09 March 2020

FA-VA5 600MHz Vector Antenna Analyzer Kit

Hi all,

FA-VA5 is a high precision 600 MHz Antenna Analyzer for measurements of antennas, cables and other one port devices.

The VA5 is a portable, full-featured Vector Measuring Device with a frequency range of 10 kHz to 600 MHz, with the added benefit of a USB port for connection to a computer.

The designer, Michael Knitter DG5MK, has taken feedback from users of the previous VA4 instrument and incorporated many of the requested new features in the VA5, whilst maintaining high performance and excellent value for money.

·         Frequency Range 10 kHz - 600 MHz

·         Small dimensions 15 x 8.5 x 2.2 cm - fully portable

·         User friendly - intuitive menus

·         Large display with good readability

·         Low power consumption (up to 40 hours from 2 AA batteries)

·         SOL Calibration function

·         USB-interface with support of the DG8SAQ VNWA Software

·         Real time clock with backup capacitor

·         Audible buzzer alert for minimum SWR alignment

The FA-VA5's graphic display shows the complex impedance, standing wave ratio, complex reflection coefficient, capacitance and inductance.

Vector’s measurement means that, unlike a scalar instrument, not only the SWR is measured and displayed, but also the value of the impedance, including the signed imaginary part. The so-called SOL (Short, Open and Load) compensation is used for the calibration of the device and provides precise measurements in different configurations.

Have a look what you will get in the package and how assembly the analyzer…

The kit is double boxed with instruction manual

In two separated packages you will get PCB with pre-installed SMD parts and bag of thru hole parts including the LCD display which need to be soldered.

The instruction manual is detailed, precise and I am recommending to following all step by step.

Anyway I will highlight few important things which should help you during the assembling and it should avoid issues.

Motherboard PCB with ON/OFF switch and USB module installed

Before the installation of the USB module you have to ensure that insulating mica foil is correctly placed on the bottom of the board > in between the USB board PCB and motherboard PCB.

Correct place of the mica

Most important part of the assembling procedure is the LCD panel installation on the motherboard PCB. I am recommending to using three spacers instead of two pieces (recommended in the instruction manual) in order to avoid bending the headers and possibly LCD itself when you will press the fingers on the top during the soldering phase.

Three spacers used to avoid bending the headers during soldering

The rest of thru hole parts assembling should not make any troubles. Just be careful and do not overheating the switches and other plastic components while soldering them on the motherboard PCB. Specially the BNC socket used in the kit is cheapest component using the crappy plastic insulation inside so you must be quite careful during the soldering it on the PCB.

CAUTION: Do not overheating this component otherwise you can melt the insulation part inside and most important part of analyzer – the measuring port could failure due to inserting the DUT (movement causing short circuit or so)

You should also double check the polarity orientation of the both AA cells holders before soldering them to PCB.

All parts assembled on the motherboard PCB

Correct height of the LCD panel and well assembled input port BNC

The SMD components are pre-assembled on arrival

Housing the analyzer using pre-drilled box. All fits perfectly 

After the assembling the analyzer it should work for the first time. Do not use the charging AA cells as it will not work because of their low voltage.

Initial screen should be displayed after turning ON the analyzer.   

Building document done by P. Ourednik, 9-Mar-2020. Document 03-20, rev.1.0

73 - Petr, OK1RP