Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

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Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

Mark Tellez
Hello,

I am considering purchasing an antenna analyzer to help me refine some of
my homebrew antenna "experiments" and also to tune my Buddipole.

What is most important to me is accuracy, ease of use and of course giving
me all the info I will need to adjust my antenna.  Since I have never used
an analyzer I am not sure what I going to need so I would appreciate advice
from those of you who have one.

At this stage I am considering the following:   AA-54, AA-230Pro, iPortable
60, Comet CAA-500, and AIM 4170(not very portable).   Any others I should
look at?

Thanks,

Mark
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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

W4GRJ
I have the AA-600, easy to use with lots of features.
The RigExpert models you listed are basically the same just lower frequency range.
You will love it.
Jack
W4GRJ


On Mar 30, 2014, at 10:37 PM, Mark Tellez <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hello,

I am considering purchasing an antenna analyzer to help me refine some of
my homebrew antenna "experiments" and also to tune my Buddipole.

What is most important to me is accuracy, ease of use and of course giving
me all the info I will need to adjust my antenna.  Since I have never used
an analyzer I am not sure what I going to need so I would appreciate advice
from those of you who have one.

At this stage I am considering the following:   AA-54, AA-230Pro, iPortable
60, Comet CAA-500, and AIM 4170(not very portable).   Any others I should
look at?

Thanks,

Mark
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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

Robert Nobis - N7RJN
In reply to this post by Mark Tellez
Mark,

I use the AA-54. All of the Rig Experts analyzers are nearly identical,
except for operating frequency range.  Get the one the covers all
frequencies you plan on using now and in the future.

73,

Bob  -  N7RJN

On 3/30/14, 19:37, "Mark Tellez" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Hello,
>
>I am considering purchasing an antenna analyzer to help me refine some of
>my homebrew antenna "experiments" and also to tune my Buddipole.
>
>What is most important to me is accuracy, ease of use and of course giving
>me all the info I will need to adjust my antenna.  Since I have never used
>an analyzer I am not sure what I going to need so I would appreciate
>advice
>from those of you who have one.
>
>At this stage I am considering the following:   AA-54, AA-230Pro,
>iPortable
>60, Comet CAA-500, and AIM 4170(not very portable).   Any others I should
>look at?
>
>Thanks,
>
>Mark
>______________________________________________________________
>Elecraft mailing list
>Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
>Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
>Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
>This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
>Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>Message delivered to [hidden email]
>


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Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

Johnny Siu
I have recently got a SARK-110 and my product review was in :

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/10856

73

Johnny VR2XMC
 

________________________________
 寄件人︰ N7RJN <[hidden email]>
收件人︰ Mark Tellez <[hidden email]>; [hidden email]
傳送日期︰ 2014年03月31日 (週一) 10:57 AM
主題︰ Re: [Elecraft] Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers
 

Mark,

I use the AA-54. All of the Rig Experts analyzers are nearly identical,
except for operating frequency range.  Get the one the covers all
frequencies you plan on using now and in the future.

73,

Bob  -  N7RJN

On 3/30/14, 19:37, "Mark Tellez" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Hello,
>
>I am considering purchasing an antenna analyzer to help me refine some of
>my homebrew antenna "experiments" and also to tune my Buddipole.
>
>What is most important to me is accuracy, ease of use and of course giving
>me all the info I will need to adjust my antenna.  Since I have never used
>an analyzer I am not sure what I going to need so I would appreciate
>advice
>from those of you who have one.
>
>At this stage I am considering the following:   AA-54, AA-230Pro,
>iPortable
>60, Comet CAA-500, and AIM 4170(not very portable).   Any others I should
>look at?
>
>Thanks,
>
>Mark
>______________________________________________________________
>Elecraft mailing list
>Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
>Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
>Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
>This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net/
>Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>Message delivered to [hidden email]

>


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RE: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

kd7gc
In reply to this post by Mark Tellez

The unit I was advised to purchase when ready is the VNA2180 from Array Solutions.

I believe that it is a 2 port analyzer.

 

Alan/KD7GC

 

 

Alan R. Downing

Phoenix, AZ

 

From: Mark Tellez [via Elecraft] [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2014 7:39 PM
To: kd7gc
Subject: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

 

Hello,

I am considering purchasing an antenna analyzer to help me refine some of
my homebrew antenna "experiments" and also to tune my Buddipole.

