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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | AUTEK RESEARCH VA1-RF1-RF5 RF ANALYST Help


Reviews Summary for AUTEK RESEARCH VA1-RF1-RF5 RF ANALYST
AUTEK RESEARCH  VA1-RF1-RF5 RF ANALYST Reviews: 105 Average rating: 3.1/5 MSRP: $129.95
Description: The pocket-sized RF1 is designed to check and adjust antennas,
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.autekresearch.com/
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You can write your own review of the AUTEK RESEARCH VA1-RF1-RF5 RF ANALYST.

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WB0DRH Rating: 3/5 Feb 24, 2014 21:10 Send this review to a friend
Oh GOD Not Again!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've got four of these things in various state of repair... when they work, they work great, and otherwise are junk. Does anyone out there have a schematic for the thing so I can fix the ones that are broke now that they don't sell the RF-1 any more? I got two of these at flea markets and suspect the guys dumped power into them.
 
N3VC Rating: 5/5 Dec 4, 2013 07:54 Send this review to a friend
Once you fix it GREAT  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the RF-1 Analyst for general use several years ago. I liked it size, weight and its function. After receiving the RF-1 I immediately had to replace the battery connector. Broke the first time I used it. I then put the unit in a draw for 6 months and when I again tried to use it no joy. Opened it up again and re-soldered the contacts for the on/off switch. Put it back together and it has run perfect for several years now. The device is great but the workmanship is substandard. Knowing what I know now I would still buy it again.
 
G8JNJ Rating: 1/5 Apr 15, 2013 00:48 Send this review to a friend
Update - five years on  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had a quick antenna job to perform whilst dodging rain showers. So rather than dragging the AIM and laptop outside, I dug out the Autek.

It had been put away for some time, as I had got fed up with having to keep fixing it. But I know it was working the last time I used it about two years ago.

Popped in a new battery and it all powered up OK.

Got outside connected it up to the antenna, and the display started flickering. Gently squeezing the case got the display back for long enough for me to find the resonant frequency. But I couldn't get an SWR reading of lees than about 4:1.

Took it back inside and tried it with a 50 Ohm test load. SWR indication of 4.2:1.

Opened it up resoldered the PCB where the wires from the SO239 connect. Noticed that one of the tags on the variable capacitor had become detached from the PCB, so resoldered that too. Reseating the Molex connector that is used to join the two PCB's seem to fix the flickering display.

Re-assembled, checked with test load, all OK.

Put it back in the drawer, until the next time..........

I must have spent more time fixing this thing than it would have taken to assemble it in the first place.

Martin - G8JNJ

www.g8jnj.webs.com
 
GM1SXX Rating: 5/5 Nov 25, 2012 05:08 Send this review to a friend
Excellent field Analyser  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought mine second-hand to replace my MFJ-259B which got accidentally fried.

Having read the reviews here, many of which slate the RF-1 for unsoldered joints and poor workmanship, I have to say that some of the reviewers obviously don't seem to understand that most of the 'unsoldered joints' issue is down to 4 pin switches which only need two pins to be soldered to function.
Why waste time and solder on soldering stuff that doesn't need to be soldered? It would only add to the manufacturing cost.

I bought my RF-1 analyser second-hand. For all I know, it could even be third hand, yet it works at least as well as my MFJ259B ever did.
OK, it lacks the two analogue meters of the MFJ and doesn't cover VHF, but it is a fine tool for working on HF antennas and for testing co-ax and resonating traps.

It's sad that because one or two individuals open up a product for a look, and decide for all the wrong reasons that the soldering is crap, that others happily jump on the bandwagon to perpetuate the nonsense being talked, without taking the time and effort to try to understand for themselves why a few of the PCB pads don't have solder on them.

I don't think it's fair to slate AUTEK in this way and I have no complaints about either the build quality or functionality of their RF-1 analyser.
It works fine for me.

83 Al.
GM1SXX

 
W0LWA Rating: 2/5 Mar 24, 2012 11:14 Send this review to a friend
Adequate  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my RF-1 on 1/27/97. It failed on 7/12/99. I sent it to Autek and paid $31 for a repair. They returned it saying it worked fine and had replaced a connector. It worked for me for a few days then failed. It would work intermittently after that.

Eventually I read these reviews about unsoldered connections, and sure enough there were a bunch in my RF-1. I soldered them all and the meter has worked since. This is shoddy work on the part of Autek.

