Another measurement of a balun’s Insertion VSWR

Further to An interesting case study of measurement of a balun’s Insertion VSWR, this article presents similar measurements of a small DIY balun.


Above is the top view of the balun, and the test termination comprised two 100Ω 1% resistors clamped between the screw terminals, so pigtails were just 3mm in length.


Above is a view of the interior.The coax pigtails are quite short, they exist at the input and output. Continue reading Another measurement of a balun’s Insertion VSWR

An interesting case study of measurement of a balun’s Insertion VSWR

Jeff, 2E0CIT, sent me a Rigexpert AA-170 measurement file of his test of Insertion VSWR of a commercial balun.

Insertion VSWR is the VSWR looking into the balun with a matched load (termination) on its output, it is a measure of imperfection of the balun. It ought to be a specification item for low Insertion VSWR baluns, but it rarely given.

A broadband low Insertion VSWR balun must be wound with a transmission line of the nominal impedance, 50Ω in this case, and in the case of 50Ω , it is most likely to be coax.

Above is the initial VSWR plot received. The VSWR response is poorer than one might want in a low Insertion VSWR balun… but to drill down on the reasons, the Smith chart view of the data gives insight. Continue reading An interesting case study of measurement of a balun’s Insertion VSWR

Choosing a toroidal magnetic core – ID and OD

One sees lots of articles describing inductors and transformers wound on rectangular cross section ferrite cores, and in explanations, the OD seems to be an important parameter but little consideration is given to ID.

Inductance of an inductor on a rectangular toroidal core depends on many factors, and among them ID and OD. Inductance is proportional to ln(OD/ID).

Above is a plot of the factor ln(OD/ID) against ID/OD as a percentage. It can be seen that for ID/OD approaching unity (ie a radially ‘thin’ toroidal core) that the characteristic is almost linear, and inductance is proportional to the radial thickness of the core. Continue reading Choosing a toroidal magnetic core – ID and OD

W0SJ matching transformer for an EFLW (Laird 28B1540-000)

QST publishes a design by W0SJ for a nominal 50:450Ω EFLW matching device from 160-10m using the following circuit.

The article is ‘in-brief’ as technical stuff that will not interest most hams is published privately on a members-only page. This article is based on the information in the QST article alone (ie not on the private members only supplementary information).

The core has a modest price in North America, but shipping to other parts of the world may make it very expensive… IOW unobtainium to most parts of the world.

Above is the published InsertionLoss. The article states that they were half the value obtained in a back to back measurement, and it should be noted that is a compromised measurement, and secondly that InsertionLoss comprises two components, (dissipative) Loss and MismatchLoss. Continue reading W0SJ matching transformer for an EFLW (Laird 28B1540-000)

Sumo broadband Internet access

We have had wired broadband service delivered to these premises for almost ten years, supplied by six vendors: Telstra Bigpond, iiNet, Amaysim, Southern Phone, Exetel and then Sumo.

Problems were experienced with the existing Engin VOIP service and a new MyNetPhone VOIP service.

Neither worked from either of my broadband gateways’ integrated ATAs, but they did work to some extent from a stand alone ATA on the internal network.

Notably, the address assigned to the outside of the gateway is a private IP address, and therefore this must be at least one more stage of address translation between the gateway and the public Internet.

Network Address Translation (NAT) frustrates VOIP which has to sense and work around the NAT scheme in use (there are no standards, implementations are proprietary), and cascaded implementations are likely to further frustrate operation.

I did manage to get the stand alone ATA to connect and handle incoming calls and outgoing calls by enabling STUN to assist the SIP addressing operations… but the connection would fail after a few days, and the only measure that was effective in restoring VOIP service was to reboot the gateway. Rebooting the gateway caused a new address assignment and obviously a fresh table of address translations in Optus’ NAT box… and things worked for a few days again, then another freeze.

A fault report was lodged but there was no response after two days, this lack of ongoing reliability of the Sumo / Optus / NBN service for VOIP was reason to quit them.


It was a pity to need to quit Sumo / Optus / NBN, because download speed was consistently good.

Above is a plot of download speeds over the month of service. Continue reading Sumo broadband Internet access

Exetel broadband Internet access

We have had wired broadband service delivered to these premises for almost ten years, supplied by five vendors: Telstra Bigpond, iiNet, Amaysim, Southern Phone and then Exetel.

At The first seven days of Exetel broadband Internet access I discussed the performance failure of the service observed over the first seven days.

Following that, a fault report was submitted to Exetel, and at their request, further observation of speed and ping test latency.

Service levels

I have an expectation that “I want it to deliver most of the rated speed, most of the time during the hours that I want to use it”.

As a result of behaviour of the industry, the ACCC gives some guidance on terms used to advertise a service, and a service expectation.

Essentially they say:

Standard Plus Evening Speed—plans using this label will deliver a minimum speed of 30Mbps during the busy period. This plan would be suitable for a higher usage profile (e.g. streaming an ultra-high definition movie and streaming music on one or more other device during the busy period)

So on that measure, how well did they perform?

Above are the results of file transfer tests conducted automatically, the above are filtered for those in the ACCC’s defined “evening hours” on which they base their service level enforcement. All x symbols in the pink area break the 30Mb/s minimum. Note the number of x symbols on the speed=zero axis. Continue reading Exetel broadband Internet access

Online expert on coax loss

An online expert opined:

Whether your antenna is a perfect 1:1 or a 10:1, a 50 foot length of coax will have HALF the loss of the exact same coax on the exact same antenna system as measured with the 100 foot piece.

Is it true? Can we learn from it?

Let’s take a worked example of Belden 8259 (RG58A/U) with a load of 5+j0Ω at 146MHz. VSWR is approximately 10. Continue reading Online expert on coax loss

Voltage symmetry of practical Ruthroff 1:1 baluns

Well, I guess Voltage symmetry of practical Ruthroff 4:1 baluns begs the question, what about Ruthroff 1:1 voltage baluns?

The Ruthroff 1:1 voltage balun can be seen as two back to back Ruthroff 4:1 voltage baluns with the redundant winding removed… and that prompts the thinking that the cascade of two baluns back to front might cancel the phase delay.

Let’s measure a popular Ruthroff 1:1 voltage balun.


Above, the RAK BL-50A was a quite popular balun, and probably the balun of choice for half wave dipoles… well until the message about current baluns escaped. Continue reading Voltage symmetry of practical Ruthroff 1:1 baluns

Voltage symmetry of practical Ruthroff 4:1 baluns

Much is written about antenna system balance, this article looks at balance issues with the very common ATU configuration that uses a Ruthroff 4:1 voltage balun to adapt coax transmitter output to two wire open feed line. This type of balun is employed in most ham market ATUs that contain an integral balun.

Above is Ruthroff’s equivalent circuit, Fig 3 from his paper (Ruthroff 1959).

If one looks carefully at the transmission line form, there is effectively a two wire line wound into a helix (usually on a magnetic core) and connected from the unbalanced source to one half of the load inverting the connection for the necessary phase reversal.

Ideally, Vout of this line is equal to Vin, ie Vout/Vin should be 1∠0°. That is unlikely as it implies a zero length transmission line which provides the decoupling of the phase inverting line.

This article looks at the Ruthroff 4:1 balun balance using the very popular MFJ-949E as an example.

Above is a pic of the MFJ-949E Ruthroff 4:1 balun. The transmission line is not uniform, but let’s make an approximation to predict its behavior with a centre tapped 100Ω load, the centre of which is connected to the ground terminal. Continue reading Voltage symmetry of practical Ruthroff 4:1 baluns