N6THN’s novel balun

One sees lots of articles and videos on how to make a current balun suited to a low VSWR antenna. This one was recommended in an online discussion on QRZ.com. N6THN might not have invented this balun, but he made a video of it.

In this case, it is described in the referenced video as part of a half wave dipole antenna where you might expect the minimum feed point VSWR to be less than 2.

Apologies for the images, some are taken from the video and they are not good… but bear with me.

The balun as described

Above is the ‘schematic’ of the balun.Note the entire path from rig to dipole. Continue reading N6THN’s novel balun

Comment on KN5L on balun CMRR – series through impedance fixture

In recent articles, I flagged that on some of John’s VNWA plots he showed flawed impedance calculations using VNWA’s t2s inbuilt function.

The function t2s is documented in the VNWA help.

t2s is a VNWA built in function intended to solve the so-called s21 series through fixture for impedance measurement of two terminal Zx connected between Port 1 and Port 2.

None of John’s test fixtures were equivalent to the circuit above required for valid t2s transformation. Continue reading Comment on KN5L on balun CMRR – series through impedance fixture

Comment on KN5L on balun CMRR – two wire line example

The article Comment on KN5L on balun CMRR dealt with model and measurement of John’s coaxial choke in fixture, dealt with first because it is a simpler model. This article builds on that and models the balun wound with a pair of wires.

Above is the subject balun in fixture.

John’s schematic shows the balun as coupled coils, but that does not capture the transmission line transformation that occurs in the actual device. Again the test fixture is used without explanation. Continue reading Comment on KN5L on balun CMRR – two wire line example

Comment on KN5L on balun CMRR – coax example

One of the ham fashions of proposed solutions to characterising a balun is to find the Common Mode Rejection Ratio (a term carried over from other applications, eg voltage driven operational amplifiers).

(Anaren 2005) explains a method of finding balun CMRR. Anaren gives a definition of CMRR:

Common Mode Rejection Ratio is defined and the ratio between the differential mode insertion loss/gain versus the common mode signal loss or gain.

Note that in a passive system, CMRR (or CMR) in dB will usually be positive, and the larger the better. You might even think that the plain English meaning of the words Common Mode Rejection Ratio would suggest that a large ratio (or high +ve dB value) would mean most rejection, goodness. Such a meaning would be quite consistent with that of CMRR (CMR) applied to operation amplifiers (for a very long time).

Anaren does not mention applying the CMRR statistic to antenna systems. I have commented elsewhere on the lack of utility of CMRR in analysing common antenna systems.

Then immediately after the above definition, they give a formula which implies the inverse:

\(CMRR=\frac{S_{1c}}{S_{1d}}\) and goodness would be a tiny fractional value, or a small (-ve) dB value.

John, KN5L, has published his own solution to balun characterisation in some online forums. Continue reading Comment on KN5L on balun CMRR – coax example

Transmission line filter for a field day station – implementation

Transmission line filter for a field day station – designs laid out some designs for a transmission line filter for harmonic reduction of a field day station on 7MHz. This article describes Bruce’s, VK4MQ, implementation of the “two stubs are better than one” option. Huber+Suhner RG214 coax was used.

Firstly two quarter wavelengths OC stubs were tuned to 14.2MHz by iterative cut and measure. The coax was 20mm longer than prediction, I am not convinced that the transmission line models in Simsmith are better than that. Then the tees were made up and the connecting section and tuned by cut and measure for minimum |s11| at 7.1MHz.

Above is the VNA sweep for the completed filter. Rejection around 14.2MHz exceeds 50dB with bandwidth of over 0.6MHz. Continue reading Transmission line filter for a field day station – implementation

Transmission line filter for a field day station – designs

Bruce, VK4MQ, was canvassing ideas of a simple way to reduce second harmonics from a 40m field station interfering with operations on 20m at the same site.

A shunt OC stub of 90° electrical length was proposed to start thinking. My thoughts were that online experts often propose such as a cheap and effective solution… but I suspect they had read about it rather than speaking from actual experience.

