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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | Rigexpert AA-600 antenna analyzer Help

Reviews Summary for Rigexpert AA-600 antenna analyzer
Rigexpert AA-600 antenna analyzer Reviews: 21 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $850
Description: Portable handheld analyzer will cover HF through 600Mhz, will integrate with computer and also do time-domain testing.
Product is in production.
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UR7FM Rating: 5/5 Oct 2, 2016 09:30 Send this review to a friend
Exellent tools!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I sold my old AA230 and upgraded to AA600. Analyzer made very quality and I'm not found any problem from negative reviews below.TDR function very useful for testing cables. 73!
ZL3SV Rating: 5/5 Sep 20, 2016 02:02 Send this review to a friend
Nice unit  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have used this unit on my PC and as a hand held device. It does everything I want fine. My only issue is having to remove the batteries for charging in the separate charger. Battery cover is difficult to remove.
I am installing a regulator and plug to charge the batteries in the unit. I won't be able to use it whilst charging as I don't want the unit subjected to the higher charging voltages. It will save removing the batteries so then it gets a 5/5 rating from me.
N0FQN Rating: 5/5 Aug 6, 2016 20:17 Send this review to a friend
My mistake  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
After figuring out how the computer hookup worked it was doing what is was supposed to. I thought that the screen on the unit would be on as well as the computer readout. Learned a lesson. Does what it should and then more. I like the TDR function. I found several bad cable using this function. Saved me a bunch of time. Batteries are easy to get to but, strange they cannot be charged inside the unit. No bad connector here.
VA3MW Rating: 5/5 May 12, 2016 17:20 Send this review to a friend
Amazing tool  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is my 3rd Rigexpert Analyzer. Each one keeps getting better. I'm not sure what G8WRB is concerned about. I have never had an issue with any N connector on the devices I have had from Rigexpert.

I just finished using the 600 to help build the end fire 2 Element 40M verticals. It was very easy to build the phasing lines thanks to the options on the AA-600.

Every ham should have a TDR device to sweep their feedlines, something you can do with the antenna connected or disconnected. Pretty sweet stuff.

I would not hesitate to recommend this device for any ham or even commercial work. Next to my multi-meter, this is one of my favourite RF tools.
G8WRB Rating: 1/5 Apr 17, 2016 08:33 Send this review to a friend
Out of spec N connector can damage other N connectors.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased this for my amateur radio club, as members wanted it - personally it would not have been my choice.

My first impression was the battery compartment seemed hard to open. I was concerned I was going to break the unit as I tried to work out how to get the batteries in. I don't think it is flimsy as others have said, but it is certainly not easy to open. Anyone without strong hands might struggle.

After a brief look at the manual and a play with the menus, I decided to check the female N connector fitted onto this, BEFORE I tried to measure anything. I did this by measuring the depth of the female centre conductor using a "connector guage", which is a tool designed for this. A photo of the AA-600 with the connector guage attached can be seen here

For a close up view of the guage, see the picture here. Each minor division is 0.0001".

The connector guage shows that the centre conductor of this particular AA-600 is 0.00325" further FORWARD than permitted by the specification of the N connector. This might not sound a lot, but it means that the analyzer can damage a decent quality N plug that is screwed into the analyzer.

The manual says:

"Although the RigExpert AA-600. AA-1000 and AA-1400 are designed for high performance without any calibration, an open-short-load may be applied for better precision. The standards used for the calibration should be of high quality. This requirement is especially important for high frequencies (100 MHz and upper)".

I would not even consider putting my good quality open, short and load calibration standards on this piece of junk, as the AA-600 would ruin my standards!

Despite concluding that quality control of the RigExpert AA-600 is very poor, I did a quick comparison between the AA-600 and an HP 8753ES vector network analyzer. I just measured the SWR of a UHF antenna. I had to take steps to ensure I did not damage anything else. The AA-600 and 8753ES agreed pretty well on SWR. That is the limit of testing I have performed, and no not intend wasting any more time on it.

I do not expect results as good as an expensive laboratory instrument on a portable analyzer aimed at the amateur radio market. But it does not seem unreasonable that an analyzer is fitted with a connector that actually meets the specification of an N connector, rather than a connector that can damage male N plugs.

