On testing two wire line loss with an analyser / VNA – part 5

This article series shows how to measure matched line loss (MLL) of a section of two wire line using an analyser or VNA. The examples use the nanoVNA, a low end inexpensive VNA, but the technique is equally applicable to a good vector based antenna analyser of sufficient accuracy (and that can save s1p files).

Article On testing two wire line loss with an analyser / VNA – part 2 showed a 1:1 transformer for measuring two wire lines without encouraging significant common mode current.

Online experts suggest that the required transformer is one from 50Ω to Zo of the line being measured. It is often said that: Continue reading On testing two wire line loss with an analyser / VNA – part 5

NanoVNA-H4 – a ferrite cored test inductor impedance measurement – s11 reflection vs s21 series vs s21 pi

This article documents estimation of common mode choke impedance by three different measurement techniques.

The test uses a small test inductor, 6t on a BN43-202 binocular core and a small test board, everything designed to minimum parasitics. This inductor has quite similar common mode impedance to good antenna common mode chokes.

Above is the SDR-KITS VNWA testboard. Continue reading NanoVNA-H4 – a ferrite cored test inductor impedance measurement – s11 reflection vs s21 series vs s21 pi

On testing two wire line loss with an analyser / VNA – part 4

This article calculates and compares three models for matched line loss (MLL) based on measurement of a transmission line section with short and open termination.

This article follows on from:

Measurements

The measurements permitted calculation of MLL vs frequency over the measurement frequency range of 10-200MHz.

The measurement frequency range was chosen as appropriate to the intended application range and the available / manageable sample length. To make measurements down to 100kHz with similar measurement noise would have required a test length of hundreds of metres.

Curve fitting

The measurement data was fitted to three popular models for MLL.

Above is a plot of MLL (dB/m) calculated from the measurements saved as s1p files (raw), and fits to three models: Continue reading On testing two wire line loss with an analyser / VNA – part 4

An admittance graph for NanoVNA-App

Often one finds that a cartesian plot of the components of admittance (conductance and susceptance) would be a convenient plot in understanding / solving a problem.

Let’s work through an example of designing an antenna shunt match to illustrate.

The example is based on measurement of the feed point impedance of a real antenna, an M40 1.2m long vehicle mounted helical whip for the 40m band.

Above is a plot of the VSWR. The minimum VSWR is a bit high, let’s drill down on it. Continue reading An admittance graph for NanoVNA-App

On ferrite cored RF broadband transformers and leakage inductance

By broadband transformer, I mean a transformer intended to have nearly nominal impedance transformation over a wide frequency range. That objective might be stated as a given InsertionVSWR over a given frequency range for a stated impedance. eg InsertionVSWR<2 from 3-30MHz with 3200(+j0)Ω load.

These are used in many things, including medium to high power applications such as EFHW matching transformers.

Leakage inductance is the equivalent series inductance due to flux that cuts one winding and not the other, and vice versa. For most simple transformers, the total primary referred leakage inductance is twice the primary leakage inductance. Since the leakage inductance appears in series with the signal path, it causes degradation of nominal impedance transformation, the very simplest approximation of the frequency response is that of a LR circuit.

Above is a Simsmith model of a 1µH total leakage inductance in series with a 50+j0Ω load, the InsertionVSWR is greater than 1.5 above 3MHz.

Is this a common scenario? Continue reading On ferrite cored RF broadband transformers and leakage inductance

Tips and techniques for measuring small RF inductors and transformers

Over more than 50 years, I have measured literally thousands of RF inductors and transformers. This article gives some hints and techniques for making / preparing prototypes for measurement, and measurement.

RF inductors and transformers will often use enameled copper wire (ECW) or some form of insulated wire or coax.

Solid core LAN cables are a good source of small insulated wire for prototyping. The conductor is around 0.5mm, and overall about 0.9mm.

