During the year 2003, AEA Wireless began shipping its new Via Bravo vector impedance analyzer. With a list price of approximately $2000 (USD), the unit is several times more expensive than the analyzers compared on another page. It promises greatly improved accuracy, and is still substantially less expensive than laboratory grade impedance analyzers, which can range from several thousand to several tens of thousands of dollars. It is the same size as the AEA CIA-HF, which means that it is highly portable and convenient to use in the field.
At the end of June, 2003, John Kaufmann, W1FV, published a review of his Via Bravo on the Topband Reflector, located at www.contesting.com. This review included measurement comparisons with the CIA-HF, and a General Radio 1606A impedance bridge. His review also included some general use and impression information.
I contacted John, and asked for his permission to reprint his message on this web page. The message should also be available on the reflector, but in case the reflector server ever disappeared, I wanted this information available from a second source, and that's me.
The only change I made was to reformat the review in HTML. I would like to thank John for the information in the review, and permission to reprint it here.
|Recently I posted a request for information on any
experience people have had with the new AEA VIA Bravo analyzer (http://www.aea-wireless.com/viabravo.htm).
I got no responses, probably because it's still quite new and also quite
expensive (about 5x the price of the popular AEA CIA-HF analyzer).
Since I do a lot of impedance measurements, I decided to get one for
I didn't realize how new this product is until I discovered I had serial number 17! It also came with a note saying that the PC interface software wasn't ready yet and would be sent to me later. The software package, that allows the instrument to download and plot data on a PC, is one of the strong points of the AEA analyzers.
The popular antenna analyzers from MFJ, AEA, and Autek are all more than adequate for the kinds of SWR measurements most amateurs require. I was more interested, however, in the accuracy of the complex impedance measurement capability of the VIA Bravo. I have an old General Radio 1606-A R-X bridge that has long been a reference standard for antenna measurements. The GR is quite tedious to use, requires an external signal generator and receiver, has no PC interface capability, but, being entirely passive, is immune to RFI overload. Its specified accuracy is very good--generally on the order of 1 percent for resistance and 1 to a few percent for reactance--although the readings come off an analog dial.
Via Bravo Review, by John Kaufmann, W1FV (June 29, 2003, Topband Reflector)
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