nanoVNA-H – thinking laterally

A question was asked in an online forum specific to nanoVNA as to how the use the nanoVNA to check the attenuation loss in some old & weathered RG-6 (75 ohm) cables for the TV signal frequencies. Excuse the term attenuation loss, lets assume the poster is asking for matched line loss (MLL).

The assembled experts are offering solutions to transform the ports to 75Ω and make a measurement, deducting the loss of the transformation (minimum loss pads were suggested).

There is a very simple solution that should be quite practical for the scenario described. Let’s work through two examples using 35.5m of unbranded quad shield RG6 with CCS centre conductor (of unknown quality) for the DUT. Continue reading nanoVNA-H – thinking laterally

MFJ ATU hand effects on capacitor knobs

The problem

Users of some ATUs may have noticed particular sensitivity to hands on the capacitor adjustment knobs. It is a common problem with cheap implementations of the T match as the capacitor rotor is usually at high RF voltage and if that shaft is extended to the adjustment knob, under certain circumstances tuning becomes very sensitive to hands on the knobs.

In some of these implementations, if the users hand touches the metal grub screw in the knob, or the metal panel bushing behind the knob they may get a significant RF burn.

The cause

Let’s use the MFJ-949E as a discussion example. It is a T match, and the metal capacitor shafts in the knobs and panel bushings carry RF voltages.

So why is this only sometimes a problem?

The RF voltage across the coil, and impressed on the capacitor shafts can be extremely high when using loads with small resistance and large negative reactance, more so on the lower bands. Continue reading MFJ ATU hand effects on capacitor knobs

nanoVNA-H – de-embedding the feed line in remote measurement

There are often times when it would be useful to transform measurements made looking into a feed line to the other end of the feed line.

Ham lore

Common advice given by online ham experts include:

  1. it just cannot be done, the best (only) point to measure an antenna is at the feed point;
  2. it can be done, but only with an integral number of half waves of feed line;
  3. use the port extension facility in your software;
  4. use software package x;
  5. do an OSL cal with the feed line being part of the fixture.

Continue reading nanoVNA-H – de-embedding the feed line in remote measurement

WIA 4:1 current balun – further measurements

4-101a

I mentioned in my article WIA 4:1 current balun that the use of a single toroidal core in the above graphic compromises the balun. This article presents some simple measurements and analysis that question whether the balun works as so many users think.

The popularity of the balun derives from the work of VK2DQ and is often known as the VK2DQ 4:1 current balun (though probably not his invention).

Analysis at the limits

Often, analysis of a network as frequency approaches zero or infinity can simplify the analysis whilst allowing a reasonable test of the sanity of the design.

Above is a conventional transformer schematic of the WIA 4:1 current balun on a perfectly symmetric (balanced) load. At frequencies where the electrical length of each winding is very short, we can assume negligible phase delay along or between windings, simplifying analysis greatly. Continue reading WIA 4:1 current balun – further measurements

nanoVNA-H – Port 2 attenuator for improved Return Loss

nanoVNA-H – measure 40m low pass filter for WSPRlite flex describes measurement of the response of a filter.

The filter is of a type that depends on its source and termination impedance for as designed performance.

The article mentioned the use of a 10dB attenuator on the nanovna-h Port 2 for the purpose of improving the accuracy of the load impedance for the filter.

Like most low end vnas, the nanoVNA Port 2 VSWR or Return Loss is not wonderful, not as good as needed for some types of measurement. Return Loss can be improved by placing an attenuator ahead of the port. The nanoVNA-H v3.3 already includes an attenuator on the PCB, and the nanovha-H v3.4 increased that attenuation by about 5dB to improve Return Loss by about 10dB.

In my own case, I am using a nanoVNA-H and upon measurement of |s11| (-ReturnLoss) I determined that it needed to be improved by 20dB for my use so I purchased and installed a 10dB attenuator semi permanently on the Port 2 connector.

Above, the 10dB attenuator is semi permanently attached to Port 2 and also serves the purpose of a connector saver. There is a connector saver semi permanently attached to Port 1. Continue reading nanoVNA-H – Port 2 attenuator for improved Return Loss

A common mode choke for a VDSL pair – LF1260 core

This article describes a common mode choke intended to reduce RF interference with a VDSL service.

The MDF is located where the underground cable enters the building. From here it rises vertically and travels some 25m across the ceiling to the VDSL modem. Continue reading A common mode choke for a VDSL pair – LF1260 core

nanoVNA-H – measure 144MHz Yagi gain – planning / feasibility

This article documents a feasibility study of using the modified nanoVNA-H to measure the gain of a 4 element 144MHz Yagi, the DUT.

The intended configuration is the DUT will be connected to the tx port (Port 1 or CH0 in nanoVNA speak), and a known ‘sense’ antenna connected to its rx port (Port 2 or CH1 in nanoVNA speak).

nanoVNA |s21| noise floor

To make useful measurements of the received signal, the rx signal level must be a reasonable amount higher than the noise floor, 10dB should be sufficient.

Above is a plot of the |s21| noise floor around 146MHz. Continue reading nanoVNA-H – measure 144MHz Yagi gain – planning / feasibility

nanoVNA-H – measure 40m low pass filter for WSPRlite flex

This article demonstrates the use of a nanoVNA-H to measure the response of a low pass filter designed to pass 7MHz frequencies but attenuate harmonics. The inductors and capacitors make a seven element Chebyshev filter as designed by G3CWI for use in a 50Ω system.

Implementation

Above, the filter is assembled on a piece of matrix board with two BNC connectors. The inductors are fixed with hot melt adhesive, and the whole thing served over with heatshrink tube. It is not waterproof. Continue reading nanoVNA-H – measure 40m low pass filter for WSPRlite flex

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