There are a lot of other antenna analyzers around. Personally I'd chose the VNWA, which is a 1.3 GHz two port vector network analyzer with tons more functionality for a little less money. The VNWA even works as a basic spectrum analyzer. The VNWA needs a PC to control it, but that could be a tablet. It would be fairly easy to put a VNWA in a box with a tablet computer and have a much more versatile tool,

If you must have a fully self-contained unit, then the SARK-110 antenna analyzer looks better, although it has an upper frequency limit of 230 MHz, so is no use for the 70 cm amateur band.

There are plenty of choices of analyzers aimed at the amateur market, but personally I would avoid a RigExpert.

Dr. David Kirkby G8WRB
RADIO_RANDY Rating: 5/5 Sep 24, 2015 16:31 Send this review to a friend
Good value for the money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the AA-600 after recommending it to a communications trailer owner. I was so impressed with the unit, I got one for myself.

It's certainly not my Bird SA-6000EX, but the Bird only goes down to 25MHz and cost $6K more. My AEA analyzer lacks the frequency range,requires 8 AA batteries which are difficult to change out and doesn't have the TDR function.
I enjoy the capabilities of my Autek Research analyzer, but wanted a graphical display to see the BIG picture on my antennas.

The Rigexpert AA-600:
Covers HF, 6/2 Meters and 440 which is perfect for my Yaesu FT-897D transceiver.
Runs on readily available AA batteries that operate for a LONG time and are easily replaced.
Has an accurate TDR function for locating transmission line defects (the main reason for my recommendation to the trailer owner).
Is extremely light.
Has an attractive display.
Is very easy to use.

Sure, it costs a penny or two, but you will get what you pay for, I'm pretty sure. Unless it seriously disappoints me, in the future, you're unlikely to hear anything else from me, on this unit.
KA3YAN Rating: 5/5 Aug 24, 2015 06:28 Send this review to a friend
Updated review after two years of service  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is an update to my initial review of the AA-600 analyzer by RigExpert. Now that I've had a bit more time to evaluate the analyzer, I think I have a better feel for its strengths and weaknesses.

- Durability: One of my first impressions was that the device was not well protected in its rigid plastic case and flimsy battery compartment door. I still believe that a thin rubberized cover would be practical in absorbing shock and vibration, but I haven't experienced any failures due to the quality of the enclosure. I also haven't dropped it. My recommendation is to NOT drop it and be gentle with the battery compartment cover.

- Software: This is probably the best advice I can give. Only use the RigExpert AntScope software to capture the data. Any analysis should be done using AC6LA's fantastic Zplots application for Excel. All of your wishes and dreams will be fulfilled using this application. Forget asking the RigExpert folks for help because you'll never get it. Trust me, export your data using the Touchstone export function in AntScope and import it into Zplots.

- Data points: It's true that you can only capture a very finite number of data points when the AA-600 is stand-alone; however, when connected to your PC using AntScope, you can collect many more data points. I would highly recommend that if you plan on using the AA-600 as a lab instrument, you should connect it to your PC. If you plan on using it as a field instrument, don't expect lab instrument results.

- Customer service from RigExpert: This isn't an American company and you won't be getting it your way. Sorry, but that's how it is. They don't care what you think. They don't want your recommendations. They will hurt your feelings. Suck it up and move on.
KU3X Rating: 5/5 Jul 15, 2015 11:28 Send this review to a friend
A great hand held antenna analyzer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just purchase the AA-600 and love it. By reading previous reviews you can tell how great the unit is, hence the reason I purchased it. The software that goes along with the unit is fabulous.
I also own a SARK 110. I wanted a pocket size analyzer that gives me all of the needed information and the SARK 110 fit the bill.
Here is the issue I have with the AA-600. It can only sample 80 points as a stand alone unit. Thatís great if you are just checking a single band, like checking a 40 meter beam. If you run the AA-600 via computer, you can increase the sampling rates. BUT.....I want a stand alone unit so this is not an option for me. You can change the sampling rate of the SARK 110 up to 10,000 points as a stand alone unit. It will take you over 15 minutes to make one sweep, but it will do it. The need for more than 80 sampling points comes into play when sweeping an off center fed antenna. To sweep from 3.500 MHz to 54 MHz, the unit will read in about 700 khz steps. So the first reading will be at 3.500 MHz and the next reading will be at 3.700 MHz. The next reading will be out of band.
I am pretty sure this can be addressed in the firmware. Since Rig Expert offers firmware updates, I wrote them an email suggesting they do the following:
Standard firmware update is version 412
Also offer version 412-A which would offer 200 sampling points
Another version 412-B would offer 500 sampling points.
This would let the end user pick which one would fit his needs. Numerous sampling rates would make this unit much more versatile. I sure hope they donít round file my suggestion.

