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Antenna Analyzer


Hi All,

What’s everyone using for an Antenna Analyzer on SOTA exp? Pluses, minuses, and recommendations?




I have a RigExpert AA 30 from 0.1 to 30 Mhz
Plus : very light : 400 g, good reading for SWR mode,
USB connection to a computer but not useful for Sota.
Price is correct

Minus : dimensions are too large (not seen on a picture )
and there is no button for " enter" or "valid"
press the “ok” key ? where is the “ok” ?
and setting the desired frequency is not so easy as described…

for my usage it is suffisant and a good product !


In reply to K6DPY:

I’ve have an MFJ 259B. It’s about 8 years old now. MFJ do have a poor reputation for build quality (made from junk) but my 259 seems well made and is repeatably accurate enough for me.

I use the SWR meter in my 817 when out on the summits. It’s indicative of antenna match.



In reply to K6DPY:
I use RigExpert AA-200 (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/ok2qa_sota-part4/7337450424/in/pool-sota_pics/) only when intending some experiments with the antennas. Otherwise the built-in SWR indicator in FT-857 is sufficient to see if there is any problem with SWR.
73 Ruda OK2QA


In reply to K6DPY:

Only microSWR meter on the hill

At home I tune the antennas with miniVNA.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


In reply to K6DPY:

I have a Youkits FG-01 analyzer and am happy with it. It is small, inexpensive, has a swept measurement capability (shows the VSWR curve graphically) with rapid updates, and uses the same internal battery as their HB1B QRP transceiver (or you can run it from external 12V). The swept capability makes antenna tuning really easy. The downside is that it only works up to 60 MHz, but since I only operate on the HF bands I don’t care about that limitation. It is sold by TenTec:


I haven’t carried it on an expedition yet since I currently only use dipoles, but it is certainly small enough to do so. Here is the QST review and comparison of it to three other analyzers, and the reviews on eHam:



The only other antenna analyzer I am aware of in the small size category is the iP30z from iPortable, but it lacks the swept frequency capability, graphical display and only works up to 35 MHz:


Size comparison:

YouKits FG-01 - 3.8" X 2.3" X 1.5"
iPortable iP30z - 3.5" x 2.5" x 1.25"


Eric KU6J

Free SOTA Spot Monitor Software:


In reply to F8FEO: Thank you for your comments.

I’ve been looking at the AA-54. $355 in the US. It does look big for SOTA. Isn’t the ‘Check’ the ok key (‘X’ the cancel key)? I’m concerned about no knob. Makes it difficult to tune to the desired frequency as you say. Just seems the menu and keypad format is a bit cumbersome. Also not sure I will use the computer connection much. However, the quality seems to be the best of all manufacturers.

73, Dan


In reply to KU6J: Wow, thank you for the information!

I’m also looking at the FG-01. I’ve seen a Youtube video of it in operation and it looks easy to use. One of the reviews I read had some negativity about the quality – the multifunctional knob I think. Is it sturdy, will it last? iPortable now has a 60MHz unit. Same price as the FC-01 but no graphical display, so it’s out of the running.

The other questions I have of the FG-01 are:

  1. Any issue with the lithium batteries? (e.g. charging or discharging)
  2. FG-01 is sold by Ten TEC (that’s a good endorsement) but manufactured by YouKits. Who are they? How’s their customer service?

Thanks and 73,


In reply to K6DPY:


YouKits is a Chinese company and Ten-Tec is their U.S. distributor. I’ve only had mine for a few months and have had no problems with it at all, so I can’t comment on the quality of their customer service. If I did have a problem I’d contact Ten-Tec and expect them to help me resolve it.

No issues so far with either the lithium batteries or the knob. The build quality isn’t as good as something like an Anritsu Site Master that sells for 10x as much, but I was on the R&D team for the original Site Master (Wiltron instead of Anritsu back then) so I’m kind of biased. :wink:

The battery pack sits loosely inside the analyzer so I don’t think it would do very well if you dropped it onto hard ground or subjected it to a lot of vibration. If you remove the pack during transport (or leave it home and power it from whatever 12V source you have) then it might take a bump or two just fine if the display doesn’t happen to hit a rock.

