Designing high performance VHF/UHF receive systems – Part 1


A metric that may be used to express the performance of an entire receive system is the ratio of antenna gain to total equivalent noise temperature, usually expressed in deciBels as dB/K. G/T is widely used in design and specification of satellite communications systems.

G/T=AntennaGain/TotalNoiseTemperature 1/K

Example: if AntennaGain=50 and TotalNoiseTemperature=120K, then G/T=50/120=0.416 1/K or -3.8 dB/K.

Continue reading Designing high performance VHF/UHF receive systems – Part 1

VK2OMD ambient noise measurement 144MHz – 20140217

I made a measurement of ambient noise on 144MHz this morning using the technique described at (Duffy 2009).



First step is to recheck the NF of the receiver. The TS2000 is getting a little tired, NF=8.3dB.

The technique calculates ambient noise from the variation in receiver output noise of a receiver of known Noise Figure with the insertion of a known input attenuator. The receiver output noise was measured using NFM (Duffy 2007) which allowed integration over 20s for high resolution measurement.

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VK2OMD G5RV with tuned feeder – line loss

The G5RV Inverted V antenna system at VK2OMD is fed with 9m of home made open wire transmission line using 2mm diameter copper wires spaced 50mm giving a line with characteristic impedance of 450Ω. (Varney 1958) described the tuned feeder configuration of his popular G5RV antenna system.

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BLHeli v11.0 on APM X450 quad

I had some Skywalker 40A with BLHeli v11 spare from the tricopter project, so I have put them on the APM X450 quad for a trial.


The BLHeli beacon is really annoying, so I turned it off. Otherwise it is a pretty basic Multi BLHeli configuration.

The ESCs were throttle calibrated using APM’s all at once procedure… but it didn’t work as expected, the motors remained stopped when armed. A lot of fiddling around to find some parameter changes did not work until power was cycled. Set MOT_SPIN_ARMED=200, THR_MIN=220.

Initial tests in stable, alt hold and loiter modes have been good.


Small transmitting loop review

I saw a recent ‘maker’ video describing a small transmitting loop for 40m.

The loop used a 3m length of 19mm copper pipe formed into a circle, and at the gap where the ends almost meet, a tuning capacitance is synthesised using coaxial cable.

Screenshot - 15_02_2014 , 12_06_57

Above is a screen shot from Reg Edwards loop design program. It calculates the radiation resistance at 0.005Ω, loss resistance of the loop at 0.035Ω, capacitance to resonate it of 206pF (Xc=108Ω), and a bandwidth of 3.2kHz.

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ATU voltage verification

I described a method for designing antenna systems to avoid excessive voltages in baluns and ATUs at (Duffy 2011) .

This article reports post implementation measurements of an antenna system designed using that method and using a G5RV Inverted V with tuned feeder and ATR-30 ATU with integral 1:1 current balun. The tuned feeder is a home-made line section of 2mm diameter copper conductors spaced 50mm, and 9m in length. An additional 0.5m of 135Ω line connects from the antenna entrance panel to the ATU.

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A look at internal losses in a typical ATU

This article explores the loss that may be encountered in an ATU in a practical setting.

The load is a G5RV with tuned feeders operating at 3.6MHz. The tuned feeder is 9m of open wire line of characteristic impedance 450Ω, and the impedance seen by the ATU is around 40-j150Ω, this is not a particularly onerous load.


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An inexpensive medium power tuner current balun for HF using Jaycar parts

This is a project to design and build a Guanella 1:1 (current) balun suited for up to 100W on HF with wire antennas and an ATU.

For use with a tuner, the most important design criteria are:

  • high voltage withstand;
  • high common mode impedance;
  • power handling.

Continue reading An inexpensive medium power tuner current balun for HF using Jaycar parts

Design / build project: Guanella 1:1 ‘tuner balun for HF’ – #3

Third part in the series..


Common mode current measurement

Direct measurement of common mode current in an antenna system is the best indicator or whether there is a common mode current problem.

In Common mode current and coaxial feed lines, I mentioned that common mode current is easily measured.


Continue reading Design / build project: Guanella 1:1 ‘tuner balun for HF’ – #3

High altitude balloon – 2014-02-08

The Melbourne HAB team led by Andy, VK3YT, launched a balloon from Deniliquin in southern NSW on 08/02/2014.

It was my pleasure, and frustration to some extent, to receive some SSDV traffic from the balloon.

SSDV Live Images - Mozilla Firefox firefox 08/02/2014 , 14:05:53Above, the last pic before it burst at 37,000m (121,000′), what a great flight.

Copy was difficult, first 70cm SSDV data received at VK2OMD at a distance of 480km and due to frequency variation of about 50Hz superimposed on slower drift, packet decode rates were low.

More on the team’s work at .

Well done guys!