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Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association [SARA]

"Whiskey 8 Quack Quack Quack"    ~    Established: January, 1958 an ARRL Affiliated Club since 1961
IARU: 2 Grid Square EN72wx   Latitude: 42.9819 N   Longitude: -84.1164 W   Alitude: 760 ft.

Meets at: James P. Capitan Center, Lower Level; 149 E. Corunna Ave.; Corunna, MI 48817 Monthly: 2nd Tuesday @ 7:00 PM

You're invited to a SARA club meeting!  7:00 PM the 2nd Tuesday of each month in Corunna, MI.

Contact us at:   SARA / W8QQQ <Email>


    Page Last Updated: 05-Jan-2021

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Quick Information:


2021 SARA Officers

President  Kevin Middleton, K8MID  
  Vice President  Don Warner, WB8GUS
SecretaryPhillip Bates, AC8FW
Treasurer  Dennis Phillips, KC8ETW  
TrusteeTom Carpenter, KI8AS
TrusteeChuck Dafoe, K8DZH
Trustee  Mike Middleton, KF5MYQ  

Click on Name above to send an email.

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SimSmith Charting Program

AE6TY ~ Ward Harriman

Ward Harriman, AE6TY has written and maintained a Smith Chart simulation program (starting about 2008 still continues). There have been many versions over time up to the current date (early 2021 on Version 17). Early in my ham radio experience I had read and gained a passing level of acceptance of what powers a Smith Chart could provide. However, I really did not get comfortable utilizing that power until 2020 (only 52 years after first being licensed). I had purchased a NanoVNA and started collecting information on its use and my station setup. The taught me that I needed to be better at performing the calculations and using the Smith chart. I had a desire to impact my system architecture, building and testing some filters, making transmission stubs and matching networks. This quickly led to searching the internet on how to make use of the computerized Smith Chart methods to assist my learning and understanding of the entire process. This searching is how I found the SimSmith software. I also quickly found a site by Larry Benko, W0QE on using SimSmith. These two gentlemen had both posted many You Tube videos on various subtopics on the use of SimSmith (we will list links to some of those videos in a moment). They have both put a great deal of effort and time into these volumes and deserve a huge "Thank You" from Hams who use the information.
The power of visulization techniques is amazing in the complex topics around the Smith Chart. Please take the time to watch and learn from this data. Coupled with the low cost VNA, I now have a much better understanding of what my system situation is capable of and what I need to do for improving system efficiencies. So lets go on this journey! I have not located all the videos at this time so there are many gaps. Also there are some papers and presentations by these gentlemen. There are other good SimSmith You Tube videos by others on using these tools, so there other sources for the information you may find useful. {First person dialog refers to WB8GUS, Don Warner.} I suggest you spent some time and review these videos and thanks again to these two gentlemen for all their work.

The current recommended version of SimSmith is 17.3. Go to AE6TY Smith Charts then scroll to "Reccommended" download link. Install file for your operating system. It is also reccommended that you join the SimSmith@groups.io. Once you have it running, go to the 'help' page for the manual and other ares for gettiing you started, like fetching the sample SimSmith files.

Watch the introduction video from Larry Benko, it is 1:15 [minutes:seconds] long. Videos can convey content several times faster than reading comprehension, so today's world takes advantage of that. So lets get started. Try Getting the most from Larry's channel [19:37] next,.followed by the videos in the tables below. I have found that I can watche these 'You Tubes' on my television while setting in my easy chair the first time, then follow rewatching near by electronics work bench {using the bench computer} for the serious efforts.

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AE6TY You Tube SimSmith Videos ~ Ward Harriman

Ward's Home site AE6TY Site

A sample of Ward's Papers and Articles: AE6TY Papers

SimSmith Topic / Link  Time  
Intro B [2:52]
Intro D [3:34]
Program Teaser - Getting Started [22:52] 
Introduction 16p1 [9:04]
Advanced Topics V 16p1 [23:51]
Introduction 17p1 [19:56]
Transmission Line Database in Ruse Block     [9:23]
SimSmith File Chooser [12:00]
Time Domain Reflectometry [13:56]
Measuring S21 with Antenna Analyzer [17:08]
Tutorial Series [---]
  Introduction [11:15]
  Tutorial 2 [5:10]
  Tutorial 3 [11:38]
  Tutorial 4 [10:14]
  Tutorial 5 [12:57]
  Tutorial 6 [13:00]
  Tutorial 7 [13:20]
Practical Applications [---]
  L Network Auto Tuners {hints/hacks} [13:57]
  Analyze T & Differential Transmatch [19:00]
  Effortless Impedance Matching [7:56]
  Antenna Impedance from Rig's Tuner Report   [12:48]
  Pi-L Network - How it works [5:20]
  Bad Board Layout - Rescue [12:48]
  Transmission Line Stub Filter [23:46]
  Calculating Feedpoint Impedances [31:58]
  EZNEC Output to SimSmith [7:18]

That is about 5.5 hours for you to enjoy (plus advertisments).

