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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | SARK-110 Vector Impedance Antenna Analyzer Help


Reviews Summary for SARK-110 Vector Impedance Antenna Analyzer
SARK-110 Vector Impedance Antenna Analyzer Reviews: 9 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $330 (USD)
Description: Pocket size and lightweight
Solid aluminum metal case
Intuitive and easy to use
Four operating modes: sweep mode (antenna test), Smith
chart mode, single frequency, and frequency domain
reflectometer (cable test)
Good accuracy over a broad range of impedances
Resolves the sign of the impedance
Manual and automatic positioning tracking markers
Internal 2MB USB disk for the storage of measurements,
screenshots, configuration and firmware update
Export data in ZPLOTS compatible format for further analysis
on the PC
Lifetime free firmware upgrades available, open to community
requested features
Open source SDK including a device simulator for user
applications development
Product is in production.
More info: http://sark110.ea4frb.eu/
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VR2XMC Rating: 5/5 Mar 30, 2014 04:44 Send this review to a friend
Simply excellent and value for money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Most of the hams in Hong Kong are living in high rise apartments. Antenna installation is always a problem. Hence, field day type or portable operation is one of the ways to enjoy DX.

Local ham societies are actively providing radio communication support to local charity organisations having their fund raising programs arranged in the country side. Setting up temporary V/U repeaters on the hill tops is often required. Hence, for a long time, I am looking for a vector antenna analyser for portable use with the ability to be connected to a PC. I have been using MFJ259B, AW07A and Kuranishi BR510D but they are not fulfilling my requirement of light weight and PC connectable.

Recently, I have noticed this new product from Elecraft KX3 yahoo discussion group. I bought it from Seeedstudio and received it two days after my order. The analyser is amazingly small, weight only 108g and within palm size.

Despite of its excellent size and light weight, it provides all the required information within a glance. I agree to all the positive comments about SARK-110 in the eham review column. In fact, I really like the ‘tracking’ mode of the SARK-110. Under this mode, SARK-110 can track the min SWR and Z=50 ohms of an antenna within second (really fast).

It is also a programmable signal generator with resolution down to 1 Hz. I eventually sold my Elecraft XG3 RF Signal Source which immediately became surplus to my requirement after getting the SARK-110.

SARK-110 covers up to 230 MHz and is the most value for money analyser at the price range of USD360. The built-in 3.7v 1000mAh LiPo battery provides very long operation hours without the need of recharging. The only drawback of SARK-110 is that it does not cover the UHF ham band.

In my opinion, it is the best vector antenna analyser available in the market at that price range. I should have bought the SARK-110 earlier.
 
YD0OIY Rating: 5/5 Oct 21, 2013 05:51 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The best HAM antenna analyzer on planet. Lot of feature, accurate measurement, continuous improvement firmware, long life battery, cool design and reasonable price. Highly recommend
 
OH6KTT Rating: 5/5 Oct 20, 2013 09:06 Send this review to a friend
I am very impressed  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
As standalone box device is great and does it's job. But that is not all story. There is new firmware available and software seems to be in continous development. 0.8 beta firmwares has already bringed many improvements to original features and new features, such as: frequency range extended to 230MHz, signal generator mode, computer control, transmittion line add/substract and multi band mode mode. Device is open. You download SDK and start write your own features to this magic box.

I am really glad I buyed this device.
 
G0SXC Rating: 4/5 Aug 5, 2013 02:27 Send this review to a friend
Faulty   Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Opened the box and first looks very nice good feel to the touch
Looked nice quality
Tested on know antenna ... Guess what total rubbish data results .... Suspected connector that came with it so ordered
A new mcx plug that arrived and made a nylon jig to hold everything still and I then got mixed results some rubbish data and some good data ..
So what do I do now ship it back to china or take a look inside
They provide the small hex key.
And under the magnifier I found the mcx connector was dry
Resolderd and then retested. .........
Perfect Please note I think this is the wrong type of connector for this machine ..
But to be honest it excellent .. I mean really nice
Fantastic even just. A bit small needs to be in a protective case option or your going to break it in the field because it's so light. You also need a much longer micro cable than it comes with. But that's all I can say bad about the sark110
So buy it but watch that socket.
 
NS0W Rating: 5/5 Jul 19, 2013 10:09 Send this review to a friend
Best value currently on the market.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been watching the YouKits/Ten-Tec FG-01 for some time and actually placed an order at Dayton 2013. The next day, my buddie pointed out how the FG-01 jumps about 70kHz when you touch the case when you are connected to an antenna that is not well grounded. Some guys consider that to be a feature, but it was a deal killer for me and I canceled my order and continued my search. My buddie also pointed me to the SARK-110 and after some brief research, I placed an order (with the slow/cheap shipping option) and got my unit 2 weeks later.

