I recently acquired a FA-VA5 antenna analyser.
Whilst preparing A first test of the FA-VA5 antenna analyser, issues were noticed with the user interface design / implementation.
This article started off as a video demonstration of measuring the Matched Line Loss (MLL) of a 6m length of old / budget grade RG58CU for comparison with the datasheet.
Using the instrument was such a frustration due to the user interface design / implementation, but more time was devoted to trying to understand it and experimenting with button press timing etc… but I must admit, to no avail. I persevered and made the measurements which are reported here, the matter of the interface issues will be dealt with separately.
So, the interpolated datasheet MLL for quality cable, Belden 8262 (RG58C/U), is 0.319dB.
The measurement technique is the measure the ReturnLoss of the DUT with o/c and s/c terminations, and estimate MLL=(RLo+RLs)/4.
Above, the o/c test. Continue reading A second test of the FA-VA5 antenna analyser
I recently acquired a FA-VA5 antenna analyser.
The analyser is a low cost kit (~A$265 including high accuracy cal kit and postage), the SM components are already fitted to the PCB, but the other components like switches, display connector etc need to be fitted. Whilst these parts are hand soldered, some pins are quite close to other components and require a fine soldering tip and steady hand. It is probably an hour’s work to complete the assembly.
Above is the completed FA-VA5. As can be seen, it has just three buttons which are used to navigate a menu system and to perform data entry, both of which can be a bit tedious but that is the trade off for a simple user interface.
This article is not a wide ranging review, it is a first test on a component that it relevant to the HF ham experience, and is challenging for most analysers in common use. Continue reading A first test of the FA-VA5 antenna analyser
This article documents the rework of an inexpensive Chinese IR Reflow Oven for PCB assembly.
The product is widely sold and quite modest price, but is properly criticised for a number for problems that are easily fixed in the hands of a competent person. Continue reading T962 IR reflow oven rework
At IoT – exploration of LoRaWAN – part 2 I reported some quality issues with two low cost SAMD21 Arduino Zero like boards, and at Arduino SAMD21 bootloader protection some related discussion.
In view of continuing experience of incorrectly programmed low cost SAMD21 boards, I have decided to re-flash them as a matter of course
Above is one of the culprit boards. Continue reading Arduino SAMD21 bootloader protection II
This article is a discussion about the Motorola TAD1000B Folded Coaxial Antenna series.
Above is an image from Moto’s documentation, it shows what appears to be a simple coaxial or sleeve dipole, bit with the top quarter wave element folded like half of a folded dipole. Continue reading Motorola TAD1000B Folded Coaxial Antenna – discussion
A correspondent wrote seeking explanation of W5DXP’s no-tuner tuner which purports to obtain a near match by adjusting the length of the transmission line using relays or switches of some kind.
The particular device that is of interest is one using a single double pole knife switch as a three position On-Off-On switch.
The accompanying explanations states that this “is a way to use a single DPDT knife switch to obtain one, two, or three feet of ladder-line depending on the position of the switch”. Continue reading An explanation of W5DXP’s ‘line extender device’
At Rigexpert’s Antscope takes a step backwards I wrote of Rigexpert’s determination to cripple Antscope by reducing the maximum value of R and X on graph axes to +/- 1600Ω.
I have deferred trying the new Antscope2 until now to allow it to reach some maturity.
This article is a brief review of Antscope2 v1.0.10, brevity driven by the need to cut losses and run.
The first thing I noted is the difficulty in reading some textual data due to low contrast. The mid blue on mid grey above is very hard to read and would be even harder outdoors if measurements were being made in that environment. I did not search for alternative themes, none jumped out, but out of the box, this is very limiting. FAIL. Continue reading Rigexpert’s Antscope takes a bigger step backwards
AIM915 was recently pulled from the distribution site and replaced by a new release, AIM915a.
I cannot recall ever finding a new release that did not have significant defects, commonly inconsistency between displayed values. In the common theme of one step forward, two steps backwards, this version has defects that were not present in AIM910B.
This problem existed in AIM915, it persists in AIM915a.
Let’s review the internal consistency of this part of the display screen.
Most of the values given above are calculated from a single measurement value, and should be internally consistent. That measurement value is translated to different quantities, many based on the stated Zref (50Ω in this case). Continue reading AIM 915a produces internally inconsistent results
At IoT – exploration of LoRaWAN – part 2 I reported some quality issues with two low cost SAMD21 Arduino Zero like boards.
In both cases, the bootloader did not work. I did not investigate further but did note that the NVM user row looked like it had been cleared, but just wrote a new bootloader and restored a default user row with protection for the 8192 length bootloader.
Above is one of the culprit boards. Continue reading Arduino SAMD21 bootloader protection
At IoT – exploration of LoRaWAN – part 1 details were given of first steps in a LoRaWAN project.
This article documents some MCU boards used for prototyping solutions.
The Arduino Zero concept was chosen for a modern module supported by the Arduino IDE and with ample memory resources for the LoRaWAN protocol stack and application code and memory requirements.
The boards tested are ‘basic’ Zero boards using the Atmel SAMD21G18 MCU. None of the three boards discussed here had the ‘PRO’ EDBG chip / ‘Programming USB’ port, they had only the ‘Native USB’ port.
Wemos SAMD21 Arduino form
Above is the module under test. Continue reading IoT – exploration of LoRaWAN – part 2