DIY antenna analyzers, revisited

Over the course of the last 24 hours, a Twitter conversation that I was part of morphed from a discussion of testing snap-on ferrite chokes to DIY antenna analyzers. Antenna analyzers are, of course, the instrument that one uses to make the necessary measurements.

We got around to DIY antenna analyzers when several of us suggested that a Rig Expert antenna analyzer would do this job nicely, and one of the participants balked at the expense. Then, someone suggest building your own.

Two years ago, I blogged about this. At the time, I could only find one kit and one DIY antenna analyzer project and wondered why there weren’t more DIY antenna analyzers. Now, however, there are several options for DIYers:

A DDS module that includes an AD9850 IC like the one above is, along with an Arduino microcontroller, the basis for DIY antenna analyzers. On eBay, they go for $10 or less, but you can even buy them on Amazon!

K6BEZ Antenna Analyzer. This is the grand-daddy of DIY antenna analyzers. It combines a microcontroller—either an Arduino or a PIC microcontroller—with an inexpensive direct digital synthesis (DDS) module using an AD9850 chip and a bridge circuit to measure the SWR. You can make one of these for around $50.

K6BEZ/HamRadio 360/Workbench Antenna Analyzer. The HamRadio360 podcast guys featured the K6BEZ design on their podcast. They even designed a printed circuit board for the the project. As you might expect, it sold out really fast. All of the documentation, including the PCB design files, are available, though, on the Workbench Podcast website.

DIY No Frills AD9850/Arduino Antenna Analyzer. This project appeared on Hackaday. It also uses an Arduino and an AD9850 DDS module. The Hackaday post claims that it can be built for less than $40.

EU1KY antenna analyzer. Someone in the Twitter thread turned me on to this antenna analyzer. The EU1KY antenna analyzer is an open source design, and all of the documentation is available on the website. It differs from the other analyzers in this blog post in that version 3 uses an Si5351 module instead of the AD9850. This allows you to use it up to at least 160 MHz. It also uses a big, color TFT LCD with a capacitive touchscreen (see below) that allows the unit to display scans over a wide range of frequencies..

‘Tenna Dipper. Finally, I’ll mention this this little device. It’s not really an antenna analyzer, in that it uses a set of fixed frequencies, but it is really cheap and you can do quite a bit with it. For most guys, this may be all you need.

I’m quite happy to see that there are now quite a few options for DIY antenna analyzers. If you have had any experience with any of these designs, or know of others, please let us know by commenting below.

The post DIY antenna analyzers, revisited appeared first on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.

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