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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