Low Gain Ground Mounted Antennas for LEO Satellites

Apparently there are lot’s of differing opinions on antennas – now there’s a shocker   Hopefully, we can put some rough numbers on things to help folks to figure out where opinion ends and basic principle begins.

Turnstile

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“Z-Substitution” Method for Measuring UNUN Loss Into Real-World Load Impedances

Often one sees characterization and loss measurement of UNUNs using an SWR measurement of the UNUN when terminated in it’s transformation resistance, or with the “back-to-back” 2-x-Loss method.  Each method reveals something about some quality of the UNUN, but neither method tell us much about how much power the UNUN will deliver to the actual antenna.
unun-2In this article I will show a simple method of measuring actual UNUN losses into the actual load impedances that the UNUN will see in service.
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Classic W8JI Limited Space Antennas Article

Excellent technical article regarding limited space antennas:

Cap Hat Dipole

Limited Space Antennas

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Article by SP3L Modeling Various Configurations of Capacitance-Hat Dipoles

I modeled a number of shortened dipoles with various capacitive hats at their ends. I think the results may interest you.

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Why we use a Base Matching Unit (BMU) with End/Base-Fed Verticals and Inverted-Ls

In this article we look at the reduction in feedline loss when we use a BMU to mitigate impedance extremes at the base feedpoint of a Vertical or Inverted-L antenna.  Naturally, these antennas are worked against a proper counterpoise radial system for decent efficiency, especially on the low bands.

We look at the cases of a 42 ft antenna, and use an average of the measured and modeled feedpoint impedance to calculate feedline losses* for 50 ft of RG8x and for 100 ft LMR400.

BMUs Bottom View Portable QRP and Med Power

The BMU referred to here is:

A 9:1 UNUN for the mid and high bands
A Loading Coil, switched in instead of the UNUN, for the low bands

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Z of EFHW vs. “Counterpoise” Length

We look at the magnitude of the impedance of an EFHW “antenna” for short counterpoise lengths.

Thanks to Jon AF7TS for the suggestion and discussions that led to this article.

In engineering we sometimes can not directly calculate a value, often when a “divide-by-zero” shows up, as when we try to calculate an impedance wiith a zero length element.  However we can usually still tell what that value will be by sneaking up next to it and determining what it asymptotically approaches.

sqrt-sum-of-squares-4 Continue reading Z of EFHW vs. “Counterpoise” Length

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Current Flow Example for an “End-Fed” Antenna with a Loss-Less Choke

A simple transmitter, transmission line, and an “End-Fed” antenna WITHOUT a formal “Counterpoise” – We add a loss-less choke at the feedpoint, tune out it’s inductance with a capacitor, and see why common-mode current on the coax shield is the SAME as without the choke.

From Part 1 and Part 2 of the “Current Flow Fundamentals for an “End-Fed” articles, we saw that common-mode current must always flow on the coax shield when we don’t use a formal counterpoise.  And that the value of current on the “counterpoise” is identical to that on the “radiator” at the feedpoint.

In Part 3 we saw that it doesn’t matter what loss-less device(s) we put at the feedpoint – when we re-adjust our transmitter or tuner the SAME current flows common-mode on the shield as before.
choked___transformer_to_-efhw-2-1

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Current Flow Fundamentals for an “End-Fed” Antenna – part 1

Part 1 – A simple transmitter, transmission line, and an “End-Fed” antenna WITHOUT a formal “Counterpoise” – We will see why common-mode current must ALWAYS flow on the coax shield.

End-Fed Antennas have been around since the good ‘ol days and were once most popular.  Yet for some reason, much discord still exists regarding the “counterpoise” – what its behavior is, or if one is even needed.  Not all that surprising since the term “counterpoise” doesn’t seem to have a firm definition.  Hopefully, we can figure out what’s going on despite the semantics, and deal only with easy to understand basic principles.

Principles like this from basic physics:

…charge conservation is the principle that electric charge can neither be created nor destroyed.”*

Continue reading Current Flow Fundamentals for an “End-Fed” Antenna – part 1

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Current Flow Fundamentals for an “End-Fed” Antenna – part 3

Part 3 – We place various devices at the feedpoint of an “End-Fed” antenna without a formal “Counterpoise” – We will see why the SAME common-mode current must ALWAYS flow on the coax shield just as in Part 1.

The typical “end-fed” generally has an impedance greatly different from 50 ohms, so it is rarely fed directly with coax, as losses on the transmission line will be undesirably high for lengths of coax greater than a few 10’s of meters.

Note the high loss on several bands when a 42 ft “end-fed” is directly fed with 50 ft of RG8x coax (yellow bars)* ===>

cableloss_unun-vs_direct_feed Continue reading Current Flow Fundamentals for an “End-Fed” Antenna – part 3

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Verticals and Inverted-Ls for the Low Bands – Horizontal Antennas for High Bands

Ever wonder why successful DX-seeking stations so often use vertically polarized Verticals or Inverted-Ls on those lower bands?  And why horizontal dipole-type antennas are most often seen for use on the higher shortwave bands?  Even loop designs, intended for DX chasing on these lower bands, most often employ vertical polarization.

There’s good solid technical reason for this old adage:

If you can’t get a horizontal antenna up around 3/8 wavelength or higher, then use a vertically polarized antenna.

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