Well August is here, and so is my new toy. Always wanted an antenna analyzer but the high cost has always prohibited the purchase of a piece of test equipment, MFJ analyzer was the popular unit to be had and then you had to look for the model that covered 430 Mhz for it to be multi purpose. Most only go to 145Mhz so extra cost again. So I looked at various options of building my own, designs are out there using the very cheap Arduino and lcd displays but setting up, getting all the parts, writing the Linux code, building the case, interfacing the rf with the Arduino etc etc......the cost starts mounting up, then is it going to work ? Let alone all the time taken. I then took the advice of G4JCP Phil, while chatting on GB3KC about this project. From the mouth of the Arduino king ......."if you can find one for 150 quid buy one" this took me back a little but made me think, so I started Googling, got a cloth and mopped it up and checked out the Internet for Analysers. There were quite a few MFJ included, kits to build and various Chinese offerings. Some only covered HF some only Vhf/Uhf then I found the Feature Tech AW07A.
This little beauty not only gives all manor of analysis for antennas , but it doesn't stop there. You can measure impedance not only at 50 ohms but a wide range , it is a wide range rf signal generator, a digital frequency meter, measures capacitance and inductors. Wow ! All this for £150.......Ok it's not a marconi lab grade piece of tech and if you read the reviews people have had bad ones, dials broken (send it back then) it drifts a little , so ? If you are checking your 2m mobile whip to make sure it's in band , you're not going to use a spot frequency are you you're using a range of them, so a bit of drift no problem , really, and it's only minute anyway from what I can see. The unit takes 8 A A batteries and comes with a DC lead, plan to replace these with enerloop A A rechargeable, will need to alter the dc socket as it is switched to stop you recharging standard batteries. The display LCD is very clear and illumination is switchable, but the front screen is only a very soft pvc film. This will be changed very soon for a more robust acrylic lens.They provide two good quality adapters from N to SO239 and BNC the unit itself terminates in N Type.
All in all this unit fits my bill and some, so looking forward to some antenna projects and checking current ones out, so far my Diamond 2/70 Colinear seems to be pretty rubbish 2m is resonant best at 146.9mhz and 70cms is 384 mhz ( perhaps I shouldn't have bought this analyzer )
You can measure 50mhz (6m) but it falls just shy of 70 mhz stopping at 69mhz which is a shame, but there may be a way to get to 70 I haven't found yet.
All in all I'm very pleased with this analyzer from China , it doesn't come with a manual but I'm downloading one off the net and the cardboard box will be replaced with a soft case soon.
Will let you know how it goes after having a longer time to play with my new toy (batteries not included)
Next month looking at meteor detection using cheap SDR