Antenna Analyzer Selection advice requested.

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by K6AQV, Sep 14, 2020.

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  1. K6AQV

    K6AQV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good afternoon all,

    I am shopping for an antenna analyzer and am reaching out to the community for advice. I have narrowed the internal debate down to a few options:

    MFJ-269D (within my budget)
    Rig Expert AA-230 Zoom (within my budget)
    Rig Expert AA-1500 Zoom (a more expensive option)
    NanoVNA (a less expensive option)

    I had what I believe was a MFJ-259 some 10 years ago but at some point a battery leaked and ruined it, I never loved it but it served its purpose adequately and I am familiar with it's use, the MFJ-269D would be a direct replacement with a little bit of expanded range. My uncle/elmer (SK) was a fan of Rig Expert, I have never used their equipment but based on his opinion, I believe the AA-230 Zoom might be a better analyzer for the same money. The NanoVNA is an open source project which may lend itself to growth/expansion (currently 50kHz to 1.5Ghz i believe). The AA-1500 Zoom covers all frequencies I currently have equipment for and it would be ready out of box, but it's a bit out of my price range.

    I am in a new house and am mostly interested in setting up HF antennas in the 80-10M range but I have also become interested in satellites so I also want to be able to build and test VHF/UHF antennas as well (thus my interest in the AA-1500). At the QTH I have a SWAN 400/420, FT-450 (not D), and FT-736R (with 2M, 220MHz, 440MHz, and 1.2GHz installed) but I only have a dual band J-Pole for 2M and 70cm for an antenna. No antenna tuners or amplifiers. Mobile I am using at QYT-7900D with a triband Compactenna in the car (neither are recommended, btw). In the truck I will be installing my IC706MKIIG feeding a quick-change Hamstick once I have the antenna analyzer. I also plan to offer help setting up rigs with fellow hams in my region, especially once I find a club to join.

    I hope that's enough information to get us started. Please let me know what you think.

    Regards,
    Dale
    K6AQV
     
    KF5KWO likes this.
  2. AD5MD

    AD5MD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I upgrade from the Rig Expert AA-30 to the AA-55 Zoom and I am happy with its features and performance.

    73,
    de Ernie, AD5MD
     
    W7TCT, KB2SMS, K0OKS and 2 others like this.
  3. WC5P

    WC5P Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have the original AA-30. Works great. My only regret is that I should have bought the AA-54 to cover 6 meters.
     
    W7TCT, AK5B and PU2OZT like this.
  4. NK7Z

    NK7Z Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Any AA series analyzer from Rig Expert is a great item to have... Wonderful analyzers... I limit to AA series, as I have not used any of the new "Stick" analyzers.
     
    AK5B and N3VEZ like this.
  5. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have one of the MFJ units. If you go with this option, I recommend avoiding internal batteries, because it's too easy to leave the unit on while in storage, draining the batteries and making a mess. I power mine with a small AGM battery using the external power jack.

    The MFJ units works, and does a reasonable job with SWR, but is rather big and clunky.

    I've also got a YouKits FG-01, which is nicer in almost every way than the MFJ, except that it doesn't go up to VHF. Much smaller, with a nice graph of SWR vs frequency, so I use it for tuning portable antennas in the field.

    I'll soon be getting a nanoVNA for its extra features, particularly the ability to analyze two-port devices like filters.
     
  6. HAMHOCK75

    HAMHOCK75 QRZ Member

    If your objective is to test or set up commercially made antennas, the MFJ and Rig Experts are easy to use dedicated one port analyzers.

    If your objective is to design antennas which include traps, loading coils, etc. then the nano-VNA is the only one that can do it. Characterizing traps and loading coils requires a two port analyzer.

    In this post, I show the difference results of testing a Hustler loading coil using a one port versus a two port analyzer.

    https://www.eham.net/community/smf/index.php/topic,129191.msg1174933.html#msg1174933
     
    KP4SX likes this.
  7. AI3V

    AI3V Ham Member QRZ Page

    IMHO the NanoVna v2 is a incredible piece of test equipment.

    50khz to 3 Gigahertz, for about $80.

    Go big and buy the rf demo board for a Jackson.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Rege
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
    AK5B, AE8W, KD0CAC and 1 other person like this.
  8. W9WQA

    W9WQA Ham Member QRZ Page

    love my aa600,beautiful gear..
     
    AK5B, KU3X and WA7ARK like this.
  9. K6AQV

    K6AQV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks to all and especially Hamhock75. I hadn't considered traps, coils, ect. I do plan to experiment some with eggbeaters, discones and biconical antennas which may in some way fall into this category. Thank you for the info, it definitely puts the NanoVNA higher on my list.

    I think I've decided against the MFJ-269 and AA-230 as they don't really cover the range I would like. I also think the NanoVNA is cheap enough to tied me over until I have saved enough for the AA-1500, and may cause it to be unnecessary. I'll have to sleep on it.

    I'm glad I posted the question. The group has been wonderfully informative.

    Regards,
    Dale
    K6AQV
     
    KF5KWO likes this.
  10. EA1DDO

    EA1DDO Ham Member QRZ Page

    RigExpert are very good devices, robust, made for field use, and last models got usb port to download data and use it in the computer, including s1p Touchstone file.
    Cons. Only one port, hence not good for further measurements.

    NanoVNA, is an amazing toy, but it is not as robust as RigExpert, and needs to raise the learning curve for average individuals. Not as straightforward as MFJ or RigExpert.

    Other interesting option:

    FA-VA5

    Reviews:
    http://ae5x.blogspot.com/2018/07/fa-va5-antenna-analyzer-received-built.html
    https://owenduffy.net/blog/?p=13694

    [​IMG]


    Mini-600

    [​IMG]



    73, Maximo
     
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