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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | SDR Kits VNWA 3 Help

Reviews Summary for SDR Kits VNWA 3
SDR Kits VNWA 3 Reviews: 6 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $650
Description: Covering 1 kHz to 1.3 GHz and powered from a PC USB-bus, the VNWA3 offers a dynamic range of
90dB up to 500 MHz and better than 50dB above 500 MHz.

Supporting the same functionality as its predecessors, the VNWA 3 offers:
All VNWA hardware on a single Printed Circuit board for maximum reliability
High stability 12 MHz TCXO from which all clock signals are obtained
Redesigned Solid 2mm Anodized enclosure and brass chassis
Option for fitting VNWA 3 Expansion board
Supplied fully Assembled and Tested
Product is in production.
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NO9E Rating: 5/5 Nov 17, 2014 08:31 Send this review to a friend
Exciting after a short learning curve  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My first review was perhaps premature so this is a follow up.

The first day I cursed as I could not make any sense of the interface. The second day I could do many measurements. The third day I was amazed.

A couple of years I homebrewed a 70cm quagi but did not know its SWR or gain characteristics. In a few minutes I could find its SWR curve and then gain curves as I rotated it in real time. Max gain at 432 as planned but lowest SWR at 438. Very narrow beamwidth. Not bad for a rough homebrew.

I made a simple transformer out of a binocular form. Is it good for HF? I found that when matched, it has about 0.3db loss from 2 to 15 MHz rising to 0.5 db at 30 MHz. Good enough for unbalanced QRP antenna.

Wondered what was Q of a T200-2 toroid with 20 turns. About 300 on 2 MHz dropping to about 100 on 8 MHz. On one frequency the impedance was 51.35+j0.25. A popular antenna analyzer showed 57+j17. One shows a Q of 200 and another a Q of 3.

I also checked a random ceramic filter. It had a -3db bandwith of 17KHz and -50db BW of 25 KHz.

I also wondered about the gain and F/B of my 2 el 5 band quad. Connecting one cable to the quad, another cable to a multiband dipole some distance away, and rotating antenna straight or 180 degrees away, I could see F/B and gain curves right away. Most bands were OK but 15m and 12m are too low.

VNWA3 is a high quality device with high dynamic and frequency ranges at a reasonable price. The software does not appear to be friendly initially but can do almost anything one can imagine. Real and imaginary parts, phase, L, C or Q, you name it, and I am still learning.

A few things one needs to be aware off. For every set of cable(s) one needs to do a master calibration. Many measurements are limited by the inherent accuracy of measurements (say +-0.1 Ohm); accuracy in popular analyzers is +- 5-15 Ohms. So VNWA 3 can do a lot but cannot do the impossible. Also measurements with high Q devices (crystal or crystal filters) requires slower scans.

VNWA 3 is very small and takes all its power via USB. As it requires a computer, it may not be the most convenient substitute for an elementary antenna analyzer especially when working outside. But if you already have the analyzer, this one will allow you to do much more with much higher accuracy.
QRPNEW Rating: 5/5 Oct 2, 2014 17:23 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am a Antenna Analyzer/VNA addict. The better instruments are worth their weight in gold. In the this regard in the ham VNA market, the VNWA is the gold standard if you are willing to invest the time into exploring and understanding this precision instrument. You will be rewarded with new insights into the RF world.

On my ham best buy list this instrument would rate as one of the best purchases I have made in all my years as a ham and as a engineer.

This instrument has been in invaluable in my homebrew activities. Many problems that I would have not foreseen were solved very early by measuring with the VNWA.

The saying goes if you dont measure you dont know. With this instrument you will always know when you measure! Just spend time reading and understanding what it is and what its potential is and you will do well. You cant be a brain dead "whats my swr" simple analyzer kind of guy.

I own a AIM4170 and also a MiniVNA PRO. Both these instruments I always like. What I like in particular is the AIM4170 W5BIG software. It has very user friendly interface thats clean, clear and fast. What I would like to see for the VNWA a a piece of software thats similar to the ease of use and clean interface like that of the MiniVNA PRO VnaJ and W5BIG software.

In daily use when you dont need the full VNWA capability it would just be nice to use the VNWA as a general purpose antenna analyzer. You can do this with the existing software. However the presentation is not that clear and sometimes my eyes strain with the cluttered busy screen.

The feature I like the most of the VNWA is the fast and flexible calibration. The MASTER calibration feature is a great idea especially when backed by a full SOL cal. This instrument is a keeper and my only worry is that I am going to wear out the SMA connectors because I use it so much.

