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[TowerTalk] measuring coax loss with an MFJ-259B

Subject: [TowerTalk] measuring coax loss with an MFJ-259B
From: Pete Smith <>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 16:51:23 -0500
List-post: <>
I have just been trying to get a baseline loss measurement on my two feedlines 
from shack to tower, using the MFJ-259B in Coax loss mode.

According to the manual, the unit can be set to any frequency within its range, 
and will read out a direct return loss number at that frequency, if the coax is 
open at the other end.

In practice, I find that around 28 MHz, for instance, the displayed loss value 
for one feedline can be anywhere from .9 to 2.1 dB, depending on the frequency. 
 The displayed SWR on the unit is at a minimum when the loss figure is maximum, 
and vice versa.

I think I may know why, if not how, this is happening.  My feedlines both 
utilize long runs of 75-ohm CATV hardline, cut to a half-wave multiple at 1750 
KHz, and measured at 28 MHz.  On either end of the 75-ohm runs are runs of 
50-ohm RG-213 to the antennas and into the shack.  My theory in doing things 
this way is that the 75-ohm will reflect the input impedance at the output, and 
as a practical matter it seems to work rather well.  But my hunch is that 
particularly at 28 MHz, relatively small frequency excursions can result in the 
75-ohm section translating to quite another impedance than the 50 ohms at the 
input end, and that this in turn results in the changing "loss" numbers.

Do I have this right?  If so, is any of the numbers I'm seeing an accurate 
reflection of the loss in the total composite feedline? 

73, Pete N4ZR
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