An Insertion VSWR test gone wrong
We often learn more from failures than successes, this exercise is one of those opportunities.
An online poster tried to validate his newly purchased MFJ-918 by measuring Insertion VSWR.
That is done preferably by measuring a good termination (dummy load) to validate that it has a very low VSWR, then inserting the Device Under Test (DUT) and measuring the VSWR as a result of insertion of the DUT.
The poster did not mention measurement of the dummy load alone, and it is a type that warrants validation.
Above is the poster’s test setup, his Rigexpert AA-170 is connected to the balun’s input jack using a M-M adapter. The output wires on the balun form a rough circle of about 550mm perimeter by eye. Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #27
Last update: 24th June, 2017, 1:44 PM
A ham in the need of help recently asked for advice on eHam about the use of Wireman Ladder Line and the like.
After a fairly well considered, detailed and lengthy answer from on online expert, another online expert stepped in to confuse the matter with conflicting advice:
Wire resistance (loss due to current ) is not a factor with higher voltages typically seen in high impedance antenna feed applications. Attenuation loss is a factor depending on dielectric properties in VHF and UHF frequencies. Their is little skin effect below 50 MHz in wire antennas and feeds.
This comes down to line strength. I would go with the solid Copperweld for HF antenna work.
Let’s examine the above quote. Continue reading Loss of windowed ladder line at MF/HF/VHF
Last update: 7th March, 2017, 8:26 AM
Messi & Paoloni Ultraflex 7 coax cable is being marketed as similar to RG-213 in performance, but 7mm overall (against 10mm).
There is lots of comment by online experts questioning the claims, and critical of things like the braid coverage, copper foil etc, but without real evidence that it does not live up to specification.
Accepting the specifications for Ultraflex 7 and Belden 8267 (B8267, RG-213) for a moment, how do they compare.
Let’s take the loss factors calculated for TLLC and de-construct the conductor and dielectric loss for each line type.
Above is a comparison of the cables. Continue reading Messi & Paoloni Ultraflex 7 coax cable
Last update: 5th March, 2017, 10:09 AM
I have been building a new workstation and a simple test of its reliability for logging signals via the IC-7300 sound card is to run WSPR.
So, WSJT-X was configured for WSPR on 40m and run for 24h using the low G5RV inverted V dipole with tuned feeders (designed primarily as an NVIS antenna for local contacts).
Above is a map of the spots involving VK2OMD over the 24h survey. Continue reading WSPR checkout on new workstation
Last update: 6th March, 2017, 12:43 PM
NH7RO describes his loop project at Building a 7-foot diameter QRO STL for 40M in my HOA backyard.
The loop appears to be made from 7/8″ copper tube, and is 7′ in diameter. He estimates its efficiency to be 66% and initially reports
I’ve got it less than 4 feet above ground yet it tunes flat to 1.1>1 with roughly 10kHz bandwidth.. Curiously, 10kHz is the result calculated by AA5TB’s spreadsheet, though I have written elsewhere it is deeply flawed (Small transmitting loop calculators – a comparison).
Let us assume that these figures are correctly reported, and that the unqualified bandwidth means the half power bandwidth of a matched loop.
We can estimate the efficiency of a Small Transmitting Loop (STL) in free space.
Before getting excited about the results, let us question the validity of the model. There are three important factors that question the validity of the model:
- size of the loop; and
- proximity to ground.
Continue reading NH7RO 7-foot diameter QRO STL for 40M
Last update: 18th July, 2017, 7:42 AM
I recently purchased a Surecom SW-102 VSWR meter. It looked a little like a supercharged RedDot copy.
Above the Surecom SW-102 VSWR meter with backlight and photographed under normal interior lighting. The display lacks contrast, and overall is difficult to read due to size of text, fonts used, and lack of contrast. (The pic is taken with a screen protector installed, but the evaluation is based on the bare meter with original protective film removed as it degraded readability.) Continue reading Surecom SW-102 VSWR meter review
Last update: 18th May, 2018, 12:25 PM
A ham in search of good advice asked in QRZ forums
dB, dBi, and dBd: I have a loose grasp of these terms and their relationships. Is there any way to rule of thumb the gain of any antenna over a dipole over earth?
Popular ham opinion
The following quotes are taken from the online discussion (eHam 2011).
Continue reading dB, dBi, and dBd
Last update: 4th February, 2017, 4:03 PM
Find coax cable velocity factor using a very basic analyser
A common task is to measure the velocity factor of a sample of coaxial transmission line using an instrument that lacks facility to backout cable sections or measure SOL calibration (as discussed in other articles in this series). The older models and newer budget models often fall into this category.
The manuals for such instruments often explain how to measure coaxial cable velocity factor, and the method assumes there is zero offset at the measurement terminals (whether they be the built-in terminals or some fixture / adapters). In fact even the connectors are a source of error, especially UHF series connectors.
It is the failure to read exactly Z=0+j0Ω with a S/C applied to the measurement terminals that adversely impacts efforts to measure resonant frequency of a test line section.
The method described here approximately nulls out offsets in the instrument, measurement fixture, and even in the connectors used and for that reason may sometimes be of use with more sophisticated analysers.
Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #26
Last update: 30th January, 2017, 7:41 AM
A convenient list of ‘Exploiting your antenna analyser’ and short subject sub-titles, a table of contents for the series as it grows.
Exploiting your antenna analyser #30 Quality of termination used for calibration
Exploiting your antenna analyser #29 Resolving the sign of reactance – a method – Smith chart detail
Exploiting your antenna analyser #28 Resolving the sign of reactance – a method
Exploiting your antenna analyser #27 An Insertion VSWR test gone wrong
Exploiting your antenna analyser #26 Find coax cable velocity factor using a very basic analyser
Exploiting your antenna analyser #25 Find coax cable velocity factor using an antenna analyser without using SOL calibration
Exploiting your antenna analyser #24 Find coax cable velocity factor using an antenna analyser with SOL calibration
Exploiting your antenna analyser #23 Seeing recent discussion by online experts insisting that power relays are not suitable to RF prompts an interesting and relevant application of a good antenna analyser Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser – contents
Last update: 28th May, 2019, 10:28 AM
A correspondent asked about the use of a Jaycar LO1238 ferrite core in VK3IL’s EFHW matching unit for 40m and up. The LO1238 implementation would use 3t primary and 24t secondary on the core.
If the transformer is simply used without an ATU between it and the radio, and we assume that the antenna system is adjusted to present low VSWR(50) to the radio, a simple approximation involves calculating the magnetising admittance of the 3t 50Ω winding, and calculating the portion of total input power that is dissipated in that admittance.
Using the calculator at Calculate ferrite cored inductor, the admittance (G+jB) of the 3t winding is 0.00177-j0.00204S. (The impedance of a sample wind could be measured with a suitable analyser and converted to admittance.) Continue reading End fed matching – VK3IL design on LO1238
Last update: 6th January, 2017, 8:43 AM