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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | RigExpert AA-520 Help


Reviews Summary for RigExpert AA-520
RigExpert AA-520 Reviews: 4 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $$660
Description: RigExpert AA-520 is a powerful antenna analyzer designed for testing, checking, tuning or repairing antennas and antenna feedlines in 1 to 520 MHz range. Mainly, this is SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) and impedance measurement instrument (impedance analyzer).
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.rigexpert.com/index?s=aa520
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VE2AKS Rating: 5/5 Mar 29, 2013 10:33 Send this review to a friend
Reliable, beefy and simple to use  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading previous reviews I've finally decided to go with this antenna analyzer (UHF coverage) instead of a MFJ 269: good choice ! It is robust (made in Ukraine), and so easy to use that its learning curve is very short : in less than an hour you have a good idea on how use it. The navigation system between menus/options is done is a very intuitive and such a clever way that are not "drowned" (AA 520 is my first analyzer). Having characteristic curves drawn on the screen withing a few seconds saves you a lot of time, extremely useful when testing/repairing coax transmission lines.

Another strong point : you can use a Linux computer with it and RigExpert explicitly mentions this on their website (Linux is, by far, my main operating system). RigExpert, just for that, double thumbs up!!

Mine is currently at the repair facility in Ontario because something went wrong in the firmware upgrade however it is my entire fault. Yuri quickly offered his help and is reactive to customer enquiries.

Would I recommend it? Definitely. Sure the AA-520 is not cheap but when you buy an antenna analyzer you buy it for years and years, always an investment to get things right at the first shot.
 
AB0RE Rating: 5/5 Mar 11, 2012 22:53 Send this review to a friend
BEST tool for antenna/cable analysis!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Although I've only had the AA-520 for about three weeks now, I've done about 60 SWR sweeps on antennas owned both by myself and other hams. I've also spent a considerable amount of time with the software. I think I have a good handle on the AA-520's capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

The nicest thing about the AA-520 is what it does: 0-520MHz coverage with no gaps. It gives a graphical representation of the SWR plot. And it does the sweeps, even over the entire 520MHz range, very fast! These plots can be saved in the field to the AA-520's memory to be called up on the AA-520 later on for review, or moved to the computer for further analysis/manipulation when back home. The AA-520 also measures impedance/reactance, SWR at a single point, or SWR at up to FIVE different frequencies at the same time... perfect for tuning multi-band antennas.

When hooked to the computer one can capture screen shots directly off the AA-520 using the "Screen Shot" program included with the AA-520. (As seen in the March issue of QST when they reviewed the 520's baby brother analyzer that just covers the lower bands.)

Using the "AntScope" program included with the AA-520 one can also do a much more detailed sweep when their AA-520 is hooked to a computer. Settings that are adjustable when doing a reading on the computer are as follows:
1. Setting as many "read" points as you'd like, for a more or less detailed plot. For instance, you can set it to do 4000 readings from 144-148MHz to check the SWR at every KHz, although that'd be overkill.
2. Changing system impedance from 50 ohms to some other value. I changed it to 75 ohms to get a resonance check on my 4-element FM Broadcast Band yagi on my roof.
3. Switching from an SWR plot to a "Return Loss" plot, Z plot, etc.
4. Zooming in/out of the chart for a more/less detailed visual SWR reading. The charts AntScope produces are more detailed than the ones on the unit's built-in display.
5. One can pull sweeps that were saved on the AA-520's internal memory into AntScope for a more detailed chart, then manipulate the data (switch to Return Loss, change system impedance, etc).
6. As you move the curser across the plot line on the AntScope software, a pop-up text box will display the SWR and all pertinent information at that exact frequency. There's really no end to how much information you can gather from the AA-520 when used in conjunction with the AntScope software.

I purchased my unit from RigExpert's US Distributor, Array Solutions. The order was filled without any problems and shipped within a few days.

I love how sturdy the AA-520 feels in my hand and how easy it is to use. I read the manual online before-hand and when I got the unit everything was second nature for me already. The N-connector for the output is a nice plus... no longer does one have to use a lossy PL259-to-N-Female adaptor when measuring VHF/UHF antennas or feedlines with N connectors.

The only criticism I would direct towards the AA-520 is that the screen scratches VERY easily. Rubbing ones finger (not fingernail) across the clean screen of the AA-520 is enough to put light scratches on the display window. Seeing the amount of light scratches my unit had after just 3 days of very careful use prompted me to head to WalMart, pick up a cell phone "screen protector", cut it down to size for the AA-520, and install it. I wish I had done that within minutes of taking it out of the box. RigExpert definitely needs to look at making the window of the enclosure out of a better plastic, or shipping the unit with a screen protector already in place.

The included pouch with shoulder strap is nice. I drove a screw into the wall of the ham shack's closet and keep my AA-520 hung on the wall, safely out of the way, when not in use. The pouch has a couple small pockets on the side for an N-Male-to-UHF or other adaptor(s), but the pockets are not enclosed and the adaptors will fall out if you're not careful.

I wish, at this pricepoint ($660 as of this writing), that RigExpert would've included the N-Male-to-UHF adaptor in the package. I picked up a quality Amphenol adaptor for this purpose, over $20, because I've seen the cheap Chinese-made RF adaptors do some pretty squirrly things when put in the RF chain.

Overall I'm VERY happy with the purchase of my AA-520. This is a tool I hope to keep in my shack for years and years and, despite the initial sticker shock, I think this was money well spent on an all-in-one antenna measurement tool. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this unit to anybody.
 
K7BVO Rating: 5/5 Jun 29, 2011 08:28 Send this review to a friend
Still Love it!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I decided to revisit this review after a longer period of time has transpired.

The unit is used often and has performed to my expectations and has been very useful in my various antenna projects.

I have only two knocks for the device:

1) It would be nice to have the SWR2AIR function.

2) The software is sometimes cranky to get to recognize the analyzer. This may be more of an issue with the "Boyz in Redmond" than the unit itself. I have noticed this on several PC's
 
K7BVO Rating: 5/5 Jun 13, 2010 18:54 Send this review to a friend
I love it!!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I puchased this to replace the MFJ unit I purchased a few years ago. My primary need was to have the 1.25M and 70CM bands. My other requirement was to be able to analyze the data on the PC. This unit works extremely well on all counts. I based my purchase on the reviews of the AA-500 and other Rig Expert units. The Multi SWR mode is perfect for checking two and three band mobile antennas. I wish it had the SWR2AIR function that a couple of the other units have, this is my only complaint. If I were designing the pouch I would include snaps or velcro closures on the two pockest for the adapters because you (or at least I) will lose them.
 


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