Inverted High Frequency Loss with LMR-450G

By John ‘Miklor’ K3NXU

The recently announced LMR-450G cable has aroused much curiosity since its characteristics have not been collectively available by any one source.  By multiple inquiries to several manufactures (only three at this time) and numerous lab tests, we hope to put many of the existing questions to rest.

The physical make up of this cable varies slightly from most conventional RF cables.  The center conductor is a semi-stranded copper alloy surrounded by Telfon, which will absorb and distribute cable ‘hot spots’ caused by excessive standing wave.  The double silver braid and foil outer coating which provides a 98.6% shield is what the inverted high frequency loss characteristics are attributed.  The loss is substantially less as the frequency increases, making this cable especially attractive for UHF, cellular, PCS and microwave applications.

Measuring cable loss under lab conditions

Measuring cable loss under lab conditions

30 MHz     2.4 db
50 MHz     2.1 db
150 MHz    1.6 db
450 MHz    1.1 db
800 MHz    .51 db
1200 MHz  .37 db
1950 MHz  .31 db

The cable’s most unique property is attributed to the outer jacket material Neo-glow, an RF sensitive composite plastic which will visibly indicate RF ‘hot spots’ in the cable.  Adjusting the cable length to the antenna system for the ‘perfect’ impedance match is crucial at high frequency, thus the importance of a low SWR for peak performance.


From 100 Watts and up this cable will brighten up your world.

The low level emission of light from LMR-450G cable can be enhanced by wearing lightly tinted sunglasses with UV protection, which enhances the light radiation from the cable.  Select an approximate length of cable needed for the installation which must be multiples of a 1/4 wavelength for the desired frequency.  The exact length can be determined by using the formula 467 / Freq (MHz) plus approximately 18 inches.

The initial tests should be run with a 50 ohm dummy load at one end of the cable.  With a minimum of 7 watts from the transmitter, you will see a faint glow from the cable indicating the ‘hot spots’ to be eliminated.  These are the points along the cable where the RF is at its maximum.  It is at these points where the RF connectors should be mounted.  Trimming the excess cable may be required at both ends of the cable to produce the most effective match.  Use caution not to trim too much cable as the loss characteristics improve with longer cable lengths.

This could be the beginning of the long awaited high frequency “SUPER” cables.  Only available in limited quantities at this time; contact your local cable supplier for more details.

‘USA 1776’ DMR Talk Group

DMR-logoOne of the nice things of D-Star and DMR is the ability to talk all over the world without the need of an HF rig and a bunch of big antennas. While this largely reduces a radio to a simple Internet-driven communication tool – just like Skype or other VoIP apps – it’s definitely nice to use.

There are a few problems surrounding DMR, one of which is the lack of more than two time slots. For example, if hams are using the Dutch Hytera network and occupying talk group 204 on slot 1, World Wide (which uses the same time slot) will be unavailable. Because 204-1 is a busy place, world wide QSOs are often impossible. It’s one of the reasons I thought of dumping DMR all together — I can talk to the same Dutch guys on analog while enjoying a much better quality audio.

There are reasons to keep DMR too. DMR is maturing; there are more than enough possibilities to put less pressure on the nation-wide network by going local. Now if only hams would do that…. but most don’t. Another reason to keep DMR for now is the gateway we recently added, which connects D-Star to our DMR network.

Not available on the Motorola network, sorry — some people responsible for that network appear to be so scared of such innovations that they will ban a repeater from the network if such a gateway is detected.

Talk group ‘USA 1776’ could add to the appeal of DMR. It’s unclear on which network this talk group will reside, but my best guess is that it will be the Motorola network.  MITCON writes:

The “USA 1776″ (English preferred) Talk Group will be distributed worldwide to DMR networks upon request.  The spirit of “1776” is to continue the Amateur Radio tradition of international friendship and to push the boundaries of technology in the new frontier of digital communications.

USA 1776USA 1776 is intended to be a flexible, politically neutral, unrestricted Talk Group that can be used as Push-To-Talk (PTT) or Full-Time (FT) to meet the operating requirements of a DMR Network.  DMR subscribers are welcome to use 1776 as a universal meeting place to “Rag Chew” or as a jumping off point and QSY to an alternative Talk Group if desired.  To add USA 1776 to your DMR Network please contact us to schedule a time for configuration & testing.

Tubular Bells and VLF interference

Tubular BellsRemember that album from Mike Oldfield? A user on YouTube found out that this album contains a hidden and unintentional CW message.

This was caused by a powerful VLF station located next to the recording studio, which interfered with the recording equipment. Because the signal is very weak nobody ever noticed it — until now.

The video below shows you how to receive VLF signals with nothing else than an antenna plugged into the microphone input of your sound card and SDRSharp to make it visible and audible.

The decoding of the the Tubular Bells signal is shown at 9:54.

(via Reddit)

Just canceled an order for a Samsung Smart TV

… after reading online reports regarding their Privacy Policy regarding the use of their Smart TV’s.

“Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features. Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

I’ll buy a dumb TV. Much cheaper, and its lack of any intelligence will be more in line with the quality of the programs.

Speaking of which: I remember that I forgot to mail FOX. Around New Year they aired SHREK, and I thought that would be a nice program for my little granddaughter to watch while I did some shopping.

shrekBig mistake. After I returned she asked me questions about some ads about vaginal infections and Durex pleasure gel. FOX must be desperate for money, and determined to ruin a little girl’s innocence. Idiots.

Panda RF-41A00A HF Transceiver

Michele IZ8XOV spotted a Chinese HF transceiver which appears to be developed for military purposes, the Panda RF-41A00A.

Panda RF-41A00AFrom Panda’s website:
“RF-41A00A 125W HF ALE/FH transceiver is advanced communication equipment with solid-state power amplifier. ECCM technologies have been adopted in this radio. With the operating frequency ranging from 1.6-30MHz, it can perform various kinds of communications in the severe environmental conditions and operating modes such as plain, secure voice between short and medium ranges.

The transceiver makes features of easy operation, flexible parameter configuration, and handiness for transportation. ALE meets witch MIL-STD-188-141A and FED-STD-1045.It can be used as the fixed stations for both navy or land force communications and the communication in emergency. With the high-tech, the radio features excellent specifications, accessories are ready for the user’s selection.”

There are a few meanings possible, but I think this Wikipedia article might be relevant to this military radio.

Electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) is a part of electronic warfare which includes a variety of practices which attempt to reduce or eliminate the effect of electronic countermeasures (ECM) on electronic sensors aboard vehicles, ships and aircraft and weapons such as missiles. ECCM is also known as electronic protective measures (EPM), chiefly in Europe. In practice, EPM often means resistance to jamming.”