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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | mRS miniVNA 0.1-180Mhz Help

Reviews Summary for mRS miniVNA 0.1-180Mhz
mRS miniVNA 0.1-180Mhz Reviews: 30 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $315 or 240 Euro
Description: * Frequency coverage 0.1Mhz to 180MHz
* DDS Generator with 0 dBm output
* 2 Ports allow Transmission Measurements e.g. filters, traps
* USB1.1 and USB2 compatibility
* RS232 optional socket for Pocket PC`s or Remote Displays
* Fast Scan (typical 0.6 sec for 500 points)
* Use of an internal Industrial Directional Coupler
* High Reflection Dynamic Range 40dB to 35dB (VSWR 1.06:1 or better)
* Wide Transmission Dynamic Range > 50-55dB
* Measures VSWR, RL, Rs, Z +/-jx, Phase, Cable lenght, R/L/C
* Finds Minimum VSWR automatically
* New transparent box with LED indicators for the operation status
* In-Circuit-Programming for future firmware onboard CPU upgrades
* Operation from 3.6V Phone Batteries possible (current drawn <150mA)
* Software compatible with Windows and Linux operating systems.
* Save and Load of previous measurements
* Software for Pocket PC available
Product is in production.
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QRPNEW Rating: 2/5 Feb 1, 2011 12:40 Send this review to a friend
Poor documentation  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The manual is terrible with little information on how to use this instrument in the real world.

As an example the only practical example given is for measuring simple inductors. I can do that with a dip meter and dont need to spend 500 dollars to do this. This is the only example of how to use the instrument in the manual! Buy a VNA to measure an inductor very smart Batman!

Sure you can do basic things like VSWR and impedance sweeps. However I can do this with my LP100 and several other analyzers for much less money.

Any advantage over a simple analyzer like the MFJ269 will never be realized because the manual is so bad.

I agree with other reviewers about the calibration procedure which is very poorly documented.

The manual just waffles on about calibration however does not explain what files are needed for complete accuracy across its frequency range.

The writer who wrote this manual is obviously the designer who understands everything and who feels that he does not have to explain anything to the end user!

The software has many features which are not working, and it is the most primitive software that I have come across in a long time. It has included a very odd assortment of utilities that can be got off the internet for free!

The blue-tooth is very unreliable and buggy. It wont work with most standard bluetooth adapters because of the dual serial port configuration problem.

In short if you new to the VNA world I would suggest you buy a product that has a better manual because you will need it. There is a Yahoo group however that appears to be dead and has very little information because there are so few users.

The PROMINIVNA has great potential, it is however let down by its poor manual and software.

K1KP Rating: 5/5 Jan 21, 2011 10:59 Send this review to a friend
Actually it does work with Win 7  Time owned: more than 12 months
This extremely useful tool can be made to work with Win7. The problem is not with the device but with all the changes thrown in by Bill Gates. It takes some fiddling with the serial/usb driver, and you need to always 'run as administrator' but it does work. I find this my #1 RF tool in the shack.

-I use it for sweeping filters
-I run an SWR plot on my antennas on a regular basis to watch for changes due to wx, degradation, coax problems, etc.
-I use it as a precision signal source
-I use it to measure feedline loss

And on and on it goes. As useful for RF as a DVM or VTVM is for DC.

If you need help figuring out how to use it, check out the Yahoo Group for it.
RFEXPERT Rating: 2/5 Jan 20, 2011 12:44 Send this review to a friend
Potential, poor manual  Time owned: 3 to 6 months

This instrument is capable of doing a lot of things. Now if you a professional RF engineer in the real world you could exploit this instruments potential very quickly and live with all its limitations.

Now if you a ham thinking that you need to step up into the world of VNA's you will be very disappointed because the manual that comes with this device is terrible.

Its possibly the worst manual for a piece of test equipment that I have ever read. The author has forgotten who the target market for this instrument is! They might as well just have thrown the instrument in the box and said "here it is,you on your own now"!

If you trying to sell a instrument, the manual that you should provide with your product should at least cover and show how to use the instrument to make basic measurements. The people who wrote this manual either presume that you have ESP or that you can read their minds or expect you to be a professional VNA expert. This is just appalling.

You will need other professional texts and documents from Agilent or R&S to exploit this instruments potential. All the sites on the N2PK VNA will help as well as the VNWA site for instructions on how to use this instrument.

The instructions for calibration is very poor. The instructions are scattered all over the place and does not explain in clear and concise manner how to calibrate the instrument for accurate use.
The web page constantly brags how accurate the instrument is however when you dont provide users with instructions how to calibrate the instrument to achieve this level of accuracy you might as well not use the instrument.

The documentation for the software is also very poor.

The instruments appears to be well built and its blue tooth link works well.

