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Old 01-15-2018, 7:55 AM
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Default antenna analyzer

so i'm looking to see what others use, I'm gonna be building afew different ones for my scanner. 115-137 150-160 224-400.. I'm not looking for people to tell me just by a wide band.. this is not for Tx on just Rx only..
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Old 01-15-2018, 8:28 AM
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I have the MFJ-249 analyzer. It's over 20 years old, but still does a good job.
Do you have the formulas for sizing the elements for your experiments?
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Old 01-15-2018, 8:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC4RAF View Post
I have the MFJ-249 analyzer. It's over 20 years old, but still does a good job.
Do you have the formulas for sizing the elements for your experiments?
I also have this analyzer. Has worked well for everything I've wanted to do.
But I believe you said you want to get up to 440. The 249 will not go that high.
Take a look at the MFJ-269 (which I've never owned). It will go up to 512.

Last edited by Golay; 01-15-2018 at 9:06 AM..
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Old 01-15-2018, 9:14 AM
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I've been doing radio since 1978 - I got my first analyser in 2015, and while it's good for telling me where the thing resonates for receive, it still 'suggests' an antenna is good that is, in fact pretty useless. All I have ever done is get to know what permanent sources exist in my area in each band - airfields, coastguards, telemetry, repeaters and even interference sources - These give me a far better result in any new antenna installation I do at home. I can tell if I've got a bit more at UHF, but have lost airband, or improved marine band at the expense of UHF. A coax switch to select between two antennas is also a great way to check a new one. The analyser did tell me that one design of antenna I'd been building for years I had always been cutting too long, and they all were resonant below the frequency I'd made them for - but the VSWR seemed fine, and they worked.

They're very good devices - myChinese one seems very revealing in what it displays - but it's not a vital piece of test gear.
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:46 AM
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I wouldn't bother with an antenna analyzer for receive only antennas. Impedance and SWR aren't near as critical for receiving as they are for transmitting.

For instance a one inch difference in a VHF quarter wave antenna will make a very noticeable difference in the SWR, but when it comes to receiving, the difference in length will be next to meaningless.
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Old 01-15-2018, 1:12 PM
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I do a lot of antenna work and an analyzer is a vital piece of equipment for me. I've owned an MFJ-259B analyzer and it was complete junk, it was plagued with intermittent problems and a band selector switch that failed early on.

I moved on to a Comet CAA-500 analog only version and have been thrilled with it. its one of the few that will do continuous from 1.5 to 512MHz getting the VHF and UHF mil air bands for testing receive antennas.

Then I got a pair of Chinese analyzers that I now use for everything. The AAI N1201SA covers 137MHz to 2.7GHZ with color graphical screen that reads out in SWR, return loss in dB and impedance from .1 to 1000 ohms. Its not a cheap piece of junk but a very accurate and reliable Vector Network Analyzer. This meter costs around $165 and you have to spend several times more $$ to equal the quality and accuracy of this meter.

I supplement the N1201SA with its low frequency brother, the AAI N2021BA which covers 1MHz to 200MHz and is a 2-port device. It not only gives you all the measurements of the of the N1201SA, it also allows you to generate a signal or sweep through a device like a filter or or length of coax or you can even tune a complete duplexer using its generate port and the S21 through loss measurement. This meter ran me about $240 and is worth every penny.

There was a comment about not needing to use an analyzer on receive only antennas. That is true if you dont care about loosing a bunch of receive signal. I used the Comet CAA-500 to do final testing on the very popular Monitoring Times X-Wing UHF satcom antenna and without those final measurements and trimming, the antenna would have never worked as well as it does.
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Old 01-15-2018, 1:40 PM
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My setup for testing relative receive-only performance:

Measuring Relative Antenna Receive Performance - Massively Uninformed

The results are relative performance. So, the exemplar antenna is measured first. The results for each antenna under test are all relative to the measurements made using th exemplar antenna. (In other words, it shows how much better or worse the test antenna is as compared to the exemplar antenna.)
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Old 01-16-2018, 6:23 AM
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ok thanks everyone for the input.... now i got some research to do on make/ models..looks like i will be going with the comet CAA-500 that prcguy talked about..
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Old 01-16-2018, 6:31 AM
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My MFJ-259B has always been an integral part of the shack test equipment. While it does not cover the UHF ham bands it is still valuable when testing and troubleshooting antennas. Also is a frequency counter and a basic signal generator. Nothing not to like about it.

Shop around as there are a number of different manufacturers, hope you find what you are looking for.
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Old 01-16-2018, 8:53 AM
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I had a MFJ-259 (don't remember what letter) back about 15 years ago. It died after it was out of warranty. A few years ago I got a RigExpert AA-1000. It's way better than the MFJ. One thing I like about it is it has a TDR function.
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Old 01-19-2018, 5:47 PM
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I've been building antennas for over 40 years and never once needed
an antenna analyzer.
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Old 01-20-2018, 10:57 AM
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So how do you check antennas that have BW extending outside the ham bands? How would you check a receive antenna for VHF air or UHF mil air or public service bands without transmitting?
Do you have a scalar or vector network analyzer?

A scalar or vector network analyzer and a return loss bridge will do the trick and give the best results. I was just playing with a new Keysight N9952A that a friend of mine just got. In addition to an antenna analyzer its a spectrum analyzer, full 2 port vector network analyzer, power meter and some other stuff in a hand held package that goes to 50GHz. Only problem is it cost $110k. Ouch.
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I've been building antennas for over 40 years and never once needed
an antenna analyzer.
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Old 02-09-2018, 4:36 PM
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Some individuals can build an antenna once that can last for 40 years. That endeavor would probably use an analyzer.
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