VNAs used to be expensive devices used by engineers to analyze antenna systems, among other things. I have had an antenna analyzer (similar to the 259D) for decades, keep in mind though that some antenna analyzers are VNAs, but not all. It cost a pretty penny when I got it. I end up using it a few times a year.
This new nano VNA cost about $65 (including tax) and came in a nice box with quite a bit of useful connectors… That is a heck of a deal and since I have a Buddypole a useful investment. The Buddypole antenna needs to be tuned every time it is set up, so having a graphic tool to facilitate the process is going to be great.
The storage box included:
NanoVNA-H (with battery)
USB Type-C data cable
15cm SMA male to male RG316 RF cable
- SMA male calibration kit – OPEN
- SMA male calibration kit – SHORT
- SMA male calibration kit – LOAD
Since this machine is equipped with a small touch screen, you can operate the device by the touch screen or using the multi-functional dial/switch on the top of the case.
Using the PC software NanoVNASaver (a github open-source project), a PC can connect to the NanoVNA via a USB port and display the data, as well as save the information to files. The SNP files can be exported for use with other software.
There appears to be a fairly active users group on Groupsio for this device (something I always look for when buying just about anything), averaging well over 500 posts a month.
To connect the device, I plugged the cable into the USB port on my PC and turned on the VNA device. My computer found it quickly. Next, I loaded up the software on my PC, made sure the right port was selected and then clicked the connect button.
I tried it out on an old 2M antenna I had sitting around, and the results made sense. The first thing you need to do is calibrate the device (I calibrated the software on the PC as well). Be sure to celebrate using port 0 on the device. I started out using port 1 and that just didn’t work. This is a straightforward process that probably should be done periodically. I did figure out that I needed to turn the device off and on again after calibration before the readings made sense.
Here is a picture of the SWR screen on the device:
The yellow line shows the SWR graph. Not the SMA connector in the Channel 0 port. That should give you some scale for the size of this thing.
Here are the same measurements shown on the PC:
I think we can all agree that the PC is easier to read.
So far, I am pleased with out it works. I’ll need to take it in the field to evaluate it in action though.