This article shows just how easy it is to make an inexpensive low VSWR load for antenna analyser validation / measurements.
Above is an AA-600 sweep of the prototype from 10kHz to 100MHz. VSWR reads 1.02 in ‘All’ mode at 100MHz… better than the inherent accuracy of the instrument.
It is made from two 100Ω 1% 1206 SM resistors purchased on eBay for about $2/100, so about $0.04 for the resistors, and 40mm of bare copper wire (0.5mm phone / data wire in this case).
In use, it is held in contact with the coax socket (in this case an N type) with a pair of disposable plastic first aid tweezers (yep, you can buy them on ebay for about $0.20/pair).
While you are at it, make a good short circuit termination by scrunching up a bit of (clean) kitchen aluminium foil and press that against the coax socket conductors.
Try both of these on your antenna analyser and see how it stacks up.
This article is a brief review of some issues that were found with initial testing of a Hantek DSO8102E two channel 100MHz hand held oscilloscope.
The DSO8102E is a member of the DSO8000 series (DSO8060, DSO8070E, DSO8100E, DSO8150E, DSO8200E), and shares most specifications across the series.
The specifications are very impressive, and price at just under $1000 for a Chinese brand seemed reasonable (hand held oscilloscopes are expensive compared to bench oscilloscopes).
The test scenario was a practical application, observation of the data traffic to/from a DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor in the project ESP8266 IoT DHT22 temperature and humidity – evolution 2. Continue reading Review of Hantek DSO8102E hand held oscilloscope
Resolving the sign of reactance – a method – Smith chart detail
Exploiting your antenna analyser #28 gave an example of use of one method to resolve the sign of reactance comparing measurements made with a slightly longer known transmission line.
One way to predict the input impedance to the longer line is using a Smith chart. This article presents a Smith chart prediction of the expected input impedance of a 8′ section of RG8 at 14.17Mhz (vf=0.66, length=0.175λ) for the cases of Zload being 60.3+j26.9Ω and 60.3-j26.9Ω.
The impedance is normalised to 50Ω and plotted on the Smith chart, point 1 above. A radial from the centre through point 1 is drawn to the edge of the chart. Another radial is drawn a distance towards the generator of 0.175λ and using a pair of dividers or ruler, point 2 is plotted on that radial at the same distance from the centre (same VSWR) as point 1.
These points are on a constant VSWR arc but the arc has not been draw because the two arcs would overlap and might be confusing to some readers. Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #29
Resolving the sign of reactance – a method
Many analysers do not measure the sign of reactance, and display the magnitude of reactance, and likewise for magnitude of phase and magnitude of impedance… though they are often incorrectly and misleadingly labelled otherwise.
The article The sign of reactance explains the problem and dismisses common recipes for resolving the sign of reactance as not general and not reliable.
This article gives an example of one method that may be useful for resolving the sign of reactance.
My correspondent has measured VSWR=1.68 and |Z|=66 and needs to know R and X. From those values we can calculate R=60.3 and |X|=26.9.
The method involves adding a short series section of known line, short enough to provide a measurement difference in R, and that R would be different for the case of =ve and -ve X, all of these measured at the same frequency. Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #28
This is a republication of an article posted on VK1OD.net Jun 2012.
This article presents a derivation of the power at a point in a transmission line in terms of ρ (the magnitude of the complex reflection coefficient Γ) and Forward Power and Reflected Power as might be indicated by a Directional Wattmeter. Mismatch Loss is also explained. Continue reading Power in a mismatched transmission line
An Insertion VSWR test gone wrong
We often learn more from failures than successes, this exercise is one of those opportunities.
An online poster tried to validate his newly purchased MFJ-918 by measuring Insertion VSWR.
That is done preferably by measuring a good termination (dummy load) to validate that it has a very low VSWR, then inserting the Device Under Test (DUT) and measuring the VSWR as a result of insertion of the DUT.
The poster did not mention measurement of the dummy load alone, and it is a type that warrants validation.
Above is the poster’s test setup, his Rigexpert AA-170 is connected to the balun’s input jack using a M-M adapter. The output wires on the balun form a rough circle of about 550mm perimeter by eye. Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #27
I recently purchased a Surecom SW-102 VSWR meter. It looked a little like a supercharged RedDot copy.
Above the Surecom SW-102 VSWR meter with backlight and photographed under normal interior lighting. The display lacks contrast, and overall is difficult to read due to size of text, fonts used, and lack of contrast. (The pic is taken with a screen protector installed, but the evaluation is based on the bare meter with original protective film removed as it degraded readability.) Continue reading Surecom SW-102 VSWR meter review
Find coax cable velocity factor using a very basic analyser
A common task is to measure the velocity factor of a sample of coaxial transmission line using an instrument that lacks facility to backout cable sections or measure SOL calibration (as discussed in other articles in this series). The older models and newer budget models often fall into this category.
The manuals for such instruments often explain how to measure coaxial cable velocity factor, and the method assumes there is zero offset at the measurement terminals (whether they be the built-in terminals or some fixture / adapters). In fact even the connectors are a source of error, especially UHF series connectors.
It is the failure to read exactly Z=0+j0Ω with a S/C applied to the measurement terminals that adversely impacts efforts to measure resonant frequency of a test line section.
The method described here approximately nulls out offsets in the instrument, measurement fixture, and even in the connectors used and for that reason may sometimes be of use with more sophisticated analysers.
Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #26
I have written some recent articles about or relevant to PD7MAA’s BN43-202 EFHW matching transformer. At about the same time a discussion started on and through that discussion, one ‘online extra expert’ stated that my analysis was bogus (dictionary meaning: not genuine, faked, a misrepresentation).
This article presents detail that was not included in the earlier articles as it distracts from the issue for most readers. Continue reading PD7MAA’s BN43-202 matching transformer for an EFHW – full measurement set
I have written many reviews of published EFHW matching transformers, and in most cases the reviews have reported estimated or measured losses that are appalling and not disclosed by the ‘designers’.
Why is it so?
I am asked, why is it so?
Up front, I do not know the answer definitively, but let me offer some thoughts based on the designer’s own articles and discussions by ‘online experts’.
Apparent reasons include:
- lack of understanding of ferrite and powdered iron core material behaviour;
- lack of understanding of coupled coils, and mutual inductance;
- use of inductor design tools that are inadequate at radio frequencies;
- lack of competency in basic linear circuit theory analysis for AC circuits;
- failure to make meaningful measurements of the built article;
- focus on input VSWR as a single metric indicating goodness;
- reliance on QSOs for evidence of performance;
- an attitude that antenna system radiation efficiency doesn’t matter, particularly for QRP (if the term antenna system radiation efficiency is even understood as a quantitative metric).
Continue reading Common failings of EFHW matching transformers