RFPM2 – current probe – #2

RFPM2 – current probe described a current probe for use with a power meter calibrated in dBm (eg RFPM1 and RFPM2).

Progress has been slow (too many projects?), but the CNC Router project matures and it is time to try making some components of the current probe.

The PCB was designed in Kicad.

Electrically, the current probe is a current transformer with 10t secondary wound onto the toroidal core and terminated on the PCB which as 2x4R7 1W 1020 SM resistors providing the CT burden and a SMA end launch coax connector for a cable to the RFPM2. Continue reading RFPM2 – current probe – #2

nanoVNA – a surfit of choices

An oft cited advantage of the nanoVNA are choices:

  • hardware (several clones of the basic thing, the ‘improved’ -H series, the coming -H with bigger screen, the -F with bigger screen… and the future v2);
  • firmware (lots and lots of forks, some hardware targeted);
  • external clients (PC clients, web interfaces, Python / Octave / Matlab code etc).

There is not necessarily interoperatibilty between all instances of each level of this tree. For example, nanovna-F may not share firmware images with the original nanoVNA and its clones, and vice versa due to a different display protocol.

Some PC clients support features not implemented in all current firmware versions, eg screen capture. Continue reading nanoVNA – a surfit of choices

MFJ-1786 loop antenna – a study of the matching scheme

The article MFJ-1786 loop antenna – measurements and NEC-4.2 model at 10.1MHz observed of the plot of loop impedance:

It looks quite different to the expected behavior of the underlying loop, but it does contain an arc albeit rotated and offset. In fact it can be transformed in two simple steps.

Continue reading MFJ-1786 loop antenna – a study of the matching scheme

MFJ-1786 loop antenna – measurements and NEC-4.2 model at 10.1MHz – analysis tools

Further to MFJ-1786 loop antenna – measurements and NEC-4.2 model at 10.1MHz, the question arises as to what commonly used tools readily permit the transformations and analysis.

Some relveant theory: for a load where R is approximately constant and X varies, the half power points occur where R=|X|, and following on from that s11=0.2±j0.4, s11=0.4472∠63.43°, |s11|=-6.99dB, ReturnLoss=6.99dB (yes, the +ve sign is correct), VSWR=2.618 etc.

Finding the points where ReturnLoss is approximately 6.99dB with the cursor on the above diagram is quite easy. Continue reading MFJ-1786 loop antenna – measurements and NEC-4.2 model at 10.1MHz – analysis tools

MFJ-1786 loop antenna – other models at 10.1MHz

Further to MFJ-1786 loop antenna – measurements and NEC-4.2 model at 10.1MHz this article presents some other models of expected performance of the MFJ-1786 loop.

AA5TB model

One of, if not the most popular loop calculator cited by hams is that by AA5TB. It is especially praised by ham loop enthusiasts.

Above is a screenshot of AA5TB’s calculator with the real antenna dimensions and “Added Loss Resistance” to calibrate the model to the measured 8kHz half power bandwidth. It predicts an efficiency of 30.6%, 2.9 times that of the NEC model. Perhaps it is popular because it provides overly generous estimates, IMHO it lacks credibility for many reasons. Continue reading MFJ-1786 loop antenna – other models at 10.1MHz

MFJ-1786 loop antenna – measurements and NEC-4.2 model at 10.1MHz

My friend Carlos, VK1EA, made some measurements of an MFJ-1786 SUPER HI-Q 36″ (0.914m) DIA 10-30 MHz loop at 10.1MHz.

This article presents some modelling and analysis of the antenna principally to estimate its performance.

The loop was located at 2m above natural ground away from other conducting objects.

He tuned the loop for minimum VSWR at around 10.1MHz and took a sweep with a EU1KY antenna analyser looking through 0.5m of RG223 50Ω cable saving the results to a s1p file which was imported to Antscope.

Measurement of the real antenna

Here is the impedance plot (excuse the |Z| plot as it is Rigexpert’s concession to hams who do not understand impedance and I cannot disable it).

Above, the impedance plot. The cursor is at point of minimum VSWR, and the associated R and X values at the measurement point are not very useful. Continue reading MFJ-1786 loop antenna – measurements and NEC-4.2 model at 10.1MHz

nanoVNA-H – coax connectors

The NanoVNA is a new low cost community developed VNA with assembled units coming out of China for <$50.

The NanoVNA uses PCB end launch SMA connectors, and if one is tightened to anywhere near the SMA specification torque of 1Nm, the assembly is ‘soft’ as the board flexes… a warning that this may cause damage (track cracking or outright separation of the SMA connector).

If you have a bare board, you can counter this torque with a wrench applied across the flats of the female connector, but in my -H, it is fitted in a plastic case and the flats are not accessible. Continue reading nanoVNA-H – coax connectors

nanoVNA-H – supplied cables

The NanoVNA is a new low cost community developed VNA with assembled units coming out of China for <$50.

I reported issues with the cables supplied with my nanoVNA-H at nanoVNA-H – Chinese junk?

Kurt Poulsen reported some cable measurements, including measurement of a cable supplied with a nanovna. In this case, the cable is a little longer than mine, and although his report does not identify the cable type, it seems that RG174 type cable is reported by most users.

Above is Poulsen’s measurement of s11 of an open circuit 33cm cable of presumably RG174 type. Continue reading nanoVNA-H – supplied cables

NEC model of figure 8 transmitting loop

Variants of loops have been designed and promoted as having certain advantages, and one of those is the so-called figure 8 loop.

This article describes an NEC-4.2 model at 14MHz of an antenna similar to a commercial example.

The graphic shows the geometry. In this case the source is at the bottom of the lower loop, and the blue square is the tuning capacitor. The loop conductor is 22mm copper tube, the loop diameters are 1m, and the capacitor connection is 100mm wide. Commonly these are fed by a low loss auxiliary loop at the bottom of the lower loop, but the direct feed is quite fine for modelling the loop performance. Continue reading NEC model of figure 8 transmitting loop

nanoVNA-H – a summary of the experience so far

The NanoVNA is a new low cost community developed VNA with assembled units coming out of China for <$50.

I purchased what appears to be a ‘genuine’ nanoVNA-H and it has firmware NanoVNA-H_20191018.dfu installed. During checkout of the delivered device, an issue became evident, an issue worth describing in its own article.

Nevertheless, one online expert assured me it is a fake because genuine ones use green solder mask. Continue reading nanoVNA-H – a summary of the experience so far