors (power lines, antennas, conductors on or in buildings). Note that the model results apply to the exact scenarios, and extrapolation to other scenarios may introduce significant error.

End Fed Zepp with current drive

A very old end fed antenna system is the End Fed Zepp. In this example, a half wave dipole at λ/4 height is driven with a λ/4 600Ω vertical feed line driven by a balanced current source (ie an effective current balun).

Above is a plot of the current magnitudes. The currents on the feed line conductor are almost exactly antiphase, and the plot of magnitude shows that they are equal at the bottom but not so at the top. The difference between the currents is the total common mode current, and it is maximum at the top and tapers down to zero at the bottom. Icm at the top is about one third of the current at the middle of the dipole. Continue reading EFHW exploration – Part 2: practical examples of EFHW