Nano VNA Network Analyzer Review

I’ve been looking around at reasonably priced network analyzers. My needs are fairly simple. Most analyzers are just way too expensive. I really like the portability of the Rig Expert Stick 230 but the price is out of scope.

The goal was to find a fairly inexpensive network analyzer that covers 80 through 6 meters. Although the Nano VNA covers 10 KHz to 1.5 GHz, I have little interest in anything above 6 meters. I just want something fairly simple that will check impedance and SWR on these weird antenna systems I build and experiment with. Although it’s rather obvious, I feel that I should add that the Nano VNA is a delicate instrument and IMHO would not fair well in a outdoor environment such as field day.

As it turns out, the Nano VNA is pretty much what I have been looking for. For in-depth technical details visit the Nano VNA site. The Nano VNA comes with charging cable and and calibration terminators. Although I have not looked into it yet, software is available at GitHub to compliment or extend the Nano VNA capabilities. I ordered my Nano VNA via Amazon to avoid running into knockoffs.

While the Nano VNA can do a multitude of functions far beyond the needs of the average ham radio operator, the video I grabbed from YouTube explains the Nano VNA usage its most simplest form. For more information about the capabilities of the Nano VNA, a nanovna manual can be found here.

The video demonstrates how to calibrate and use the Nano VNA to measure SWR of a VHF antenna. Running an analysis for HF is just repeating the steps for a different band segment.

Amazon: Nano VNA Network Analyzer

Amazon: Rig Expert Stick 230

73 de KE2YK

W3DJS Ham Pi Project Review

I have been experimenting with Raspberry Pi’s for a number of years. As the hardware evolved, I began using the hardware for various Ham Radio projects.

 SVXlink was one of my first Pi 3 Mod B projects. SVXlink is a Linux based repeater controller and echolink server. I did the project for the Brookhaven National Lab Radio club (BNLARC). At the time of this post, the server is offline due to repeater work.

The SharkRF IPConnector is another project I did on a Pi 3 Mod B. A local group, all running OpenSpot hardware used my IPConnector as a private DMR network. The daemon was very stable and the dashboard allowed me to keep an eye on activity. After getting over some of the configuration hurdles, IPConnector was a fun and useful project.

FT8 Off The Grid Setup

My next project was to create an off the grid FT8 system to take portable for Parks on the Air activations. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I leveraged some of KM4ACK’s scripts for time management.

As anyone who has run FT8 knows the protocol requires an accurate system clock.

Installing a hardware real time clock and an inexpensive GPS unit along with KM4ACK’s software tools insured accurate time.    

I have recently moved onto the Raspberry PI 4 Mod B with 8gb ram. Why? The only real reason I can come up with is; why stop now! The operating system for the Raspberry Pi is now officially called the Raspberry Pi Operating System. The Pi 4 Mod B hardware really is another leap forward for an intro $35 computer. Take a spin over to raspberrypi.org for all the cool tech specs. I see no point in regurgitating them here.

Ham Pi, written by Dave Slotter, W3DJS caught my attention because Dave has dedicated an incredible amount of time to this project. Dave has compiled over 100 ham radio apps in various categories and… get ready for it… it’s documented! Not only is it documented but each app in the document has a link to the app’s home page. Way to go Dave!

Dave has broken down his list of applications into 8 categories: General Ham Radio (41) Antenna Tools (5) Digital Software (including the full suite of FLDigi apps) (11) Software Defined Radio (25) APRS (5) Logging (10) Winlink (6) and Morse Code (12).

Got a Raspberry Pi 3 Mod B or new Pi 4? Why not give Dave’s project a spin? Use the comment section for help or questions?

73 de KE2YK

Lab599 Discovery TX-500 Review

The Lab599 Discovery TX-500 is an all-mode transceiver that is perfect for portable use. The TX-500 is light weight, resistant to moisture and can safely operate in less than desirable conditions.

The sharp monochrome display is clear in sunlight or low light. Low receive consumption extends battery life and operating time. The Discovery also includes an integrated spectrum analyzer for easy signal detection.

Julian OH8STN is one of the hams I follow on YouTube. His outstanding videos cover topics I am interested in. Today Julian offers his opinion of the Discovery TX-500.

73 de KE2YK