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Equipment Solutions: Antenna Matching and Tuning Components

Antenna matching and tuning components are generally comprised of passive components that are physically very large because of the high power RF signals they manage. They include air-core inductors most often wound with litz wire, and high voltage capacitors that are usually pressurized with nitrogen or Sulpher Hexaflouride, or filled with oil.

LF and VLF antennas are generally electrically short and require series inductance to tune to the operating frequency. The resistance of a series-tuned antenna is much lower than the impedance desired for matching to the power amplifier(s) via the transmission line and/or phase-shift network. In addition, the system's power requirements can dictate the need for tuning and matching components that can handle RF voltages up to 250,000 volts, and current as high as 3,000 amperes. As a result, the antenna matching and tuning components are very large structures, and must be made with non-magnetic materials and special cable (usually litz wire). The antenna tuning components are a combination of fixed inductors and variable inductors with precision motor drives. The transformation of the low antenna series resistance to a higher impedance to match the PA(s) is accomplished with a transformer or a coupling coil, which may be tapped or continuously variable.

Hi-Q engineers have experience with every aspect of matching and tuning an antenna system to a given transmitter. The specialized engineering required to design a reliable, cost-effective antenna matching and tuning solution requires very unique skill sets. Hi-Q engineers have a proven track record with regard to antenna matching systems of all types. From concept design through procurement, fabrication, installation, and commissioning tests, Hi-Q engineers have done it all. For a specific example see our "New Helix House" project from our Projects page.

 

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