A NanoVNA As A Dip Meter

A staple of the radio amateur’s arsenal of test equipment in previous decades was the dip meter. This was a variable frequency oscillator whose coil would be placed near the circuit to be tested, and which would show an abrupt current dip on a moving coil meter when its frequency matched the resonant frequency of what it was testing. For some reason the extremely useful devices seem hard to come by in 2024, so [Rick’s Ham Shack] has come along with a guide to using a nanoVNA in their place.

It’s a simple enough technique, indeed it’s a basic part of using these instruments, with a large sensor coil connected to the output port and a frequency sweep set up on the VNA. The reactance graph then shows any resonant peaks it finds in the frequency range, something easily demonstrated in the video below the break by putting a 20 meter (14 MHz) trap in the coil and seeing an immediate clear peak.

For many readers this will not be news, but for those who’ve not used a VNA before it’s a quick and easy demo of an immediate use for these extremely versatile instruments. For those of us who received our callsigns long ago it’s nothing short of miraculous that a functional VNA can be picked up at such a reasonable price, and we’d go as far as to suggest that non radio amateurs might find one useful, too. Read our review, if you’re interested.

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Marconi Circuit Magnification Meter Gives Up Secrets

[Thomas] picked up a Marconi TF1245 with dents and dings. We have to admit that we had not heard of a “circuit magnification meter,” but apparently, this was a thing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Turns out, we have heard of this kind of meter before, but it was called a Q meter. The device works using a very low-impedance resonant circuit and a very high-impedance voltmeter. It measures the ratio of the voltage across the known circuit and the unknown circuit. This particular meter needs an external signal source with very special characteristics. You can see the well-built device in the video below.

The unit didn’t seem to work, but we suspect that it didn’t like his normal signal source. According to a comment in the manual, the matching signal generator delivered 0.5V into a 0.5 ohm load. You could also use a matching transformer to get to the required match.

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