Some recent articles here used a two port analyser to evaluate Insertion VSWR of some coax switches, and it raises the question about application of a hand held analyser and Insertion VSWR of a VSWR meter.
(Duffy 2007) listed tests for evaluation of a VSWR meter:
Testing a VSWR meter
The tests here need to be interpreted in the context of whether the device under test (DUT) has only calibrated power scales, or a VSWR Set/Reflected mode of measurement, and whether directional coupler scales are identical for both directions.
- Connect a calibrated dummy load of the nominal impedance on the instrument output and measure the VSWR at upper and lower limit frequencies and some in between frequencies. The VSWR should be 1. (Checks nominal calibration impedance);
- Repeat Test 1 at a selection of test frequencies and for each test, without changing transmitter power, reverse the DUT and verify that repeat the forward/set and reflected readings swap, but are of the same amplitude (checks the symmetry / balance of the detectors under matched line conditions).
- Connect a s/c to the instrument output and measure the VSWR at upper and lower limit frequencies and some in between frequencies. The VSWR should be infinite. (Discloses averaging due to excessive sampler length);
- Connect an o/c to the instrument output and measure the VSWR at upper and lower limit frequencies and some in between frequencies. The VSWR should be infinite. (Discloses averaging due to excessive sampler length);
- Connect a calibrated wattmeter / dummy load of the nominal impedance on the instrument output and measure calibration accuracy of power / ρ / VSWR scales at a range of power levels in both forward and reflected directions (Checks scale shape and absolute power calibration accuracy).
- Repeating Test 1 additionally with a calibrated VSWR meter connected to the input to the DUT, and measure the VSWR caused by the DUT at a range of test frequencies (Checks Insertion VSWR).
It is not unusual for low grade instruments to pass Test 1, but to fail Test 6 (and some others, especially Test 3 and Test 4) towards the higher end of their specified frequency range.
Item 6 in the list was to evaluate the Insertion VSWR. Continue reading Can a hand held analyser be used to evaluate Insertion VSWR of a VSWR meter?
At Ratings of coax antenna switches I showed characteristics of a home made switch which has very low InsertionVSWR, but poor isolation.
A couple of correspondents have offered an explanation that the unused port must be shorted to get good isolation.
If that was the case, then we would expect all coax switches that leave the unused port open to have poor isolation.
Let us look at a very good coaxial relay
Above is a Dowkey 402 series relay which has good performance to GHz. It does not short the unused port.
Continue reading Coax switches – is shorting unused port necessary for isolation?
In a recent article I discussed how InsertionLoss implies InsertionVSWR in lossless devices.
This article looks at measurements of a few antenna switches at hand.
Daiwa CS-201G II
It is difficult to find comprehensive data on the very popular Daiwa CS-201 series switches.
Above is the data from the packet of one of these switches, a CS-201G II. The specifications are pretty loose, and one must depend on one’s own measurements.
Above, the CS-201G II, a basic CS-201 series switch with N connectors, advertised as useful to 2000MHz where InsertionLoss is given as 1.2dB (or better?). If there were no TransmissionLoss in the switch, that would imply InsertionVSWR=3.6, but there is probably some significant TransmissionLoss and InsertionVSWR would be somewhat less. Nevertheless, IMHO InsertionLoss=1.2dB indicates it as unsuitable such frequencies. Continue reading Ratings of coax antenna switches
Devices inserted in transmission lines often characterised by one or more of:
- Insertion VSWR (the input VSWR when terminated with a matched load);
- Return Loss (RL) in dB (20 times the log of the magnitude of the complex reflection coefficient); and
- Insertion Loss.
Practitioners often find Insertion VSWR (1) of most use as it indicates whether the device is worse than other system devices, the weak link in the chain if you like. You might see a coax antenna switch specified to have InsertionVSWR<1.2 to 60MHz.
Return Loss (2) is a function of VSWR and vice versa, so it appeals when the designer thinks in terms of Return Loss rather than VSWR (and it is a better metric for VSWR<1.2). You might see a coaxial relay specified to have ReturnLoss>30dB to 500MHz.
Insertion Loss (3) is not so readily compared to the other two which are measures of input reflection with a matched termination. It often yields some numbers that appear very acceptable, but might be deceptively so. You might see a coaxial relay specified to have ReturnLoss>30dB to 500MHz. You might see a coax antenna switch specified to have InsertionLoss<0.2dB to 100MHz. Continue reading InsertionLoss implies InsertionVSWR in lossless devices
Accurate GPS positioning has been of interest in automating data collection in field strength surveys of antennas on HF. To be useful, the positions need to be accurate to 100mm.