I will find a use for this instruments besides just doing the basics like impedance and VSWR measurements.

The instruments fine potential is squandered because of the poor manual, lack of information on its use and a web page that provides no alternative to the manual. I would suggest anyone contemplating buying a VNA to consider the N2PK versions or the VNWA which has a better software and documentation.
W1KLJ Rating: 1/5 Sep 8, 2010 13:31 Send this review to a friend
No Windows 7 Support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Software will not run under Windows 7 (64bit). MiniRadioSolutions web site provides no support whatsoever.
WA4VBC Rating: 4/5 Jun 16, 2010 08:34 Send this review to a friend
Overall very good  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The miniVNA does a good job for the price of the unit as you can not expect HP or IFR results. The display on the screen is very nice and lets you see exactly what your antenna and feedline looks like. The down side is that setting it up on the PC is not easy (at least for me) to figure out and get working. I got it but it took a lot of experimenting. The other thing that could be greatly improved is the operating instructions that come with it as they are "bare-bones".
DL4NO Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2010 11:09 Send this review to a friend
I don't leave the house without it!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Most of my ham activity is in the road as I drive some 500 miles a week. This little blue box is in my laptop bag all the time. I don't know how I could re-tune my HF monoband antennas or optimize these without the MiniVNA.

Do yourself a favor and download the DL2SBA Java software. It has semi-automatic calibration routines and even displays Smith charts!
WA2HMM Rating: 5/5 Mar 3, 2010 16:20 Send this review to a friend
Great little VNA  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am a user of an Agilent State of the art VNA, at work daily. I tried the MiniVNA, owned by AG2I, I now find that I am hooked on this little VNA. Not only did it provide accurate data, but the data was very-very close to that from the Agilent "BIG" priced VNA.

Lets put it this way, for Amateur use, the data is more than accurate enough, both S11 and S21.

I had a ball looking at my antennas/amplfiers, I learned a lot...

Now for the bottom line...

I just ordered my own MiniVNA.

HB9OAY Rating: 5/5 Oct 7, 2009 01:29 Send this review to a friend
A must to have!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
When I got it and used it, after an Ham-friend tryed to persuade me to buy one for almost one year, my first thought was: I should have bought it before!

Pros: all listed below, because the graphic interface allow you to have the best picture on how the antenna (or filter) act and from that picture, is much easyer to figure out how to made changes when needed.

Cons: SW, the original one shows its limits after a couple of measure, but third party SW (especially from F4CLB) do the job better .. and are included in the original CD (so, not a real con).

This miniVNA has the best price/performance ratio on the market!
Mauro - HB9OAY
IEP Rating: 5/5 Sep 13, 2009 16:27 Send this review to a friend
WOW  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I must preface my following statements. I am a new HAM General Class April, 09. I am a beginner antenna experimenter. I have never owned an analyzer prior to the miniVNA. Now for the comments.
WOW! Before my eyes I saw clearly the pertenant information from my antennas. I was transfixed as I brought in my tuner and saw first hand inductance (freq.) and capacitance (Q) at work in real time. I also saw secrets of my antennas that only a picture could describe.
I can only think that time will allow me to verify the miniVNA performance, but what I know now is that when I build my 160 meter inverted T I will see my changes in real time and will be able to better understand the words in the ARRL antenna book that I've been pouring over for a couple of months now. Isn't technology great?
G8JNJ Rating: 4/5 Feb 17, 2009 09:08 Send this review to a friend
Good in the workshop  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have owned a Mini VNA for about a year and have found it to be an immensely useful workshop tool, especially for measuring the performance of baluns and other antenna related items.

For the price the performance is very good, and the size of the unit makes it very portable and easy to carry around with a laptop PC, especially as it is powered via the USB port.

I had some problems making measurements when I initially started using the unit, but I soon realised that the USB connecting cable was forming part of the device under test (this is true of all analysers which add extra cables into the equation). The problem was mimimised by adding a large number of clip-on ferrites to the USB cable.

I find that I use Zplots software more than miniVNA or IG miniVNA as it allows imports from EZNEC which is quite useful for comparison purposes.

The downsides ? Accuracy is not as good as it could be due to a limited calibration method. Impedance measurements tend to be limited to a maximum of about 2K ohms. Strong signals from broadcast stations can corrupt measurements when connected to large antennas (especially on 160m).

Generally I’d recommend the unit as a workshop tool, especially as it can be used to measure gain and loss in addition to impedance, which is very useful when building items such as amplifiers and filters.

However if you are serious about antenna construction, and not to bothered about being able to measure through loss, then I’d go for the Array Solutions AIM 4170B, which is much more accurate under ‘real world’ conditions. This is especially important when building matching networks or trying to phase multiple antennas correctly.
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