Vector Network Analyzer for Pocket Change, and it gets better!

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by W8KHK, Oct 17, 2019.

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  1. W8KHK

    W8KHK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Back in July, I ordered the NanoVNA, a credit-card sized network analyzer:

    Under $50 with free shipping, works well as advertised.

    Today I learned about, and ordered, a larger version that is easier on the eyes for older folks with visual acuity disabilities. This one is just over $100. No longer will I be using my MFJ-269!

    The code is open source, but it is still somewhat surprising that these devices can be produced and shipped for such a small sum. The time saved compared to earlier devices in immeasurable!

    By the way, it is shipped with cables, shorting connector, open connector, 50 ohm load connector (for calibration) as well as a USB C cable. This can be used for charging the lithium battery, or connecting to a computer and driving it on the big screen. Worth a look.
    N0IOP likes this.
  2. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is that Mao's little red book?
  3. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Let us know how it works.
  4. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dang you ;)

    I was just about the pull the trigger , now for the " a larger version that is easier on the eyes for older folks with visual acuity disabilities " .
    $50 was not too bad , $100+ is holding me back , again ;(
    It's not about this being a great value - it's about my tight budget .
  5. W8KHK

    W8KHK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sorry to burst your bubble. But maybe this will help....

    The original credit-card size works perfectly well, and with the USB connection to a laptop or desktop computer, you have easy control and display of results. So the small screen is not an issue when working at your lab position.

    The only reason I opted to get the larger one is to make it easier when working outside at the antenna. It is cumbersome to take the laptop and cable, mouse, etc. when working away from the desk.

    So you still could go ahead and get the bargain unit for about $44 and be happy. Another advantage to having a pair, is that if one fails, it will not bring tears to my eyes. Once you have a new tool like this, you wonder how you ever got along without it! I would never think of buying two MFJ-269 devices at their price, but these NanoVNAs are relatively inexpensive for their value. Not truly lab-grade with traceable calibration records, but for what we are doing they are more than adequate. And to get the big picture instantly without having to take multiple measurements, record, and graph the results, they are absolutely amazing compared to last year.

    Or, you could wait a bit longer, I am sure they will have one with a full-function spectrum analyzer very soon. It's all in the software!
  6. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well on the MFJ , you have to compare apples to apples , MFJ 269 has been around a. long time , and these new devices that are basically chip / software based - do not compare , the parts count & miniaturization , the time line of either - is no comparison .
    I still have a MFJ 269 , had a TimeWave TZ-900 , have a miniVNA Pro , and a Sark-110 [ small screen issue ] , and a TOOL-JONES ;)
  7. W8KHK

    W8KHK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree on all counts. It appears you already have a very well-equipped lab. My point was simply that with the low cost, a backup device is affordable, and the newer technology is such a pleasure to use, providing the big picture so easily and quickly.
    AC0OB likes this.
  8. F5VHZ

    F5VHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Got one coming too, these will kill the resale price of the old MFJ, that's no loss, just hope the Chinese have used a decent battery. hate buying crappy Chinese stuff that conks out after a week. but for the price, just have to take the risk....shame they take no pride in what they make.. no quality control, no research, just copy and bash them out as cheap as possible. sometimes its ok and fit for purpose but only about 20% of the time. Time will tell, here's hoping I get lucky.

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