A recent online posting asserted that an antenna is optimal when itself resonant, and fed with a resonant feed line length so delivering a purely resistive load to a source, and further that implementors needed to be careful that a shorter dipole could be offset to some extent by a longer feed line but it would be inferior because:
no short antenna is more efficient than a resonant-length antenna
… but does that stand scrutiny?
An NEC experiment
Lets walk though an experiment using NEC-4.2 models of a dipole of 2mm copper wire at 10m height at 7.1MHz over average ground (σ=0.005, εr=13).
source has a Thevenin equivalent source impedance of 50+j0Ω;
feed line is lossless.
The results are sensitive to the model assumptions.
This article documents a small experiment with a quite small untuned loop, and LNA and receiver on 80m to assess its ability to copy signals on the band as well as the station transceiver on large antenna.
A significant factor at 80m is that ambient noise is quite high. Let’s consult ITU P.372-12 for guidance.
Curve E is the median city noise, at 3.6MHz Fa is about 62dB. At a more detailed level, P.372-12 gives the median noise figure for Rural precincts at 51.8dB and that figure is more appropriate to the test location (large block rural residential).
This article demonstrates use of a GR1606B RF impedance bridge for measurement of the feed point impedance of a MHz loaded mobile whip. The antenna is roof mounted on a vehicle and measurements are made looking into 4m of RG58C/U, then transformed to feed point impedance using three tools:
This is a review of the BG7TBL noise source available on eBay for about $20 incl post. I have seen this recommended in various online forums and thought it worthy of review.
A quick mention of Excess Noise Ratio (ENR), it is a commonly used measure of the characteristic of noise sources. A noise source for testing low noise RF amplifiers needs to be less than 10dB, 5dB is common; for other receiver testing around 15dB is common, and for massive output for filter alignment etc the noise needs to be well above a spectrum analyser noise floor so an ENR of 50dB might be appropriate (but such high noise output makes it useless for LNA noise figure measurement),
Above is the device. The layout is pretty simple, it is a Zener noise source at the left followed by three MMIC amplifier stages. The circuitry at mid left is a DC-DC converter to supply 25V to the Zener.
There are a host of aspects so far that are concerning:
there is no need to operate the Zener at such high voltage;
lack of regulation of MMIC power supply;
the noise output of the Zener source should be quite high; and
three stages of MMIC will give rise to huge output, notwithstanding the on-board attenuators at Zener output and final MMIC output.
I tried to make an antenna loop for longwave with cat 5 and after it did no good I realized the twisted wires canceled each other out.
Or did they really cancel?
I constructed a loop of one Cat 5 pair and measured its inductance when both wires are bonded at the ends.
The conductors are 0.5mm diameter and spaced 0.9mm. To estimate the inductance we use the geometric mean radius (GMR) as the equivalent radius of the pair. GMR=(0.5*0.9)^0.5=0.67, diameter=1.34mm. So let’s calculate the inductance of a single turn circular loop of 0.8m perimeter and round conductor of 1.34mm diameter.
The measurement is made is preamp off (so that the S meter is more realistic), and the supplied NoiseFigure is a guess… but the noise source is so strong (being some 30+dB above the receiver internal noise) that the result is barely sensitive to that assumption.
For a lot of experiments, knowledge of the Equivalent Noise Bandwidth (ENB) of a receiver is necessary. The ENB is the bandwidth of an ideal rectangular filter with the same gain as some reference frequency, 1kHz is usually specified for SSB telephony receiver sensitivity measurement.
Though filters are often specified in terms of bandwidth at x dB down, that metric is of relatively little value, the x is often 6dB but not always, the filters depart significantly from ideal or even common response.
In brief, a white noise source is connected to the receiver input, Filter2 (nominal 2400Hz bandwidth soft response) selected and set to standard PBT, and the audio output captured on a PC based audio spectrum analyser, Spectrogram 16 in this case.
Spectrogram is set to integrate over 30s to average the variations due to the noise excitation. The resulting graph and text spectrum log are saved.
I bought an inexpensive GPS antenna on eBay, the requirement was for one that operated from 3-5V to suit both of my GPSDOs. The antenna is mounted in an electrical junction box on conduit above the roof for reliable coverage.
The question was whether the active antenna with 5m of RG174 coax and SMA male connector at A$6 posted was any good.
To map its behaviour, it was attached to a Trimble Thunderbolt GPSDO and Lady Heather used to plot rx signal level over about 30h.
Above is the plot. The pattern is not quite symmetric as there are obstructions in play, in fact some of the dips in performance are explained by specific trees and the roof profile. There is a gap to the south at low elevations, GPS satellites don’t fly there (MEO inclined 55° from the equator) .
Overall, it reaches similar strength at the zenith as other antennas tried.
Overall evaluation, it seems to work ok though the coax is a bit rough.