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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 06-18-2017, 10:14 PM
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Default Hence the antenna analyzer

I have built many antennas....and pruned them with my trusty Bird WM and its many slugs!!! Seemed easy enough...
But now am embarking on new antennas at a new location...several wire varieties, a 6 mtr beam, probably a vertical and a VHF/UHF antenna or two...
Pondering an antenna analyzer in my future....if you might, enlighten me to its usefulness and recommendations on which one to add to the arsenal.

thanks
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Last edited by mass-man; 06-18-2017 at 10:15 PM.. Reason: oh so bad grammar
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:16 PM
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I had to return 2 defective mfjs in a row. Got sick of driving back to HRO so I grabbed the comet CAA 500.

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Old 06-18-2017, 10:34 PM
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I've got an Agilent spectrum analyzer with tracking generator that lets me analyze antennas. I'd have a hard time going back to just the Bird 43 now. Really makes life easier, but not a cheap toy.

For amateur use, there are some good low buck units that will work well enough. If you can afford it, they are really nice to have.
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Old 06-18-2017, 11:03 PM
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I've also got an HP/Agilent spectrum analyzer with tracking generator and Eagle directional coupler, which makes great measurements from VLF through 3GHz, but that's not very portable. I also got fed up with the cheap MFJ antenna analyzers and got a Coment CAA-500 because it covers continuous from 1.5 to 512Mhz and allows me to test some odd military antennas in the 225-400Mhz range. The Comet is a great, rugged and reliable instrument.

Then I got turned on to this for 137MHz to 2.7GHz and its the best thing I've seen for the price of about $162: N1201SA UV RF Vector Impedance ANT SWR Antenna Analyzer Meter 140MHz 2.7GHZ | eBay

Then I got its low frequency brother that covers 1 to 200MHz: N2021BA 1M-200MHz RF Vector Impedance Antenna Analyzer ANT SWR Meter Tester | eBay

This thing is outrageously accurate and very cheap for what it does. Besides doing single port antenna measurements (S11) reading out in VSWR, return loss in dB, reactance and resistance, in the 2-port mode (S21) it will tell you insertion loss and you can test filters, duplexers, check coax loss and lots of other stuff. I've been using it lately to optomize RF chokes and choke baluns for particular frequency ranges to get the best performance. These are not toys and are made very well with high quality components. I've never seen any antenna meters in this price range that does so much and does it so accurately.
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Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
I've got an Agilent spectrum analyzer with tracking generator that lets me analyze antennas. I'd have a hard time going back to just the Bird 43 now. Really makes life easier, but not a cheap toy.

For amateur use, there are some good low buck units that will work well enough. If you can afford it, they are really nice to have.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:21 AM
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For around $800 you can get yourself a nice HP 8935 service monitor that has a spectrum analyzer, tracking generator, and comes with HP's RF Tools software, perfect for 1 or 2 port antenna and filter measurements.
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Old 06-19-2017, 3:41 PM
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If you have the means, grab a used Anritsu Site master I don't go to tower site without it

For economy analyzers, its pretty hard to beat the CAA-500 or a Rig expert
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Old 06-19-2017, 4:08 PM
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We also have a CAA-500 and it does a fine job sniffing the SWR.
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Old 06-19-2017, 5:53 PM
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The ones from RigExpert aren't cheap, but they get consistently good reviews and are reasonably compact and well documented. There are some very nice new ones that are the size of cigarette packs with a postage-stamp sized color screen. They call these "VNA's" today. If your eyes are good enough to read the screen...also worth looking into. MFJ's big boxes probably are still the price champs, but...they've never quite gotten a reputation that ends the jokes about what MFJ means.
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Old 06-19-2017, 8:04 PM
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I've got a RigExpert AA-600. I've had it for three years and so far I'm pleased with it.

It has some advanced functions like a time domain reflectometer and the ability to generate a variety of graphs including Smith charts... It has a USB port which allows storing and printing the graphical results.
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