Topband: [Bulk] Handheld Impedance Analyzer

Grant Saviers grants2 at
Sun Mar 27 20:45:31 EDT 2016

My 2c, having owned MFJ269, AIM4170, VNWA2.3 & 3, AA54, SARK110, old 
noise bridges, and used a friends FG-01 on a DXpedition.

The MFJ is old, not all that accurate and really useless in the presence 
of other strong RF, eg BCB.  Sold it.  I'd call it obsolete vs current 

AIM4170 (old serial port) was next, still own it and use it, the 
separate DC power and PC is a pain for "handheld" but done that, nice 
graphics, accurate, PC output, full calibration capabilities, it's a 
full S11 analyzer + TDR.

VNWA 2.3 then upgraded to VNWA 3, full 2 port network analyzers, these 
are in a league of $$$ bench instruments, rarely used for antennas, but 
most heavily used of all.

AA54 bought as real "handheld" for on tower or at antenna, no PC needed, 
funky menu system, simple B&W graphics, no auto find capability, but did 
what I needed in the yard and on DXpeditions, SO239 connector and rugged 
case make it pretty sturdy.

SARK110 is the latest,  fits in shirt pocket, much better color graphics 
and PC output than AA54, a real S11 analyzer, TDR, signal gen, etc.  
Most bang for the buck.  Cal capabilities. Fragile connector.  Several 
auto modes that are useful when tuning. Rechargable battery, decent 
life.  The winner for me.

You Kits FG-01 (now FG-011), smallest, does the swr measuring job, easy 
to navigate, cheapest

Caution:  Experience (bad) shows the SARK110 and FG-01 won't handle much 
RF, you can blow the front ends if tuning an antenna while another 
nearby is transmitting which can happen on DXpeditions. Probably true 
for all of the others, but so far avoided with the AA54.  The others 
stayed home.

Big antennas can sometimes hear enough RF to make these handheld units 
yield ambiguous results.  There really aren't the bandpass filtering and 
bullet proof front end needed that you find in R&S, Agilent, etc.  
Learned that recently and needed to fall back to my K3 at 5w to be sure 
of the tuning.  Or add your own bandpass filter.

Grant KZ1W
Redmond, WA

n 3/27/2016 12:08 PM, dick.bingham wrote:
> Greetings All
> I am getting fed up with multiple trips between new antenna matching stations and the
> tx-source/VSWR and not converging on a good match in quick order !
> Please send me - OFF LINE - your recommendation for a handheld impedance measuring tool that covers 400KHz to at least 150MHz. I looked at the RigExpert AA-220 in the latest QST and it looks like a decent tool.
> I certainly do not want to restart this topic but new stuff is becoming available and I don't want to settle for second best if 'best' is not 2X more costly!
> 73 Dick/w7wkr CN97uj
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