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Author Topic: Analyzer question  (Read 1259 times)

Posts: 5030

« on: February 17, 2012, 02:01:14 PM »

I was looking at buying an analyzer, as QST reviewed 4 models in March QST. I am looking at the Rigexpert and Youkits.

The Rigexpert is more a professional model which measures capacitance or inductance of reactive loads, while the Youkits is more SWR and impedance only, geared toward portability.

My question is, how often am I going to need capacitance or inductance of reactive loads? Typically, I am not much of an antenna guy, and am satisfied with simple setups. IOW, put them up and forget. I am more geared to DXing, ragchew, and repair/restoring. I have no interest in homebrewing or experimenting or modeling, which is ironic because I am building a trap dipole, which is the reason I am buying one.

So, I figured it would not hurt to ask the regulars here.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 02:03:56 PM by N4NYY » Logged

Posts: 60

« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2012, 03:00:06 PM »

You may change your interests in the future and may well be glad that you can measure the antenna's reactive component(s). 

If you are dead-set on not ever wanting to better your antenna situation, then a simple SWR meter is sufficient.  You don't even need one of the analyzers that you mention.

Posts: 442

« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2012, 04:08:43 PM »

IMO, an antenna analyzer is one of those tools that you will buy and use for a lifetime and then pass it on to others.  So I didn't mind spending a little more for one.  I went with the expensive but totally awesome Array Solutions AIM UHF.  Yes it is big bucks but there is nothing you can't do with it.  It is more of a lab tool then a field analyzer but it works just fine in the field if you don't mind a little bit of laptop setup time.  I was very nervous about spending the money but now that it is done, I don't miss the money and I have a first rate analyzer that has helped me learn more about antennas and transmission lines in the last six months than I learned the prior two years.  Bob WX0B is very responsive and very helpful in explaining what shows up on the screen.  I have asked a couple of what turned out to be pretty lame questions and he gave me a complete answer with no hesitation.  I use the AIM UHF in the classroom and the visual representation of all of the antenna characteristics is just outstanding and invaluable in explaining antenna theory.  If you don't need .5 MHZ to 2 GHZ coverage then the AIM4170 is a superfine piece of equipment also for about half the cost. 

And if you need to spend even less, the MFJ269 units are super easy to use, very portable, and work just fine for the vast majority of what hams do.

I have not used one of the newer handheld units and they probably do work just fine.  But like a previous poster, I would recommend that whichever unit you decide to go with, complex impedance measurement and display should be a pretty high priority.

Remember, quality is not cheap and you will be using this analyzer a very long time.  I paid $800 for my lawnmower 28 years ago and thought I was nuts at the time.  28 years later it still starts on the first pull, run fines, and I can let go of the handle and keep the engine running.  Looking back, it was a very good investment.

I'm not saying the more expensive - high quality stuff can always be justified, but I can usually find a way to rationalize it.  When it comes to antenna analyzers, I would rather spend the bucks and get what I want then try to save a few bucks by compromising features and function.

Good luck in your decision.

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