Daytime Impedance high?

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mbrockm
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Daytime Impedance high?

Post by mbrockm » Mon May 15, 2017 7:56 pm

Appears our center tower impedance is high. Non directional center tower should have an impedance of 433 ohms with 3.4 base amps to make 5KW. In order to make 3.4 amps at the base, the SX5 is putting out 5.6KW (nearly maxed out). The inline OIB and amp meter at the transmitter end confirms the power output to the atu. Transmitter is seeing 50 ohms and +4J. Non directional has a single T network between transmiter and tower. The directional is not showing any problems with the center tower. The directional network is separate from the non directional network. Directional tuning may be such that it has tuned out the higher center tower impedance change?? We have had problems in the past getting consistent base impedance measurements with an inline OIB. We have a delta inline oib with the extended range but readings have not been consistent or match other OIBs we have tried. Looking for any insights there to get an accurate base impedance or at least consistent.
The three towers use isolation coils for the sample lines to cross the base insulator. The center tower (both da and non da) has an added variable vacuum cap between input and output ground of the isolation coil. I assume to cancel out the coils inductance on the center tower. I would think the cap would open and cause a drop in impedance? Not sure how to tune this vacuum cap. By measuring base impedance or should there be a peak or dip in readings somewhere?
Thoughts
Mark Brockmeyer
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Deep Thought
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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by Deep Thought » Mon May 15, 2017 9:08 pm

Hi Mark. This is not an uncommon problem on high impedance towers. What is the measured ND reactance? That's what is really in play here.

The capacitor across the isolation coil is (usually) to parallel resonate it at the carrier frequency. Depending on the tower reactance and the coil reactance, having the capacitor fail or change value could send the tower R up or down. The change is only about 12% according to your figures, which isn't that much, so I don't think you have a major failure here.

One of the nice things about sample loops is they pretty much ignore any changes in tower impedance. You could have no change in the DA readings (or have had them happen slowly enough that they were just "adjusted out" along the way) but the ND impedance change would not have that luxury. Your 70° tower spacing will drive the nighttime operating impedance of that tower well below 100 ohms so whatever is bothering the daytime Z may not even be an issue at night.

Or maybe the base metering has developed an issue. Do you have another meter to check the main one with? A thermocouple meter plugged into the output jack would work.

If you want to try to tune the isolation coil, you'll want to adjust it so you get the original "R" value of 433 ohms. The "X" may not come back to where it was but you can compensate for that with the output coil of the tee network(s). This is only treating the symptom though, and if it doesn't come back to close to the original "X" something else happened on the tower. It could be as simple as a sample line bond coming loose. However, if you do this make sure you can get back to where it is tuned now.

OIBs can have issues with high Z towers, even if they are extended range, due to the lead configuration. You might get better results if you insert a coil or capacitor in series with the tower to cancel out most of the tower reactance and then add it back to the reading later. It will help reduce the effect of the OIB stray reactance.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

mbrockm
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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by mbrockm » Tue May 16, 2017 7:32 am

I have tried a couple of different delta base meters and got similar results. Yesterday I put in one I got tuned by delta electronics. Current readings stayed about the same. Several years back the cap across the sample loop coil was shorted and the affect was obvious. Since this cap is essentially across the base insulator I am thinking this cap could easily get knocked by a lightning strike.
I still wondering about proving if the cap is adjusted correctly. Even though it was years ago we replaced it. At the time we just adjusted till the readings came back to previous readings. The center tower has been replaced since then in 2008. No telling if that knob got turned when we retuned the da after the tower change. I am going to look thru the knob setting records.
The problem is non severe as you say so I am looking for a minor change somewhere. Like a cap value change or something which has worked it way lose and we tuned out over time.
Mark Brockmeyer
KMA Engineering

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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by Lee_Wheeler » Tue May 16, 2017 1:04 pm

Sounds like you need to get an actual OIB or some other bridge on the ATU output and see what the impedance really is. With a 433 Ohm tower you aren't going to get anything accurate with a common point bridge since it is designed to monitor something at or near 50 Ohms. If the ND tower impedance is substantially different than the license (+/- 2% real or imaginary) you need to temporarily determine power by the indirect method (Transmitter Power meter) and file a Form 302 AM for direct measurement. One question on the 302 asks for an explanation of why the impedance changed and that can be tough to answer. I normally attribute it to repairs to the ground system or something else that is plausible. So long as it is stable and this has occurred over a long period of time then you will just wind up with a new set of operating parameters and problem solved.

While you have the bridge at the tower it is a dandy time to touch up the ATU tuning so as to get a perfect 50 J0 match at the transmitter.

A direct measurement application has no fee but most of the time my clients run the application through their lawyers so there does wind up being a cost, it just depends on how expensive the lawyers are.