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W0QE You Tube SimSmith Videos ~ Larry Benko

Larry's You Tube channel is a place for some of your further searching. A 'SimSmith' site from Larry lists just related links to You Tube videos.

SimSmith Topic / Link  Time  
Introduction video[1:15]
Getting the most from Larry's channel[16:28]
Introduction to Smith Chart ~ Impedance, VSWR, ... [24:59]
Interesting RF Circuits (ADV 12) [44:58]
Tutorial 1 - What is SimSmith? [27:46]
Tutorial 2 - Navigation & Changing Parameters [21:16]
Tutorial 3 - Component Voltages, Currents & Power [11:09]
Tutorial 4 - Creations of SWR [26:30]
Tutorial 5 - Transmission Line Voltage & Current / Using SPLAT    [28:37]
Tutorial 6 - Matching Fundamentals (1) [37:47]
Tutorial 7 - Matching Fundamentals (2) [37:39]
Tutorial 8 - Ganged and Special Components [39:44]
Tutorial 9 - Plotting [19:54]
Tutorial 10 - Making Accurate RF Measurementsd [37:21]
Tutorial 11 - Filters [19:21]
Tutorial 12 - Reflection Coefficient & Return Loss [35:46]
Tutorial 13 - Micellaneous Topics [44:21]
10 Question Quiz [10:48]
RF Transformer Simulation [30:12]
First 10 Minutes with SimSmith [26:49]
SimSmith Generators [31:18]
Design a Broadcast Interference Filter [34:57]
Characterization of Coax w/ unknown Specs [19:51]
Plotting Revisited [24:05]
Minimum Loss Pad (50 to 100 Ohm) [25:19]
Measure RF Impedances with Oscilloscope [36:29]
Reference Plane for Measurements [27:23]
Building Calibration Loads [22:06]
Building VNA Calibration Loads for 3 GHz [8:54]
Balun Heating Experiments [15:51]
Powered Iron Core Inductor Tests [22:31]
Understanding Toroidal Cores [28:47]
Toroidal Core Winding Results [34:24]
Toroid Core Sizing Conclusion [18:44]
Conventional VS Auto Transformer [30:51]
SimSmith Versatility: Zcen; Zswr; Zgen; VS Zo   [10:32]
Calibrating a VNA through a Coax ~ What could go wrong? [17:35]
NanoVNA Initial Observations [24:35]
Antenna Matching for New VNA Users [38:25]
What Effect Transmission Lines Have [12:03]
Can you measurs a 10k Impedance at 100 MHz w/VNA [21:04]

That is an additional 17.5 hours for you to enjoy (plus advertisments).

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NanoVNA Information & Sites of Interest

As you learn about the various types of NanoVNA measurements, the types of measurements can provide different analysis data. The type of data provided can be expressed as:

Type UseMeasurements madeVNA Usage Time
s11Measure Impedance (Antennas & Components)  ~80% VNA Usage
s11 & s21  Measure Filters or Circuits~17% VNA Usage
s21Coax Measurements remainder of VNA Usage   

So in learning about your VNA, you need to be able to setup the 's11' and the 's11 & s21' testing to cover about 97% of all your expected usage ~ pay attention to those setups. The Coax measurment 's21' are not something you will do often, so maybe review and copy those setups when required. There was an article in QEX, January/February 2009, on small inexpensive VNAs that explains how they operate: QEX - Jan/Feb 2009 by Dr. Thomas Baier, DG8SAQ. Also, a You Tube video NanoVNA Demystified [28:43] by 'IMSAI Guy' that explains the input circuit for small VNA analyzers.

I found some nice NanoVNA You Tube sites and or supporting articles of interest that you may find useful.

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Future Efforts - Direction for SimSmith usage.

My , WB8GUS, plan is to:

  1. Use NanoVNA to scan my vertical antenna - a mutiband Gap Voyager to make individual files for hambands, 160 M through 2 M.
  2. Import files into SimSmith and better understand SimSmith techiques.
  3. See if indivdual bands could be improved in presenting 50.0 +/ 0.0 j Ohm load to my transmission line.
  4. Determine what is the 'next step' ~ perhaps a remotly controled switching box at base of the antenna based on band of operation?
  5. Check out the G5RV antenna I use for the Club's FD Operation ~ {probably May to June activity based on the MI weather}
  6. Learn 'Python' computer language for programmig some HF Bandpass Filter Designs and analyze these in SimSmith. A nice "inside project" for this winter.

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