I built a N2PK-VNA in 2005 thus was able to compare the Autek to an accurate instrument. The Autek is probably adequate to tune up a dipole if you use an antenna tuner. 60 feet up it probably will get a beam close enough. When the VNA shows a load to be 50 ohms and my resistance swr bridge says I'm right on, the RF-1 will show 54 ohms,
... and so on. Measured inductors and capacitors are off from my VNA and LC Meter II/B, but Autek does have warnings about accuracy for components.

The oscillator drifts and will not stay on frequency making it difficult to tune narrow band antennas. Even with the fine adjustment it is difficult to set the frequency. I use it to get things "into the ballpark" then switch to the VNA if possible.

So is it a bargain for the price? Possibly. For me, I'd say "no." I would save my money for twice as long and buy one of the meters reviewed by QST in March, 2012. If I was really price conscious, I'd look at one of the MFJ's that are a bit cheaper than the models reviewed in QST.

 
W5WAA Rating: 5/5 Sep 14, 2011 06:49 Send this review to a friend
Excellent for the price  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Got the RF-1 to make tank circuits, tune antennas, check impedance, etc. Does what the book says, it's very compact, it repeats, seems to be as accurate as the MFJ-259 it replaced. If you work on antennas every day, you'll will find that MFJ has several tuners better suited for that. This one is more designed for hams who go about their day to day activities which ocassionally require you to check for problems, make finaly adjustments on a new antenna, check inductance on a coil or trap, check impedance on a line, etc. Well worth the money.
 
W4IA Rating: 4/5 Mar 5, 2011 14:56 Send this review to a friend
On my 2nd RF 1  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my first RF 1 15-20 years ago and dropped it from a 60ft tower. It still works with a cracked lcd readout. I bought another RF 1 around 10 years ago and it still is working great. Just keep a fresh battery in it, or rig up a plug for a wall wart. It can't be beat for L and C measurements at your desired frequency, and costs a heck of a lot less than the pro test equipment.
 
KL7HQK Rating: 3/5 Mar 2, 2011 12:00 Send this review to a friend
Not all that great  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my RF-1 about three years and have used it some, enough to know how to use it anyway. It does what they say it will do but on SWR don't expect perfection, just figure you'll get into the ballpark. Measuring C and L it works well. Mine went dead and since I'd had it a while, I opened it up. A wire tail from ground had not been trimmed and it was touching the coax input capacitor. That fixed the problem. There was a tiny mounting screw missing from one of the controls also, so I emailed Autek for advice and got an email back in two days telling me to sent $3 for the screw. All I wanted to know is if it should have an insulating sleeve around it.I wasn't too happy about the service. The worst thing about the unit is that it is very difficult to set it on the desired freq on the higher bands because the bandspread is so tight.On 15m just a touch gets you 200khz. If cost isn't a problem for you, I'd keep looking.
 
K2YWE Rating: 2/5 Dec 25, 2010 06:55 Send this review to a friend
Poor Quality Undermines a Good Concept  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my RF-1 for over five years. It became intermittent and stopped working after about a year. I traced the problem to a poor connector to board solder joint. The design of that interface is inherently destined to fail, which it did again a little later. I fixed it a second time with a short piece of braid. The unit became intermittent again a few months later. I haven't bothered opening it up.
As others have mentioned, the overall build quality is poor and I would not recommend this unit. It's really too bad, because the size and operating concept are good. I reluctantly bought an MFJ-269 which I had avoided because of its size. The MFJ has served me well for a year. The RF-1 sits on the shelf.
 
KB1QBZ Rating: 4/5 Nov 3, 2010 07:46 Send this review to a friend
Does A Good Job  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had the RF-1 for about a year and mainly use it to tune portable antennas in the field (Buddipole, TAK-tenna, Buddistick, MP1). I've also used it to set up base station antennas (various multi-band dipoles, an inverted L, and a low-band vertical).

The RF-1 works well. It's easy to use. It's nice and portable. It gives me good results (I've tested the results against MFJ antenna analyzers and against MFJ antenna tuners as well as the built-in SWR meters on things like the Yaesu FT-897, Icom 746, and Elecraft KAT100.

I have two complaints with it. The first -- an easy one to deal with -- is that it's too easy to accidentally turn it on when not using it (just take out the battery when not using it and the problem goes away). The second is that the workmanship is not great out of the factory. I had to repair two solder joints soon after I received it. But once repaired, it has worked well.

Unless you're really an antenna guru, the RF-1 is all you really need as an analyzer.
 
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