RTKLIB is an open source program package for GNSS positioning.
A number of experiments were conducted using a U-Blox LEA-6T assembly with integral small patch antenna (cost ~A$40) and RTKLIB v2.4.3(b8) using a base station feed from Geoscience Australia (with thanks). The test location is about 200km from the reference station at Symonston ACT.
Above, the LEA-6T and a RS-232 to USB adapter are strapped to a roof rack bar with stretch film. The high mounting position gives good view of the sky.
Above is a position plot of about an hour with the vehicle stationary (though in Kinematic mode) beside the house. Sky view was slightly restricted by the house and a line of tall trees to the west.
For the most part the track is smooth, but there is one section where the track in a more heavily treed section is markedly jaggy.
The Atten APS3005S is a 0-30V 5A linear DC power supply.
This later model includes a thermostatically controlled fan which at moderately light currents short cycles (10s on 20s off) and is very annoying… especially since it sits above my desk.
This project describes application of the generic heating / cooling controller (hcctl) to control the fan, reducing the short cycling nuisance.
Continue reading Atten APS3005S – a better thermostatic fan control
On a transmission line with standing waves, the voltage varies cyclically along the line, and is dependent also on power.
This article explains a method to use an analyser to predict the peak voltage level at a point for a given frequency and power based on measurement or estimation of complex Z or Y at that point using a suitable antenna analyser.
Lets say you have some critical voltage breakdown limit and want to use your analyser to find any non-compliance at the proposed power level.
Let us assume that the not-to-exceed voltage at that point is 1000Vpk. Let’s allow a little margin for variation due to factors not fixed, let’s actually use 800Vpk as the limit. We will use the maximum permitted power in Australia, 400W.
Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #22
The popular End Fed Half Wave is all things to all men, but this article compares an End Fed Half Wave, Inverted L, and Half Wave Dipole with some common parameters:
- frequency: 7.1MHz;
- flat top length: 20m;
- Height above ‘average’ ground (σ=0.005, εr=13): 10m;
- lossless balun / matching device.
- ground connection: Inverted L = 2Ω, End Fed Half Wave = 100Ω; and
- effective common mode choke used on the dipole.
Above is the modelled gain for all three. Continue reading End Fed Half Wave / Inverted L / Half Wave Dipole
I have noted recently the increasing popularity of the so-called End Fed Half Wave antenna, though the term often includes harmonic operation of the antenna.
It seems that at the heart of common ham understanding of this antenna system is that some kind of two terminal feed device creates a scenario with current on the nominal radiator, and zero common mode current on the feed line. If that feed device is small, its contents bears little influence on the current distribution on the feed line and radiator (the device behaviour approaches that of a simple circuit node).
Above is the kind of current distribution envisaged by many. The equivalent source is shown at the end fed feed point The red curve is the magnitude of current, the horizontal line represents the nominal radiator, and the vertical line represents the common mode conductor formed by the feed line. The feed line is often of arbitrary length, arbitrary route, and it may connect to real ground via an arbitrary impedance. Pretty much everything about this antenna system is random save the length of the nominal radiator. Continue reading The magic of End Fed Half Waves / EFHW
A correspondent wrote about the apparent conflict between Exploiting your antenna analyser #11 and Alan, K0BG’s discussion of The SWR vs. Resonance Myth. Essentially the correspondent was concerned that Alan’s VSWR curve was difficult to understand.
For convenience, here is the relevant explanation.
By definition, an antenna’s resonant point will be when the reactive component (j) is equal to zero (X=Ø, or +jØ). At that point in our example shown at left, the R value reads 23 ohms, and the SWR readout will be 2.1:1 (actually 2.17:1). If we raise the analyzer’s frequency slightly, the reactive component will increase (inductively) along with an increase in the resistive component, hence the VSWR will decrease, perhaps to 1.4:1. In this case, the MFJ-259B is connected to an unmatched, screwdriver antenna mounted on the left quarter panel, and measured through a 12 inch long piece of coax. This fact is shown graphically in the image at right (below).
Note that the graph is unscaled, and that frustrates interpretation. The text is also not very clear, a further frustration. It is easy to draw a graph… but is the graph inspired by a proposition or is it supporting evidence. Continue reading Exploiting your antenna analyser #21