- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | AEA CIA-HF Help

Reviews Summary for AEA CIA-HF
AEA CIA-HF Reviews: 23 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $399.
Description: Lightweight, portable, professional quality SWR analyzer .
Product is in production.
More info:
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the AEA CIA-HF.

<— Page 2 of 3 —>

N8LP Rating: 5/5 Jul 27, 2002 19:20 Send this review to a friend
Great tool -  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was a bit apprehensive about getting this tool as it is a bit pricey, but it is a unique piece of gear that can't be duplicated anywhere at the price.

I don't use it for all my antenna related has limited ability to measure L & C, doesn't show the sign of reactance, is a little slow to refresh and has marginal battery life. But it is an awesome tool for seeing the full bandpass characteristics of an antenna...especially when using the included software.

W3FRG Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2002 16:03 Send this review to a friend
Excellent tool  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The CIA-HF analyzer is an excellent measurement tool and performs very well in either the manual, direct hands on button approach or the optional computer software package, which is excellent and can store all data for later analysis.

Using the analyzer in the sweep mode you can characterize the RF performance of RF filters, amplifier gain (small signal), couplers, baluns and antenna parameters.

I use it in conjunction with a spectrum analyzer, in sweep mode, to measure additional antenna parameters such as gain and front to back, to name a few. Excellent for adjusting phased or parasitic arrays.

Itís not an HP ANA, but it's the closest available analyzer for amateur and professional use at an affordable price.
You won't be disapointed.
SM0FLY Rating: 5/5 Jul 13, 2002 10:45 Send this review to a friend
Innovative !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is probably one of the most innovative tools for the serious ham. Great features that makes antenna tuning or simple network analysis a straight forward job.
Superb AEA!
W6IVW Rating: 5/5 May 29, 2002 01:32 Send this review to a friend
Check other AEA analyzers, too  Time owned: months
Checking the Web, I noticed two other AEA analyzers, the VIA and SWR-121HF. The SWR-121HF was listed as a ham version covering 1-32 MHz, and, per a phone call to AEA, is no longer in production. The VIA is an upgraded CIA, covering 100 kHz - 54 MHz, and contains 4 memories, which means the computer can be connected at a later time to get the enhanced plots provided by the software. The VIA also has accuracy specifications, and higher speeds. Per a technical type at AEA , the VIA has 1.2 scans/second, while the CIA has a scan every two seconds. He may be wrong, as the manual lists 1.2 scan's/second for both. Costs are 395/450 and 595/650, with the higher cost including the software and carrying case. Be sure to check specs in both manuals ( and look for manuals), even if you are purchasing the CIA, as it gives you an idea where measurements vs "indication only" data is displayed.
W4QA Rating: 5/5 Apr 8, 2002 10:41 Send this review to a friend
Super!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned a number of SWR analyzers / meters over the years -- and this, by far, tops the list in usefullness. I think the reviews below cover most of the features well.

If I could add anything to what has been said, it is that "a picture is worth a thousand words." There is just nothing like being able to hook this up to any HF antenna and almost immediately "see" the SWR curve, the Z curve, and the R curve, not to mention a bunch of other useful measurements. I have not built a matching network based on the data that is provided by the unit, but I can see how that would be quite easy to do for a given mismatch.

One feature that is particularly useful is the one that "finds" the lowest SWR (generally the resonant frequency) of your antenna for a given range of frequencies. You can very quickly tell if you need to tune the antenna up or down the band -- you receive an easy to read graph and a numerical value for the center frequency and the lowest SWR.

I only wish that AEA would write a lengthy "Application Note" that would describe the myriad of ways in which this device could be used around the shack. (hint, hint, AEA) The manual covers the fundamental operation, but I think a rather large volume could be written on this. This is the "grid dipper" of the 21st century in my humble opinion -- and many of us know how useful one of those little buggers can be in the shack!
WA6DHJ Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2002 21:07 Send this review to a friend
Neat Toy  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've been in the market for some time for an analyzer. Just couldn't bring myself to buy an MFJ after reading all the bad press about them. They apparantly work very well . . . when they are working, but my policy has always been to buy the best quality possible when buying tools . . . and I've never been sorry.

