Product Reviews

 


SARK 110 vs Rig Expert AA-600 antenna analyzer
I think both of the these antenna analyzers are top shelf analyzing tools. They pretty much give the same results, but have their pro's and con's. The SARK 110 is tiny enough to fit in your shirt pocket which can be a big plus. The AA-600 is super simple to operate, not that the SARK is all that hard. 



Rig Expert AA-230 Zoom
The AA-600 has two features that needed improvements. One is the sampling points, only 80 sampling points are allowed. The other is the OSL Calibration. Once you change either the frequency or span, you loose the calibration and have to start over. 
The AA-230 Zoom has corrected these issues. The AA-230 now has up to 500 sampling points as a stand alone unit. But keep in mind, to use 500 sampling points it will take 1 full minutes to make the sweep. Next they corrected the OSL Calibratoin. Once you run the calibration, you can move up or down the band and/or change the span without loosing your OSL Calibration. Also, you can turn the OSL Calibration on or off without loosing your calibration. But, once you turn the AA-230 Zoom off, you will loose your OSL Calibration. 
This will now be my, "Go To" antenna analyzer when I do antenna work. It has a lot of features and is super easy to use. 
Battery life is not too bad. If you are going to to some serious antenna work, you may want to take along an extra set of batteries. You can get about 3 full hours out a full set of batteries and that is usually more than enough time to do any antenna job.

Rig Expert has a free downloadable software package to use with their analyzers. By controlling the AA-230 with the software and the using the supplied USB cable to connect the AA-230 to the computer, it opens up a new world. Now you can use up to 10,000 sampling points. 

YouTube Video




MFJ 223 antenna analyzer video:
The MFJ-223 is a nice pocket size antenna analyzer that covers 160 meters up to and including 6 meters. If you need a small antenna analyzer, like for back packing, and you do not have a lot of extra space to carry items, this little guy is a nice unit. It does in fact fit in your shirt pocket and this makes it nice for field work. Once the battery is fully charged, you can use this thing all day long and have no fear of running out of a charge. 
 
 

 
MFJ 929 automatic antenna tuner (200 watts)
 
The final RF transistors in today's solid state radios are protected from too high of an SWR value. Most of today's SS radios start to fold back the output power once the radio sees an SWR value of 1.5 to 1. The only way to overcome this and have the radio put out it's maximun power is to get the SWR value down so the rig goes back into its normal state of operation. A tuner is usually needed. Also, some of the tuners used in today's radios are not very broadbanded. Hence the reason for an external tuner.
 



Yaesu FT 897D
 
I found the Yaesu FT 897D to be a great little, "one radio do all" for portable operating. The current drain, for a rig in the 100 watt category, is fairly low. This is a nice feature when one wants to operate off of a battery for an extended period of time.