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[linrad] Re: Polarization question

Sirs! Leif & Joe,

In addition to all the interesting observations and suggestions
regarding the polarization (indication) challenges it is maybe
useful to add that once we ignite our perfectionist behavior and
begin to trim all of the feed lines and matching as near to ideal
as possible, it is good to keep in mind that the phase-shift
provided by a physical length of transmission line is only in
good relation to the velocity factor when the line is terminated
in its characteristic impedance (this being an additional source
of error if input impedances of e.g .intermediate amplifiers or
mixer stages are way off the nominal cable impedance). This
can be an issue if one chooses e.g. two completely different
builds of coax, like one with foam or teflon and the other with
solid PE insulation (velocity factors possibly of 0.82 and 0.66
respectively), both at 50 ohms impedance though.

Though Linrad would not have problems with the resultant phase
shift, the indicated value for the polarization for the same station
would be different, when jumping the communications frequency
from say 144.020 to e.g. 144.380. Now if 40 meter long coaxes
were used with an undefined termination somewhere near the
operator's desk, then in addition to the phase change with
frequency there would be the amplitude difference variation
between channels, that Leif was referring to. Thus precision
and symmetry in constructing (to eliminate error sources) is
always a bonus, and a win-win starting point over commercial
hardware, that generally shows considerable variation, when
not sold as matched pairs (like some transistor components).

Actually one can go quite far with phase differences. I have
recently constructed a couple of boxes with mechanical
switches (11-position decks) that can combine ANY two
antennas to approximately line up their signal phases.
Linrad can do without it for reception as the software by
itself can line up those phases. But for transmit it is nice
to be able to share full power into two antennas with the
proper phase for that particular propagation condition.
Changing the phase of two separate final amplifiers will
not be sufficient or optimal for many circumstances.

                       73, "Zaba" OH1ZAA/2

At 00:44 26.6.2007, SM5BSZ wrote:

Hi Joe,

> I have been thinking more about the Linrad polarization
> questions that I raised here two weeks ago.
> I wrote:
> >>Suppose they [the feedline lengths in X and Y channels]
> >>are not well matched.  In other words, suppose that
> >>the complex gains and signal delays in the two polarization
> >>channels are not equal.  Will Linrad's polarization-matching
> >>capability be compromised?  As far as I can see, it still works
> >>well even with poorly matched feedlines.  I suppose this must
> >>mean that Linrad solves for a differential complex gain, and
> >>that over a fairly narrow bandwidth a different delay can be
> >>treated as a phase shift.
> You replied:
> > From a practical point of view the cables are well matched. I think
> > it is a safe assumption to guess that the length differences will
> > be very small and of no concern.
> Let's work in terms of the Stokes Parameters, with complex
> signals X and Y.
> I = |X|^2 + |Y|^2     (total power)
> Q = |X|^2 - |Y|^2     (horizontal linear component)
> U = 2Re(X^* Y)        (vertical linear component)
> V = 2Im(X^* Y)        (circular component)
> L = sqrt(Q^2 + U^2)     (linear polarized component)
> Theta = 0.5*atan(U/Q)   (polarization angle)
> If I shift the phase of X relative to Y (say, by inserting
> an extra piece of cable in the X feedline), the values of U,
> V, L, and Theta will surely change.Yes, of course, but any
difference in length of the cables will be insignificant as
compared to the differences in phase shifts that you have in
the amplifiers.

> I don't know what you meant when writing "From a practical
> point of view the cables are well matched."  In my station,
> at present, it would be a complete accident if the downlines
> from the tower-mounted X and Y preamps were the same
> electrical length.  They are just two pieces of coax that I
> had lying around.
But I am sure that none of them is VERY long in terms of
wavelengths. It means that the phase shift vs frequency
the difference in cable lenghts introduce is very small and
negligible as compared to the large difference in phase vs
frequency that non-matched RF amplifiers  might introduce.
Over a narrow bandwidth, such as 2 MHz, even that can be neglected
if the RF amplifiers are reasonably similar. In the end, you
just have an unknown, but frequency independent phase shift between
the two RF channels.

> Moreover, my xpol yagis have the H elements located forward
> of the V elements by some 10 inches or so (I forget the
> exact amount) -- maybe 1/8 of a wavelength.  This will have
> a very significant effect, as well, no?
It just adds to the undeterminated phase difference and it
is independent of frequency over 2 MHz.

> So, it seems to me that the only way to get things
> calibrated correctly is the one you outlined:
> > Listen to a linearly polarised signal that arrives with similar
> > strength in both polarisations. (This is the strongest reason
> > why the X configuration is so much better than the + configuration.
> > It is easy to find a pure H-pol signal. Finding a 45 degree
> > terrestrial signal is virtually impossible due to ground reflections
> > so a + configured system has to be calibrated on EME signals.)
> > Change cable lengths until the signal appears close to linear
> > on the pol meter. Fine tune by tweaking the second RF amplifiers.
> > (will affect both amplitude and phase, but there are two second
> > RF amplifiers so it should be possible to find both amplitude and
> > phase matching.
> On the other hand, a strong practical reason to use the +
> configuration is that one wants to use the antenna for tropo
> as well as EME -- and therefore wants the ability to
> transmit a horizontal signal.  My array, therefore, is in
> the + configuration.
But that is a non-argument. I was using the X configuration for
10 years with only the option to put 50% of the power into each
polarisation. In phase for vertical and out of phase for horizontal.
(I also had +/- 90 degrees for circular, but although very good
for aurora I found it useless for EME) I actually lost some interesting
contacts because I could not put all the power in +45 or -45 degrees.
I did hear GW0KZG/MM from the red sea and got QRZ from him.
I knew 45 degrees would have given 3 dB more signal, but I could not
do it because my X configuration was set up in the simple way with
only H or V (or circular) as the emitted polarisation.

> > It would of course be easy to add parameters for amplitude
> > and phase balance, but I have not done it since I found
> > it easy to do in hardware:-)
> To me it seems much easier to do it in software, and perhaps
> I will try this within MAP65.
OK, but remember there is a performance penalty....

> Suppose the gains in the X
> and Y channels are already matched.  Then, while receiving a
> 100% horizontally polarized signal, shouldn't it be
> sufficient to multiply the complex signal for X (or Y) by a
> complex constant e^(i*phi), with the phase shift "phi"
> chosen so as to minimize Stokes Parameter V ?
Hmmm, If you have the + configuration, all the energy will
come in one RF channel and there is no phase information.

You will have to listen to an EME signal that you know is linear
and that you find strong enough in both channels to determine
the phase between the signals. Then, when knowing the phase error,
you can shift the phase of fft1_filtercorr[] in Linrad to rotate
the phase angle as desired. Actually I think this would be a good
strategy. The gain should be set in hardware for the compromise
between dynamic range and system noise figure that you want.
Then the phase could be adjusted in software because there is not
really any reason to have it set by hardware. (Although as an
experimenter with many different dual channel receivers I
personally prefer to have matched hardware...)



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