[TowerTalk] 2 Meter Phasing Lines

Byron Tatum bjtatum1 at att.net
Sat Apr 12 15:42:01 EDT 2014

   I thought I would post this for any comments that may help me to understand what may be going on. What started it all is that years ago I stored away some unused Plastoid RG-13A/U 75 ohm coax from a surplus source. The cable is old, but it appears very nice physically with a clear dielectric and nice shiny copper. I was thinking this cable would be worth saving because of the double shield. My intentions are to use it for Q-sections for HF antennas and possibly phasing lines for VHF antennas. 
   I measured off an exact 25' of the RG-13A/U and installed a PL-259 connector. I used the MFJ-259B in 2 different methods to measure the velocity factor of the cable. I obtained a 0.67 and a 0.66 figure, instilling a little re-assurance in me in the analyzer.
  So, I thought I would measure some factory-built M2 phasing equipment for 2 meters to see how the MFJ-259B stacked up, as I am wanting to use the MFJ-259B to measure the Q-sections and phasing lines of future projects.     
    Several years back I had a pair of M2 2M18XXX antennas stacked about 14 feet apart. I bought the power divider and phasing lines from M2. The system worked fantastic but was up only about 1 year, as a spring storm bent the booms on both antennas, so I took down the array and stored the phasing lines and power divider. The power divider is the M2 2M2PTPD and the phasing lines are Times Microwave LMR-400 with the silver plated crimp-on N-Male connectors. There was no damage to the phasing lines and they were all sealed up real good.
  I thought I would check out the phasing lines and power divider with my MFJ-259B analyzer. Firstly, I connected each phasing line individually, with a lab-grade 50 ohm load at far end, and measured the SWR, which showed 1.0 for each phasing line, at every freq checked. I removed the terminations and measured the cable loss, which was an identical 0.3 dB for each phasing line.
  Next, I connected each phasing line individually, with a short at far end, and measured the freq of zero reactance ("X" on analyzer) nearest 2 meters, each one came out to be much higher, at 162.2 Mhz. However, this reading was very broad.
  I used the MFJ-259B to measure the velocity factor of one phasing line and it came out to be 0.87 (Times Microwave specs are 0.85). This aroused some curiosity in me, as I measured each phasing line to be 287-1/4". Using the published velocity factor of 0.85 for the LMR-400 cable a length of 287-1/4" would not be a half wave multiple at 144.2 Mhz. However, using the measured VF of 0.87, the 287-1/4" length is 8.05 half-waves.
  Another thing I did was to connect identical lab-grade 50 ohm terminations to the far end of each phasing line, and connect each phasing line to the power divider. Then, I connected the power divider to the MFJ-259B and measured SWR. Again, this reading was very broad, and my best reading was higher, up at 161.2 Mhz. However, the SWR was reading good(1.1-1.2) at 144.2 Mhz.
  The last thing I did was to remove the phasing lines from the power divider and leave the 2 ports un-terminated, then measure the freq of lowest reactance ("R"), this was above 2 meters at 158 Mhz.
   So, am I doing something wrong or is the analyzer unreliable? This analyzer is several years old but has seen very little use. Is there any "standard" that I can check it against, or a test I can do?
              Thanks, Byron WA5THJ

More information about the TowerTalk mailing list