Author Topic: Testing a 9 to 1 balun and 33 feet of wire antenna  (Read 5219 times)

Offline Carl

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Testing a 9 to 1 balun and 33 feet of wire antenna
« on: February 16, 2017, 03:37:44 PM »
  The 9 to 1 balun is often advertised as the do everything every where antenna and while I had tested one years ago
but was not happy with the results , I thought I would take time to record what my impression of the antenna
was as I had a loan of a home built balun (transformer) with some wire that a fellow Ham built from scratch.
The 9 to 1 balun is basically a 3 to 1 ratio of wire wraps on a ferrus core and is pretty straight forward.




To TEST the balun is easy when using an antenna analyzer like this old 259 from MFJ as you just need a 9 to 1 ratio ...
so I found a 470 OHM resistor and put it across where the antenna would connect to the balun and turned on the analyzer
so I expected to see close to 50 OHMs if the ratio was good on the balun...450 ohms would have been more accurate ,
but you can't always get what you need.




And the results as seen were close enough though it varied from 35 OHMs at 3.8 MHZ to 50 OHMs at 6 MHZ
and 65 OHMS at 25 MHZ but all well within the ballpark for an unknown balun.The results with 33 feet of antenna
and a 17 foot counterpoise (ground wire) were great as far as the tuner allowing the radio to match the antenna
and safely transmit. And I dis work 5 stations on 40 meters under rough conditions and 3 on 20 meters with fair results
though when compared to a W3EDP antenna( also thrown across my roof) the 9 to 1 with the 33 foot wire
suffered about 12 DB loss on receive and the larger W3EDP was reported as MUCH STRONGER by the receiving stations.



50 watts and 1 to 1 SWR LOOKS GREAT, but not quite as effective as one would hope in my tests.

So while it does work,it was not so good as the W3EDP and actually compared to a 40 meter Hamstick
(7 foot tall mobile antenna) and that is not so good when conditions are as poor as they are lately.

http://www.kb6nu.com/playing-end-fed-wire-antennas-91-ununs/

The modified W3EDP antenna

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=53436.0

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Testing a 9 to 1 balun and 33 feet of wire antenna
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 06:16:45 PM »
50 watts and 1 to 1 SWR LOOKS GREAT, but not quite as effective as one would hope in my tests.

So while it does work,it was not so good as the W3EDP and actually compared to a 40 meter Hamstick (7 foot tall mobile antenna) and that is not so good when conditions are as poor as they are lately.
Thanks for the test report Carl.  While I enjoy diving into projects as much as the next ham, it's good to get waved off of suboptimal projects.

Offline Carl

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Re: Testing a 9 to 1 balun and 33 feet of wire antenna
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2017, 05:40:29 AM »
There is still many uses for less than optimal antennas or so many commercial antennas would not be on the market. ;D

The shorter (33 ft) wire antenna and 9 to 1 balun was not just looked at,now that I am rested I can add some information.
The 9 to 1 balun allows tuning over a wider range of mis-match and allows the antenna to 'work' with many INTERNAL TUNERS
 (usually capable of 3 to 1 mismatch) where the LDG or other EXTERNAL tuner and a 4 to one balun appears more efficient at
transferring RF to and from the antenna. A radio with an internal tuner (3 time 9 = 27) VS an external tuner and 4 to 1 balun
(4 X 10 =40) can cover nearly the same , ok close to the same level of mismatch of the antenna.

So,if you have an internal antenna tuner...you can get by with it for a wide range of frequencies just as the external tuner covers .
Is it ideal??? NO,but we Hams often have to live with mistakes and adjust to circumstances and while the external tuner is more effective,
there is still a way that an internal tuner can be utilized with such wide banded antennas.

  I went farther than to just test the 33 foot,9 to 1 antenna. I used a field strength meter and verified that when compared to
the W3EDP ,the shorter antenna did indeed come up lacking...though not fully out of the game as it did work. I noticed I had some
improvement when a 50 foot coax ,instead of 25 foot was used and this was expected.

  OPTIMIZED...I kept the original 33 foot length for the main radiating element and tossed the water bottle tied to it over a tree limb.
  after many throws ,I stopped at an acceptable toss with the 9 to 1 balun about 5 feet off the ground and ADDED THREE of my
17 foot counterpoises to the 'ground side' of the balun...picture a classic GROUND PLANE antenna. I used some old tent stakes to spread the 3 counterpoise wires about the yard in a manner so they were OFF THE GROUND.