...Lee

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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by mbrockm » Thu May 18, 2017 7:51 am

I have a delta electornics OIB and potomac sd31. Which I dusted the cob webs off yesterday and bench tested. I talked to ed trombly at Munn Reese. When I can get clearance to take KMA down again I am going to isolate the cap and monitor loop coil to see if they are nulled out at our frequncy. Then verify the monitor loop vacuum cap has not been hit by lightning. also going to take a closer look at the sample loop cable where it is bonded to the tower base. Yesterday the base meter readings changed and are closer to where they should be. It had been very stable until yesterday. With all the wind lately wonder about something being loose. Hopefully near the ground and not in the air.
Mark Brockmeyer
KMA Engineering

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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by mbrockm » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:44 am

A few development in the problem. I used a cold bridge to measure center tower impedance. Right at license value. It appears the delta toroid meter is being affected by something. I have heard that tall am towers do not always work with delta meters. The recently calibrated meter and transformer is shifting from either reading too high or too low. I have verified power levels by using our dummy load on the transmitter to verify efficiency. For some reason the shift in base current reading is weather related. When the recent rain started the base current dropped suddenly. Then within a few hours of the rain stopping the next day it went back to reading high. Since there was a change in temp not going to rule that out. The shift in reading is not drastic but notable. With 5KW at the transmitter the base meter went from 3.52 amps to 3.2 amps when started then back to 3.52 a few hours after it stopped. Not seeing a change on the OIB which matches the amps change or even at the same time. Only about a half ohm in resistance change into the ATU. I am wondering about the bonding of the sample loop cable to the tower. What bonds I see do not look like they are to actual metal more to paint. Thinking about adding a sample loop bond right at the output of the ATU.
Mark Brockmeyer
KMA Engineering

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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by RGORJANCE » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:19 pm

I have kinda been following the post and didn't recall reading about the sampling loop---might have missed it. I was thinking about that as I started reading the latest post.

Brings back memories of a really unstable 3 twr DA-2, 5kw directional I got involved in. We found that all the three sampling loops had corroded over many years of "just hanging around". We took them down and did a massive cleanup, sprayed with cold galvanizing and put them back up. That was back in about the mid 90's. Array hasn't budged since then. Definitely look there.

Fossil

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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by Deep Thought » Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:10 pm

mbrockm wrote:
Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:44 am
I am wondering about the bonding of the sample loop cable to the tower. What bonds I see do not look like they are to actual metal more to paint. Thinking about adding a sample loop bond right at the output of the ATU.
Since it changes with rain this is definitely where I'd look. Bonding the line to the tower feed tubing is also a good idea since it sounds like it does not run through the tubing.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

mbrockm
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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by mbrockm » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:57 pm

Since the recent the recent rain the base current meter is exactly where I calculate it should be. Go figure. However new problem. One of the adjustable coils in the phasor has failed. The wiper contacts are completely gone. The phasor and guts were originally made by Harris. I have a quote from kintronics for a replacement which was a bit higher than I expected. Who else makes adjustable coils for AM DAs? Would they be any cheaper or worth the trouble looking? I have had good luck with kintronics in the past.
Mark Brockmeyer
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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by Deep Thought » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:08 pm

If it is one of those Harris coils with the wiper riding the side of the ribbon coil, welcome to the club. I've had clients in two different states with Harris phasors of similar vintage have those go up in flames for no reason other than bad design.

Phasetek also makes variable coils, but their prices aren't that much cheaper. GatesAir is, as you probably found out, no help at all. I'd stick with KTL.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by ChuckG » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:08 pm

I have occasionally been able to find replacement coils at Surplus Sales of Nebraska.
<><><><><><><><><>
Chuck Gennaro
Central Wisconsin

mbrockm
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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by mbrockm » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:36 am

I did looked at surplus sales. Be nice if I could find some spare wipers. I have 7 of these variable coils in my system. Probably not if, more the when they will fail.
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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by RGORJANCE » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:14 pm

I got some part numbers that might help.........

parts for coil 17VC1644

WIPER - 358-2574-000
SHAFT- 839-5351-001
COIL - 943-3777-002
CONTACT RING SLIDE ASSY - 929-8658-019
END CONTACT - 917-1104-002

And a part number for SOMETHING in the Harris motorized contactor is 922-1291-057 (my notes say finger, but it don't seem right)
FINGER-929-8389-007 AND 008 (ONE IS LEFT AND ONE IS RIGHT)
C CLIP FOR CONTACT PIN IS - 358-0525-000
CONTACT PIN THAT SLIDES INTO FINGERS IS 817-0949-001

Hope this gets you someresults at Gates Air.

Regards,

Fossil


All these parts are in a 4 twr DA-2 phasor that is being fed by a 2.5kw xmttr

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Re: HARRIS COILS

Post by RGORJANCE » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:26 pm

Forgot to mention, I had two of those coils get kinda green and arcy sparky in the phasor and ended up rehabbing them into pretty nice spares. Lots of scrubbing with scotch brite and cleaner worked great. Basically bought one new coil for immediate repair, and grabbed a bunch of parts. Did similar repairs to the motorized contactors.

Site was built in either 82, or 83 and has been really solid, except for the phasor controller which started going bad about 3-4 years ago. Since has gone toes up. Replaced it with a Phasetek unit that ain't got no transistors......hooray!!!. That replacement went much smoother and faster than anticipated, and much to my total shock actually worked right on the first attempt. How lucky can you get?

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Re: Daytime Impedance high?

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:29 pm

Fossil,

When we contacted GatesAir about a replacement coil following the flame-out this spring they referred us to Kintronic Labs. They no longer have any parts or complete units.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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