Measuring trap resonant frequency with an antenna analyser – measurement of a real trap

Finding the resonant frequency of a resonant circuit such as an antenna trap is usually done by coupling a source and power sensor very loosely to the circuit.

 

Above is Fig 1, a diagram from the Rigexpert AA35Zoom manual showing at the left a link (to be connected the analyser) and the trap (here made with coaxial cable.

Above is the trap measured, the wires were connected as a bootstrap trap as in Fig 1. The coupling link is a 60mm diameter coil of 2mm copper directly mounted on the AA-600 connector, and it is located coaxially with the trap and about 10mm from the end of the trap.

Above is the ReturnLoss plot of the trap very loosely coupled to the AA-600.

Of course this technique will not work on a trap that is substantially enclosed in a shield that prevents magnetic coupling.

Equivalent circuit / simulation

The inductor has previously been carefully measured to be 3.4µH. We can calibrate a model of the coupled coils to the observed resonant frequency and ReturnLoss.

Above, the equivalent circuit. We can calculate the flux coupling factor k from the model, it is 2.3% so this is very loosely coupled to avoid pulling the resonant frequency high.

Above is the simulated ReturnLoss response over the same frequency range as measured.

Conclusions

It is practical to measure the resonant frequency of a trap by loosely inductively coupling an antenna analyser, depending on the structure of the trap and the capability of the analyser.

Practical measurements can be explained with a theoretical model of the measurement setup.

Measuring trap resonant frequency with an antenna analyser

Finding the resonant frequency of a resonant circuit such as an antenna trap is usually done by coupling a source and power sensor very loosely to the circuit.

A modern solution is an antenna analyser or one port VNA, it provides both the source and the response measurement from one coax connector.

Above is a diagram from the Rigexpert AA35Zoom manual showing at the left a link (to be connected the analyser) and the trap (here made with coaxial cable.

The advantage of this method is that no wire attachments are needed on the device under test, and that coupling of the test instrument is usually easily optimised.

Why / how does it work?

So, what is happening here? Lets create an equivalent circuit of a similar 1t coil and a solenoid with resonating capacitor.

The two coupled coils can be represented by an equivalent circuit that is derived from the two inductances and their mutual inductance. The circuit above represents a 1µH coil and a 10µH coil that are coupled such that 3% of the flux of 5% of the flux of one coil cuts the other (they are quite loosely coupled, as in the pic above. Continue reading Measuring trap resonant frequency with an antenna analyser

Comparison of R134a and HyChill Minus 30

I am considering replacing the R134a refrigerant in my car aircon system with a hydrocarbon refrigerant. The candidate is Hychill Minus 30 (HC-30).

This article is a limited comparison of the R134a and HC-30 from the point of view of pressure temperature behavior as it impact practical implementation and measurement.

Exploring HyChill Minus 30 laid down the basis of a CoolProp model of HC-30 for comparison with CoolProp model of R134a.

Fig 1

Above is a comparison of the pressure/temperature of HC-30 and R134a over the range of interest in a vehicle aircon. The typical high and low side HC-30 operating pressure bands are shaded. Continue reading Comparison of R134a and HyChill Minus 30

Exploring HyChill Minus 30

I am considering replacing the R134a refrigerant in my car aircon system with a hydrocarbon refrigerant. The candidate is Hychill Minus 30 (HC-30), a Propane and Isobutane mix.

Fig 1

The p-H (pressure enthalpy) chart of HC-30 above was digitised to derive some comparison charts used for this study. The sampling process necessarily introduces some error, and although small, it causes ripples on graphs of some key values. Continue reading Exploring HyChill Minus 30

An interesting case study of measurement of a balun’s Insertion VSWR

Jeff, 2E0CIT, sent me a Rigexpert AA-170 measurement file of his test of Insertion VSWR of a commercial balun.

Insertion VSWR is the VSWR looking into the balun with a matched load (termination) on its output, it is a measure of imperfection of the balun. It ought to be a specification item for low Insertion VSWR baluns, but it rarely given.

A broadband low Insertion VSWR balun must be wound with a transmission line of the nominal impedance, 50Ω in this case, and in the case of 50Ω , it is most likely to be coax.

Above is the initial VSWR plot received. The VSWR response is poorer than one might want in a low Insertion VSWR balun… but to drill down on the reasons, the Smith chart view of the data gives insight. Continue reading An interesting case study of measurement of a balun’s Insertion VSWR

VU3SQM directional wattmeter build – #4

VU3SQM directional wattmeter build – #1 laid out the first steps in design review and build of a directional wattmeter.

At long last, some PTFE rod arrived to permit assembly of the transformers.

For reasons discussed in an earlier article, the transformers use a larger core than the original VU3SQM. They need to stand above the board, and whilst that compromises the mechanical strength of the assembly, it should have better performance. Continue reading VU3SQM directional wattmeter build – #4

VU3SQM directional wattmeter build – #3

VU3SQM directional wattmeter build – #1 laid out the first steps in design review and build of a directional wattmeter.

The parts have arrived and construction commenced.

Above, the PCB populated with the SM parts and soldered. It was soldered in an IR reflow oven. Continue reading VU3SQM directional wattmeter build – #3

VU3SQM directional wattmeter build – #2

VU3SQM directional wattmeter build – #1 laid out the first steps in design review and build of a directional wattmeter.

This article canvasses the issues of the display.

Intention is a digital based display (though not to exclude an analogue meter or bar graph type displays).

So, the output of the AD8307 needs to be digitised.

Let’s first consider the nature of the AD8307.

It is a log detector, so it provides a ‘DC’ voltage proportional to the log of the input signal, but the ‘DC’ voltage can vary very quickly.

The chart above from the AD8307 datasheet shows that the unfiltered response to a burst of RF has a rise time of well under 1µs. Continue reading VU3SQM directional wattmeter build – #2

VU3SQM directional wattmeter build – #1

VU3SQM offers an interesting directional coupler based on a Sontheimer coupler, and using AD8307 power sensing for a nominally HF coupler. I must say that I am not a fan of Sontheimer couplers… but that is what the board uses.

This article lays out a preliminary design review to assist in selection of appropriate toroids, and ordering of the needed parts.

PCB

Above, the top side of a PCB. Continue reading VU3SQM directional wattmeter build – #1

A fourth round with the FA-VA5 antenna analyser

I recently acquired a FA-VA5 antenna analyser.

Before trusting measurements made with any instrument, its behaviour should be validated, and this article documents issues discovered in one thread of tests. The developer does not like the term “defects”, he prefers “issues”, a soft denial of “problems”.

So, the test scenario is the VA5 measuring the impedance looking into a 35m length of RG6 coax with an open circuit at the far end. The VA5 has been SOL calibrated with the higher quality loads sold by SDR-kits, and the test is a 3.5MHz. The firmware is the latest, v1.08 (about 3 months old).

The screenshots are taken with a camera, there does not seem to be a method of uploading screenshots to a PC.

Above is a swept Z measurement just above the half wave resonance of the line section. The impedance at the marker is comparable with that measured using an AA-600, so I would accept that it is probably correct. The graph is another matter. Continue reading A fourth round with the FA-VA5 antenna analyser