What is most important to me is accuracy, ease of use and of course giving
me all the info I will need to adjust my antenna.  Since I have never used
an analyzer I am not sure what I going to need so I would appreciate advice
from those of you who have one.

At this stage I am considering the following:   AA-54, AA-230Pro, iPortable
60, Comet CAA-500, and AIM 4170(not very portable).   Any others I should
look at?

Thanks,

Mark
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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

Jim Brown-10
In reply to this post by Mark Tellez
On 3/30/2014 7:37 PM, Mark Tellez wrote:
> What is most important to me is accuracy, ease of use and of course giving me all the info I will need to adjust my antenna.

Do you own, and have you studied (a LOT) the sections of the ARRL
Handbook and the ARRL Antenna Book on Transmission Lines and on the
kinds of antennas that you want to "adust?" If the answer is no, do that
before you buy an analyzer that will tell you things that you don't
understand.

The AIM units are popular and highly advertised, sold by a reputable
distributor, and are quite powerful, but they are of little use to
someone who hasn't studied antennas and transmission lines a LOT. They
are also expensive. My favorite of this sort of analyzer is the VNWA 3e,
designed by DG8SAQ, an EE prof at a German university, and built and
sold by a ham in the UK. It is more powerful, and more convenient to use
than the AIM units, and at about $700, is half the cost of the
comparable, but less capable, AIM 2180. It's also quite well supported
online by the designer, who also wrote the software. All of these units
work with a computer via the USB port to manage the measurement and
display and process the data. A nice advantage of the VNWA 3e is that it
gets power from the USB port. The AIM units need a power supply, which
makes it more complicated to drag them into the field.

All of these units may "swept frequency" measurements, and can write
data files of the data they have measured so that you use them in design
programs like Sim Smith, and AC6LA's excellent Excel spreadsheets.

That's the nigh end. The low end are boxes like the MFJ-259-series, the
latest version of which a C-model. The 259 has been ubiquitous for at
least a decade -- it's very portable, it does a lot if you've studied
those ARRL books, it's very portable (although it EATS batteries like an
NFL lineman devours steaks) and you don't cry nearly as long when you
drop it off the tower.

In the middle are newer dedicated "boxes" like those you've listed, and
others. The more capable ones can do sweeps and generate data files, and
they are relatively portable (like the 259) but they are likely to be a
LOT less precise than the units that work with a computer.

Summary: None of these antenna analyzers will make your antenna work
better, but studying those ARRL books WILL. And you won't understand
what the analyzers are telling you if you haven't studied those books.
And you can buy the books for a third the cost of the least expensive
analyzer!

73, Jim K9YC
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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

Dr. William J. Schmidt, II
Have a look at the MiniVNA Pro.  Read the reviews on Eham.  Cheaper than
most and small enough to carry up the tower and use with and Android phone.

http://miniradiosolutions.com/minivna



Dr. William J. Schmidt - K9HZ / J68HZ/ 8P6HK/ ZF2HZ
 
Owner - Operator
Big Signal Ranch
Staunton, Illinois
 
email:  [hidden email]


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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

AF5BV
I have used a Youkit FG-01 for the last couple of years - no issues or problems, very portable and easy to use. I’d definitely recommend and buy again.

Paul
AF5BV

On Mar 31, 2014, at 1:30 AM, Dr. William J. Schmidt, II <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Have a look at the MiniVNA Pro.  Read the reviews on Eham.  Cheaper than
> most and small enough to carry up the tower and use with and Android phone.
>
> http://miniradiosolutions.com/minivna
>
>
>
> Dr. William J. Schmidt - K9HZ / J68HZ/ 8P6HK/ ZF2HZ
>
> Owner - Operator
> Big Signal Ranch
> Staunton, Illinois
>
> email:  [hidden email]
>
>
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email]

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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

Edward R Cole
In reply to this post by Mark Tellez
One comment I would make is having a portable, battery-powered,
sel-contained analyzer is very handy for checking or tuning antennas
outside the shack (like on top of the tower troubleshooting high SWR)
or at Field Day or on your vacation setting up a portable
antenna.  It was very useful for initial tuning of my 8877 amp.  You
can check feedlines with antennas connected for impedance issues (aka a TDR).

A VNA at the workbench is also nice but you will need a computer to
use with it.

I have an old beat-up MFJ-269B (in case anyone wants to know);  I'd
love to get the VNA2180 for more precise measurements on the
bench.  Can't have too much test equipment!

