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Amateur Radio Antennas For discussion of all amateur band designed antennas and related accoutrements. This includes base, handheld, mobile and repeater usage. For commercial antennas on the amateur bands please use Commercial Radio Antennas below.

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Old 09-19-2013, 9:15 PM
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Default How Many Have An Antenna Analyzer ?

I bought an MFJ 259B analyzer about 6 months ago, and I don't know how I lived without one. They sure do make setting up your antenna way easier as well as letting you know exactly what is going on with all the parameters.
The one thing I do wish I had done was to spend a little more money and got the next model up for the UHF band.

There are other brands out there that do an excellent job also, Just be sure to read up on each model you are looking at to be sure it will do all that you want in an analyzer.

If you build you own antennas, they are almost a must have, worth every cent spent.

The ARRL has a book on using antenna analyzers that is decent. It gives enough info to help one understand how to really use one to it's best use and compares different models and brands, so although not their best book, it too is worth buying if analyzers are new to you as mine was to me.

73's John
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:36 PM
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They truly are great items to have. I have the 259B also.
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Old 09-19-2013, 11:27 PM
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Marvelous devices! I use an Anritsu Sitemaster and an Agilent vector network analyzer. Love 'em both to death.
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:09 AM
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I bought an Agilent at work earlier this year. First weekend it came home with me and I checked all my antennas.
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Old 09-20-2013, 8:18 AM
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Anritsu Site Master, the one that costs tens of thousands of dollars?

We had a demo and sent it back. Could not justify the extreme cost. I suppose if we did not already have service monitors, antenna analyzers, network ananlyzers, TDRs, and so on in discrete machines, it might be a good investment, but we already have that stuff.

I don't know if I would buy a fancy antenna analyzer for personal use, not just the Anritsu but any of them. It does not seem like it would be cost effective. A power meter such as a Bird or Telewave unit would be necessary, though.

In the commercial world, I find them useful for a couple of things:

1. Fire trucks and contractors that have to cover the local and state frequencies on high band in the 151 MHz range all the way up to federal in the 172 MHz range. With the analyzer I can trim the right kind of quarter wave antenna so that the SWR remains below 2:1 all the way through that range. It would be difficult to do without an analyzer to see what the changes are doing all across the band.

2. Low band 48 MHz and CB installations benefit with this little gem: Welcome to Ten-Tec, Inc. - World's Largest Factory Direct Supplier of Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Equipment. Sales, Supplies, and Service It looks cheesy but it works in the dark to full sun and it is simple and easy to use. With low band and CB the vehicle is not a good counterpoise, so it is helpful to see what the best SWR you are going to get is, and cut the antenna so that the center frequency is the bottom of the dip, rather than trying for a 1:1 SWR which sometimes you can not get.
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Old 09-20-2013, 8:27 AM
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I have an MFJ-259B and like all MFJ equipment I've owned it broke. Got a Comet CAA-500 and have been extremely pleased. The quality of the Comet is really good and it basically has continuous coverage from 1.8 to over 500MHz which is great for building antennas for UHF mil air, UHF Satcom, etc.
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Old 09-20-2013, 9:31 AM
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Here's another vote for the Comet CAA-500. Had several MFJ versions over the years and all have failed for one reason or another. The CAA-500 keeps on ticking.
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Old 09-20-2013, 4:25 PM
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My MFJ analyzer has been 100% reliable, that said, MFJ does put out some that have problems from time to time, but the vast majority work just great. It usually can be traced back to a cold solder joint when a problem is found. Some of the older one's had a couple design features that were changed for the better in the new one's also.

All that said, I think the MFJ is the best bang for the money, if I had more, I would have bought a different analyzer. There are some others with features that I liked better. The MFJ will give you the numbers you need for just about anything that you want to analyze within it's Mhz range.

I started the thread not so much to say this analyzer is better than that one. A person can find the features that they need in one analyzer that another may not have.
I just wanted people who didn't own one to realize just how valuable one can be if you want the best from your antenna system.