I was initially worried about the small size and controls but after using it for a while, realized that it is not an issue. It is clear and the controls are easy to handle and very intuitive.

I also own a RigExpert AA-200 and my observations are mostly made in relation to that. The SARK-110 is equal in features to the big brother of the obsolete AA-200, the AA-230Pro for just about half the price.

Features that are extremely useful and that are NOT available on the AA-200 are the markers and the presets. The markers allows the user to read off the exact values for 2 frequencies - so you can set your markers for the band edges and see the values for that displayed at the top. You also set the markers to automatically be at a certain point e.g. min SWR or SWR at a certain value, etc. - too many options to mention.

The unit also has a preset function to select the Ham bands which makes it easy to get where you want to be. It also has a TDR, Smith chart, a field mode (which is simplified display made easy to read in sunlight), saving and recalling data, etc. If you are seriously interested, download the manual from the website and review all the features.

One thing about the AA-200 that always irritated me was the jitter on the display. The jitter on the SARK-110 only becomes visible at very high reactance values and on top of that, the SARK-110 has a smoothing feature that you can apply - something that I always wanted on the AA-200 (I even used Excel to smooth the data on some AA-200 plots that I wanted to use for a presentation).

The AA-200 has one feature that the SARK does not have and that is ability to show up to 5 SWR bars at different frequencies simultaneously. I noticed that somebody added that as a feature request on the SARK forum.

It seems to me the SARK-110 does not currently have ANY competition as far as price / performance goes considering the AA-230Pro and the FG01. It simply leaves the FG01 in the dust as far as features are concerned and the AA-230 as far as price is concerned.
 
KB0NE Rating: 5/5 Jul 14, 2013 09:22 Send this review to a friend
Way more than an SWR meter!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just recently received the SARK110 and was amazed at how versatile this unit is.

Another ManuFactJurer makes an analog meter that covers the same bandwidth and roughly, some simular features such as TDR for open cables and "Grid dip" and sells for about $100US less. I have found that the detector circuitry on my analog meter is sensitive to strong local RF fields which can really mess with a reading.... like on field day. This doesn't seem to be as much of a problem on the SARK as far as I am able to tell since the frequency is swept and miscellaneous signals tend to show up as a glitch in the spectrum rather than broadband SWR.

The local oscillator that is used in SARK is very clean and stable as compared to the one in my analog meter. The SARK LO has come in handy for tuning up the front end of a receiver. Note: I did had to calibrate the SARK LO, but that is a trivial process and was able to get to within 1Hz of WWV 10MHz.

Like I say, the SARK 110 is a lot more than just an SWR meter.

Having the ability to show complex impedance on a Smith Chart means it can also be used a a single port Vector Network Analyzer for building tuned circuits as well a clue one in as far as needing to change inductance or capacitance for antenna work.

With the periodic firmware updates by the SARK's designer new useful features are being added all the time.

Pros: For sure the number of functions that this very small analyzer has; prompt designer support for a bug I found in the PLOTS program and timely firmware updates. Very portable. Cost is very much in line if not downright inexpensive for this quality of instrument.

Cons: I need to use my +2.5 diopter *geezer glasses* to be able to read the small color display... just a minor annoyance for me but no biggie. Also, shipping to the USA via USPS took way too long. Would suggest requesting a different shipper when ordering. I suspect DHL and UPS are international.

These CONs weren't enough to give the SARK 110 a ding. The PROS so far out weigh the minor inconvenience of having to use Geezer Glasses that is was only worth mentioning in case anyone reading this has eyesight problems. Using the PLOTS program in conjunction with the SARK will basically put the same information on the larger PC screen.

Not associated with the SARK 110, just a happy camper

John KB0NE (yes, I know it says WA0LHB but I'm too lazy to fix that.)
 
ZL1RS Rating: 5/5 Apr 11, 2013 12:16 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding value!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Sark-110 is a great bang-for-buck deal at US$360 with registered airmail delivery and compared to similar units it rated very well in the designer's comparison list. Read the manual (which is available on-line only) to see all the features!

Ordered from "Seeed Studio" and it arrived 1 week later. First impression: surprisingly small ... about the size of a mobile phone and just as thin. Gorgeous colour TFT screen! I'm in two minds about the MCX to BNC-f Test Port cable, but it will take stress off the tiny MCX connector and the calibration process includes the short cable so it will not effect the readings/accuracy.