REMEMBER...Half of your power is on EACH half of your antenna and it would be much waste to use RF to warm worms.KEEP ALL PARTS OF YOUR ANTENNA OFF OF THE GROUND as it is more effective this way.

Did it work?  YES ,the antenna was more effective than the one counterpoise on the ground and antenna tossed on the roof though it still did
not cause field strength readings of near the level of the 'still on the roof' W3EDP antenna. On 40 meters ,I talked again to one of the contacted Hams
from the first test...he was in central Missouri from my Northern Louisiana and he reported an unscientific TWO "S" UNITS improvement over the
first tests signal though hours earlier probably some of the difference was conditions and some due to take-off angle of the now improved VERTICAL
antenna.

So the antenna does have a place when you are stuck with a less than optimal INTERNAL TUNER. If you made it this far in my rambling,you are a trouper and thirst for a scrap of knowledge...here is today's scrap.

  While I do LOVE the LDG Automatic antenna matcher...the larger components of a higher power auto matcher ,or better yet MANUAL TUNER
are much more effective at transferring power. You can do well with an old ,used,manual tuner as they are easy to learn to use for anyone
with better dexterity than I maintain as I can't even turn a knob smoothly.

So remember  ANTENNAS OFF THE GROUND...BIGGER BETTER TUNER ...have fun,learn your hobby and your enjoyment will improve with your skill.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Testing a 9 to 1 balun and 33 feet of wire antenna
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2017, 09:20:54 AM »
This is a good item to add to the "quiver".  Especially for the discrete station, it would be fairly easy to sneak a 33' wire along the side of a building without drawing attention.  It also is about the cheapest antenna possible.  And as you said most of the internal tuners like the FT-450D might only handle 3:1 SWR or so, but with the 9:1 balun you can compensate for a wider range of impedance mismatch.


Offline blacktalon606

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Re: Testing a 9 to 1 balun and 33 feet of wire antenna
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2017, 03:04:25 PM »
Carl,
     Have you seen the "c-pole" antennas? They were in qst at some point and look pretty neat. They are directional, fairly short and self supporting with a big fishing pole.


http://www.qsl.net/hb9mtn/hb9mtn-c-pole.html

Offline Carl

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Re: Testing a 9 to 1 balun and 33 feet of wire antenna
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2017, 05:08:45 PM »
Carl,
     Have you seen the "c-pole" antennas? They were in qst at some point and look pretty neat. They are directional, fairly short and self supporting with a big fishing pole.


http://www.qsl.net/hb9mtn/hb9mtn-c-pole.html

Yes,I have seen of them though have not experimented with one yet as my MINION,Don,has moved and I am quite physically limited to what I can do.
I hope to build and try one soon...they do look a lot like a MOXON turned vertically. I have the material to make one ,but lack the cooperation of a body.

Offline Carl

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Re: Testing a 9 to 1 balun and 33 feet of wire antenna
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2017, 07:39:18 AM »
Carl,
     Have you seen the "c-pole" antennas? They were in qst at some point and look pretty neat. They are directional, fairly short and self supporting with a big fishing pole.


http://www.qsl.net/hb9mtn/hb9mtn-c-pole.html

With further review,the "C" pole is OK for a self supporting ,single band antenna. Though a single band is very limiting as to usefulness due
to propagation of HF. I suggest a more flexible antenna option . Also when resized for 40 or 80 meters ,the size would be hard to erect and
maintain without major support..

  I would possibly make use of the design with the exception of making a NON-RESONANT version...say 10% longer than 20 meters and use it
with a tuner as a multi-band...but then it is just a shortened ZEP or W3EDP style antenna. If you require only one band and the antenna must be
self supporting,then it is an option...but so is an expanding whip or a bit over 17 feet of wire.

  I still hope to test a single ,or better,multiband version...some day. Thanks.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Testing a 9 to 1 balun and 33 feet of wire antenna
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2017, 07:46:27 AM »
As an aside, it's predicted that 20 meters will continue to suffer from poor band conditions for a while.  As we're near a solar minimum, some suggests operating on the lower bands, after dark for best chances of DX.

So optimizimg for 20, while mechanically simpler, is less useful than it once was for operating.