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

AUTEK RESEARCH  VA1-RF1-RF5 RF ANALYST Reviews: 112 Average rating: 3.2/5 MSRP: $129.95
Description: The pocket-sized RF1 is designed to check and adjust antennas,
Product is not in production.
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You can write your own review of the AUTEK RESEARCH VA1-RF1-RF5 RF ANALYST.

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WB0KWJ Rating: 1/5 May 18, 2015 20:12 Send this review to a friend
Poor implementation  Time owned: more than 12 months
By itself, the hard-to-read display is a sign of trouble. Seeing it requires just the right tilt of the display against the light.

The unit, bought at a hamfest and clearly not much used, worked for a week or two of backyard measurements. Later, multiple 50-ohm dummy loads produced a 1.8-to-1 SWR and all manner of clearly erroneous readings on the other measures. Flexing the case would change the readings, but never quite correct them. An hour of resoldering seems to have fixed the functionality problems--although the display remained characteristically hard to read.

Full adjustment and calibration requires unsoldering a board. Given that this is a field unit, that would likely see more physical abuse and temperature fluctuations than a bench tool, the inability to recalibrate the unit without full disassembly is a serious design flaw.

As people say, there are some switch and connector pins that do not need to be soldered because they serve no electrical function. But, mine had some necessary pins and leads that were not soldered. Soldering all the pins on components is actually good practice, and improves mechanical stability. The unit I got looks like a very hurried job.

It appears that a lot of design compromises were made to cram a potentially very useful tool into a just-too-small box.
W7KEC Rating: 3/5 Mar 21, 2015 14:40 Send this review to a friend
Poor Construction QA  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just picked up a RF-1 at a hamfest for $60. The unit looked brand new. Took it home and fired it up with a precision 50 ohm resistor. The SWR was 1.8 and the resistance showed 58 ohms. I opened up the unit and found lots of solder flux residue on the board. I cleaned that up best I could with some flux remover. On the LCD circuit board, there were 14 solder pads with the lead of the part sticking through the hole but was not soldered. I soldered all 14 connections. Put the unit back together and checked the calibration resistor again - SWR was 1.0 and resistance was 52 ohms. No wonder the company went out of business - they must have told their assemblers to cut back on the use of solder :-).
W8KX Rating: 5/5 Oct 1, 2014 12:43 Send this review to a friend
Very accurate  Time owned: more than 12 months
Although a piece of consumer goods, this unit has proven to be exceptionally useful and accurate. Antenna reactance and capacitance measurements would put some professional equipment to shame.
AK0B Rating: 5/5 Jul 27, 2014 20:30 Send this review to a friend
Excellent I have the RF-1  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had it for at least 15 years.

Excellent unit, great for field day and portable operation.

Stan AK0B
N7AG Rating: 5/5 Jul 27, 2014 20:14 Send this review to a friend
this one ok for 12 yrs  Time owned: more than 12 months
Luck of the draw, some are fb, sum crap. Guess I got lucky.
KE6US Rating: 5/5 Jul 27, 2014 14:07 Send this review to a friend
VA-1 served me well for almost a decade  Time owned: more than 12 months
My VA-1 worked fine from the day I got it 8 or 9 years ago. I used it for antenna work and bench work. My ONLY complaint was the 9 volt battery. I hate those things. Expensive and usually dead when you pick up the equipment to use it.

It was replaced by a RigExpert AA-54, technology that wasn't commonly available when I got the VA-1 and a lot more money. I recently sold the VA-1, but it served me well for quite awhile. I understand that Autek is out of business now, but a VA-1 on the used market would still be a useful tool.
W3JJM Rating: 5/5 Jul 20, 2014 09:42 Send this review to a friend
Good piece of gear.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had mine for 6 years. No problems, works great and I like the size and ergonomics. Manual is well sorted out and I learned quite a bit from reading it.
Great value and would give it a 6 if I could. Would not hesitate to buy from Autek again.

K9HZ 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
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