[W5SFA] Inexpensive Vector Network Analyzer

Roger Klein rwklein at katyweb.net
Sun May 3 10:21:33 CDT 2020


W5SFAMembers,

 

If you subscribe to QST, check out the article in the May issue on page 39.
You can also access QST digitally if you're an ARRL member - just point your
browser to http://www.arrl.org/qst and log in.

 

The article reviews the "NanoVNA", a low cost instrument that can be used as
an antenna analyzer, as well as a host of other ham uses such as tuning
filters and checking coax.  How does an accurate antenna analyzer that can
cover the entire amateur range of frequencies, such as 1.8 Mhz to 450 Mhz-
for about $115 sound?  

 

Although you can get cheaper models for around $50, I purchased the more
expensive "NanoVNA-F" unit which has a larger and higher resolution screen,
a case and a built-in battery.  Towards the end of the QST article, there is
a box comparing the two models.    Note there are some poorly made
knock-offs out there - the one you want is the "DeepElec" branded model.  I
got mine off Ebay from a domestic seller at this link:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vector-Antenna-Network-Analyzer-4-3-50K-1GHz-NanoVN
A-F-VNA-VHF-UHF-W-Case-CDC/264606008407

 

The seller goes in and out of stock, but the device was shipped promptly and
in brand-new condition - and is the preferred "DeepElec" model.  It was one
of the latest versions (2.3), which has a rocker switch to navigate menus.
There is also a 3.1 model, the only difference is it has push buttons
instead of the rocker switch.  Since the display of the device is touch
sensitive, you don't really need to use the switches.  The device has dual
SMA connectors, so you'll need to purchase adapters so you can use BNC and
PL-259 connectors.

 

Comparing the readings from my NanoVNA-F to a RigExpert AA-600 antenna
analyzer (a $500+ device) they agree very closely.

 

I also found a Kindle e-Book on Amazon that covers the NanoVNA - the
documentation that comes with it is sparse and the book fills in this gap.
The book is only $2.99 and is available here:

https://www.amazon.com/guide-NanoVNA-Christoph-Schw%C3%A4rzler-ebook/dp/B083
BB82G5

 

Although the book doesn't specifically cover the -F model, the hardware and
software is pretty much the same.  If you're thinking about buying one of
these, you might want to read the book first.

 

Finally, there is a group dedicated to the NanoVNA-F on groups.io.  See
https://groups.io/g/nanovna-f/topics - it's free to join and has lots of
useful information.

 

Hope you find this information helpful - the NanoVNA is a screaming deal for
cheap Hams (not to be redundant!)

 

73,

 

Roger N5RWK

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