Calculate Loss from s11 and s21 – convenient online calculator

I often need to calculate loss from marker values on a VNA screen, or extracted from a saved .s2p file.

Firstly, loss means PowerIn/PowerOut, and can be expressed in dB as 10log(PowerIn/PowerOut). For a passive network, loss is always greater than unity or +ve in dB.

\(loss=\frac{PowerIn}{PowerOut}\\\)

Some might also refer to this as Transmission Loss to avoid doubt, but it is the fundamental meaning of loss which might be further qualified.

So, lets find the two quantities in the right hand side using ‘powerwaves’ as used in S parameter measurement.

s11 and s21 are complex quantities, both relative to port 1 forward power, so we can use them to calculate relative PowerIn and relative PowerOut, and from that PowerIn/PowerOut.

PowerIn

PowerIn is port 1 forward power less the reflected power at port 1, \(PowerIn=P_{fwd} \cdot (1-|s11|^2)\).

PowerOut

PowerOut is port 2 forward power times less the reflected power at the load (which we take to be zero as under this test it is a good 50Ω termination), \(PowerOut=P_{fwd} \cdot |s21|^2 \).

Loss

So, we can calculate \(loss=\frac{PowerIn}{PowerOut}=\frac{\frac{PowerIn}{P_{fwd}}}{ \frac{PowerOut}{P_{fwd}}}=\frac{1-|s11|^2}{|s21|^2}\)

Noelec makes a small transformer, the Balun One Nine, pictured above and they offer a set of |s11| and |s12| curves in a back to back test. (Note: back to back tests are not a very reliable test.) Continue reading Calculate Loss from s11 and s21 – convenient online calculator

Measure transmission line Zo – nanoVNA – PVC speaker twin

There are many ways to get a good estimate of the characteristic impedance Zo of a transmission line.

One method is to measure the input impedances of a section of line with both a short circuit and open circuit termination. From Zsc and Zoc we can calculate the Zo, and the complex propagation constant \(\gamma=\alpha + \jmath \beta\), and from that, MLL.

Calculation of Zo is quite straightforward.

The solution for γ involves the log of a complex number \(r \angle \theta\) which is one of the many possible values \(ln(r) + j \left(\theta + 2 \pi k \right)\) for +ve integer k. Conveniently, the real part α is simply \(ln(r) \). The real part of γ is the attenuation in Np/m which can be scaled to dB/m, and the imaginary part is the phase velocity in c/m. The challenge is finding k.

Measurement with nanoVNA

So, let’s measure a sample of 14×0.14, 0.22mm^2, 0.5mm dia PVC insulated small speaker twin.

Above is the nanoVNA setup for measurement. Continue reading Measure transmission line Zo – nanoVNA – PVC speaker twin

Measure transmission line Zo – nanoVNA – CCS RG6

There are many ways to get a good estimate of the characteristic impedance Zo of a transmission line.

One method is to measure the input impedances of a section of line with both a short circuit and open circuit termination. From Zsc and Zoc we can calculate the Zo, and the complex propagation constant \(\gamma=\alpha + \jmath \beta\), and from that, MLL.

Calculation of Zo is quite straightforward.

The solution for γ involves the log of a complex number \(r \angle \theta\) which is one of the many possible values \(ln(r) + j \left(\theta + 2 \pi k \right)\) for +ve integer k. Conveniently, the real part α is simply \(ln(r) \). The real part of γ is the attenuation in Np/m which can be scaled to dB/m, and the imaginary part is the phase velocity in c/m. The challenge is finding k.

Let’s take an example from recent measurements of 35m of CCS RG6 coax, and extract the s11 values recorded in saved .s1p files @ 1.87MHz. The saved data in MA format, magnitude and angle (in degrees).

Calculate Zo and gamma is flexible and can accept the MA format data directly.

Above, the results. Zo is 74.73-j1.156Ω, and matched line loss MLL is 0.03281dB/m. This MLL is quite a deal higher than you might find in many line loss calculators, they often fail on CCS cables. Continue reading Measure transmission line Zo – nanoVNA – CCS RG6

Nichols: The Two Bird Experiment

With the following introduction, (Nichols nd) tries to demonstrate some important principles. He says…

This really tests your understanding of transmission line theory.

Above is Nichols’ test setup, simple enough.

With the transmitter keyed, the transmatch is adjusted to show zero reflected power on Bird Wattmeter #1. Transmitter is then adjusted to generate exactly 100 watts of forward power indicated on Bird Wattmeter #1. Bird directional Wattmeter #2 indicates about 36 watts of REFLECTED power. (Charts are readily available to show that a 4:1 mismatch gives about 36% reflected power).

