[Updated 16 June 2013]
For most people, a matchbox is a matchbox.
Joe Ham seems only interested in how much power does it handle and how much does it cost?
SELDOM DO MANUFACTURERS ADVERTISE THE IMPEDANCE MATCHING RANGE OF THEIR PRODUCTS.
NEVER DO THEY TELL US HOW MUCH POWER IS LOST WITHIN THE MATCHBOX.
For the past 15+ years, the ARRL has published several comparison tests of popular matchboxes. They show the matching range, typical SWR and the power loss for the different impedances - all good information that should be considered when purchasing a new antenna matchbox.
PROBLEM: Each test included just 4 or 5 matchboxes. Potential buyers need a way for comparing many different matchboxes and matchbox technologies with each other.
I have created a document showing the results of all of the ARRL test in one huge Excel Spreadsheet. If you print it, it is spread out over 6 sheets of paper, which you must cut to size and tape together. The result is a simple, easy to use tool for comparing and evaluating different antenna matchboxes.
If you are an Excel "Power User" and know how to work with split windows and hide rows in Excel, then it is also easy to work on-screen with this document. If you are unfamiliar with this technique, printing and taping may be the best solution.
MANY IMPORTANT FACTS cannot be shown in a chart or spreadsheet. It is beneficial to use this spreadsheet as a tool to assist in the decision process, but it is not the ultimate answer. Once you have created a short list of your favorite two or three matchboxes, read the original test, read all of the details and weigh that information into your decision process.
Since the tests were conducted by different people over a 15 year period, the reporting method is not always 100% identical from one test to another, though it is close enough to be useful.
EXAMPLE: one test shows power loss of "less than 10%" while another shows power loss of "less than or equal to 10%". For this chart we will consider both to be the same, although there could potentially be a slight difference.
[IN]ACCURACY: I have typed all of the data into the spreadsheet manually. I am certain there will be a typo or two. Do your own due dilligence.
Once you have your potential candidates, double check the numbers for each by reading the original ARRL test.
DOWNLOAD THE SHOOTOUT BELOW:
This is an Excel spreadsheet, compatible with Office 97 or later. This is Version 1.3 of the file. As we find and correct errors, we will update the file here.
MATCHBOX SHOOT-OUT V.1.3_e97.xls
Microsoft Excel-Dokument [92.0 KB]
MOST OF THESE ARRL TESTS HAVE BEEN RE-PRINTED IN
"The ARRL Guide to Antenna Tuners",
by Joel Hallas, W1ZR. ISBN: 978-0-87259-098-4.
I highly recommend this book.
Available here: http://www.arrl.org/shop/search.php?mode=search&page=1