Thursday, 3 March 2016

Review: Balun One Nine

What is is? How much?


A small electronic circuit, used with wire antennas for shortwave listening.
Connect to receiver input on one end with a SMA Male - SMA Male pigtail, connect to random wire on other side with spring-loaded terminals - that's it.
Costs $10 from the manufacturer.
If receiving signals below 30 MHz is your goal with a random wire, then yes, you will benefit.
It can be used with other receivers as well - for example, it was great with a small communications receiver with shortwave capability, an Icom IC-R5.

Performance


Used for the 5-dongle comparison without any problems, spring-loaded terminals hold wires securely. Requires no power, connect-and-forget.

Received signal is either the same or better with a Balun One Nine; usually better.
As there are TWO spring-loaded terminals, you may connect a longwire to either or both holes.


Update: This is a balun, meaning balanced (two wires, one in each hole) to unbalanced (coax cable). If you have only one wire it will work just as well, but it's really designed for two wires - reception will be better.
A 9:1 Unun is the appropriate tool to use with a single wire - homemade version uses toroids, tips and diagrams in the upcoming book.

Update March 7: image removed due to incorrect image editing for results. Here's a video instead on a weak station.



Draw your own conclusions.

A 9:1 unun will be about the same performance with the same antenna as the Balun One Nine; for $10 a One Nine is more convenient and versatile.

Should you buy one?


Only if you want to get the best performance from a piece of wire on frequencies below 30 MHz, or could use a 9:1 impedance transformer in a project.
Desperate for HF reception but cash-strapped? Spend $10 on a Balun One Nine and download Oliver Jowett's HF drivers for SDR#; a usable combo, play and have fun until you save up enough for a Ham-It-Up.

Not only recommended, a 9:1 is essential for end-fed longwire antennas.


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