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Antenna Analyzers

BASIC PRODUCT DETAILS

RF and Microwave Antenna Analyzer:- About, Types, Application & Selection:

An antenna analyzer (also known as SWR analyzer) is an instrument used for measuring the antenna input impedance.

· Antenna analyzer used to fine-tune the antenna and feedline performance in communications systems, including amateur radio.

An antenna analyzer is a necessity for tuning multi-antenna systems. Earlier times VSWR bridge is used to measure complex impedance parameters while the transmitter is active. Nowadays antenna analyzer function will be executed by direct-reading in network analyzers.

To learn more about RF and Microwave systems, we recommend you to check the following Books.

· 7 Best RF & Microwave Books.

· 7 Best Radio communication Books.

To understand the Antenna Analyzer in a better way, we recommend understanding more about the following components, which are prime components used along with the Antenna analyzers for testing.

· RF Isolators.

· RF Antenna.

· RF Adapters.

· RF Couplers.

In this RF and Microwave Antenna Analyzer article, we will cover,

· What is an RF and microwave Antenna Analyzer?

· Prime features of Antenna Analyzer?

· Applications of RF and Microwave Antenna Analyzer?

· What are the specifications that need to consider in the selection of an Antenna Analyzer?

· RF and microwave Antenna Analyzer Manufactures

Prime features of an Antenna Analyzer:

Antenna Analyzers are available with various features and functional specifications. Nowadays most the Antenna analyzer will have the functionality of the Antenna and cable analyzer. A few of the features, test engineers can consider for the selection are as follows.

· Simple functional and operational menus.

· PC control software, to export files for various radio design and simulation applications.

· Rapid connect and SWR measurement on antennas.

· Option to tune an antenna to resonance.

· Option to compare SWR and impedance measurement before and after a specific event like rain, hurricane, etc.

· An additional feature of the Cable testing and fault location, as it will be a part of the antenna system test.

· Option for PIM testing.

· Option for the Interference hunting from unintentional signals source.

· Availability of inbuilt Spectrum analyzer.

· Possibility of outdoor coverage mapping with geo-referenced test data. 

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Design and Application

Other types of Antenna Analyzer:

Nowadays Antenna analyzer is available in the market with various features. There are several instruments of varying complexity and accuracy are available for antenna testing.

SWR meter:

SWR meter only indicates the degree of mismatch in the antenna using a signal generator to provide a test signal. The actual mismatched impedance can be identified by measuring at multiple nearby frequencies and performing calculations.

Antenna bridge:

With help of an external test signal, an Antenna bridge is able to measure at low power reactance and resistance by reading the values marked on the control knobs that can be used to adjust for the impedance match.

Noise bridge:

The noise bridge supplies its own test signals to measure both resistance and reactance. Reading can be get either by manual calculation or by directly reading from the match adjustment knobs.

Radio Analyzers:

Now, most of the Radio-communication analyzers are coming with options for Antenna analysis and cable fault locating. Most of the calculations are executed internally and provide the final results to the test engineers.

Network analyzers:

Network analyzers can directly display resistance and reactance values in the display with the internal calculations by a microprocessor. Network analyzers are faster in operation but it will be a costlier solution compared to normal Antenna Analyzers.

Applications of RF Antenna Analyzer:

Most of the Antenna Analyzers are coming with an internal microcontroller for automating the measurement process and displaying the test results in real-time. Nowadays Antenna Analyzer will have an additional feature of Cable analyzers for verifying the electrical connections of the RF cable connected to the antenna. The other two prime applications of the antenna Analyzers are as follows

Measuring the SWR and efficiency of antenna systems:

An antenna analyzer can be used to troubleshoot, and measure the impedance or standing wave ratio (SWR) and the efficiency of antenna systems in radio communication systems including amateur radio. The antenna analyzer determines the antenna’s tuning characteristics and it helps to maximize antenna transmission performance.

Testing of the feed lines:

An antenna analyzer can use in the automated testing of the feed lines and it helps to improve the performance of the over communication systems.

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Basics & Selection Feature

Main specifications need to consider in the selection of an Antenna Analyzer: 

When selecting an antenna analyzer for the testing application, the following are the electrical parameters a test engineer needs to consider in the selection.

Frequency range & entry step size:

The operating frequency range of the antenna analyzer and minimum frequency step size an analyzer can set and measure. The frequency range needs to select as per the antenna-designed frequency operation range.

Min. sweep range:

Min Sweep range over the frequency of the antenna analyzer needs to check if the sweep range is better for the application.

SWR2AIR™ mode & MultiSWR™ mode:

This feature needs to consider for an antenna analyzer a per the engineering test requirement.

Reactance signal measurement:

This feature needs to consider for an antenna analyzer a per the engineering test requirement for the antenna testing.

Antenna connector type:

Antenna analyzers are available with various connector options. Test engineers need to select one with the same connector type of the antenna on which it is expected to use. If the connectors are of the same type, it will help to avoid the additional use of an RF adapter, which may cause additional impedance.

Output signal shape, availability of Output amplifier, and power output level:

Output signal strength and signal shape need to select on the base of antenna input sensitivity. Need to select an antenna analyzer that can generate higher power than the operation power level requirement of the antenna for the smooth operation.

Reference impedance for SWR measurement:

There are antenna analyzers are available with the option to generate different reference impedance for SWR measurement like 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 300, 450, 600 Ohm.

Analog-to-digital converter:

There are different antenna analyzers are available with various analog to digital converters like 16-bit, 12-bit, 10-bit, etc, it will decide the speed of measurements.

Batteries, Battery voltage sensor, optional external power supply:

As the application of the antenna analyzer is in the field, battery operation is one of the prime requirements. In general Antenna, analyzers are coming with AAA batteries.

· Availability of external filed recharging internal battery will be an added advantage.

Display:

Antenna analyzers are coming with LED display, Colour LCD, and color TFT display. The display will help the test engineers to read the measurements and proceed faster.

Time Domain Reflectometer mode:

Need to check the option for the Time Domain Reflectometer mode, if it is needed as per the test requirement.

Presets for radio amateur bands:

Need to check for the option to directly set to the amateur radio bands. This feature will help to save a lot of test time during field testing.

Flash memory for storing graphs:

The data storage feature needs to check for the antenna analyzer to store the recorded measurements. Some Antenna analyzers are coming with and external memory slots for extending the memory storage capability.

Multilingual support and Warranty: 

Now many antenna analyzers are coming with multilingual language options like English, French, etc. Need to select one at per the test engineer convenience.

The warranty of the analyzer needs to verify in the purchase process and also needs to explore the possibility of getting the extended warranty after the standard warranty period is over.

Conclusion:

Antenna Analyzer is one of the prime required instruments for any antenna engineer how to wants to test and optimize the antenna and the feed line. An antenna analyzer is now coming as a dedicated instrument as well as be a part of other instruments like communication analyzers and network analyzers.

Below are the listed antenna analyzers manufacturers, who can meet your test requirements.

If you would like to add any further details about the Antenna Analyzer to this article, please feel free to contact us over the contact or article submission page.

Thanks & Regards

RFMWC: RF & Microwave Community

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