Some pretty woolly thinking on measuring Thevenin equivalent source impedance of a ham transmitter

A ham seeking to optimise his station based on some measurements with a VNA and some modelling of a matching network posted the results of a test in the process.

The radio is an Icom IC-7300. I bypassed the built in tuner, transmitted a tone into my external tuner, adjusted it for SWR=1. I then disconnected the tuner from the radio, and measured the impedance looking into the tuner with a VNA. Surprisingly, (to me anyway) the result was a pretty good 53-j3 Ohms at 14 MHz.

What should we / have expected? It is an interesting case to study. Continue reading Some pretty woolly thinking on measuring Thevenin equivalent source impedance of a ham transmitter

Collins 30-L1 on FT-8

After a lot of grief with Excel trying to open and fix some 10 year old spreadsheets… finally…

I was recently asked about FT-8 on the Colling 30-L1 linear amplifier considering my article Collins 30L-1 and AM.

The first thing to note is the Colling 30-L1 manual cautions against AM and FSK:

That said, what are the reasons for such a prohibition? Continue reading Collins 30-L1 on FT-8

Baofeng BF-T1 (BF-9100) – initial impressions

I purchased two inexpensive Baofeng BF-T1 UHF portables (hand-helds) for use around the yard.

Key features:

  • LiIon pouch single cell battery that may be obtainable longer than proprietary batteries;
  • micro USB charger interface, internal charge / battery management;
  • programmable with CHIRP (channel table only);
  • chanellised operation, lockable keypad;
  • CTCSS support;
  • integrated antenna;
  • small and lightweight (110g with belt clip);
  • inexpensive.

The radio has been in the market for more than three years, so one might hope that design issues have been fixed in ‘mature’ product. Continue reading Baofeng BF-T1 (BF-9100) – initial impressions

AIM4170 – de-embedding the feed line in remote measurement – a simple match

At AIM4170 – de-embedding the feed line in remote measurement a set of measurements of a monoband antenna looking from the transmitter were analysed to de-embed the feed line and arrive at the indicated feed point impedance.

This article explores a simple series match to improve the load seen by the transmitter.

In the Simsmith model above, the estimated feed point impedance is imported into element L, then a series section of lossless 50Ω line to represent the coax in the common mode choke (balun), then a series section of lossless 75Ω to perform the impedance transformation, then a section of 50Ω lossless line to make up the required length to the transmitter. Continue reading AIM4170 – de-embedding the feed line in remote measurement – a simple match

AIM4170 – de-embedding the feed line in remote measurement

At nanoVNA-H – de-embedding the feed line in remote measurement I recently wrote on a procedure that can be very useful to refer measurements made at the transmitter end of a feed line to the antenna feed point.

A correspondent recently shared an AIM 4170 scan file of his 40m half wave dipole antenna system taken from the transmitter end of the coax and maintaining the common mode current path by bonding the shield of the coax connector to normal connection point on the transmitter.

Above is his graphic of the measurement looking into around 23m of RG58 feed line.

It shows the VSWR curve is quite classic in shape, the frequency of minimum VSWR is a little low, and the minimum VSWR is 1.478 which is quite within expectations of such an antenna. Continue reading AIM4170 – de-embedding the feed line in remote measurement

nanoVNA-H – another hardware fail – battery socket

I have a nanoVNA-H which has had many hardware problems, some designed in,but mostly sub-standard / faulty components.

Above, the latest repair. A new battery socket to replace the original that crumbled apart… sub-standard plastic from all appearances. This was from a reputable supplier, so it is probably a genuine Molex Picoblade part rather than some cheap Chinese knock off.

The blue wire is part of a mod to invoke the bootloader on power up, R5 was also changed to something small, 1k IIRC.

PS: a word of warning… always check polarity when fitting a battery, there is not rigid standardisation of connectors on LIPO batteries.

nanoVNA-H – Port 1 attenuator for improved what???

At nanoVNA-H – Port 2 attenuator for improved Return Loss I explained the reasons for essentially permanent attachment of a 10dB attenuator to Port 2 (Ch 1 in nanoVNA speak).

 

Above, the 10dB attenuator is semi permanently attached to Port 2 principally to improve the Return Loss (or impedance match) of Port 2, a parameter that becomes quite important when testing some types of networks than depend on proper termination (eg many filters). I should remind readers that the improvement in Port 2 Return Loss comes at a cost, the dynamic range of Port 2 is reduced by 10dB. Continue reading nanoVNA-H – Port 1 attenuator for improved what???

nanoVNA-H – woolly thinking on MLL measurement

There is little doubt that the nanoVNA has made VNAs very popular in the ham community, possibly more so that any other device.

Eager owners are trying to apply them to solve lots of problems, often without sufficient knowledge or experience to properly inform the measurements.

An example that has a appeared a few times on online forums in the last weeks is measuring the matched line loss (MLL) of a section of RG6 coax… to inform a decision to discard it or keep it.

The common approach is to use a measurement of |s11| and to calculate Return Loss and infer the MLL.

DUT

For discussion, lets consider an example of 30′ of Belden 1694A RG6 solved in Simsmith. We should note that unlike most RG6 in the market today, this uses a solid copper centre conductor.

Short circuit termination

Some authors insist that the half return loss method is to be performed using a short circuit test section. Bird does this in their Bird 43 manual.

Above is a plot of calculated |s11| (-ReturnLoss) from 1 to 20MHz for the test section. The three plots are of |s11| wrt 50Ω, 75Ω and frequency dependent actual Zo (as calculated for the model). The cursor shows that the actual |s11| is -0.37474dB (ReturnLoss=0.37474dB). Using the half return loss method MLL=ReturnLoss/2=0.37474=0.187dB/m. Continue reading nanoVNA-H – woolly thinking on MLL measurement