mercoledì 2 gennaio 2013

Building a 9:1 Un-Un for longwire antenna

I'm always fascinated by the "magic" 9/1 un-un for longwire antennas, also called "Magnetic Longwire Balun". You build this device, connect the transceiver and a longwire antenna of almost random wire, and GO!!! No SWR on 160/10 meters, no Tuners, perfect.....OR NOT?

The background study:
If you google "Magnetic Longwire Balun" you may find a lot of experiences of many ham operators all around the world about this antenna. The cores used for Un-Un are various: ferrite sticks, FT and T Amidon toroids and even cores from old TV EAT transformers.

There is also a SWR table versus wire lenght, found somewhere in the 'net attached to manuals of commercial longwire antennas (click image to enlarge):

I suggest to look at M0UKD web site for a quick guide to build a 9/1, If you want to deep in with different cores and expected performance, read:

  •  G8JNJ web site has a very good article ( on building a clone of the Diamond BB6W wideband antenna (scroll down...). The balun used is a 6/1 but there are some interesting facts and tests on various cores.

Building the 9/1 Un-Un 
My requirements was:
  • 80m to 6m use
  • QRP or max 100W power
  • light and little for portable use
I use an Amidon toroid, a T130-6 with 9 turns trifilar using insulated stranded wire. For the box, I choose a grey PVC coupler (40 cm diam.)  and two caps. Connectors are PL female for TX and M5 screw for antenna wire.

The Un-Un have no hooks for hanging, but I arrange also two insulators made of hard white plastic (teflon?) from a chinese chopping board. The right one is for connection to Un-Un (using the third hole for hanging) and the left one is for wire end.

The SWR of Un-Un with a 470 ohm dummy load was measured and better than 1.3:1 from 3.5 to 50 MHz..
I've made several 9/1 for me and for some friends using different materials. On-air performance is sufficient, not bad for a so simple antenna.

Cores used in the Un-Un :
  • Amidon toroid (T200-2, T130-6, FT140-43, FT240-43)
  • Unknown Yellow-and-White toroids (I suppose are for switching power supply)
  • Ferrite sticks from old AM radios

In order to chioose the core material, mind this simple facts:
  • Using Amidon cores (in particular TXXX-2 and -6) the losses are relatively low and the performance of the antenna is better, but in the lower bands you may need a antenna tuner to obtain good SWR. Otherwise, if you don't like to bring ATU, try to use a "long" coax feeder (more than 10 meters)
  • Using low frequency toroids or ferrite sticks the losses incrase a lot, but this lower your SWR and you don't need an ATU at all.
Another 9/1 Un-Un I made for a friend with ferrite stick

Look my new "Shorted" longwire antenna

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