nanovna-H – first experience

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

It is a semi open source project, some information is published in open access places like unrestricted github and currently unrestricted acccess messages in a io.groups forum, but the wiki and files collection of that forum is by membership only and so is not publicly available.

After reviewing a lot of public information, I chose to try  purchase an Nanovna-H. There were trials along the way in that Hugen79’s preferred supplier on Alibaba could not accept my suburb in the address, so I searched eBay, Amazon and Aliexpress for items that appears to be a Nanovna-H. On the day, eBay and Amazon had no listings, but there were some on Aliexpress.

In this case, though the seller lied about material things, it does appear that I received a ‘genuine’ nanovna-H, and one of very recent manufacture as it had firmware dated two days after I placed the order.

The device was charged and needed only an hour to reach full charge, it was about 75% charged. No grief with the battery manager stuck in shutdown (yet) as some users report.

Above, the nanovna-H as received. Continue reading nanovna-H – first experience

nanovna-H – occasional glitches in measured data

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.

Glitches on the displayed data are occasional, but hardly rare, and are a concern.

The nanovna was OSL calibrated (is for reflection only) from 1 to 500MHz and the cal save in C4.

On repeated scans of the SC used for the cal, there are obvious occasional glitches evident on various PC clients.

Above is nanovnasharp v1.03. An expanded scale shows the observation, an occasional single measurement, always with a downwards glitch  of |S11|dB of variable magnitude, but usually less than a couple of dB. Continue reading nanovna-H – occasional glitches in measured data

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

nanoVNA MOD v3 – a first look

Since I have a nanovna-H coming on a ‘slow boat from China’, whilst working with a Touchstone s1p file exported from Rigexpert’s Antscope I tried to open the file in nanoVNA MOD v3.

Above, the outcome was not good. The name of the loaded file is not shown, there were no messages during loading, and an empty graph and the stimulus data does not match the file. Continue reading nanoVNA MOD v3 – a first look

nanovna – a first plunge

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

It is not really a project as such, but a loose collection of hardware versions manufactured in variously compliant forms, and several PC and web clients competing for space. Information is partly in the public domain, partly in restricted access forums where the controller’s identity is hidden… the modern way of ham radio.

After some research, and with some residual uncertainty, I decided upon the so-called nanovna-H design by Hugen79

Hugen79 nominates a seller on Alibaba, but I was unable to purchase there because it would not accept my suburb in an address, and unwilling to put at risk the minimal buyer protection by purchasing outside of the selling platform, I went to Aliexpress for sellers. (No listings on eBay or Amazon for AU account holders, but many listings have appears on eBay since purchase).

Aliexpress is a platform by the Chinese for the Chinese, and from experience I am too well aware of the high risk of scammers and cheats leading to loss of one’s money. I decided to exceed my self imposed limit of A$30, a risk management strategy, and spend the $85 required by a seller offering free returns (whatever that means).

Above is the pic from the seller’s listing. Continue reading nanovna – a first plunge

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

CNC6040 router project – test cut of a Jiffy box

One of the intended applications of the CNC router is to cut openings in Jiffy boxes for things like LCD displays, tactile button switches, connectors etc.

After a lot of testing, it came time to try it on some target work.

Above is a scrap Jiffy box and the milling job is to cut holes for three pushbuttons (tactile momentary switches on a veroboard base with 10mm caps) and the holes for M3 screws and pillars. Continue reading CNC6040 router project – test cut of a Jiffy box