If you build your own antennas and especially if you design your own antennas, an analyzer is just about a must. Even with factory antennas, an analyzer can help you get your coax the right length, find problems and help you get your antenna trimmed to perfection.
They are a very worthwhile investment. I found the MFJ did the most for the money, but that does not make it the best on the market. I sure would not hesitate buying one because there is an occasional problem with one, they do good warranty work when a problem is found. I have had other MFJ products with problems and have either fixed them myself or sent them back and got it back quickly and fixed, your mileage may vary.
There are several other analyzers with all the features one may want that may be better built than the MFJ, for me, it was a matter of limited income, but I'm very happy with it. It has done all that I have wanted and more. Great battery life, even with rechargeable EnLoop batteries, not their more expensive , higher capacity batteries.

73's John
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Last edited by dksac2; 09-20-2013 at 4:31 PM..
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Old 09-22-2013, 5:38 AM
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I burned up a 259 and a 269, and picked up a CAA-500 in the meantime. I miss being able to tune for resonance, rather than low swr, but it gets me in the ballpark. Someday I'll pick up another analyzer where I can "tune for X=0" again.

Aside from antennas, one thing I liked about the 259/269 was determining the bandwidth of ferrite-chokes. I just slid the choke over a small coax jumper, and then shorted the other end of the jumper and attached it to the chassis ground. From there, it was easy to see the reactance of the choke as I changed frequency.

Last edited by hertzian; 09-22-2013 at 5:41 AM..
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Old 09-22-2013, 8:11 AM
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I've used an MFJ antenna analyzer for a lot of years. Started with their first model (whatever that was) and now have a '259B. They are definitely handy to have. They provide information about antennas that can't be had from an SWR meter. Fool-proof? Nope, and some are not 'right', but you see that from any manufacturer, not just MFJ. Oh well.
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Old 09-23-2013, 7:40 PM
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I've got an SWR meter and that's all I really need. My antenna analyzer is the person at the other end of the world.
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Old 09-24-2013, 7:39 AM
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MFJ-259B user here.
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Old 09-24-2013, 8:07 AM
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Default How Many Have An Antenna Analyzer ?

Anritsu S332D.
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Old 09-24-2013, 8:46 AM
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MFJ 266B. So far it is the only thing from MFJ that has not went TU on me. The 259/269 with the meters make it a little easier in some was to see what is going on. The more compact package of the 266 takes up less room in the tool bucket.
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Old 09-24-2013, 8:56 AM
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The SARK-110 looks to be awesome for the price too....
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Old 09-26-2013, 5:29 PM
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MFJ "Mighty Fine Junk" (Said with affection) I bought the hf-uhf one a "while" back. Still ticking along just fine.
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Old 09-26-2013, 6:20 PM
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I've got an MFJ-207. It's pretty bare-bones, but if all you need to do is tune up backyard dipoles occasionally it's $100 well spent.
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Old 09-26-2013, 6:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrimeNumber View Post
I've got an MFJ-207. It's pretty bare-bones, but if all you need to do is tune up backyard dipoles occasionally it's $100 well spent.
Have one of these as well, bought on ebay for $24 works well for what it is but would like to upgrade here soon.
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Old 09-26-2013, 8:21 PM
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Would this analyzer be of any use on an SWL wire system for receive?
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Old 09-27-2013, 3:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ridgescan View Post
Would this analyzer be of any use on an SWL wire system for receive?
Most certainly! While a low swr and resonance may not be as vital as it is to transmitting, you'll still be able to adjust your wire lengths to be resonant in the bands of interest.

I can guarantee you that since you like to homebrew, once you get one of these, the time it saves cutting your antennas to the right dimensions will make you build and/or improve on what you have almost immediately.

It's fun and satisfying - while not absolutely necessary, getting close to 3:1 is usually good enough, although you can get into it and "tune for X=0 (or as close as you can get to it)" anyway if you want to take things there as an swl.

The tip here is to make your measurements close to the feedpoint of the antenna, either right at it, or with a small coax jumper. Measurements taken at the rig, if you consider line loss, and coaxial common-mode interaction, may skew your readings.

Last edited by hertzian; 09-27-2013 at 3:09 AM..
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