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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | RigExpert AA-230 Help


Reviews Summary for RigExpert AA-230
RigExpert AA-230 Reviews: 9 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $550
Description: RigExpert AA-230 is a powerful, laboratory grade antenna analyzer designed for testing, checking, tuning or repairing antennas and antenna feedlines in 0.3 to 230 MHz range.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.rigexpert.com
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AI4HO Rating: 5/5 Oct 13, 2013 13:00 Send this review to a friend
Simply the Best!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been remiss in posting my review of the Rig Expert AA-230 antenna analyzer. To start with, I replaced my 9 year old MFJ-259B analyzer, that still worked, maybe not as good as a brand new unit, but I could still count on getting my antennas, or assist anyone else in figuring out what was wrong or making sure that new home brew antenna's SWR was at least close. To that end, when I decided that it was time to replace my aging SWR analyzer, I did my homework, shopped around, read reviews like that here on eham, and other amateur radio related sites.

When I finally decided on the Rig Expert AA-230, it was a matter of saving, selling off unused, or extra gear, or gear that was no longer needed. When finally I had the funds I placed the order and patiently awaited the arrival of my new SWR analyzer. I am one that I tend to not use household funds for my hobby, on that rare occasion when I do use household funds I first make sure everything is paid and that we do indeed have the needed funds and will not be caught short. I would rather save,sell than be caught short, and don't mind, its my hobby and I figure I can fund my hobby myself...usually.

When my new analyzer finally did arrive, I attached the battery, charged the beast, and read the enclosed instruction, mostly just the basic functions, the how do you do this part. Once the analyzer was charged, I checked the SWR's on all my antenna's, my beam which I new was good on 10,15, and 20 meters was good, actually better than what showed on my MFJ-259B. I used both of my analyzers, just to see how much of a difference there was, on my beam, 15 and 20, was a good bit of difference, ten meters was the surprise, my 259B always showed an SWR of around 1.6:1 1.7:1, with my AA-230 it was more like 1.4:1 1.5:1 which pleased me greatly, cuase I dreaded the thought of having to crank my tower down, then get someone up a ladder, or even get some guys over to help me lay the tower down to try and adjust the trap for ten meters. I can live with an SWR of 1.4 or 1.5:1. Next was my 40 meter super loop, with my 259B my SWR was really quite good, I think the SWR was around 1.4:1, with the AA-230, it is about the same maybe 1.3, maybe even 1.25:1, then on to my GAP Challenger vertical. This would be the test, because as many of you may or may not know GAP antennas are among the best or are the best vertical antennas on the planet.

After all was said and done, most of the readings from 75/80 meters through 2 meters,(YES! The GAP Challenger is tuned for 2 meters as well as most of the HF spectrum, the Challenger is not tuned for 17 meters, which is I think, the only HF band other than 160 meters that the Challenger is not tuned for). So, if y'all are looking for an analyzer that is as close to lab quality, with out the lab quality price, your search is over.
You say..well Mark, the AA-230 is well over the $500 dollar mark! Yes it is, I think when all was said and done I have just over $600 wrapped up in my AA-230. In my opinion, this is as close to lab quality as your gonna get, I didn't say it was gonna be cheap, what I did say was you don't have the lab quality price. Lab quality analyzer are probably well over a thousand dollars, probably close to 2 grand, so for a quarter of the price you get a finely made piece of equipment, that should last me well more than the 9 years I got with my MFJ-259B. This is simply the best SWR analyzer out there, there are some that have full color screens and other bells and whistles. Here you have a no nonsense piece of equipment that gives you everything you're gonna need for your next antenna project. I have used this numerous, numerous times, not once has it failed to do what I needed it to do, and had friends stand there with mouth agape saying that they knew the antenna was good, but when the analyzer went on and showed and SWR of 2.5, 2.8, 3.0:1, you decide I tell them. You want to stick with the antenna the way it is now, or you want to do something about this. Do your home work, research, read reviews, make your own decisions, whatever works for you, works for you. For me the Rig Expert is simply the best there is!
Thank you all who have taken the time to read my review, this is my opinion, I enjoy corresponding with anyone who further wishes to on my experiences with this analyzer, my email address can be found here when you do a call sign search. God bless, everyone, have a great day!

