nanovna – a first plunge

The NanoVNA is a new low cost community developed VNA with assembled units coming out of China for <$50.

It is not really a project as such, but a loose collection of hardware versions manufactured in variously compliant forms, and several PC and web clients competing for space. Information is partly in the public domain, partly in restricted access forums where the controller’s identity is hidden… the modern way of ham radio.

After some research, and with some residual uncertainty, I decided upon the so-called nanovna-H design by Hugen79

Hugen79 nominates a seller on Alibaba, but I was unable to purchase there because it would not accept my suburb in an address, and unwilling to put at risk the minimal buyer protection by purchasing outside of the selling platform, I went to Aliexpress for sellers. (No listings on eBay or Amazon for AU account holders, but many listings have appears on eBay since purchase).

Aliexpress is a platform by the Chinese for the Chinese, and from experience I am too well aware of the high risk of scammers and cheats leading to loss of one’s money. I decided to exceed my self imposed limit of A$30, a risk management strategy, and spend the $85 required by a seller offering free returns (whatever that means).

Above is the pic from the seller’s listing.

It turns out the seller lied about the shipping method, and would appear to have lied about meeting their 5 day to ship limit. This is a common scam and it can take months to get a refund if the seller lists a bogus tracking number, and to get a refund, one must comply with the many short windows for response otherwise the seller gets the money. This scam is more common on high value items in my experience, it has happened to me around 8 times before I set my $30 limit.

The good news is that although the tracking number was not valid for several days after the claimed date of shipping, the item as scanned in transit and might just arrive.

This is part of dealing with the Chinese cheats on all selling platforms. I would buy around 50 items a month from China mainly on eBay, much fewer from Aliexpress, I am experienced.

More when it arrives and inspection reveals whether it is as ordered, and whether it has one of the many supply shortfalls which include faulty jog controls, low grade coax connectors, missing or inadequate quality cal parts, proper USB-C implementation, dysfunctional battery monitoring, a battery at all, and so on. We will see.