Anyway, the actual model I bought was the VIA-HF. I thought I was getting what everyone else here had when I ordered it . . . and must say I was surprised when AEA quoted me $600 [figured it was just inflation]. Then after I had placed the order, and checked around, I realized I was getting the VIA version/not the CIA. Added the padded Cordura case for $36.

Even though I haven't had a chance to try all the features, there is no question that this is a quality tool. Excellent keypad feel [positive 'click/bump" when a button is pressed], nice display, and simple menus. Admittedly, there will be a learning curve with this tool. Plan to sit down with the VIA-HF and the ARRL Antenna Handbook tonight to try to figure out all the neat stuff this tool can do.

Uses 8 AA batteries. The factory claims approxmately 8 hours continuous use from a set. Time will tell! The battery compartment opens with two screws. The battery 'holder' [which stays in the tester] is well made and appears very durable.

The only bummer with it [and it is no big deal] is that it is equipped with an "N" type connector for the antenna. I immediately called AEA about this and they stated there was supposed to be an "N" to PL-259 adaptor included . . . there wasn't!

They apologized and said they'd get one to me right away. Meanwhile, I went to Radio Shack and picked one up so I could continue to experiment tonight.

N4SL Rating: 5/5 Mar 18, 2002 17:10 Send this review to a friend
High Quality  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

I've owned an MFJ259B for three years but it's poorly built and so unreliable that I searched for a better unit.

I've had the CIA-HF for a month and it's a great tool and is very professionally manufactured.

While I gave this unit a '5', my actual rating is 4.5 for these reasons:

1) The display update is slow. This is OK and understandable when sweeping over a range of frequencies, but when not sweeping and trying to tune a transmatch or gamma match, the update delay is annoyingly slow.

2) When on a single frequency, this very annoying beep-beep occurs to audibly tell you what the VSWR is... and gets old fast. I can't see that you can turn it off.

Really, it's great but I thought I'd play devil's advocate. If you want this primarily to tune your manual transmatch or tune gamma matches or something, get something else. Otherwise, it's amazing.

73, Steve N4SL Machias, WA CN88xa
KI6YN Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2001 07:54 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Unit and A Real Timesaver!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Using this analyzer, I have cut antenna installation time by 80%. I can also see how honest the antenna specs were! I love the audio beep when tuning for minimum SWR. The graph is terrific for high Q antennas. I was able to setup the antenna to my band preference in a few minutes. The carrying case is a must for tower or even mobile work. I made a power cord with alligator clips for mobile installation and in shack use. It is easy on batteries but why not use what is available and spare the batteries? Highly recommended. Read the instruction manual carefully, a lot of great features you might otherwise overlook.
WZ5PM Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2001 21:00 Send this review to a friend
Buy One!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the VIA-HF. If your interested in really understanding antennas or if making your own antenna (rather then a "store bought" model), then you owe it to yourself to buy one of these. Even with a simple dipole, you can quickly "learn by doing" and really understand how the antenna and the earth interact.
I also liked the "snuggy pack" a $40 option. It not only protects the unit, but makes it much more usable in the field.
The instruction manual will get you going, but it is on the light side. It would be great if they came out with a BOOK to go with it.
Actually seeing a plot of the SWR and the Q of the antenna is amazingly fun. Let me put it this way: If you have the choice between buying a antenna rotor or buying the CIA-HF or VIA-HF, buy the analyzer! My only other ham experience that has given me this much joy was in getting an Icom 756 pro and SEEING the spectrum around the neighborhood.
W9WIS Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2001 15:07 Send this review to a friend
AEA CIA-HF - Wonderful !!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've had my AEA CIA-HF for about two weeks now. It replaced the MFJ-259 analyzer I had owned sonce 1997. The 259 was a great instrument for the hobbiest... but the CIA-HF is truely a professionals instrument. I can't believe the information the instrument makes available to the user and the accuracy of the information. Measurement accuracy in the field comparable to that obtained with instruments in an engineering lab but at a much lower cost.... and with an easily portable device. The ability to interface the CIA-HF via the software available from AEA with a computer is really a great tool.... invaluable IMHO. It's not inexpensive... but then you get what you pay for. If all you want is to be able to trim an antenna to resonant length it may be overkill.... but if you "really" want to explore what's going on with an antenna system it's the only way to go.
<— Page 2 of 3 —>

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.