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Playing around with my new nanovna

The DB

Sr. Member
Aug 14, 2011
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St. Louis, MO
I just received a nanovna, which costs a whole $50 or so, and some hardware needed to make it work. To think a $50 device is comparable, and in some ways even more powerful than a $600 AIM4170 from 5 or 6 years ago...

Just a quick few pics from me playing with two different antennas... Unfortunately its dark, cold, and we have bad weather coming in so I am doing what I can inside... Two different antennas magnet mounted to a circular pizza sheet, and a third antenna currently about 4 meters away from said antennes hooked to the second port (s21) to measure gain.

Antenna 1 is a 2/6 meter dual band antenna. 2 meters, then 6 meters.

[photo=medium]6588[/photo]
[photo=medium]6589[/photo]

The second antenna is a 2 meter/70 cm antenna. First is 2 meters, the second is 70 cm.

[photo=medium]6590[/photo]
[photo=medium]6591[/photo]

Click on the images for larger versions of them.

While I chose these options, there are many more options available, not all of which I have seen demonstrated on youtube and other web sites.

For those who like to work with antennas, I highly recommend this device. Its price is right (some good SWR meters are more expensive), and it is a fully capable device. That being said, if you do get one of these, take your time and be sure to learn how to use it.


The DB
 

TheBlaster

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Jun 29, 2020
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Thanks The DB. Would you please be able to show the exact one you purchased, brand and model no. as there are a few variants when I search firmware and with without metal case etc. I have been interested in these for the low price but they looked rather complex compared to an MJF for example and it put me off slightly. I guess for the low price you have to put a bit of time in to learn them. How is the documentation.. clear or a bit difficult to take in ? And also are they easy to wire to an antenna using PL-259 ? (Do you get some kind of adapters to smaller RF connections)

And yes there are plenty of us trying to find something to do indoors right now and by the looks of things you can hook them up to a PC as well.

Thanks for your views.
 
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HomerBB

Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2009
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Rogers, Ar
I bought one. It was too complicated for me.
I think that software coding in the 21st century should be very simple and user friendly. In fact, what this device lacks is an intuitive GUI.
When someone produces a model with that kind of simplicity I may look at it again.
If The DB says it works good, it probably does. I wouldn't know. Never got that far with it.
I think my wife's puppy would enjoy it as a chew toy...
@The DB, I think you deserve a medal for going above and beyond...
 

TheBlaster

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Jun 29, 2020
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Actually I found a video on these that explained them maybe it is useful, I never watched it because I have not got one but bookmarked it... I probably found it on this forum.. hope it helps someone out:

 

HomerBB

Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2009
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Rogers, Ar
Spoiled by devices with a simple straightforward GUI, I found all the convoluted, back and forth, menus too involved for simple SWR X/0 and a few other simple functions. Also gave up trying to get either it or my PC to recognize each other. While I messed around with it I lost time building and testing my antennas and still got nowhere.
For those who like tinkering around with electronics and cool computer displays I think it is a good deal. I apparently lack the patience.
That said, it still sits on the shelf in its box waiting for another day.
 
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The DB

Sr. Member
Aug 14, 2011
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St. Louis, MO
I specifically got this one from amazon. With it I also purchased the double set of this. so I can use it with most antennas. I also have some other adapters available from using a spectrum analyzer that also has an SMA connector, so if you need to be able to adapt the device to a BNC cable or something, keep that in mind.

No instructions came with it. In fact, no paperwork at all. That doesn't bother me as I am the type of person who doen't use instructions unless I absolutely need to. It did come with two SMA cables, an SMA "barrel connector", and the loads needed to calibrate the device, and a stylus, as well as a USB A to C cable.

As far as using the device, all I have done from the devices built in touch screen is the calibration, and that is only because the software I used said it should be done that way. For the most part I used the "nanovna saver" software for everything else so far, and it is customizable out the wazoo, and in my opinion far more intuitive. That is also where the screenshots above came from. It is far easier to use than the touch screen interface. There is also the "nanovna sharp" software, and I have seen a video where the rigexpert software works with it as well, but I haven't tried using these yet. I have no problem with this as my last VNA required a PC connection, as does my spectrum analyzer, so I am in the habit of bringing a laptop with me when I am going to work with antennas anyway.

I've seen that video, the guy uses a guitar pick as a stylus... It doesnt' work that well, he should use something else, like the pencil eraser another guy uses... I guess whatever works.

As far as figuring the device out, I've seen several youtube videos by different people before I purchased the device, and as I have mentioned I have prior experience working with a very nice VNA, so the learning curve for me is not as high as it likely is for most others.

I had no problem getting the software I used on two pc's to recognize the device. I plugged it in and turned it on and it showed up as a com port. The nanovna saver software picked it up when I hit rescan, and both computers connected to it without problem.

If you want just SWR, X and R, in the pictures I posted above, the left two charts in each, the top is SWR, the bottom is X and R. If you only have those two they will take up the entire screen in said software. You should be able to set the device that way as well, but from the videos I've seen it is harder to read. I think part of why it isn't as intuitive as many expect is the size of the screen.

If you have any questions about the device, I am happy to answer them, although aside from calibrations I will be using the software program used above, or perhaps one of the others, as much as possible.

Its the NANOvna-H which is one of the newer ones, its frequency range is from 10 KHz to 1.5 GHz. The software version is 0.4.5-4-g96e7efe, which was created on Jan 18, 2020.

If you have any questions I am happy to answer them. If you need, I can even make a video of how to use said software, and in time I can make one of the other software options as well.


The DB
 
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TheBlaster

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2020
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I will be honest though this device would be a real luxury as I tend to go with well known designs of antennas, DIY (or part DIY, I get the balun's ready made) them, make them to overly long start with and tune them using the radio checking SWR up and down the band snipping progressively smaller bits of wire off (I tweaked a 1/2 wave with a 60 wire counterpoise skirt into tune today for 15m band and it is SWRing to 1:1 according to the radio meter in my 300kHz of interest)

If I was designing antennas from the ground up then they would be a must. I watch with interest.
 
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RoadRanger

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Mar 13, 2015
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Ontario Canada just North of Toronto
Got one also
NanoVNA.JPG
Need to get more involved with it.
I've only checked 2m&70cm
 
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