After heeding the missing step in the instructions (see the Sark-110 Google group thread https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/sark110/Tu3JxcqKiF8 ) I updated to the latest firmware version which made some functionality and display improvements, and added a raft of additional features. Even better!

The ability to store screen shots as .bmp image files is nice, but the plots can also be saved to .csv format and then displayed on a PC via an Excel chart with software like Zplots http://www.ac6la.com/zplots.html ... now that is just brilliant.

Hints: When ordering from Seeed Studio, also buy the Mini-USB cable if you don't have one. It is required for charging the Sark-110 battery (from a laptop USB port) as well as updating the firmware, and retrieving screen saves or the .csv data files. http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/mini-usb-cable-100cm-p-252.html?cPath=178_179

Also consider the "Digital probe for DSO Quad" item with a view to replacing the two probes with crocodile clips for connecting to a Yagi feedpoint. http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/digital-probe-for-dso-quad-p-849.html?cPath=178_180

Since it arrived it has been used extensively for antenna work, building LP filters, and sweeping ferrites to make choke baluns.

Happy as a sand boy!

73, Bob ZL1RS
 
N0SA Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2013 15:08 Send this review to a friend
A great little analyzer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had my Sark-110 for a couple of weeks now and the more I use it the more I like it. Although the screen is small it packs a ton of information into it.The menus are easy and intuitive to use and customer service is great. The designer Melchor has a website with upgrade firmware and an e-mail list. He responds quickly to questions and suggestions. This is a product that just gets better as he refines the firmware. It is very easy to upgrade the firmware and can be done in a minute or two. So far I have tested baluns, built/tuned a 2M antenna, mesured coils and caps, tuned traps and used many of the other functions. I don't even get my AIM4170 out anymore as the Sark-110 is just too easy and fast to use. The scans look great and the update rate is pretty darn fast. from I would say it scans the whole HF band in about 1 second. The battery seems to last a long time too. I have owned many analyzers over the years but this is by far the best handheld, or should I say palm-held analyzer I have used. I am one happy customer.
Larry
n0sa
 
N4FBW Rating: 5/5 Dec 27, 2012 09:49 Send this review to a friend
Feature packed and easy to use!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently ordered the SARK-110 and it took just 2.5 days to arrive at my doorstep from Hong Kong. The analyzer was very well packaged to avoid shipping damage.

The SARK-110 comes charged up and ready to use. Inside the box is the pigtail to connect the analyzer to an antenna or other item under test. Also included is a little hex wrench so that the case of the analyzer can be opened.

Documentation is not included with the SARK-110 but I found that I hardly needed it to begin using the unit. Documentation is available in several languages at the URL posted above.

The analyzer is built in a nice, rugged aluminum case. Buttons for operating the unit and various ports are clearly labeled. The full color display is wonderful but some may find that reading glasses are required to view it. The SARK-110 fits in the palm of the hand and I found it to be a bit tricky to hold onto. I'd recommend a lanyard and/or a rubber case for the device when using it in the field.

The pigtail snaps into the SARK-110 via an MCX connector on the left hand side of the device. The other end of the pigtail is a BNC Female connector. I had no problem connecting the pigtail to various cables with a BNC adapter.

The SARK-110 has many features (listed above) and the firmware can be upgraded via the USB port. Firmware updates are free and unlimited. Features are accessed via a small left/right toggle button and various push buttons on the top of the unit. An audible tone indicates a proper or improper button press. Features are accessed via the graphical interface which is very well designed. Menus are not very deep and so quick adjustments can be made when using this analyzer.

Battery life depends upon how the unit is being used. I found that leaving the SARK-110 in 'sweep' mode drained the battery more quickly. This is not surprising as more circuitry is being used in this mode. I found that I could increase battery life by pressing the 'stop' button when I didn't need the analyzer to take readings. Note that the analyzer is charged via the USB port.

One great feature of the SARK-110 is its ability to save screen snapshots. This allows for data analysis off-line. The unit can store up to 2MB of screenshot data.

Although I have not had the time to try all the features of the SARK-110, it is a very impressive unit. Its feature set and price put it squarely in competition with other LCD/OLED based antenna analyzers.

The designer of the SARK-110, EA4FRB, has been very helpful when I've sent questions regarding the analyzer. He is also interested in suggestions regarding firmware improvements.

I'm still going through all the features of the SARK-110 and am really impressed with the analyzer. If you are in the market for such a device, I'd highly recommend picking one of these up!
 


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