For some time now I've been wanting to replace my ancient MFJ-259 with something lighter, smaller and more capable.
Enter the FA-VA4 Vector Analyzer kit from FunkAmateur in Germany.
Box73 accidentally sent my kit to Don AE4DD in Atlanta. Don emailed me to let me know he was forwarding the kit on to me and provided me with a UPS tracking number. We exchanged a few emails and Don refuses to let me reimburse him for his cost and time. He is a fairly new ham and told me that he has received much help in the hobby and that he is happy to "pay it forward."
Don, you're a true Gentleman - thank you.
Described as a partial kit, the FA-VA4 can be assembled in about 45 minutes and results in a piece of test equipment that weighs in at 10 ounces. More importantly, the FA-VA4 operates down to 100 kHz (and up to 100 MHz) making it ideal for the new 630/2200-meter bands. The MFJ's lower limit was 1.8 MHz.
The FA-VA4 comes with three terminations (Open, Short, 50-ohm) for running a calibration routine - the AA-54 does not.
Here are a few other comparisons of antenna analyzer features I had been considering:
My overall impression of the kit is - Wow. From the packaging, the color manual, the quality of the silkscreened aluminum and, of course, the features, everything about the FA-VA4 makes me happy to have chosen it over the other analyzers I'd been considering.
I have not yet calibrated my FA-VA4 but the measured values of my triband Yagi and 6m loop closely match what two other SWR meters indicate and a 50-ohm dummy load shows a perfect match for the 5 bands I currently have programmed into the analyzer. I've reconfigured the FA-VA4 to have the backlight on at all times and to update faster than the default "Medium" setting. Other parameters are configurable as well, including which five frequencies can be swept for simultaneous display.
I'll use the analyzer over the next few days and become more aware of its various settings, make some other measurements and perhaps make a YouTube video of it in action. I'm very happy with it and think it well worth the $140.
|Complete kit, SMD parts are pre-installed|
|All parts (diagonal cutters for size comparison)|
|45 minutes later (Do not use lithium batteries - see Comments section!)|
|In 5-band mode, attached to my tribander|
|Impedance measurement mode, 20m|