Handy tools

Above, from left to right: Continue reading Tips and techniques for measuring small RF inductors and transformers

NanoVNA-H4 v4.3 – initial impressions

I have owned a NanoVNA-H v3.3 for more than two years now. It required some modification to fix a power supply decoupling problem on the mixers, reinforcement of the SMA connectors, replacement of the USB socket, rework of the case so the touch screen worked properly / reliably, and some minor works (eg battery charger chip, bad patch cables, faulty USB cable).

With recent enhancement of firmware to support an SD card, the prospect of stand alone use becomes more practical, so I set about researching and purchase.

It seemed the best option was to buy a ‘genuine’ NanoVNA-H4 v4.3, and I started the search at the recommended (by Hugen) store, Zeenko… but whilst there was a listing for v4.2, there was no v4.3 listing (perhaps it is out of stock). I did find another store selling what they described as a ‘genuine’ NanoVNA-H4 v4.3, but this is a high risk transaction, experience is that Chinese sellers are not to be trusted, and Aliexpress is an unsafe buying platform.

This is one of those concerning transactions where the seller notifies shipment and gives a tracking number hours before the deadline, then a week later change the tracking number (the ‘real’ shipment).

Above, the promo image from the listing. Continue reading NanoVNA-H4 v4.3 – initial impressions

nanoVNA – measure common mode choke – it is not all that hard!

It seems that lots of hams find measuring the impedance of a common mode choke a challenge… perhaps a result of online expert’s guidance?

The example for explanation is a common and inexpensive 5943003801 (FT240-43) ferrite core.

Expectation

It helps to understand what we expect to measure.

See A method for estimating the impedance of a ferrite cored toroidal inductor at RF for an explanation.

Note that the model used is not suitable for cores of material and dimensions such that they exhibit dimensional resonance at the frequencies of interest.

Be aware that the tolerances of ferrite cores are quite wide, and characteristics are temperature sensitive, so we must not expect precision results.

Above is a plot of the uncalibrated model of the expected inductor characteristic, it shows the type of response that is to be measured. The inductor is 11t wound on a Fair-rite 5943003801 (FT240-43) core in Reisert cross over style using 0.5mm insulated copper wire. Continue reading nanoVNA – measure common mode choke – it is not all that hard!

A simple Simsmith model for exploration of a 50Ω:200Ω transformer using a 2843009902 (BN43-7051) binocular ferrite core

EFHW-2843009902-43-2020-3-6kThis article applies the Simsmith model described at A simple Simsmith model for exploration of a common EFHW transformer design – 2t:14t to a ferrite cored 50Ω:200Ω transformer.

This article models the transformer on a nominal load, being \(Z_l=n^ 2 50 \;Ω\). Keep in mind that common applications of a 50Ω:200Ω transformer are not to 200Ω transformer loads, often antennas where the feed point impedance might vary quite widely, and performance of the transformer is quite sensitive to load impedance. The transformer is discussed here in a 50Ω:200Ω context.

Above is the prototype transformer using a 2843009902 (BN43-7051) binocular #43 ferrite core, the output terminals are shorted here, and total leakage inductance measured from one twisted connection to the other. Continue reading A simple Simsmith model for exploration of a 50Ω:200Ω transformer using a 2843009902 (BN43-7051) binocular ferrite core

A simple Simsmith model for exploration of a common EFHW transformer design – 2t:14t

This article describes a Simsmith model for an EFHW transformer using a popular design as an example.

This article models the transformer on a nominal load, being \(Z_l=n^ 2 50 \;Ω\). Real EFHW antennas operated at their fundamental resonance and harmonics are not that simple, so keep in mind that this level of design is but a pre-cursor to building a prototype and measurement and tuning with a real antenna.

Above is the prototype transformer measured using a nanoVNA, the measurement is of the inductance at the primary terminals with the secondary short circuited. Continue reading A simple Simsmith model for exploration of a common EFHW transformer design – 2t:14t