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Reviews Categories | Antenna Analyzers | SARK100 Antenna Analyzer Kit Help


Reviews Summary for SARK100 Antenna Analyzer Kit
SARK100 Antenna Analyzer Kit Reviews: 18 Average rating: 3.1/5 MSRP: $185 Including shipping
Description: The SARK100 Antenna Analyzer it is yet another antenna analyzer but available in kit form and designed to be easy to assemble and with an affordable pricing. The kit consist of a double sided printed circuit board with silkscreen and solder mask, the components including the pre-programmed PSoC microcontroller, welding supplies, and a suitable instrument box in grey color (supplied without machining).
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.ea4frb.eu/sark100.html
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K6WHP Rating: 4/5 Aug 30, 2018 04:14 Send this review to a friend
SUCK 100 Retraction!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
*THIS IS A RETRACTION OF MY PREVIOUS UNFORTUNATE REVIEW WITH ABJECT APOLOGIES*

The SUCK 100..is NOT a miserable heap of garbage! It is actually a fascinating and well-engineered unit with some interesting (hidden) features. I am recalibrating and giving it a guarded "4" with qualifications - principally because of the potential for the eBay vendors' initial quality assurance problems I and others have experienced had and the sparse support available.

Firstly, a little history. The SARK-100 was a kit brought out by Melchor Varela, EA4FRB, circa 2010 and discontinued in 2011. It has been picked up by various Chinese eBay marketers. I have -- and am reviewing -- the $70 eBay knock-off.

My anxiety was occasioned by my eBay version developing a bad display as described in the previous review:

[The display had] was intact but one horizontal
line of bits disappearing on the second line
rendering measurements ambiguous and difficult
if not impossible to read. At about the same
time, the unit started displaying the infamous
"Error Vf level" message (see other reviews).

After my initial frustration, I got a copy of EA4FRB's manual (essential) and dove into the analyzer finding it surprisingly easy to repair. Here are links to (1) the essential EA4FRB manual, (2) a general debugging video, and (3) my commentary on how the unit was resuscitated:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7GSS7p-0ks

http://www.casogo.com/Manual/SARK100.pdf

http://righthandofzod.blogspot.com/2018/08/saga-of-suck-100-antenna-analyzer.html

..et seq.

Clearly, what turned this around for me was discovering the manual and the various sources of information on the internet regarding this project. EA4FRB put a lot of work into this even to the point of making the firmware (written in C) open source. The display modes include conventional SWL and impedance readouts as well as complex impedances and a CAP and IND mode. Capacitors and Inductors can be measured albeit awkwardly. Additionally, coax loss, velocity factors, and other items can be evaluated.

Bottom line, I was going to lay out money for a higher end analyzer but recuperating this one and learning more about how it works, I find it will do more than nicely.

So, I'd like my plate of crow medium rare, please!
 
WB7SWB Rating: 0/5 Jan 20, 2018 10:41 Send this review to a friend
Disappointing  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have purchased and returned 2 of these from 2 different US based ebay vendors. I say disappointing because it has all the capability I need and is reasonably priced, but neither unit worked. At the wake-up frequency of 14.1 mHz, my antenna has an SWR of about 1.75 according to my 3 SWR meters, however both SARK100s gave me an SWR of >10. Of course neither meter came with instructions but I found the manual for the original SARK100 on the internet. Now, I'm looking for suggestions of a comparable meter that works.
One thing I learned through this process is that ebay requires vendors to pay return shipping for defective items regardless of the vendor's return policies. Good to know.
 
WB0SNF Rating: 0/5 Sep 19, 2017 20:15 Send this review to a friend
worked 6 times  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Hi. Bought mine on ebay from US seller because of one year warranty. What a laugh. I had it about a month got the dreaded vf or something error. I contacted them about returning it and all I ever get is "we're out of the office". I know which chip it is-about the size of four atoms with eight legs, definitely not in the area of expertise for an old tube freak. Considered burning it to a cinder with 250 watt weller, making the legs easier to remove. Then I could see me soldering the miniscule bug back on turning it into a lump of solder giving a new meaning to the term solid state.
 
G0NMY Rating: 4/5 Aug 4, 2017 18:42 Send this review to a friend
Works Well  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Bought mine a while back and havent used it much
But measurements were accurate.

The Latest model is the SARK110 a much better tool and a lot dearer to buy.
https://www.seeedstudio.com/SARK-110-Antenna-Analyzer-p-2487.html

If any of you want to purchase some calibration loads then Dave G3TJP sells them here in the UK
http://g3tjp.com/#about
However I am not sure if he is willing to supply them to Sark 100 users but may be worth an email?
 
VK4FNRS Rating: 2/5 May 19, 2017 01:59 Send this review to a friend
Brought new off Ebay   Time owned: more than 12 months
Had this unit forc12 months ,it was originally giving reasonably accurate readings,.
But recently after repairing my MFJ941D tuner, i decided to do a comparison, between the club DIAMOND SX400, NFJ 941D and the SARK 100.
THE 2 VSWR/TUNERS showed vswr figers that were , no more than .2 to .4 difference when testint my HUSTLER BTV5, antenna.
The SARK 100, SHOWED FIGURES THAT RANGED FROM >10 TO 1 , TO 4 TO 1 VSWR, against the other 2 units.
The Sark was calibrated prior to the test.
 
