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# How do you measure the impedance of a balanced transmission line?

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## How do you measure the impedance of a balanced transmission line?

(OP)
The regular RF measurement equipment allows for easy measurement of the impedance of 50 or 75 Ohm unbalanced transmission line. But if you have a symmetrical 2-conductor structure, how do you determine the impedance (without a formula)?

I have a "probe" structure of two parallel flat stainless conductors (.005" x .1") spaced 0.3" apart (center-to-center) within a PTFE lamination. In other words, it looks like a twin-lead with flat conductors.

What is the best measurement setup to measure the impedance? How would you do it if you didn't have access to a network analyzer?

### RE: How do you measure the impedance of a balanced transmission line?

Probably a formula is the easiest answer. If not you could make your own TDR system. You need a differential fast pulse signal, which can be obtained from an ECL gate for example. Then drive the line through a pair of series termination resistors. View the result on a high speed scope using an active probe. None of this is easy and you do need specialised gear.

You basically can’t make good measurements without some decent test gear.

Then again, if you need to know the impedance you must be driving the system fairly fast anyway. If you can’t measure the effect of changing the sending end terminations it may not be a problem anyway.

### RE: How do you measure the impedance of a balanced transmission line?

depending on your frequency band, you could calibrate into standard 300 ohm twinlead using a off-the shelf 75-to 300ohm balun & using a short, 1/6lambda, 1/3 lambda shorts or 300 ohm load and open cal standards whatever you prefer, or using tsd etc. then using the measured reflection coefficient from the 300 ohm system is straight forward to calculate the impedance. This requires a formula that every microwave engineer learns in 101 however

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