73, Ed - KL7UW
http://www.kl7uw.com
     "Kits made by KL7UW"
Dubus Mag business:
     [hidden email]

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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

Wes (N7WS)
In reply to this post by Jim Brown-10
I completely agree with Jim.  I would add one other option, the N2PK VANA, if
you're into home building and can work with SMDs. I have an early version of
this and also a VNWA 3, which I have yet to fully acquaint myself with.

It's funny that I just today ran across an old brochure for the lab I used to
work in at Hughes Aircraft.  There is a photo of me in "my" lab sitting in front
of an HP8510C Network Analyzer, that as I recall, cost in the neighborhood of a
quarter Megabuck and filled a good part of a four foot rack cabinet.  The VNWA,
which fits in the palm of my hand, within its more limited frequency range, is
essentially its equal.

Dan's (AC6LA) programs are superb.  The free stuff:  "TLDetails" and "Zplots"
will go a long way toward educating someone new to transmission lines.

We live in amazing times.  In my technical lifetime we've gone from drawing
reflection coefficient traces on a scope face with a grease pencil to this stuff.

Wes  N7WS


On 3/30/2014 11:16 PM, Jim Brown wrote:

> On 3/30/2014 7:37 PM, Mark Tellez wrote:
>> What is most important to me is accuracy, ease of use and of course giving me
>> all the info I will need to adjust my antenna.
>
> Do you own, and have you studied (a LOT) the sections of the ARRL Handbook and
> the ARRL Antenna Book on Transmission Lines and on the kinds of antennas that
> you want to "adust?" If the answer is no, do that before you buy an analyzer
> that will tell you things that you don't understand.
>
> The AIM units are popular and highly advertised, sold by a reputable
> distributor, and are quite powerful, but they are of little use to someone who
> hasn't studied antennas and transmission lines a LOT. They are also expensive.
> My favorite of this sort of analyzer is the VNWA 3e, designed by DG8SAQ, an EE
> prof at a German university, and built and sold by a ham in the UK. It is more
> powerful, and more convenient to use than the AIM units, and at about $700, is
> half the cost of the comparable, but less capable, AIM 2180. It's also quite
> well supported online by the designer, who also wrote the software. All of
> these units work with a computer via the USB port to manage the measurement
> and display and process the data. A nice advantage of the VNWA 3e is that it
> gets power from the USB port. The AIM units need a power supply, which makes
> it more complicated to drag them into the field.
>
> All of these units may "swept frequency" measurements, and can write data
> files of the data they have measured so that you use them in design programs
> like Sim Smith, and AC6LA's excellent Excel spreadsheets.
>
> That's the nigh end. The low end are boxes like the MFJ-259-series, the latest
> version of which a C-model. The 259 has been ubiquitous for at least a decade
> -- it's very portable, it does a lot if you've studied those ARRL books, it's
> very portable (although it EATS batteries like an NFL lineman devours steaks)
> and you don't cry nearly as long when you drop it off the tower.
>
> In the middle are newer dedicated "boxes" like those you've listed, and
> others. The more capable ones can do sweeps and generate data files, and they
> are relatively portable (like the 259) but they are likely to be a LOT less
> precise than the units that work with a computer.
>
> Summary: None of these antenna analyzers will make your antenna work better,
> but studying those ARRL books WILL. And you won't understand what the
> analyzers are telling you if you haven't studied those books. And you can buy
> the books for a third the cost of the least expensive analyzer!
>
> 73, Jim K9YC
>

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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

Jim Brown-10
On 3/31/2014 1:00 PM, Wes (N7WS) wrote:
> I would add one other option, the N2PK VANA, if you're into home
> building and can work with SMDs. I have an early version of this and
> also a VNWA 3, which I have yet to fully acquaint myself with.

Yes. Several years ago, I tried to find a group kit buy of one of these
units, but never managed to do so. It has a great reputation.

73, Jim K9YC
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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

AD0ES
In reply to this post by Mark Tellez
I have the AIM UHF and love it.  I knew nothing about antennas when I bought it, but it enabled
me to learn a lot.  It tells you just about everything going on from the connector in the shack to
the ends of the wire.  It can be a bit overwhelming to see all that data that means absolutely
nothing to you, but I took it as a challenge to learn what it all meant.  Think of it as an analyzer
that you will grow into...  It also analyzes transmission line.  I have a 250' run of LMR-400 between
shack and top of tower.  I had a connector go bad in the box at the base of the tower, the AIM found
the break within about a foot or so ... I could have spent days trying to find it by other methods.
It is also VERY handy to have those computer graphs.  Save each as you make changes to an antenna,
overlay them to instantly see what factors changed with your last mods.  Periodically run new scans
and compare to old scans to find subtle degradations from weathering, etc.

