Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Toy....Comet CAA-500 Antenna Anlyzer

Of the Electronic persuasion. It's a Comet CAA-500 antenna analyzer.
Which means I own four of these devices, all made by different manufacturer's, now.
I have an AEA "VHF/UHF Analyst".
An MFJ "MFJ-259B".
A RigExpert "AA-230".
And the new Comet Analyzer.

I also have access to an Anritsu "SiteMaster" and an Agilent Vector Network Analyzer (I forget which one....) at work.

The Anritsu and Agilent boxen are truly magical, with prices to match, while the others are more in the reach of "Advanced Home Hobbyists" like me.

Why so many of the "same" type of test instrument? Well.....The MFJ units are generally good, if you get one made Tuesday through Thursday. MFJ has a history of extremely poor/nonexistent QC, and I've seen it first hand.
Loose/missing hardware rattling around inside the case, poor/cold/missing solder joints everywhere, calibration that's, uhhhh....hmmmm...."You call this calibrated?", and a host of other ills.
Their stuff (the properly designed products, that is) either works well, or not at all, right out-of-the-box.
Mine works, so I consider myself lucky.
The AEA and RigExpert units work very well, are reasonably priced, and I was given the RigExpert unit in payment for fixing a fellow Hams transmitter.

The Comet I bought today because I had a gift certificate from HRO burning a hole in my pocket!

Between one of my fellow radio club members and myself, we have almost every available "hobbyist" analyzer out there.
Last time I checked, my friend had six or seven different ones. We're both RF Engineers, and enjoy seeing different vendor solution to the same problem, i.e. Measuring complex impedance in a coaxial transmission line/antenna system.

Most of these units are plenty accurate and repeatable enough for home use, and a couple are good enough for commercial use.

I haven't had a chance to try it yet, as I'm getting started this weekend on replacing the side entry door for the garage.

I'm sure I'll use my entire vocabulary doing that project!


  1. Looks like a nice set up, and not analog...LOL Have 'fun' with the door! :-)

  2. Two words: Aim 4170 almost lab quality at about the same price as your higher end one. Drawback is it uses a PC as the controller and display, so if you take it in the field, you need a laptop to run it.

  3. I thought the hookup to the tablet was pretty neat. Seems it would be a bit more portable than dragging a laptop out.
    And they got excellent reviews on eHam as well.
    I've got one of the Telepost LP-100 Digital Vector Wattmeters, and it can do a lot of those measurements, but since it's made to be a shack accessory, it's a *bit* inconvenient to drag out in the field!

  4. Interesting meter, the LP-100A. I wouldn't have looked for the features I wanted (a good vector S11 measurement) in a Wattmeter.

  5. Yeah, it's really a measurement device that does a lot more than just measuring power and VSWR. The sampling head uses a current transformer, and a voltage transformer, to measure the real-time current and voltage in the transmission line, and once you have those two measurements, it's trivial to do the calculations and get a lot of other useful information


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