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Not All Triplexers Are Equal: A Review of the Dunestar HF Triplexer


...Buyer Beware!

I had an opportunity to troubleshoot and repair SARC’s Dunestar triplexers. A couple of surface mount capacitors failed and had to be replaced. The triplexers are now in working order again. But...

These triplexers were very cheaply made. They contain only resonant circuits instead of filters. Better diplexers have low pass filters, band pass filters and high pass filters. So why are filters better than resonant circuit? Let’s see:

Here is a schematic diagram of our triplexer . There are 3 resonant circuits, one for 160, one for 80m and one for 40m. 

The frequency response curve of resonant circuits is narrow and may not cover a whole amateur radio band. In the case of our triplexer, the 80m bandpass is so narrow that does not cover both the CW and SSB portion of the bands. There is a jumper JP that adds more capacitance (C3) for the CW band by lowering the resonant frequency. Without the jumper the circuit is tuned to the SSB band. However, the jumper is located inside of the enclosure and it is very inconvenient to change.

Below are the 80m band graphs showing insertion loss (G) and VSWR of our Dunestar triplexer, with the jumper in the SSB position. As you can see it is useable only from 3.685 to 3.882 MHz if the practical VSWR limit is 2.  It would be slightly wider if the allowable SWR is 3, but it still covers only the centre of the band.

Triplexers which use filters (low, high, band pass) are much better. Below is a schematic diagram of a more sophisticated triplexer using filters rather than resonant circuits.

Let’s examine the characteristics of this 80 MHz bandpass filter. The graphs [above] show the scans taken the same way as for the Dunestar units. You can see that the band pass filter is flat and covers the entire 80m band (from 3.42 to 4.10 MHz) CW and SSB without need of a jumper. The low pass and high pass filters have similar characteristics; they are flat and cover the entire 160m and 40m bands.

So what have we learned here?

First, you get what you pay for.

Second, you have to be careful using this triplexer because outside the narrow pass bands you will run into high VSWR. It is worthwhile to check the specifications before you purchase any triplexer. 

As with any triplexer, you need to use extra band pass filters (one per band) because the isolation between the inputs is not sufficient (for example some RF power from the 80m transmitter could get into 40m receiver and damage the receiver’s front end).

~ Les Tocko VA7OM


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for providing this data. I was looking for a band pass filter a few months ago and looked in several places. However the price was so high at a few nearby locations so I have decided to look for the best website for band pass filter on the internet. I acquired all of my essential band pass filters from Anatech Electronics at the best possible price, and I also requested a custom band pass filter which I received on time. If you're looking for a band pass filter, I recommend Anatech Electronics.



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