It is currently Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:00 pm

Click the link below to visit the site sponsor

The Ham Radio Shop




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Advanced Member

Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:46 pm
Posts: 555
Location: Haslingden, Lancashire
Feedback: 0 (0%)
Reply with quote
Post Which antenna analyzer and why?
Hi all, things have changed in the past 20+ years and it seems that now the antenna analyzer is the tool to have if your going to make your own aerials etc.

Well, that's just my plan and despite being able to test them just using a radio I do think an analyzer is more convenient and probably a damn site easier and quicker.

I mainly intend to operate on HF with possibly VHF use so 147mhz is likely the top frequency I will ever need for antenna tuning, I'd also like to make baluns, traps, wire aerials, possibly some vertical & beam antennas.

I also have just under £300 in fund available (no more) but once that's gone it's gone and also are my funds for more bits - so I need to make a careful choice.

I have been looking at the Rigexpert range, in particular the AA-170 as that covers everywhere I need to go for only a little more than the AA-30, and it is very similar to the MFJ offering.

MFJ is often described as supplied as junk but OK once you have corrected the shoddy build standards.

Looking at the Rigexpert AA-170 I can do the following:

Scan frequency range and show SWR, showing a graph of the rage & the SWR across the range.
Higher versions (AA-54+) can do an SWR test over 5 bands in one go.
AA-54+ does vector analysis (what is this?)
It shows inductance, resistance & capacitance, impedance etc.
PC based analysis, showing SWR, resistance, inductance, capacitance, cable length, return losses.

Do any of the far cheaper analyzers also do the same things (apart from the multi SWR perhaps?)
For instance, the SARK100 (HFANT with Bluetooth), the SARK Mini 60, the Featuretech AW07A, etc all seem OK but are they as good as the Rigexpert?

How to actually use them for things other than checking the SWR of an antenna is poorly (IMO) published on the net so it is also unclear what else (apart from checking SWR) I can use one for - what do you use yours for and what do you have?


Your experiences and opinions would be appreciated before I spent a lot of money on something that I could have bought a cheaper version of giving me more to spend on other bits.

Cheers,
Matt
G7FQW.


Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:55 pm
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Contributor 2020
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:32 pm
Posts: 5074
Location: Salisbury, Wiltshire
Feedback: 21 (100%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
Vk5jst analyser because it's good and you build it yourself
David

_________________
David. G4YVM


Bantenna.co.uk
HF vertical...no radials needed.

80-10m endfed


Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:57 pm
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Online
Contributor 2021
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:09 pm
Posts: 12135
Location: West Midlands
Feedback: 114 (100%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
First you mentioned 2m, then you mentioned a few that don't cover 2m.

If you only want to go up to 6m, then by far the best is the FoxDelta kit, easy to assemble, can add bluetooth, and you will have PLENTY left over from your budget.

I would not suggest the MFJ unless you have to have VHF, the same for the VK5JST. Once you have used something that gives you a curve on the PC, you won't want to go back to a stone-age one.

I have a VK5JST, and rarely use it, I also have a mini60, which I keep for the portable setup.

The miniVNA Tiny is probably the most useful overall for amateur use for the price, but I think it is a bit over your budget.

For stand alone use, up to 160MHz, I don't think anything comes close to the FA-VA3 overall. Nice big screen, can add bluetooth and another port for filters etc.

_________________
===================
Gee Three Eee Jay Ess - RSGB, SARL, EPC
My email address is correct on QRZ.com
===================


Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:10 pm
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Advanced Member

Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:46 pm
Posts: 555
Location: Haslingden, Lancashire
Feedback: 0 (0%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
Well, I mention them because they cost far less - I could be persuaded to forget about over 50mhz if it enables me to save over £100+ lol
The FA-VA3 is all sold out so I cannot even look at the cost. :(

Yep the vna stuff is out of the budget.


Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:04 pm
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Contributor 2021

Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:15 pm
Posts: 1625
Location: Annan, Dumfries & Galloway IO84jx
Feedback: 23 (100%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
I use one of the early RigExpert models and have only had to replace the rechargeable battery.

If you have a matching problem with an antenna, it is useful to be able to scan to find where an antenna is performing well.

The model I have is the AA-200, covers hf and vhf but not uhf, easy to use and understand the results it produces.

Would imagine that the latest models will be really special.

Good luck.

_________________
73

John - gm6tvr / gm0fqv

If you can't join them, beat them...........


Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:26 pm
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Advanced Member

Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:43 pm
Posts: 5266
Location: Cumbria IO94iv
Feedback: 27 (100%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
YouKits FG-01 HF, 6m & 4m. Offers a good readable coloured screen that shows a graphical coloured plot of the antenna and is very accurate.
Buy direct from the supplier in China via ebay for a realistic saving, forget the rip off emporiums prices! http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Youkits-FG-01 ... 3f46edf35d


Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:09 pm
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Online
Contributor 2020
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:15 pm
Posts: 15171
Location: io65ga, Donegal
Feedback: 9 (100%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
I'll 2nd the RigExpert as i too have one and what sold it to me over other equally capable analysers was it was stand alone unit, some of the other contenders required humping around a laptop.

_________________
Even duct tape can't fix stupid, but it can muffle the sound.


Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:14 pm
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Contributor 2020

Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:16 pm
Posts: 1303
Location: Dunfermline, IO86ib
Feedback: 14 (100%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
Only ever owned one analyser and the Rigexpert does everything I need to build antennas that work.


Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:01 pm
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Online
Contributor 2021
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:09 pm
Posts: 12135
Location: West Midlands
Feedback: 114 (100%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
G7FQW wrote:
Well, I mention them because they cost far less - I could be persuaded to forget about over 50mhz if it enables me to save over £100+ lol
The FA-VA3 is all sold out so I cannot even look at the cost. :(

Yep the vna stuff is out of the budget.


Forgetting over 50MHz could save you well over £100!

First decision is frequency range.

I find that on 144 and 432 I am happy using an SWR meter, as three checks will give you a good idea, but VHF UHF is not my main interest.

For HF and 6 I like something that will give me a graphical sweep, over multiple bands.



Second main decision is whether you want it stand alone, or working with a PC.

Again from personal use, most of the time, I am testing from the shack, as I want a picture similar to what the rig will see.

When I want to test at the feed point, I don't find it inconvenient to take a laptop or netbook outside, or to use the bluetooth connection. In fact, I would rather do that than work with a very small screen.

The other thing I find very useful on the FoxDelta software is being able to take three sweeps and have them on the screen for comparison. Take a scan, pop out side and change an unun or counterpoise length, come back and take another scan, do the same again and you have three different coloured sweeps on the screen, you can see how the changes affect each band at a glance.

That is also very useful for tuning a cobweb, or other multiband antenna.


I bought another FoxDelta kit a couple of weeks ago, and it was less than £50, including the blutooth adapter board and postage. (you still need a bluetooth module, about £4 off ebay). Took just over a week to get here (longest time yet) and takes a few hours to put together. All the SMD devices are already mounted.

I don't think it can be beaten for price and performance, accepting it only works up to 55MHz, and you need a PC/laptop to use it.

As for the stand alone ones, I have the FA-VA3, I have never tried any of the others apart from to look at, and found the screens too small.

I think that to get one that covers VHF and UHF as well might well take it outside your budget.


It might also be worth looking on aliexpress. The new MFJ was available there for £137 (just shows the true price and value)

FoxDelta http://www.foxdelta.com/products/aaz-0914a.htm



All personal views, and based on how I use them.



Edit: Forgot to say there is an Android app for the FoxDelta analyser, so it can be used on a phone/tablet for something small

_________________
===================
Gee Three Eee Jay Ess - RSGB, SARL, EPC
My email address is correct on QRZ.com
===================


Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:13 am
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Advanced Member

Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 9:30 am
Posts: 667
Location: Nr Gloucester / Tewkesbury
Feedback: 0 (0%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
As others have said, it comes down to how you intend to use it. I've had a lot of weather-related antenna issues over the years: 6m yagi resonating 2MHz below where it should, HF yagi with a dodgy connection on one of ther traps, only way I could locate these were with a portable analyser up the mast. Also, faults tend to show up when the weather is bad / wet. So glad I didn't buy one that needed a PC, as I can't imagine trying to use that in the pouring rain when you need to fix the aerial as the rare DX'pedition your chasing is about to leave. I've got the MFJ but only because that was the only thing around at the time, build quality is iffy but no doubt the most valuable bit of amateur radio kit I've ever bought.


Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:36 am
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Online
Contributor 2021
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:09 pm
Posts: 12135
Location: West Midlands
Feedback: 114 (100%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
G0HVQ wrote:
As others have said, it comes down to how you intend to use it. I've had a lot of weather-related antenna issues over the years: 6m yagi resonating 2MHz below where it should, HF yagi with a dodgy connection on one of ther traps, only way I could locate these were with a portable analyser up the mast. Also, faults tend to show up when the weather is bad / wet. So glad I didn't buy one that needed a PC, as I can't imagine trying to use that in the pouring rain when you need to fix the aerial as the rare DX'pedition your chasing is about to leave. I've got the MFJ but only because that was the only thing around at the time, build quality is iffy but no doubt the most valuable bit of amateur radio kit I've ever bought.



