There are frequent recommendations of RG174 for portable stations (eg SOTA), usually running QRP, principally because it is light and easy to wind up into a small package to fit into a pack. RG174 commonly uses silver coated steel (SCS) centre conductor, sometimes copper clad steel (CCS), sometimes copper.
Speaker cable and similar Figure-8 twin in various sizes is popular as RF transmission line, particularly with QRP operators, especially those operating portable in the field (eg SOTA activators). Indeed, SOTA seems to have triggered a revival in the use of these cables. With the large number of online recommendations, one could be forgiven for thinking that a dipole and feed line formed entirely from #24 speaker wire is the antenna of choice.
With that in mind, this article looks at the performance of Jaycar WB1702 speaker cable, 14×0.14mm conductors (#24) with PVC insulation, cost $0.50/m.
Matched Line Loss (MLL) is the loss or attenuation of a transmission line terminated in its actual characteristic impedance, and usually give for some length, eg dB/100′, dB/100m, dB/m.
One method that occurs in ham radio articles is to measure the input resistance of a resonant s/c or o/c stub, and to calculate MLL as 8.686*Rin/Zo/length dB/unitlength. (This is not the only method, or even a good one, but it is commonly used.)
G3TXQ has published (undated) a set of measurements on commercial windowed ladder line at Wet ladderline (accessed 10/01/14).
His measurements are of interest as there is a dearth of credible measurement data for these types of lines below 50MHz. Continue reading Windowed ladder line loss – G3TXQ