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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: 22 Average rating: 4.5/5 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://www.sark110.com/
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KU3X Rating: 5/5 Feb 24, 2015 07:50 Send this review to a friend
Best analyzer I have ever used  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Iíve been using the SARK 110 for a few months and just love it. I needed a pocket size accurate antenna analyzer and the SARK 110 fits the bill. I also have an MFJ 259B, MFJ 223 and have used the Rig Expert AA-54. The SARK 110 give you the most information.
Interfacing the SARK with a computer is super easy. Using the SARK with the Zplots sofware on the computer is great. First use your SARK to check the antenna, same the plot to the unit and then you can retrieve the file and use the computer to analyzer you antenna. The only thing the computer does is give you a bigger screen. All of the information you can retrieve with the computer can be read on the SARK as a stand alone unit.
The one neat feature I really liked is, you can put a delay on the time the SARK analyzes the antenna. What I do is, program the SARK for the frequency range and the time delay, 5 minutes delay is plenty. Next I attach the analyzer to the dipole I want tested. Now I put the dipole back in the air, wait for the unit to analyze the antenna and when the time is up, I lower the dipole back to the ground and now I know what the readings are with the antenna in the air. Caution when doing this, make sure you attach the SARK securely to the antenna. Do not depend on the coaxial jumper to secure the SARK to the antenna.
I also purchased a set of terminated calibration loads from G3TJP. I wanted to check how accurate the SARK was. This baby is right on the money. When new firmware comes out, itís posted on the SARK web page and the firmware is super easy to install. I just installed the newest version. Now the SARKís range is extended to 230 MHz.
I bought mine through Ebay. SteppIR now sells them stateside.
The SARK 110 is by far the most accurate and useful antenna analyzer I have even used or owned.
Eham ratings go from 0 to 5, I'd give this bady a 10 if I could.
 
AJ4YN Rating: 5/5 Feb 11, 2015 07:54 Send this review to a friend
Near lab quality gear  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I received the SARK-110 last week and it hasn't left my hands yet! Not sure why they call it an "antenna analyzer", it is really a pocket sized network analyzer. Accuracy is superb as tested with an assortment of resistors, inductors, and capacitors. As others have pointed out, the included pigtail adapter looks like a mechanical weak point. This was solved by mounting the SARK on an "L" shaped aluminum plate with the BNC connector mounted through a hole in the foot of the "L". The plate also has hole for a safety lanyard.

I currently own an Autek VA-1 and a Youkit Fg-01. After using a graphical SWR meter it is really hard to go back to the manual method. Seeing the plot makes antenna adjustments much quicker. The only downside to the SARK is the slow plot speed, it takes a few seconds to draw the graph, by contrast, the Youkit updates several times a second.

The Autek rates a 3, the Youkit a 4, and the SARK-110 is a 5+.
73 AJ4YN
 
KU3X Rating: 5/5 Jan 28, 2015 07:36 Send this review to a friend
Pocket size top or the line analyzer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought my SARK 110 through Ebay. Iíve been using it for almost a month. Hands down, itís got to be one of the best antenna analyzers on the market. SteppIR is going to be selling them very soon.
I also ordered the calibration terminated loads from G3TJP.
What really stands out for me is, you can program the number of sampling points and put a time delay for when the unit scans. What this allows me to do is, lower any of my wire antennas, attach the SARK 110, give it a 5 minute time delay, hoist the antenna in the air and in 5 minutes the SARK runs. Now I have a true reading taken at the feed point of the antenna.
With the calibrated terminated loads I can actually cancel out the short length of cable that goes from the SARK to the feed point of the antenna.
Getting the computer to read the SARK is easy. Just plug it in and the computer treats it as a flash drive. You donít have to program any com ports.

I needed a pocket size antenna analyzer that I can take anywhere and the SARK 110 fit the bill.
Barry G. Kery, KU3X
 
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 Ďtrackingí 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
 
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