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 51 
 on: Today at 05:00:56 PM 
Started by HAMSTUDY - Last post by HAMSTUDY
Here is a very early review (after one day) of using a SARK-110 antenna analyzer.  It’s probably too early for a formal review in the review section so I’m putting it here in case it helps anyone select an analyzer.

The summary is that if you are into having lots of info at your fingertips, and if you have good eyesight, and if you are gentle with your gear this might be the best antenna analyzer in it’s price range.  I haven’t used a RigExpert 600 but the 600 will probably be competitive on the features and give you something that is more rugged and easier to read – but will cost somewhat more $ (about 1.6x) than the SARK-110.  Likewise, for roughly the same price as the SARK-110 I’m sure a MFJ will also be more rugged – but I don’t think either the 259C or 269C will give you as much usefully presented info (although the 269C will get you to UHF).  The 259C and 269C have no graphics, no full reactive signs (to help avoid ambiguity regarding capacitance vs inductance), and no computer interface – but I’m sure they are classics for many good reasons.

I knew about these tradeoffs ahead of time (from studying the alternatives) but I really wanted the graphical interface, the ability to see the full reactive signs, and I was trying to keep the cost down.  Probably the next choice up for more $ is the RigExpert 600 which would have provided more ruggedness (I think), UHF, and the graphics, and the full reactive signs.  In addition to trying to save $ I was somewhat compelled by the reports of extra good user support from SARK’s inventor/owner and from the SARK user community.  I also have a theory that before this is over I might want a second analyzer that will be highly outdoor rugged and that will probably be a MFJ-269C.  If you want just one analyzer than can do it all a case could be made for the RigExpert 600 but if you want to save some $ the SARK-110 could be the winner - it depends on your priorities, of course.  Another wild card is the Comet CAA-500 MKII.  I think if someone put SARK’s feature rich software and User Interface into the Comet’s (or MFJ’s) rugged case and kept the price under $400 they would have something especially good – but so far that packaging doesn’t exist (although RigExpert could drop the price of the 600 and it would likely be very close).

For my requirements what I wanted was something that would enable me to learn the most about antenna analysis for the best price – so the info per $ outweighed the other considerations.  In my opinion, the ability to visualize information can be an important part of the learning process and I think that just as visualizing information is valuable in SDR, visualizing information (beyond traditional alpha-numerics and needles on meters) in antenna analysis is also valuable, and this includes the ability to configure what data is presented and how.

One other front end comment on the SARK-110 is that my unit arrived with fairly recent firmware but not the latest.  The firmware is easy enough to upgrade (but always be careful with firmware changes so you don’t somehow get stuck in between without the recent or the new version).  Once the firmware was upgraded (to 0.8.7.3) it performed better; the prior version didn’t seem to fully align the numeric readouts with the graphical representation of the data (or maybe it was operator error, but I don’t think so).  In any event, with the latest firmware everything seems to display properly.  (The unit comes calibrated but there are lots of features for further calibration and customization.)

Net, net:  with the latest firmware, good eyesight, and gentle handling the SARK-110 is a powerful analyzer.  The ability to see various attributes graphically is very helpful, starting with the ability to see VSWR across whatever set of frequencies you choose throughout the HF bands plus VHF.  You can pick bands by Meters with presets, or you can set a center frequency and select the span.  In addition to the VSWR by frequency you can simultaneously see the impedance at each frequency throughout the chosen bandwidth.  Two markers can be manually operated to see precise readouts along the plots or you can set the markers to automatically identify min and max values.  In addition to VSWR and impedance you can select from about 15 other types of values including (Rs, Xs, Rp, Xp, RL, CL, Rho, % Ref Pwr, Q, Cs, Ls, Cp, Lp).  It would be hard to imagine more data available in a smaller space – and once you get the hang of it (which didn't take very long at all) the User Interface makes full sense – it is very intuitive and enjoyable to operate.

The analyzer has extensive capabilities and this review is only scratching the surface.  Among the many functions is one that enables you to pick from a wide variety of types and manufacturer-specific cable values (for example it will distinguish between Times Microwave LMR400 vs LMR400UF vs LMR240 vs LMR240UF vs other TM products vs various Belden products (RG6, 8, 11, 58, 59, 62, 63, 142, 174, 178, 213, etc.) and a bunch of others.

Another nice feature is the ability to not only view graphical information but to do so while looking at 4 different bands at the same time – in case you have a multi-band antenna and you are trying to optimize the antenna to perform well in each of the bands.

The analyzer provides various modes that let you see relatively more or less information dense views.  One is called Field Mode that shows less information (but the basics) making it easier for outside viewing but I don’t think it is going to be real visible in bright direct sunlight.  If you are working extensively outside unless you can find some shade this might not be an ideal analyzer.  On the other hand if you are in your shack or lab it is very useful.

The analyzer lets you store screen shots and underlying data for later recall on the analyzer.  The files are also available for viewing on SARK’s computer software – although my first impression is that the computer interface is not as feature rich and elegant as the analyzer’s handheld interface.

Where I think the analyzer hits its sweet spot is for someone who wants a lot info, has good eyesight, and will not mind being reasonably gentle with their gear (the rubber case is a good accessory).  If this is your profile I think the SARK-110 probably offers more insight than any other analyzer for it’s price.  This is not a plug for the analyzer because I have one, just an attempt to describe it for others looking for an analyzer; the market has many analyzers to choose from and I think the SARK-110 has a place worthy of consideration.

