RG6/U with CCS centre conductor at HF

at Series match for a half wave dipole I mentioned that RG6/U may have a copper clad steel (CCS) centre conductor, and may have significantly more loss at HF than expected based on datasheets and calculators.

Above is a comparison of matched line loss based on measurement of a length of RG6/U Quad Shield CCS cable and prediction from Simsmith of Belden 8215 (also CCS). The ripple is due to measurement system error. Continue reading RG6/U with CCS centre conductor at HF

Series match for a half wave dipole

An online poster was demonstrating the effect of varying line length on a half wave dipole on VSWR(50) and by mistake configured the line be of of Zo=75Ω.

He asked the question

In the general case, if you are trying to match 50 Ohms, would you be better off feeding a normal backyard dipole with 75 Ohm coax if you are willing to prune it to a specific length after the fact?

Continue reading Series match for a half wave dipole

Rigexpert AA-600 reference plane

The Rigexpert AA-600 has an inbuilt calibration which is convenient to use. It is capable of OSL calibration, but this article discusses only the inbuilt calibration.

The reference plane is the plane at which the instrument calibration is correct, at other locations there is a transmission line impedance transformation applied.

The pic above shows the reference plane, but where exactly is it and why do you want to know? Continue reading Rigexpert AA-600 reference plane

SimSmith – looking both ways – an LNA design task

This article shows the use of SimSmith in design and analysis of the input circuit of an MGF1302 LNA.

The MGF1302 is a low noise GaAs FET designed for S band to X band amplifiers, and was very popular in ham equipment until the arrival of pHEMT devices.

An important characteristic of the MGF1302 is that matching the input circuit for maximum gain (maximum power transfer) does not achieve the best Noise Figure… and since low noise is the objective, then we must design for that.

The datasheet contains a set of Γopt for the source impedance seen by the device gate, and interpolating for 1296MHz Γopt=0.73∠-10.5°.

Lets convert Γopt to some other useful values.

The equivalent source Z, Y and rectangular form of Γopt= will be convenient during the circuit design phase. Continue reading SimSmith – looking both ways – an LNA design task

Transmitter / antenna systems and the maximum power transfer theorem

Jacobi’s Maximum Power Transfer Theorem

Jacobi’s law (also known as Jacobi’s Maximum Power Transfer Theorem) of nearly 200 years ago stated

Maximum power is transferred when the internal resistance of the source equals the resistance of the load.

Implied is that the internal resistance of the source is held constant, it does not work otherwise. The source must be one that can validly be represented by a Thevenin equivalent circuit. This was in the very early days of harnessing electric current, direct current initially.

Later adaptation dealt with alternating current and it became

Maximum power is transferred when the load impedance is equal to the complex conjugate of the internal impedance of the source.

Again a necessary condition is that the source must be one that can validly be represented by a Thevenin equivalent circuit. Continue reading Transmitter / antenna systems and the maximum power transfer theorem

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

Franklin antenna – how does it work?

(Franklin 1924) described a technique to cophase sections of a long antenna by “concentrating alternating half wave length portions of the wire within a small space, by winding such portions as inductance coils or by doubling such portions back on themselves so that there is practically no radiation from these portions”.

Let’s explore his second option, as unlike the first, it does work reliably.

Above is an NEC-4.2 model with current shown (magnitude and phase). The stubs conductors are all defined from top to bottom. Continue reading Franklin antenna – how does it work?

End Fed Half Wave matching transformer – 80-20m – LO1238 variant

A reader of End Fed Half Wave matching transformer – 80-20m asked if a good transformer could be made with with a FT114-43 core.

The original transformer above comprised a 32t of 0.65mm enamelled copper winding on a FT240-43 ferrite core, tapped at 4t to be used as an autotransformer to step down a load impedance of around 3300Ω to around 50Ω. Continue reading End Fed Half Wave matching transformer – 80-20m – LO1238 variant

End Fed Half Wave matching transformer – 80-20m – 2xFT240-43 variant

A reader of End Fed Half Wave matching transformer – 80-20m asked if a better transformer could be made with a stack of 2 x FT240-43 cores and using half the turns.

The original transformer above comprised a 32t of 0.65mm enamelled copper winding on a FT240-43 ferrite core, tapped at 4t to be used as an autotransformer to step down a load impedance of around 3300Ω to around 50Ω. Continue reading End Fed Half Wave matching transformer – 80-20m – 2xFT240-43 variant

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