The only thing that I would want maybe is a Bluetooth interface and a detailed network analyzer how to guide to fully explore its potential. There is tons of information in the forum but thats a time consuming task going back over time. The Yahoo group interface is pure crap. Other than that, its pure excellence. Go buy one before they stop making them! DG8SAQ should get a ham Nobel prize for giving hams this gold standard jewel.
WA1SEO Rating: 5/5 Sep 22, 2013 18:36 Send this review to a friend
Incredible value  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've only owned this analyzer for about 3 weeks but so far it has exceeded my expectations. I recently sold my HP-8712ET VNA. It was just too big and heavy. I was considering another small, PC based VNA when I was referred to the SDR Kits website. I monitored their reflector for sometime and finally decided to order it. It took about 2 weeks to arrive and about 5 minutes to set up. So far it seems as accurate as anything I've used to align HF & VHF filters, and look at the characteristics of some antennas that I build. But the big bonus is the low frequency capabilities. It's hard to find equipment to characterize low frequency EMI filters, but this does it with ease.

I'm in the process of installing it in another enclosure but so far I'm a very satisfied customer and would not hesitate to recommend it.

Mike, WA1SEO
SP4SKR Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2013 03:28 Send this review to a friend
Great tool for amateur. Reaching into professional grade level  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First thing to mention is that by occupation I am electronic hardware design consultant and I am also doing RF design from time to time. So I am used to use big and expensive VNAs from HP, Agilent and R&S. Also it means that I am subconsciously comparing NVWA against them, which may give a bias not applicable to average ham experience.

The first thing worth mentioning is that the VNWA is not a truly professional equipment in terms of dynamic range (it has more than 90dB in 1kHz-500MHz range and more than 50dB in 500MHz-1.3GHz range). This is basically the only thing I can complain about. However please note that this dynamic range is still lot more than actually required by a ham.

The rest of the stuff is absolutely brilliant. Especially software capabilities in terms of measurement results calibration and post-processing are really comparable with truly professional equipment. Some of the features are in my opinion even better. I particularly like built in calculator which allows one to define and calculate in real time very complicated custom traces. Professional VNAs tend to export measurement results to external programs like Matlab to do the calculation. True, Matlab and others are lot more capable that VNWA calculator, but most of the time one doesn't need such a power. Another great things are:

1) 3 port measurement facility allowing to analyze baluns easily
2) matching tool allowing testing how changing impedance on measured circuit input and output changes circuit characteristic. It also allows to automatically calculate simple matching networks.

NVWA comes with really useful help files containing a lot of real life examples. Also Yahoo support forum is very responsive and helpful. Another thing to mention is that VNWA is not only vector network analyzer, but also a signal generator with AM/FM capability, basic spectrum analyzer, frequency counter and far field antenna radiation characteristic analyzer. So actually having VNWA, power supply, dummy load and oscilloscope would make up a basic ham shack laboratory suitable for I would say 99% of projects that a ham will encounter in his/her life.

All in all I can only say it is a great tool for an amateur and it is also reaching in the professional level range. Buy it and you won't regret!
S55M Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2013 01:29 Send this review to a friend
Best "gizmo" for lowest amount of money  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own VNWA 2 and VNWA 3.
Compared to all other HAM VNA's on market, this is real "space shuttle".
Not only, that the price is at reach of most HAM's, but the support from Tom DG8SAQ, Jan G0BBL and others on VNWA email list is exellent.
Manual is almost a book and if You read it carefully , there are no more questions left about the DG8SAQ VNWA.
The SW is constantly under development and all new versions are free of charge.
I spent a lot of money on many kind of equipment from 1.8MHz to 24GHz in my 30+ HAM radio years, but this little box is the one, wich has the best price-preformance ratio.
Go for it and You will never regret!

Adi S55M
KA4POL Rating: 5/5 Jan 11, 2013 02:45 Send this review to a friend
Great little Analyzer  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The VNWA 3 is being sold as ready to use product. The predecessor was available in kit form.
It is not a simple measuring tool like usual antenna analyzers. It really requires good knowledge of the procedures for measurement of S-parameters etc. It is absolutely necessary to understand how these measurements have to be performed. You can not just connect two wires to the DUT and read a value.
That being said the VNWA 3 will do a great job for checking out components, antennas, even transmitters.
At the price tag it really beats big expensive equipment. It is great tool for the experienced. If something goes wrong you also get quick and competent support from the VNWA Yahoo group.

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