Continue reading Nichols: The Two Bird Experiment

nanoVNA – measure Transmission Loss – example 5

This article is demonstration of measurement of Transmission Loss in a section of two wire transmission line embedded in a common mode choke. The scenario is based on an online article  MEASURING DM ATTENUATION of YOUR CMC USING THE NANOVNA AND NANOVNA SAVER.

The reference article publishes measured attenuation or loss being -1.45dB @ 28.4MHz. Of course, the -ve value hints that the author is lost in hamdom where all losses MUST be -ve dB..

The meaning of loss in a generic sense (ie without further qualification) is \(loss=\frac{Power_{in}}{Power_{out}}\) and can be expressed in dB as \(loss_{dB}=10 log_{10}(loss)\).

Some might interpret the result to imply that \((1-10^{\frac{-loss}{10}})*100=28 \%\) of input power is converted to heat in the choke.

The result given (and corrected) as 1.45dB was taken simply from the nanoVNA \(|s21|\) result, and so it is actually InsertionLoss, not simply Loss.

What is the difference? Continue reading nanoVNA – measure Transmission Loss – example 5

Disturbing the thing being measured – coax line

An issue that often arises in online discussions inability to reconcile the VSWR indicated by a transceiver (or possibly an inline VSWR meter) and an antenna analyser.

Is this Segal’s law at play?

There are several common contributors including:

  • faulty, dirty, or not properly mated connectors and cables;
  • VSWR meters that are not accurate at low power levels; and
  • influence of the common mode current path on VSWR.

Continue reading Disturbing the thing being measured – coax line

Quantifying performance of a simple broadcast receive system on MF

I see online discussions struggling to try to work out if a receiving system is sufficiently good for a certain application.

Let’s work an example using Simsmith to do some of the calculations.

Scenario:

  • 20m ground mounted vertical base fed against a 2.4m driven earth electrode @ 0.5MHz;
  • 10m RG58A/U coax; and
  • Receiver with 500+j0Ω ohms input impedance and Noise Figure 20dB.

An NEC-4.2 model of the antenna gives a feed point impedance of 146-j4714Ω and radiation efficiency of 0.043%, so radiation resistance \(Rr=146 \cdot 0.00043=0.0063\).

Above, the NEC antenna model summary. Continue reading Quantifying performance of a simple broadcast receive system on MF

nanoVNA – measure Transmission Loss – example 4

This article is demonstration of measurement of Transmission Loss in a section of coaxial transmission line. The scenario is chosen to expose the experiment to some of the things that complicate such measurements.

The very popular nanoVNA-H will be used to make the measurements.

The scenario:

  • nanoVNA fully calibrated from 1.5-1.8MHz using a 200mm length coax lead on Port 2 (nanoVNA CH1);
  • 10m of RG58C/U; and
  • f=1.65MHz.

Above is a block diagram of the test configuration. nanoVNA measurements are wrt 50Ω, so \(P=\frac{V^2}{50}\) and \(V=\sqrt{50P}\). Continue reading nanoVNA – measure Transmission Loss – example 4

KL7AJ on the Conjugate Match Theorem – analytical solution – Simsmith

KL7AJ on the Conjugate Match Theorem asked the question Should we have expected this outcome?

Let us solve a very similar problem analytically where measurement errors do not contribute to the outcome.

Taking the load impedance to be the same 10.1+j0.2Ω, and calculating for a T match similar to the MFJ-949E (assuming L=26µH, QL=200, and ideal capacitors) with Simsmith we can find a near perfect match.

The capacitors are 177.2 and 92.9pF for the match. Continue reading KL7AJ on the Conjugate Match Theorem – analytical solution – Simsmith

nanoVNA – measure Transmission Loss – example 3

This article is demonstration of measurement of Transmission Loss in a section of coaxial transmission line. The scenario is chosen to expose the experiment to some of the things that complicate such measurements.

The very popular nanoVNA-H will be used to make the measurements.

The scenario:

  • nanoVNA fully calibrated from 1-5MHz using a 200mm length coax lead on Port 2 (nanoVNA CH1);
  • 35m of CCS RG6/U (close to an electrical quarter wavelength);
  • 75-50Ω Minimum Loss Pad (5.72dB); and
  • f=1.65MHz (close to a quarter wavelength.

Above is a block diagram of the test configuration. nanoVNA measurements are wrt 50Ω, so \(P=\frac{V^2}{50}\) and \(V=\sqrt{50P}\). Continue reading nanoVNA – measure Transmission Loss – example 3