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Reviews For: Array Solutions AIM 4170 by W5BIG

Category: Antenna Analyzers

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Review Summary For : Array Solutions AIM 4170 by W5BIG
Reviews: 63MSRP: 520
Description:
Antenna analyzer measures the complex impedance (magnitude and phase) at each frequency of interest in the range of 0.1 to 170 MHz. An advanced program running on your PC is used to calculate several parameters, including WR, R+X, Mag, RL, Angle, and plot the results vs Freq or on a Smith Chart.
Product is not in production
More Info: http://www.w5big.com/
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
00635
W6ZSL Rating: 2015-11-20
Great product, great customer service Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I got one of these for Christmas last year. Since then I had been struggling with an intermittent problem with the PC communicating with the AIM USB port. I kept thinking it was user error or something in my PC because when it worked, it worked beautifully! My e-mails to W5BIG were always answered quickly and helpfully. I finally returned it and they diagnosed a problem with the USB module. They replaced the module free of charge even after 11 months. This is a great product and great people to deal with.
KQ4BX Rating: 2015-01-08
Hard to beat, Love it Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I first bought the MFJ 259 and soon after i sold it and bought the Array Solutions 4170. To be honest, they are very different in what they do, even though they both can be portable and do much of the same things. The 4170 is a far better analyzer and there is no reason to dispute that by comparing the MFJ to it. they both test antennas in a different way, and the 4170 blows the MFJ out of the water when it comes to accuracy and useful information that is easy to examine in short order. So many mention having to open their MFJ and solder something, or make some repair due to poor quality control. I recently found myself doing the same on my 4170, where I found that the center conductor going from the circuit board to the SO-239 had a bad solder joint, and had broken lose. Many have said that Array Solutions should have used braided flexible wire in place of that solid wire that could have broken lose over time. In any case, the soldering of the connector was poor by anyones standards. So neither of these analyzers are immune to occasional manufacturing defects. However, I do believe that to find defects in the Array Solutions analyzer is an odd occurrence, they usually have the highest level of quality control, and above that, they provide the highest level of honestly superior technical support. I recently took out my 4170 to test an Off center fed dipole I was taking out of retirement, but I also had just bought the MFJ 259C for other reasons, and decided to compare them. After calibrating and testing my antenna for 40m, I found my most resonant frequency, and put my MFJ on the same coax and same frequency to see what the results were. Well, not to my surprise, they were not the same, and not just by a little. Also they were not different by enough to hurt anything, but they were off by enough to annoy some. Which did I trust for accuracy? The Array Solutions 4170 of course. It continues to be my favorite antenna analyzer for many reasons. The sweep of my OCD showing all my most resonant frequencies, and the SWR at every point of the sweep was something that MFJ can't do. I also printed the screen and have a hard copy of the sweep. The Array Solutions 4170 is more likely to intimidate some Hams, more than the MFJ. The 4170 can do all that the MFJ can do, but with way more accuracy, and also do way more than the MFJ can. The MFJ has its strong points, but none of them are about accuracy. Most who know, would say that the MFJ is accurate enough for their use. the MFJ is also great to test chokes, baluns, and a host of other things. the 4170 can also do that, but ti might take longer to set it all up. So figure out what you plan to do, then decide which one of these will make you happy. I find uses for both, but if I was told to give one up, it would be the MFJ.
Lastly, I did have the 4170 with a DB9 serial port, and I wanted USB. Array Solutions Support gave me the part number to buy the part from Mouser. I soldered in the DB9/USB replacement part that adds USB support to the 4170. I have been using it with USB for the last year.
K0ZR Rating: 2014-09-24
Excellent Product Time Owned: more than 12 months.
There are few purchases over my 40+ years of amateur radio that have worked so well and been so invaluable to antenna installations and troubleshooting. Although the 4170 is not as portable as the MFJ units, the accuracy, overall functional utility, and ability to plot performance as a hardcopy make it a fantastic tool to have. I have had trouble-free use of mine for over 5 years.
KF7NN Rating: 2014-06-28
simple accurate Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
i use it at the shack end but remote into the computer with my tablet when out in the yard fiddling with antennas, this way i see exactly what it sees at the radio. nice unit easy to operate and i can save the graphs with one keypress.