Again, this is a very early review so please take it as such – YMMV.  

 52 
 on: Today at 04:58:39 PM 
Started by K1IED - Last post by NK7Z

I'd sooner have a pirate who was courteous rather than a license holder who was rude and abusive.

Good call sir!!  Soon the entire band would sound like 14.313 with advice like that.

He said a courteous pirate.  That would not sound like 14.313
A courteous pirate is still a pirate, and as such is not legal...  That is where my 14.313 comment is coming from.  My comment was not expressed well though, it should have have been more on the vain of I sort of agree, but the bands will end out of control.

 53 
 on: Today at 04:54:11 PM 
Started by AD4U - Last post by N5IFH
I posted a WTB for a Yaesu 1000SDX rotor and this is what I just received:

FS: Yaesu G-1000 SDX Rotor & Control Box
Plus about 100 ft of cable with connectors to plug and play.
It was used for about a year. Both units look and work GREAT!!!
$220.00 PLUS shipped.
73,
W4FY

I then replied back as to how they wanted the money.  Their reply:

you send it to this address by money order : Donna Miller.
4351 garst mill road s.w apt g
Roanoke Va.  24018
thank you.

How do people do stuff like this?







 54 
 on: Today at 04:30:57 PM 
Started by W5WSS - Last post by W3HF
Hello N3HFS, Thanks for that information...So yes ..It is feasible to petition the FCC. It is only my assumption that the expense of implementing the new call sign package is the main reason for this deficit of 1X2 call signs.

In my opinion every extra class licensee should automatically be assigned the next available 1X2 call sign upon Passing the test, if they want to opt for a vanity call sign they can do so.

Unlike now where we have UN utilized 1X2 call signs that could be created that would make sense after they've all been assigned  we can default back to how things are now and utilize the vanity pool.

73

Actually, we don't have unutilized 1x2 callsigns. Virtually every one is either assigned or in the mandatory two-year waiting period, or use prefixes that are not assigned to the US. What you are talking about are four-character call signs, but they don't follow either the current 1x2 or 2x1 format. Remember, those numbers refer to the number of letters before and behind the single numeral in the callsign.

Back during the FCC proceeding where ARRL made that suggestion, I think we were calling them 1xx1 calls, to distinguish from the three-character 1x1 calls that are used for special event stations.

 55 
 on: Today at 04:29:07 PM 
Started by M6EES - Last post by M6EES
Thanks,

I'm using simple usb from radio to laptop.

Laptop audio setting set to 2 out of 100....the only setting I can get low alc but some audio driving the output.

So maybe I have some radio settings wrong ?

Could you suggest some menu options and recommend settings ?

 56 
 on: Today at 04:18:28 PM 
Started by K1YTG - Last post by K1YTG
I just checked my copy of the manual that I got off the internet.  It was missing those instructions.
So thank you for forwarding that paragraph.
I will try that and see if it changes the tuning of the slugs.
And I will look for other peaks.
Norm

 57 
 on: Today at 04:15:44 PM 
Started by KM3K - Last post by KM3K
Hello,

I bought a 31' jackite green fiberglass pole to use at a vacation rental.
Now I'm thinking of expanding that concept and taking it with my Elecraft KX3 to the shore and use in the field.

Problem is the Jackite company website shows no accessories for shore or field use of a 31' pole.
I presume they won't be open for any phone-calls until Tuesday.

I intend to visit Tractor-Supply tomorrow to see what they might have to support the pole.
In the meantime, I wonder if anybody has used this pole at the shore or in the field and could recommend some solutions.

Here are the three versions of antennas I plan to try:
1. a simple #26 gauge-wire antenna from the tip of the pole to the KX3; length~37'.
2. Par End-Fed EF20; length~33'.
3. a 20m version of W1AB's "Killer Antenna"; see this link for some details http://w1jks.com/killer_ant.php
A dipole is not in consideration at all.

TIA for any ideas.
73 Jerry KM3K

 58 
 on: Today at 04:12:27 PM 
Started by M6EES - Last post by N6YFM
I can't watch your video right now since I am in the middle of JT-65 QSO'a myself.  :-)

But, the problem you describe is overdrive of the audio.   As you change frequency, not only bands,
but even audio frequency on the same band, your drive level  (Mic input, audio input) will need adjustment.
The only way you can distort a Yaesu FT-DX3000   (I am using one  as I type this, on JT-65), is to over
drive the audio input.

Are you using the USB cable to the computer?  Then your audio adjust is either in the FT-DX3000 menus,
and/or in the computer audio level settings.    

Are you using an external rigblaster sound card of some type?  Then adjust your levels there.
You should not even need to listen on another rig, you should just keep your ALC meter indication
on the Yaesu FT-DX3000 in the BLUE bar zone on the meter.

Also, what did you mean "the rig goes crazy"?   Please explain this part, as it almost sounds like
maybe RF (from bad SWR match, or poor grounding) may be getting back into your rig and PC.

Feel free to email me, or even arrange a phone call via email.
Look me up on qrz.com

Neal
N6YFM

 59 
 on: Today at 03:48:07 PM 
Started by K1YTG - Last post by KE0ZU
This is clipped from the manual.   LSB, 0.5Kc, unmodulated.


 60 
 on: Today at 03:40:36 PM 
Started by BG2FX - Last post by BG2FX
How do I add photos?

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