M0KRL Rating: 5/5 Apr 29, 2017 03:20 Send this review to a friend
Awsome for the money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have now been using the little analyzer for over a month,and mine is one of the cheaper Chinese clone ones. Works perfectly, spot on frequency and results match with my other test equipment. I love the heavy metal case it is built into, it gives it a really solid feel. I would recommend one to anyone with an interest in antenna design. The ability to link to a PC to view SWR plots is a real bonus..
 
VK3SIR Rating: 5/5 Jul 9, 2016 13:37 Send this review to a friend
Overall - Excellent for $  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
As a SWR analyser that is "on the cheap" the unit that I received around a month back perform extremely well. It compares favourably with one of the RigExpert analyzers that I have compared it against. The only minor criticism that I have of the software (which is lacking) is the lack of a frequency calibration facility - but I am sure that someone will adjust the firmware out there at some stage. Overall - highly recommended.
 
K5JXH Rating: 5/5 Jul 2, 2016 14:15 Send this review to a friend
works but with care.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got it off feebay, and not from china-direct
I paid $5 more from Walton ,KY. USA shipper,
(that way, can return it easy, grin!)

As expected, no docs. come with it nor the battery pack, NiMI batteries , nor the wall wart, no usb cable, as per usual.
I have nice, 2amp, 12v unregulated wall wart.
mine puts out 14.5vdc, the tool uses a LM7812 voltage reg. so you must keep it happy. (above drop out or the tool shuts down) 13.8v is min.
under battery power the battery runs only a LM7805 chip, so can go as low as near 7vdc. and still get 5v to the logic. the main tx amps run off the battery direct.

I used that. and ordered a battery holder for 8 (aaa)cells for later usage , remote usage.
The bats need to be chargeable batteries..!
if you use carbon or Alk. they will short out. then barf guts, (avoid that...)
see schematic for proof.

Error one is the battery wire in compartment was just naked and shorted (zip line), so I insulated it first.
I have the schematic, so that shorted battery wire shorts out the charger chip.LM317 ! oops.

It now runs and I tested my LMR-400 coax to G5rv antenna. (and Balum) manually checks ok.,
Then fired up the software from HAM, Steve, AK4R
with FTDI com, driver. (mine was on com 8)

bingo. it works on my USB cable, (my Canon, EOS,t5i cable works,it's generic...)

The DOc.s are easy to get, google finds them in seconds. (most sellers say they email them to you)

1000 Kudos to Mr. Steve AK4R !!!

NOW. to make a home brew, 40m mono pole and tune it.
using a fiber glass pole (N6LF ways) from
And tune my Antenna tuner, TX free ! 0=QRM

http://www.mgs4u.com/fiberglass-push-up-mast.htm


Hints:
(if your unit is dead? try a better 12v pack
or use a 12vdc battery, pack)
Or not turn it on , until the battery wire is un shorted by your step 1 actions.
or if dead remove battery and use an A.C-D.C wart only.

Tests (more)
I ran it in to air, (open)
R=8000 ohm, VSWR = 10:1,z=2000; RL =0
then a 50 ohm dummy reads 50 ohms. scanned.

Now have it on my tuner, set to 40m 7.2Mhz.
and shows me my VSW (pre-tuned by me with 2 needle meter)
is tuned to 7.2 exactly. (bingo) what a nice graph too..
(and VSWR shows as 1.17:1 ) fun to watch RL, return loss peak!
what a great tool, to have and learn !!!


Got the PDF manual and is full of tests you can do with this great tool.
so before condemning it, try some basic tests
on a coil or cap and resistors.
fun for me is watching wire wound resistor read wrong at higher freq/s. X sub L.factor.

I plan to do all test shown in that PDF manual.
L, C , LC, RCL,& transmission line char. Z?
Inductor Q factor.

line loss, by shorting end of line.
read book by
EA4FRB Melchor Varela (thanks to you too!)

it's free on line. (and really good)

73's to all
 
AA7BI Rating: 5/5 Feb 17, 2016 14:29 Send this review to a friend
Works Perfectly  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Got this device for a song on ebay and has solved all my antenna construction needs. Have owned other analyzers as well. It is built like a tank. With the computer software this analyzer will present you with complete printouts and graphics and every imaginable detail of every antenna you ever build.

If you will (or can) read the instruction manual and view the constructive and intelligent reviews below, you'll find yourself very pleased with this device.

Ham radio has always suffered from QRM, but some of the reviews here are nothing short of modern-day internet trolling by buffoons. Really folks? Either a 0 or a 4 to 5 rating on this review with nothing in between? Someone is either incredibly dull or incredibly smart? Which is it? Any turnip can buy ham equipment, but can seldom operate it...
 
AE3K Rating: 0/5 Jan 3, 2016 15:26 Send this review to a friend
Arrived not working.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this new on Ebay from seller elecdesign2015. It gets the "Error Vf Level" all the time and is completely useless.

Apparently some people get a working unit when they buy it. I did not.

 
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