Two major features swayed me to purchase this unit. One was the software that goes along with the unit, itís great ! The second was being able to cancel out the transmission line using OSL calibration. If you have not worked with OSL calibration, it lets you take your reading at the feed point of the antenna, which may be 100 feet in the air and you can do this while standing on the ground.
Even though I have an issue with the 80 point sampling rate, I still give this unit a 5 because I feel it is well worth it.
Barry, KU3X
G3GXG Rating: 2/5 Jan 20, 2015 01:15 Send this review to a friend
Expensive VSWR meter  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
When I first purchased the AA-600 I thought it was the best new addition to my test equipment. I liked the multiple VSWR displays and the ability to plot VSWR vs freq. I also liked the idea of finding faults on cables etc.

This was my first antenna analyser purchase so I had no reference to others. MFJ came up as a good option but I wanted plots and multiple values to compare against so I can understand what is going on. So I purchased a AA-600.

After a while, when I was starting to see issues in my antenna systems, I started to see feature cracks appear at the seams. I was able to read VSWR and basic plots etc. but even though the unit measures multiple values: Z R X C L etc. I could not plot these. Not even on the PC! So the analyser was telling me something, but was not in a format where I could really see at a glance what was going on.

I called up the customer care service team. I explained my dilemma and wondered when they would come up with a software/firmware upgrade that would suffice my requirements. But all I got was a blunt refusal to make the chance based on the fact that no one else does this and no one else is complaining of this etc., basically I was fobbed off.

This was a heavy blow to me as I had paid £600+ for something that was barely a executive VSWR unit. Thus way over priced.

I discussed my issue amongst a couple of hams and they suggested the MRs miniVNA Tiny. Ok so it did not have batteries, but frankly it had a whole load more for the money and it was only £350. Wow!! And it had two ports so I can see what the effect my BALUNs and filters are having in circuit.
Note: I have written separate comments on this

So now I use the AA-600 as a simple VSWR meter for setting up antennas in the antenna farm and use my MRs miniVNA Tiny for everything else.

I believe RigExpert need to make some changes to its firmware before the AA-600 is any serious contender. If it did and also changed the PC software as well. This could be a powerful piece of kit to measure reflections in-line transmissions.

I tried sharing my concerns on the RigExpert site but every time I did, my comments were removed. This is clearly a raw subject for them.

I suggest the following changes:
1. Allow the user to select what he wants to plot
2. Allow the user the compare a minimum of two plots on the AA-600 and multiple plots on a PC - Z vs SWR and/or dB loss is an absolute minimum
3. Add dB loss and phase (min) to what they already have
4. Two levels of accuracy modes - the number of sample points are low. This is great for quick checks not for in depth
5. The PC software should have the ability to save different formats to easily work with third party software

I have written my experiences with the AA-600. I am sure there are Hams out there that are perfectly happy with this product. But frankly, for what you get it is way over priced and it is a shame that RigExpert do not see that with relatively small changes, they could end up with a really good product.

WB6FLY Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2014 16:07 Send this review to a friend
A must-have instrument  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had my AA-600 for a week, and I am impressed by its features and performance. HRO Burbank had it on sale for about $585, with free shipping. As others have noted, the operation of the AA-600 is less than intuitive, but I am learning quickly. The SWR2Air feature is quite useful, since it transmits a signal representing the SWR value to a handheld radio, allowing one person to make adjustments and know the results in real time (if this can be done safely!) I will replace the European power cord and the flimsy AC adapter with a common US cord and plug, at my first opportunity. I was surprised to discover that the unit is made in the Ukraine, not widely known for high-quality instruments!
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