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A 2-port VNA for about £40 - NanoVNA

Dr. David Kirkby from Kirkby Microwave Ltd
 

In case anyone is not aware of it, there’s a unit coming out of China called the NanoVNA. It is a fully self contained 2-port vector network analyser (VNA), with a system dynamic range of about 70 dB to 300 MHz. Normally these are sold as 10 kHz to 900 MHz units, but it seems that there are firmware versions that can push it up to about 1500 MHz at reduced performance. 

Nice things 
1) Very cheap 
2) Open source firmware - GPL
3) An active user group 
4) Some come with a lithium ion battery. 
5) A number of people working on firmware and external software. 

Bad things 
1) Screen very small in the standard model, but it seems units are now available with somewhat larger screens. 
2) Build quality is very poor. I don’t intend using mine any more until I have got it boxed up in such a way that none of the connectors on the unit are 
3) Various versions, some probably better than others. 
4) No proper support for calibration kits
5) It doesn’t come with a proper enclosure - just a back and front. 
6) Despite the original code being GPL, others have shipped 

The fact that they are poorly made, without a proper case, leaves it up to ones own imagination how one packages it up. I for example was thinking of building into the case a complete calibration kit for both N & SMA connectors. I was also going to fit a bias T inside, if I can find the one I have by Picosecond Pulse Labs which covers 10 kHz to 18 GHz. Otherwise it is no easy task to make a bias-T cover the 10 kHz to 900/1500 MHz frequency range. 

As someone who owns a couple of HP VNAs, as well as the VNWA from SDR-kits, and a couple of HP precision LCR meters, I am not short of better quality test equipment. But for about £40, these things are amazing value for money, certainly have a higher ratio of 

fun/cost

than any other bit of test equipment I own. It must be at least 30 dB better than anything else I have. 

Dave, G8WRB. 


--
Dr. David Kirkby,
Kirkby Microwave Ltd,
drkirkby@...
https://www.kirkbymicrowave.co.uk/
Telephone 01621-680100./ +44 1621 680100

Registered in England & Wales.
Company number 08914892.
Registered office:
Stokes Hall Lodge,
Burnham Rd,
Althorne,
Chelmsford,
Essex,
CM3 6DT,
United Kingdom

Neil Smith G4DBN
 

There has been a lot of discussion about the different software options for the NanoVNA on the GQRP forum on Yahoogroups, worth a look if you still have a Yahoo login.  "Someone" should write an article for Radcom about them.

Neil G4DBN

On 14/09/2019 12:58, Dr. David Kirkby from Kirkby Microwave Ltd wrote:
In case anyone is not aware of it, there’s a unit coming out of China called the NanoVNA. It is a fully self contained 2-port vector network analyser (VNA), with a system dynamic range of about 70 dB to 300 MHz. Normally these are sold as 10 kHz to 900 MHz units, but it seems that there are firmware versions that can push it up to about 1500 MHz at reduced performance. 

Nice things 
1) Very cheap 
2) Open source firmware - GPL
3) An active user group 
4) Some come with a lithium ion battery. 
5) A number of people working on firmware and external software. 

Bad things 
1) Screen very small in the standard model, but it seems units are now available with somewhat larger screens. 
2) Build quality is very poor. I don’t intend using mine any more until I have got it boxed up in such a way that none of the connectors on the unit are 
3) Various versions, some probably better than others. 
4) No proper support for calibration kits
5) It doesn’t come with a proper enclosure - just a back and front. 
6) Despite the original code being GPL, others have shipped 

The fact that they are poorly made, without a proper case, leaves it up to ones own imagination how one packages it up. I for example was thinking of building into the case a complete calibration kit for both N & SMA connectors. I was also going to fit a bias T inside, if I can find the one I have by Picosecond Pulse Labs which covers 10 kHz to 18 GHz. Otherwise it is no easy task to make a bias-T cover the 10 kHz to 900/1500 MHz frequency range. 

As someone who owns a couple of HP VNAs, as well as the VNWA from SDR-kits, and a couple of HP precision LCR meters, I am not short of better quality test equipment. But for about £40, these things are amazing value for money, certainly have a higher ratio of 

fun/cost

than any other bit of test equipment I own. It must be at least 30 dB better than anything else I have. 

Dave, G8WRB. 


--
Dr. David Kirkby,
Kirkby Microwave Ltd,
drkirkby@...
https://www.kirkbymicrowave.co.uk/
Telephone 01621-680100./ +44 1621 680100

Registered in England & Wales.
Company number 08914892.
Registered office:
Stokes Hall Lodge,
Burnham Rd,
Althorne,
Chelmsford,
Essex,
CM3 6DT,
United Kingdom

Dr. David Kirkby from Kirkby Microwave Ltd
 

Hi On Sat, 14 Sep 2019 at 13:49, Neil Smith G4DBN <neil@...> wrote:

There has been a lot of discussion about the different software options for the NanoVNA on the GQRP forum on Yahoogroups, worth a look if you still have a Yahoo login.  "Someone" should write an article for Radcom about them.

Neil G4DBN

Just to clarify a few points I made about the bad things about this.

1) I never finished the sentence to say I would out it in an enclosure where all the connections to the unit are connected to better quality versions on an enclosure. 

For example, I would bring the SMA connectors on the PCB to N connectors on an enclosure  

2) Some are releasing binaries without source code, which is a contravention of the GPL. 

Hopefully if someone writes an article for RadCom, they can actually do a decent job of reviewing it. I understand from Andy that product reviews are not reviewed by the technical panel. 

There have been far too many poor reviews in RadCom, which is one of the main reasons I decided that RSGB membership was not worth while to me. 

Dave.  
--
Dr. David Kirkby,
Kirkby Microwave Ltd,
drkirkby@...
https://www.kirkbymicrowave.co.uk/
Telephone 01621-680100./ +44 1621 680100

Registered in England & Wales.
Company number 08914892.
Registered office:
Stokes Hall Lodge,
Burnham Rd,
Althorne,
Chelmsford,
Essex,
CM3 6DT,
United Kingdom