73 de Mark
AI4HO
 
K8JHR Rating: 5/5 May 23, 2012 01:48 Send this review to a friend
Great Fun - Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
Great fun. This is a very handy tool and makes tuning antennas easy and hassle-free. Highlights are... 1) you can display a graphical curve showing SWR over any range of frequencies. Makes tuning the antenna so easy, because you can see how far off you are to start with, and visually scan the whole band at once. 2) You can display SWR and impedance for up to 5 frequencies at once. This make stuning multi band antennas a breeze. You can instantly see, either in numberical or graphical output, what effect an adjustment has on up to five frequencies (i.e. gands) at once. For example, it makes finding the sweet spot for tuning an Off Center Fed (ODF) antenna super easy, as you can instantly see how changest to either radiator element affects all bands of most interest. 3) When hooked to a computer you can download data you saved in the field, and display it graphically. 4) When hooked to a computer, the software makes it into a Time Domain Reflectomer (TDR) and this helps you assess the condition and effects of your coax cable transmission line.

Compared to other analyzers, it seems very accurate, and is easy to use. Take readings in teh field, and play with them on the computer back in the shack. OR hook it to the computer in the shack, and let it analyze the whole antenna system from there, being controlled by the computer software, and displaying results instantly on the compute screen.

Very pleased. Expensive but it does so much more than others costing nearly as much. Would recommend to a best friend, and would certainly buy again.

Happy days. // James - K8JHR //
 
VE3IAE Rating: 5/5 Apr 24, 2012 14:25 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For me the AA-230 is an upgrade from AA-54 as I decided to get a unit which would cover VHF, as well. The overall result is positive, indeed. Having basically the same features as the AA-54, the AA-230 covers more bands keeping the same easiness and flexibility of use intact. Technical aspects of AA-230 were discussed here deep enough, though yet another feature is still missing. Once an antenna analysis is complete, the unit does not stop assessing the antenna. Initially I thought, it would stop, just like an auto tuner stops after matching an antenna. First I suggested the non-stop assessment a shortcoming, but now I really appreciate it because the analyzer allows tracing eventual SWR/impedance changes as an antenna rotates in a complex environment, like having buildings/poles/trees in close proximity. And I am still amazed by a possibility to scan antennas at 5 frequencies in the same time. You may also have a look at my earlier AA-54 review here on eHAM.
Purchases were made from Rigexpert Canada ( www.rigexpertcanada.com ), particularly Yuri, VE3DZ. I might perhaps be still biasing between AA-54/AA-230 and MFJ, but Yuri provided me with plenty of detailed information. Having some previous experience with an MFJ-259, I don't have any regrets in choosing Rigexpert this time. Shipments were very quick, actually overnight (for 300 miles between Toronto and Ottawa), and Rigexpert also provides very convenient means of payment, especially within Canada. Also to my surprise at the above web site I have found small and inexpensive TV filters. A tiny box has immediately settled my old problem with RF getting into my TV sets on 20 m.
 
K2GAV Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2012 03:43 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna analysis tool!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is the first antenna analyzer I've owned, but I have borrowed an MFJ-259. The single outstanding feature of this unit is its ability to scan a range of frequencies. That data may be viewed live and/or stored for later viewing on a PC. When viewing the data on the PC a high resolution graph of your choice in various types is displayed . Choices include SWR, phase, R/X/Z, and return loss. When the mouse is moved right to left, a text box with all the detailed data is presented on screen.

As compared to single frequency analyzers, a scanning device gives you the "bigger picture" in an easy to interpret graphical form. You can quickly see the "Q" of the antenna, for instance.

There is also a feature while viewing graphs on the PC that displays the previous and current scans simultaneously, with the previous scan in a finer graph line. This is great for closely comparing changes you make, while still providing the "big picture".

While it isn't inexpensive, you do get what you pay for, and I highly recommend the AA-230.
 
