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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | Tentec TAPR VNA vector analyzer Help


Reviews Summary for Tentec TAPR VNA vector analyzer
Tentec TAPR VNA vector analyzer Reviews: 4 Average rating: 3.8/5 MSRP: $$ 655 plus shipping
Description: Article in QEX JULY/AUGUST2004 by N5EG, now developed and sold by Tentec.
Product is in production.
More info: http://radio.tentec.com/Amateur/vna
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K9YC Rating: 4/5 Jan 4, 2013 11:24 Send this review to a friend
Decent VNA, but Out-Dated  Time owned: more than 12 months
I saw the Ten Tec TAPR at Dayton around 2004, ordered one, and waited a year. It's a nice unit, quite powerful, easy to use (but you'll need to study how VHAs work if you've never used one). The user interface is reasonable, measurement results are as accurate as your care in calibrating and suitability to the measurement you're trying to make. It also exports files that can be imported by Sim Smith and other design software to design matching networks for your antenna.

It's important to realize that this is a VECTOR analyzer, so it provides both magnitude and phase data (or resistance plus reactance when measuring impedance) and it's a NETWORK analyzer, which means that it's a 2-port analyzer -- that is, in addition to measuring impedance, it can also measure the response THROUGH a device, like a filter, preamp, matching network, antenna tuner, etc. You can also measure the coupling between your antennas.

On the downside, the dynamic range is limited (only about 75 dB to 100 MHz, a bit less to 120 MHz. The software works fine, but is primitive by modern standards, and hasn't been updated for several years.

If you are offered one of these units for about half of it's retail price, I'd call it a real bargain. If you want something much newer, with a lot more bandwidth (500 MHz for full dynamic range, 1500 MHz at reduced dynamic range) and a lot more dynamic range, you want the newer DG8SAQ-designed VNWA, built by some hams in the UK. It costs about $750. I bought one this spring and love it. My TAPR is for sale.
 
AE6PN Rating: 4/5 Mar 18, 2009 00:53 Send this review to a friend
good equipment  Time owned: more than 12 months
I use this for my work.
we have Advantest VNA 40Mhz to 3.8Ghz
so I use this Ten Tec/ TAPR VNA to do work under 40Mhz

it does works well
if you need decent VNA cover less than 100MHz
this will be good one, I used it to calibrate 2.2Khz wide ssb crystal filter at 10.700 Mhz
and align IF, check S11, etc.

I have designed a lot of circuit using this VNA
 
W5VIN Rating: 2/5 Oct 13, 2007 17:50 Send this review to a friend
Mediocre VNA  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned the Ten Tec VNA about 2 years. It has good frequency coverage but it's dynamic range is very limited. It is probably about 75 db. This works ok for antenna projects and LC filters but on sweeping crystal filters it leaves a lot to be desired. The N2PK VNA will work circles around this instrument. An RF engineer I know puchased one and promptly returned it. Just not worth the asking price.
Charlie W5VIN
 
WF7I Rating: 5/5 Oct 28, 2006 19:24 Send this review to a friend
Very cool little box!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned this unit for almost a year but have only recently started to put it through its paces. For someone like me, who is using it as an educational tool to study filters, antennas and the like, it is fantastic. The product comes with two coaxial test cables with SMAs on each end, some attenuators, and a short and an open attachment, which are all used to calibrate the instrument for first time use. After initial calibration, you supposedly never have to re-cal again (unless you delete or currupt the cal file). There is also a feature by which you can "cal out" the test interface (test cable, connectors/adapters etc which are used to hook up to your DUT). I have found though for just doing some limited "monkeying around" that the measurements seem pretty close without going through that, but I'm sure for more precise readings it would be a big plus.

For me, the Smith Chart screen is really amazing. You can see what the impedance of your device is at different frequencies of a frequency sweep, and can graphically see at a glance how the impedance changes over that sweep range. Having never used a VNA before, I found that ability to be breathtaking (and it is VERY easy to obtain!). Others who are familiar with professional VNAs may have more detailed thoughts. There is also a TDR functionality in this unit, whereby you can analyze your coax/antenna system in a distance-to-fault sense. You can also determine insertion loss, VSWR/return loss, and other parameters which I've yet to play with. In addition to the polar display there is a rectangular display which is great for return loss sweeps. To me, the little box seems to do a lot for the relatively cheap price.

It appears you can get software updates via the internet as well. I don't know if there are hardware upgrades as time goes on or not. At any rate, I am happy with the performance and features, especially as an educational tool. For serious circuit design, I'd defer to others who have done more with the box (or possibly later I can give more insight into this area myself). My only complaint so far that I'd pass along is that it does require about 2A DC to run the thing. It does come with a plug-in wall adapter however. But often for me, it is a bit cumbersome to do antenna measurements with that type of power requirement. Also, it has to have a PC connected to it to have any functionality, which again can place some burdens on its portability for field use.
 


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