Before doing anything, read the instructions and the addendum. This analyzer is not one that a person can figure out intuitively. Instructions are given on how to perform the most common analysis, and you should read them before performing one. Several buttons serve multiple functions on the analyzer. The frequency up and frequency down buttons are used to adjust many features, ranging from the contrast level to the inputted SWR value. The Width button is used to reduce the analyzed frequency intervals, as well as to select options in the Menu screen. The analyzer can measure from 0.4 MHz to 54 MHz, and the frequency range is displayed with intervals of 1000 kHz. The labels for the tick marks are not easily read. The graphical display is of mediocre quality.
The analyzer has two modes of operation: simple and expert. When the analyzer is first turned on, it is in simple mode. Simple mode only gives enough data for a basic antenna assessment. When in simple mode, the analyzer has two graphing screens. The first screen is SWR; the second screen is impedance. The F5 key allows the user to toggle between screens in any mode. In expert mode, the analyzer has a real-time graphical display of SWR, impedance, resistance, reactance, and a vector screen. It also has two data screens, called the Data screen and the Numerical Entry screen. The data screen displays the center frequency, SWR, return loss, bandwidth 2.0, Q factor, resistance, impedance, phase angle, capacitance, and inductance values. If you change the settings during use and want to save your current settings, you must do so while in expert mode. Otherwise, it will power up next time in the default factory settings. The Numerical Entry screen cannot be accessed by using any of the function keys. It automatically appears when you enter numbers on the keypad. Be careful of the decimal places. The analyzer gives three places past the decimal. It is possible to simulate the actual operation of an antenna with this analyzer. Simply turn the analyzer on; attach the feed line to the connector and go.
You can input a specific SWR value, although the value must be between 1.2 and 3.5. The analyzer will then display the corresponding bandwidths. Those who are into computers will be pleased to know that the analyzer can be operated remotely by computer. This is done by connecting the analyzer to your PC via a serial interface cable. In this mode, it will power down after being idle after five minutes. However, it will power back up when it detects an incoming a serial stream. This analyzer is a power guzzler. It requires eight AA batteries, which are a tight fit. Press the exam/plot button to freeze the display. Otherwise, the display will be updated every 1.2 seconds.
You are advised to freeze the display as often as possible to extend the battery life. After being idle for five minutes, the analyzer will automatically power down. You cannot change the powering down interval. There are situations in which the analyzer will not be very accurate or could be damaged. You need to consider this before purchasing a unit. When measuring inductors and capacitors, your must assemble an accessory connector to “maximize” the analyzer accuracy. The analyzer is sensitive to RF fields, such as near a commercial broadcast station. It will give incorrect readings if near a strong RF field. You cannot connect any transmitting equipment directly to the antenna connector. The analyzer is capable of a series of self-diagnostic tests. The analyzer is capable of telling you when the battery is low. If the diagnostic finds any other problem, a failure message will be given. From there, you are supposed to call AEA’s technical support for assistance in trouble shooting. It has a standard limited warranty.