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

A tale of three VNAs

In researching the article Analysis of output matching of a certain 25W 144MHz PA  , I made measurements using a recently ‘upgraded’ nanoVNA-H v3.3 with oneofeleven firmware v1.1.206 nanoVNA-App.exe and default supplied firmware.

Some unexpected ‘bumps’ on the measured response of a short SC transmission line section were concerning, there was no apparent explanation.

The bump around 80MHz had no obvious explanation, and appeared to be an artifact of the measurement fixture, or the instrument. The s11 values from 70-150MHz are suspect. Continue reading A tale of three VNAs

Measuring OC and SC transmission line sections

Failure estimating transmission line Zo – λ/8 method – nanoVNA discussed the potential for failure using this ‘no-brainer’ method of estimating differential mode characteristic impedance Zo, providing an NEC-4.2 model to demonstrate effects.

This article reports nanoVNA measurement of a two wire line where no common mode countermeasures were taken.

A little review of behavior of practical transmission lines

Above is a Smith chart of the complex reflection coefficient Γ (s11) looking into a length of nominally 142Ω transmission line of similar type to that in the reference article, the chart is normalised to Zref=142+j0Ω. Note the locus is a spiral, clockwise with increasing frequency, and centred on the chart prime centre Zref. More correctly it is centred on transmission line Zo, and the keen observer might note that the spirals are offset very slightly downwards, actual Zo is not exactly 142Ω, but 142-jXΩ where X is small and frequency dependent, a property of practical lines with loss. Continue reading Measuring OC and SC transmission line sections

Estimating transmission line Zo – λ/8 method – nanoVNA – success

Failure estimating transmission line Zo – λ/8 method – nanoVNA discussed the potential for failure using this ‘no-brainer’ method of estimating differential mode characteristic impedance Zo.

Well, as the article showed, it is not quite the no-brainer but with care, it can give good results. This article documents such a measurement of a 0.314mm cable.

The nanoVNA was carefully SOLT calibrated from 1 to 201MHz. Care includes that connectors are torqued to specification torque… no room here for hand tight, whether or not with some kind of handwheel adapter or surgical rubber tube etc.

Above is the Smith chart view over the frequency range from a little under λ/8 to a little over λ/8. It is as expected, a quite circular arc with no anomalies. Since the DUT is coax, and the connector is tightened to specification torque, we would expected nothing less. The situation may be different with two wire lines if great care is not taken to minimise common mode excitation. The sotware does not show Marker 2 properly, it should be between ‘c’ and ‘i’ of the word Capacitive. Continue reading Estimating transmission line Zo – λ/8 method – nanoVNA – success

A magnetics review of the VK3AMP Sontheimer directional coupler

This article documents a review of the magnetics of the ‘voltage’ transformer in the VK3AMP Sontheimer directional coupler. It is typically the most important component in determining InsertionVSWR and ReturnLoss at the lowest frequencies.

The transformer of interest is the one to the left, and if you follow the tracks, the multiturn winding is connected between ground and a track that routes across to the through line. The transformer primary appears in shunt with the through line. Continue reading A magnetics review of the VK3AMP Sontheimer directional coupler