Yes, I agree that climbing a mast in wet windy weather with a laptop under your armwould not be the easiest of jobs.
Though, must add that such dramatic circumstances would never occur here, not into chasing rare DX or results/awards etc.


However, I think this would be even lighter and easier to use :)
And more weather resistant!
Attachment:
K50_1142.jpg
K50_1142.jpg [ 71.66 KiB | Viewed 1759 times ]


Just for interest here are a couple of scans I just did via bluetooth
Attachment:
K50_1140.jpg
K50_1140.jpg [ 62.98 KiB | Viewed 1759 times ]



This is just the graph part of the screen
Attachment:
K50_1141a.jpg
K50_1141a.jpg [ 60.85 KiB | Viewed 1759 times ]



The actual analyser part is about 2/3 the size and weight of the MFJ after being built into a water proof box. (the box adds about 15% to the cost ! )

_________________
===================
Gee Three Eee Jay Ess - RSGB, SARL, EPC
My email address is correct on QRZ.com
===================


Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:53 am
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Advanced Member

Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:46 pm
Posts: 555
Location: Haslingden, Lancashire
Feedback: 0 (0%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
Cheers guys, yes portability is one thing that draws me to the rigexpert kit - I want to be able to make & test multiband wire aerials while up a hill where my laptop will not be available.

What would be brill is that the rigexpert range got an andriod app via a simple BT module - this must be simple enough.

The Sark100 BT version does look good - I'm wondering if if does the same as the AA-54 though?
Good point about VHF, I only really want to play HF as thats the main radio I have but will be venturing up yonder as I also have an old 2m set I suppose I'll only ever make 1 antenna for that but will be having a yagi for 2m & 70 at some point (when I can get it off the roof it's currently on).

Sangoma, the one that your using with your phone, what features does that have - is there a manual available? And when climbing the roof where is the analyzer bit?

I notice that some rigexpert versions have a nice carry case - I cant seem to find that available on it's own?


Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:51 am
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Online
Contributor 2021
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:09 pm
Posts: 12135
Location: West Midlands
Feedback: 114 (100%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
G7FQW wrote:
Cheers guys, yes portability is one thing that draws me to the rigexpert kit - I want to be able to make & test multiband wire aerials while up a hill where my laptop will not be available.

What would be brill is that the rigexpert range got an andriod app via a simple BT module - this must be simple enough.

The Sark100 BT version does look good - I'm wondering if if does the same as the AA-54 though?
Good point about VHF, I only really want to play HF as thats the main radio I have but will be venturing up yonder as I also have an old 2m set I suppose I'll only ever make 1 antenna for that but will be having a yagi for 2m & 70 at some point (when I can get it off the roof it's currently on).

Sangoma, the one that your using with your phone, what features does that have - is there a manual available? And when climbing the roof where is the analyzer bit?

I notice that some rigexpert versions have a nice carry case - I cant seem to find that available on it's own?



The one I was using with the phone is the FoxDelta in the link I gave earlier. The manuals are in the link. It covers up to 55MHz

The analyser bit goes where you want to measure, at the antenna or the end of the feed in the shack

_________________
===================
Gee Three Eee Jay Ess - RSGB, SARL, EPC
My email address is correct on QRZ.com
===================


Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:30 pm
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Advanced Member

Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:46 pm
Posts: 555
Location: Haslingden, Lancashire
Feedback: 0 (0%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
Has anyone heard much about this MR100 new on the scene and obviously a clone but for £41 possibly worth a punt.

Finding a box should be easy & add another tenner onto the price for the bits required protect it.


Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:18 pm
Profile Send private message

 Which antenna analyzer and why? 
Online
Contributor 2020
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:15 pm
Posts: 15171
Location: io65ga, Donegal
Feedback: 9 (100%)
Reply with quote
Post Re: Which antenna analyzer and why?
G7FQW wrote:
Has anyone heard much about this MR100 new on the scene and obviously a clone but for £41 possibly worth a punt.

Finding a box should be easy & add another tenner onto the price for the bits required protect it.


Am I reading it's frequency range right, 1 to 60m......if so would you be happy with that?

_________________
Even duct tape can't fix stupid, but it can muffle the sound.


Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:31 pm
Profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forums/DivisionCore.