The models and calculations assume that linear circuit theory applies, that the source is well represented by a Thevenin equivalent circuit with Zth=50+j0Ω. Most ham transmitters are not well represented by such a circuit, and the calculated results may not apply exactly. The calculated results should be observed when measuring with a good VNA.

Here is the problem

Above is a Simsmith model of a shunt stub in a linear matched 50Ω system. The stub achieves a reduction of more than 20dB over about 900kHz, and a maximum reduction of around 35dB at 14.2MHz.

But, it ruins the VSWR seen at G at 7.1MHz, VSWR is 2.6. Continue reading Transmission line filter for a field day station – designs

Phase of s11 and Z

Antenna system resonance and the nanoVNA contained the following:

Relationship between angle of reflection coefficient and angle of impedance

It was stated above that the angle (or phase) of s11 or Γ is not the same as the angle (or phase) of Z.

Given Zo and Γ, we can find θ, the angle of Z.


Zo and Γ are complex values, so we will separate them into the modulus and angle.

\left | Z \right | \angle \theta =\left | Z_0 \right | \angle \psi \frac{1+\left| \Gamma \right | \angle \phi}{1-\left| \Gamma \right | \angle \phi} \\
\theta =arg \left ( \left | Z_0 \right | \angle \psi \frac{1+\left| \Gamma \right | \angle \phi}{1-\left| \Gamma \right | \angle \phi} \right )\)

We can see that the θ, the angle of Z, is not simply equal to φ, the angle of Γ, but is a function of four variables: \(\left | Z_0 \right |, \psi , \left| \Gamma \right |, \& \: \phi\) .

It is true that if ψ=0 and φ=0 that θ=0, but that does not imply a wider simple equality. This particular combination is sometimes convenient, particularly when ψ=0 as if often the case with a VNA.

This article offers a simulation of a load similar to a 7MHz half wave dipole.

The load comprises L, L1, and C1 and the phase of s11 (or Γ) and phase of Z (seen at the source G) are plotted, along with VSWR. Continue reading Phase of s11 and Z

The quarter sized G5RV with hybrid feed

(Varney 1958) described his G5RV antenna in two forms, one with tuned feeders and the more popular form with hybrid feed consisting of a matching section of open wire line and then an arbitrary length of lower Zo coax or twin to the transmitter.

(Duffy 2005) showed that the hybrid feed is susceptible to high losses in the low Zo line as it is often longish, is relatively high loss line and operates with standing waves.

Lets look at measurement of a real antenna, broadly typical of the G5RV. The antenna measured is a G5RV rigged in Inverted V form, 11m height at the apex and around 8m at the ends. The feed line is 2mm diameter copper spaced 50mm with occasional plastic insulators.

To some extent, the measurements are dependent on the environment, and whilst there will be variation from one implementation to another, the measurements provide a basis for exposing the configuration challenge.

Screenshot - 01_05_16 , 19_33_56

Above is a plot of VSWR(50) essentially at the lower end of the matching section and low Zo line. The measurement is made looking into 0.5m of RG142 and a Guanella current balun that uses about 1m of 110Ω pair, it is essentially the load end VSWR of a hybrid feed were it used. Continue reading The quarter sized G5RV with hybrid feed

Antenna system resonance and the nanoVNA

With the popularity of the nanoVNA, the matter of optimisation of antenna systems comes up and the hoary chestnuts of ham radio are trotted out yet again.

Having skimmed a presentation published on the net, an interesting example is presented of an 80m half wave centre dipole with feed line and various plots from the nanoVNA used to illustrate the author’s take on things.

The author is obsessed with resonance and obsessed with phase, guiding the audience to phase as ‘the’ optimisation target. Phase of what you might ask… all the plots the author used to illustrate his point are phase of s11.

A model for discussion

I have constructed an NEC-4.2 model of a somewhat similar antenna to illustrate sound concepts. Since NEC-4.2 does not model lossy transmission lines (TL elements), we will import the feed point data into Simsmith to include transmission line loss in the model.

Above is the Simsmith model. Continue reading Antenna system resonance and the nanoVNA