KY4TS Rating: 2014-06-09
Unbeatable!!! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
There is not much more that I can add to what has already been said about this device. Superbly accurate, easy to use, measures and displays a wealth of information, there's not much more you need. I haven't really found a need to haul it up to the feed point of an antenna, but with an internal battery and a netbook type computer, I can get it on the roof to make adjustments on the various dipoles I have. Now, the 4170 will even interface with some tablet devices!
A couple years ago I had a problem with my 4170 and mentioned it to Bob Clunn (W5BIG) the inventor of this device while at the Dayton Hamvention. He took the unit it with him and a few weeks later it arrived in the mail, fixed, upgraded and ready to go. Great company, great product, great service!
W5DXP Rating: 2014-06-06
Best antenna analyzer I ever used. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Having the ability to measure very high impedances has opened a whole new world of experimentation for me. After having used the MFJ-259B and Autek VA-1, I am extremely impressed with with the AIM 4170 and wish I had acquired one years ago.
VK7JB Rating: 2014-02-18
I waited too long for this... Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I spend a lot of time experimenting with wire antennas and I've used a range of handheld antenna analysers during my antenna adventures. But, after having an AIM4170C on my desk for only 1 hour, I was left quite speechless and wondering how it was that I'd waited so long to get one. This analyser has opened up another world for me - now I can see -visually/graphically and in colour- what I could only imagine before. I can study all my antenna parameters drawn out on the screen, see balun parameters painted out in clear lines, take feedline TDR plots and much more. Simply amazing - and the more I play with it, the more I discover what this gem can do. For example, I was able to map the feedpoint characteristics of my multi-band 80m loop (up at 45 feet) while sitting in my shack: doing a custom cal routine to calibrate out the entire feedline was a breeze and the information allowed me to re-design my loop and feedline configuration based on observed fact and not imagination or the mythology of other folks' good ideas. And finally, perhaps the most impressive feature of the AIM4170 is the PC software which comes free with it. It's intuitive to use, faultless in operation and broad in application. The user manual is well written, and the quick start guide is essential reading, but the software is so intuitive, that I seldom need to consult the manual to work out how to get the information I require from the AIM4170. I'd give it a "6", if I could. Thank you W5BIG - your gadget has helped me observe and understand more about antennas, feedlines and baluns than I'd ever thought possible. I don't know how I ever managed in ham radio without it and it didn't cost the earth.
John VK7JB
NZ3Y Rating: 2013-01-28
If you build antennas, you need one. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I experiment with homebrew wire antennas and wanted an instrument which could give me more than the just the SWR vs. frequency. The AIM 4170 delivers. The analyzer and the convenient software allow you to plot and save SWR, complex impedance, and many other parameters of interest. You can produce Smith Charts as well. You can save the plots for future use. I use mine in the shack, attached directly to the coax antenna feed, which gives me an accurate representation of the load that my transceiver or amplifier is seeing. It is also a great teaching tool, since you can immediately see the effect of changes you make out on the antenna.
This is not an instrument you would want to use out on a tower, but for its intended purpose, it is excellent. Also, the price is very reasonable considering the capabilities.
N2EHG Rating: 2012-08-12
great unit Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had my unit for some time, and it's always worked great. A big concern of mine with any test gear, is it's accuracy. I took home a 50,000$ rig from work to do some side by side comparisons. My AIM was just as accurate and had several of the same features,
it was funny to see how my AIM significantly lower priced, had almost the same features and accuracy .

The unit has always performed well, it's easy to use and has helped me a ton, working on my antennas and coax. It also searved as a great teaching tool.



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Earlier 5-star review posted by N2EHG on 2008-11-28

I had a few analyzers from another company. Was great that it was portable, but after a while, I found out it had plenty of errors. What's the point of test gear like that? My experience with the AIM was that it was very accurate, fast, and gave more measurements. I was really unable to measure my antennas, and experiment , until I obtained the AIM. I'll never sell it!

Lots of hams in the area need to check their antenna, and I always offer to help out knowing my AIM will be spot on.

It's fun, pretty easy to use, have been using it regularly ever since I got it , great tool to learn about the technology as well.

I bought the unit with case, it came with the software and cal connectors, really well packaged small and light.
K4ELO Rating: 2012-08-08
Super analyzer Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Used to use the 259B. What an upgrade. Anyone who likes to experiment with wire antennas really needs this analyzer. Best things for me are being able to look at a graph of swr by frequency and seeing what the antenna efficiency is at a particular frequency. And being able to save these results to a file for comparisons when you make antenna changes. I love it.