I liked the analyzer enough that I went ahead and bought their HB1B QRP rig too. It isn’t a KX3 just as this analyzer isn’t a Site Master, but they are both easy to use and seem to get the job done.


Eric KU6J

Free SOTA Spot Monitor Software:


In reply to K6DPY:

Antenna Analyzer on SOTA exp ???

I use a MiniVNA to test antennas in my garden, behind the house. Never felt the need to carry one on a mountain.

73 Heinz


In reply to OE5EEP:

Yes I would have thought so. I have one of these:


It is very good…

but I wouldn’t like to carry it plus a laptop up a mountain :sunglasses:



In reply to K6DPY:


Just doing the testing stages on a VK5JST design Antenna analyser.

I built mine by buying all the bits separately, but it is available as kit from Australia for around $145 Aus. dollars. The PCB is available too from it’s designer, Jim Tregallas and cost me about £12 GBP inc. postage to have one shipped to the UK. It covers 1.5 to 31 MHz, so is HF only, although some have modified it to cover upto 50MHz.

Jim’s a great guy and is always at the end of an E-mail if you run into problems with it or are struggling with parts.

If you Google ‘VK5JST’ you’ll find plenty of info on it including where to get the kit from.

A cheap option though if you enjoy building stuff.

Kit here: http://ahars.com.au/htm/jst_aerial_analyser_kit.html

Jim’s site here: http://www.users.on.net/~endsodds/analsr.htm



I’ve been using a homebrew 50 ohm noise bridge. Here it is getting fitted to its new enclosure (not quite finished).

The circuit was adapted from the discontinued kit by K1SWL:

No bells or whistles but gets the job done.



In reply to OE5EEP:

I guess I’ve seen one too many YouTube SOTA videos where a small analyzer was front and center when setting up the antenna. :slight_smile:

Maybe first I should have asked: What percentage do not bring an antenna analyzer on a SOTA expedition? And out of that what percentage bring neither an analyzer nor a tuner/match? Would that leave us with a majority, or would we see a large portion packing a tuner/match?



In reply to 2E0CTW:

Hi Jonathan,
This would be nice if it had a graphical display. I guess I’m partial to small graphical analyzers – even if it’s USD$100 more. Thanks for the info.



In reply to KI6J:
Hi Stu,

Interesting. Small Wonders Lab had something similar, but I don’t see it on their website. I did find mention of it here: http://www.athensarc.org/noise-bridge.asp Something I need to learn more about. Thanks.



In reply to K6DPY:

The Palomar units can be had used for about 20 bucks. They fell out of fashion when the flashy analyzers came along. Once you learn to use it you’ll find it a valuable tool. I have a small collection.

Ten Tec makes a kit that can be adapted inexpensively with a plastic variable cap and a 200 ohm trimmer.



In reply to K6DPY:

We’ve done many activations and hundreds of Q’s. Never had the need for an analyzer on the summit. At home an MFJ-259 works just fine. Big, clunky, takes lots of batteries but works OK.

On the peaks we use the SWR indicator in the rigs and/or a tuner (built in or an Elecraft T1, I guess that’s why we don’t bring an analyzer.



Hi All,
I use a Mini-VNA pro (with prescaler for the higher frequencies). It connects to a laptop or Android phone by Bluetooth. It is not something I have ever needed when out /p. I use it for work, and also to cut and prune aerials to resonance before venturning into the hills for Amateur experiences.


I had (still have) an ancient MFA259 but found it quirky, in need of constant calibration and a poorley constructed item for the price, probably a Friday afternoon build. The 259 was ok, and gives an idea about where you need to be with simple aerials. The versatility of the VNA is the selling point for me, and the ability to plot and save results.

On the hill, the built in SWR meter is enough for me to confirm the aerial is still resonant saving weight and water logged test equipment.





In reply to K6DPY:

Hi All,

Thank you everyone, for your comments and suggestions.