73,
Steve AD0ES

On Mar 31, 2014, at 10:00 AM, [hidden email] wrote:

> The AIM units are popular and highly advertised, sold by a reputable
> distributor, and are quite powerful, but they are of little use to
> someone who hasn't studied antennas and transmission lines a LOT.

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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

M Cresap
In reply to this post by Johnny Siu
The SARK-110 looks like a nice unit. Interesting that the SARK-110 is not available in the US due to potential patent problems. There is a US patent (7,629,795) filed in 2007 that looks a lot like the SARK-110 and other VNAs that were already published (N2PK's version since 2004 on the internet, N5EG in 2004 in QEX, DG8SAQ in early 2007 in QEX and CQ DL).


Mike, W3IP

On Sunday, March 30, 2014 11:10 PM, Johnny Siu <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I have recently got a SARK-110 and my product review was in :

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/10856

73

Johnny VR2XMC


________________________________
寄件人︰ N7RJN <[hidden email]>
收件人︰ Mark Tellez <[hidden email]>; [hidden email]
傳送日期︰ 2014年03月31日 (週一) 10:57 AM
主題︰ Re: [Elecraft] Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers
 

Mark,

I use the AA-54. All of the Rig Experts analyzers are nearly identical,
except for operating frequency range.  Get the one the covers all
frequencies you plan on using now and in the future.

73,

Bob  -  N7RJN

On 3/30/14, 19:37, "Mark Tellez" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Hello,
>
>I am considering purchasing an antenna analyzer to help me refine some of
>my homebrew antenna "experiments" and also to tune my Buddipole.
>
>What is most important to me is accuracy, ease of use and of course giving
>me all the info I will need to adjust my antenna.  Since I have never used
>an analyzer I am not sure what I going to need so I would appreciate
>advice
>from those of you who have one.
>
>At this stage I am considering the following:   AA-54, AA-230Pro,
>iPortable
>60, Comet CAA-500, and AIM 4170(not very portable).   Any others I should
>look at?
>
>Thanks,
>
>Mark
>______________________________________________________________
>Elecraft mailing list
>Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
>Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
>Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
>This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net/
>Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>Message delivered to [hidden email]

>


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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

Phil Salas
In reply to this post by AD0ES
I have an AIMuhf (replaced an AIM4170).  Both are fabulous instruments.  And the software is extremely user-friendly.  You can download the software and run it in demo mode without the analyzer.
Phil – AD5X
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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

OE5CSP-Chris
This post has NOT been accepted by the mailing list yet.
In reply to this post by Mark Tellez
Here is another suggestion. I built it a few weeks ago. It´s a kit and the manual is written in German.
http://www.box73.de/product_info.php?products_id=2583

73,Chris-OE5CSP
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Re: Suggestions on Antenna Analyzers

Jim Bennett
In reply to this post by Edward R Cole
Before this thread is put to death, let me add my two pesos. And so as to not be "rude", it is only slightly OT because I have a complete K-Line and a KX3 that I do my antenna analysis for....

About a year ago I purchased an AIM4170C. It is a super piece of equipment - it can show you as much or as little as you need. Where it really shines (IMHO) is it's ability to analyze an antenna over a wide span, like 160 - 6 meters and show the details on a nice colored graph. I had an MFJ259B for a long time and it did an admirable job. However, when I needed to make a bunch of modifications to an 80 meter Inverted L with a Folded CounterPoise (FCP), it was a very tedious process to record the R/Z/X values over the 3.000 mHz to 4.500 mHz range, put them in a spreadsheet, prune the FCP, re-take measurements, etc. The 4170C made it a piece of cake.

And as to portability - I've got a nice 7aH 12vdc battery to power the AIM in the field, and I have the AIM hooked to my MacBook Air laptop, so in my situation, it is quite portable. Not as handy as the '259B to simply sling over your shoulder, but still capable of being taken out of the shack for measurements, if needed. Of course, if money were no object for me, I'd probably have both analyzers in my arsenal! :-)

That's my story and I'm sticking to it...! :-)

Jim / W6JHB


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