I am often asked why I recommend a Guanella 1:1 balun with high choking impedance for most HF wire antennas over voltage baluns and 4:1 current baluns. This article explores the topic using SPICE models for a voltage balun, 1:1 current balun, and 4:1 current balun. Continue reading Why the preference for Guanella 1:1 current baluns for HF wire antennas
In a QST column in 2008, a correspondent asked the question
… I have the ladder line terminated to double coaxes that run about 12′ (4m) inside the house to an antenna tuner. Should this pair of coaxes be grounded at one end or both ends?
The Doctor gave a detailed diagram (above) and his advice was… Continue reading Spoiling balun action with ‘shielded twin’
A correspondent sent me a pic of a commercial balun asking “How does this balun work”. He explained that it is a “combination 1:4 balun followed by a current choke”.
My first thought was that this is likely to have been a creation of Jerry Sevick… but let’s try and analyse it. Continue reading (How) does this balun work?
Off centre fed (OCF) dipoles are very popular with Hams on HF.
Many claims are made for variations of the theme, but the essential common feature is that the offset feed point provides a feed point impedance that is not too unsuited to 50Ω coaxial feed line at the fundamental resonance of the dipole and half wave harmonics. Continue reading OCF dipoles
There is a common Rule of Thumb that to be effective, the magnitude of common mode impedance of a Guanella current balun in an antenna system should be at least 500Ω (Reisert 1978).
This article proposes a possible origin for this thinking, and discusses the validity of the underlying model. Continue reading Baluns – Rule 500
One sees simplistic application of ohms law to antenna balun problems frequently in online forums, but is the technique valid? Continue reading Using Ohms law on antenna baluns
ON9CD (Vandonselaar 2002) gives an expose on baluns for Hams.
Above is the first diagram he gives in support of his explanation. Continue reading ON9CVD on baluns
W5WSS describes his antenna at (eHam 2014). It is essentially a shortened dipole with capacity hats for 20m.
The configuration appears from several postings to be this shortened dipole with a Balun Designs 1115du balun at the center and an adjacent LDG Pro 200 automatic ATU.
Balun designs has a warning to users of baluns on a full wave dipole.
It must be pointed out that a 1:1 balun should never be used on the second harmonic of a half-wave center-fed dipole fed with coax (like an 80 meter dipole being used on 40 meters). The impedance can be as great as 10,000 ohms creating very high voltages which can bring about voltage breakdown and/or excessive heating. This exception ONLY applies to Coax Fed HALF WAVE CENTER FED DIPOLES WHEN USING A 1:1 BALUN AT THE FEEDPOINT.
Whilst differential voltage can be an issue in antenna systems (Duffy 2011), the warning above is a bit dramatic for this case.
Firstly, it is very difficult to measure the impedance of a full wave centre fed dipole in the worst case, but modelling suggests it is unlikely to have an impedance at resonance greater than about 4200+j0Ω.
Lets suppose there is a balun located at the feed point of an 80m half wave dipole, and the antenna is fed with 25m (~80′) of RG58C/U feed line. Using TLLC, the transmission efficiency of that section of line at 7MHz with load of 4200+j0Ω is just 9.4%.
If we have a 100W transmitter, we might get 90W out of the ATU in this scenario, and 9.4% or 8.5W of that reaches the feed point.
It is a simple matter to calculate the RMS voltage as V=(P*R)^0.5=190V, or 270Vpk. This is not going to strain any balun!
They outcome here is due to the extreme loss on the coax under very high standing waves results in very little power reaching the balun anyway.
This is one of those cases that if the antenna was half as long, the system would be ten times as good!
- Duffy, O. 2001. RF Transmission Line Loss Calculator (TLLC). VK1OD.net (offline).
- ———. Jul 2011. Avoiding flashover in baluns and ATUs. VK1OD.net (offline).
Multi band antennas are compromises more so than most mono-band antennas, and part of that compromise is lower efficiency. Often the lower efficiency aspect is accepted without understanding.