KK7S Rating: 5/5 Nov 29, 2011 16:04 Send this review to a friend
Best analyzer for antenna builders  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I own an MFJ-259B, an AIM 4170 and the RigExpert.

The MFJ-259 is convenient, but it isn't very accurate or trustworthy, can't sweep or graph, and doesn't give the sign of reactance.

The AIM 4170 is accurate but cumbersome. It belongs on a bench. Using it "in the field" (or the back yard) is a PITA -- hauling your computer around, connecting a power source, and finding a place to set everything down... And my experience -- after dozens of hours of experimenting -- shows that it really doesn't work reliably over long feedlines no matter how diligently you calibrate it.

Then came the RigExpert. This thing is simply AWESOME. It does everything an antenna builder needs, it fits in one hand, it sweeps, it graphs, it's accurate, it'll light up for you if you're working in the dark, it's light and small enough to haul up in the air with your antenna if need be. I love this thing.

If you like to build antennas and end up doing lots of measuring, tweaking and matching outside then you owe it to yourself to get one of these. It makes antenna experimenting even more fun and a lot more productive.

73,
-Chadd KK7S
 
US4MEZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 12, 2010 21:37 Send this review to a friend
nice rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased this analyzer some days ago. And I very glad to have it.
I built some antennas with this analyzer.My antennas have good parameters.
 
NO6L Rating: 5/5 Sep 3, 2010 01:36 Send this review to a friend
Antenna building is fun again!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Yes, the name does sound a bit campy, but donít let that fool you, this is not a toy. I purchased mine at Array Solutions in Texas. The RigExpert store in Canada does have duty free shipping, but for $10 more it arrived a few days sooner, two days sooner than estimated by UPS.

Over the past week I've had a chance to give the AA-230 a workout. I am quite impressed with the quality and accuracy. You could get an MFJ for about 30% less, but you'll only get 30% of the functionality of the AA-230. Yes, the MFJ will check, only check, SWR at 70cm, but it doesn't work at 1.25m like the AA-230 does, so call it a wash in that respect. And, you canít use it as a frequency counter. At the website you can download the manual and get an idea of how to use it. At first it appears to be incomplete, but remember, you have context help screens right in the AA-230, unlike the AEA offerings, at least the ones I used.

It has functions you may never use, but itís nice to know theyíre there if you do. One thing it can do that the AA-520 does not is show actual capacitance or inductance of a component or circuit without having to calculate it from the reactance. This is great for making loading coils or traps. You will also find that the amateur bands are preloaded so you donít have to set them up. Itís a simple matter to load the frequency and range data from one of the band presets and widen or narrow it as needed. Also, you can read the SWR of up to five frequencies if youíre tuning a multiband antenna.

In PC mode it will display and print a smith on the monitor. It can also function as a Time Domain Reflectometer in PC mode and display and print higher resolution SWR and RX curves. Alas, there is no Macintosh or Linux software available, at least yet, but the software does run on a very modest windows system. You could even dedicate a low powered workstation to the AA-230.

Finally, the software is a free download if you lose or damage your disk that comes with it. They even publish the service manual and provide repair parts. From what I see in other reviews, support is above average.

 
VA3NEK Rating: 5/5 May 12, 2010 12:28 Send this review to a friend
Excellent piece of equipment!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a nice piece of equipment!
First day that I recieved it I solved problems with 3 of my antennas.
Solidly built, easy enough to use, easy to read and understand as well as accurate.
Software installed no problems even in Windows 7 64 bit, no driver problems!
I have owned and built other units and finally gave up and bought a good analyzer.
Well worth the money!
 
KD7RDZI2 Rating: 5/5 Dec 24, 2009 05:24 Send this review to a friend
pda masterpiece  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just installed the software on my windows mobile pda. The software is outstanding. It's very fast. It decodes most of the ham modes, included cw!!! No need to use any cable. The speaker of radio, the speaker of the pda, the mic of the radio and the mic of the pda is all what is needed for decoding and transmission!!! NO HARDWARE REQUIRED!!!! How it performs??? Perfectly!!!! Even decoding CW is FANTASTIC!!! IT DOES WORK!!! IT DOES WORK VERY WELL!!!
 


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