FlightAware Discussions

Best devices to help with ADS-B antenna tuning?

Trying to do more A-B comparisons between DIY antenna builds for ADS-B, and it is getting more obvious that some device to help tune the antennas will be needed. (I’m giving the V-Stub with the 45mm “V” a try, and it is looking good so far but I’m sure some part of the whip needs adjustment)

I’ve seen references to the N1201SA/PS100 and the NanoVNA-H (to get to 1.5Ghz) and was wondering (other than price) is there technical advantages of one of these over the other. (The NanoVNA-H seems to be fairly inexpensive on Amazon) . Given that it seems that for this purpose I believe I’ll be focusing on VSWR, R, X it -looked- like both would get the same job done?

Was also trying to find out if there are some other devices I should be considering.

Thanks!

I have the N1201SA, MiniVNA Tiny and a NanoVNA v2. I get the best results with the MiniVNA Tiny, but it is also much more expensive (Like $300). There is a learning curve associated with the NanoVNA v2 and in my opinion, it’s not the easiest to use out of the box, but it is by far the cheapest at around $60 or so. The N1201SA will cost almost double that, but it is by far the easiest to use out of the bunch and is highly portable (although the NanoVNA v2 with a battery is as well - just a pain to read with the smaller screen IMHO). I wouldn’t look at the original iterations on the NanoVNA at this point - for a few bucks more, you get a much better device going with the V2.

All give very similar results in the end. if you want to save some cash and don’t mind sitting down awhile to learn the in’s and out’s of something, the NanoVNA v2 may be your bet. If you want simplicity as well as decent accuracy, the N1201SA works great.

Here is a little more info, maybe it will help: Low(er) end VNA comparison

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I too have the NS1201SA and a NanoVNA-V2.

The NS1201SA has a large, easy to read display that’s great for working outdoors and a nice, rugged aluminum case. It has a minor downside in that it has only 1 calibration profile and it takes a while to calibrate it. It also doesn’t have a PC interface which may or may not matter to you. There’s also very little in the way of support.

The NanoVNA V2 is an open source (both hardware and software) device and can be purchased from different vendors with different screen sizes. It has a steeper learning curve but has the capability to save different calibration profiles and has 2 RF ports for testing things like filters. It’s hard to use outdoors BUT it has a USB interface and companion software that let’s you use the device from your PC. That’s a great feature if you want to save screenshots of tests and you can configure it to show multiple graphs at once. Support is also available via groups.io and the designers are very responsive. Oh, there are 2 versions, the original with the RF ports on the side and the V2 with the ports on the bottom (or top depending on whether you rotate the screen). Get the V2. Also most vendors ship a non-enclosed unit with only front and back plates.

So, I use the NS1201SA for outdoor use and quick (but perfectly functional) tests but use the NanoVNA-V2 on my workbench where I have a laptop set up. Either way, get a calibration kit consisting of Open, Short and Load terminations. Many NanoVNA vendors toss them in as part of their offering.

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