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SimSmith Smith Chart Software v1.0
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Randy Rogers*, AD7ZU, mentioned in the May 2020 issue of QST magazine the Smith Chart software called "SimSmith," by Ward Harriman, AE6TY. SimSmith first appeared around 2011. Being written in Java, it will run on any operating system that supports Java (Win64, Win32, Apple Mac OS X, Solaris, and Linux). If you are using Win64 as I am, you will want to download the "windows64-with-JRE.exe" file. Windows security will try to block it, but it is safe to run after your antivirus program scans it and gives a green light. AE6TY recommends using the installation files rather than just downloading the "SimSmith.jar" file even if you already have a version of Java installed.

"SimSmith->preferences" menu selection - RF CafeWhen launching the program, the window might not be very large, so grab a corner and stretch it out so the components are easier to see. After playing around with SimSmith for a while, you might want to click on the "SimSmith->preferences" menu selection to see whether there are default settings that you want to change. The "line Width Multiplier" setting thickens the with of all lines on the display - not just on the Smith Chart. Interestingly, "power Units" can only be set to "dBW" or "W," with no option for dBm or mW.

SimSmith component cascade - RF CafeIt appears there is no limit on the number of components that can be cascaded. The drag-and-drop user interface is very friendly. Click on a component from the palette at the bottom of the screen and drag/drop it where needed in the circuits at the top. Click and drag any component to a new position as desired. Right-click on a component to expose the drop-down menu to delete, rotate, copy, delete, etc. Component parameters can be easily edited in place below the circuit cascade either by typing in a value or using the mouse scroll wheel to increment the value. Changes appear instantly on the Smith Chart display. Clicking on a line on the Smith Chart causes its corresponding component to be highlighted in the circuit so you know what to edit to affect the line. Fortunately, using the standard "Crtl+Z" will undo the last command, even after deleting a component.

Pluto's "Heart" in SimSmith - RF CafeI'm not sure whether this is significant or not, but while experimenting with SimSmith I stumbled upon a swept waveform that looks a lot like the recently discovered "heart" (Tombaugh Regio) of the planet Pluto (I still consider it a planet). Could this circuit and its associated range of frequencies hold some clue as to the electromagnetic nature of Pluto? Remember that you saw it here first ;-)

Thanks to Mr. Rogers for this amazing program!

Larry Benko, W0QE, has produced many SimSmith videos from various versions of the program.

*Randy Rogers, AD7ZU, also has an e-book entitled, "TBARC Programs Antenna Modeling with 4NEC2" that might interest you. 

The following SimSmith introduction video and more are available at the AE6TY YouTube channel.

"Ten thousand foot flyover of SimSmith's extensive capabilities."

"SimSmith Is An Evolving Program.

This means that over time, basic operation can change. Changes are made for a variety of reasons: adding functionality, fixing bugs, making things 'consistent' across subsystems, making things 'intuitive' for the user, meeting industry standards and/or expectations, etc.

These changes can cause considerable angst, particularly when attempting to follow along while watching a video. If you run into this problem I apologize. Please access the help menu, referring to the 'SimSmith' manual, the 'recent changes,' or the 'release notes.' I try to at least say that something has changed and occasionally say why."

- Ward Harriman, AE6TY



Posted April 15, 2020

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