Antenna Analyzers AIMuhf/AIM4170
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Jan 8, '14
Using the AIM's and VNA's with handheld tablets.

New tablet computers can run the AIM and VNA programs to provide a very compact test unit for field operation while retaining precision for lab use.

Here is a document with more details on setting up the tablet.

June 20, '13
The AIM4170D is in stock.

Click for more information on the AIM4170D .

Orders can be placed at our on-line store

The AIM4170D is the same as the AIM4170C but it has a USB interface for the PC.
Both models run the same software and they are compatible with Windows tablets.

Jan 5, '13
NEW!--

The VNAuhf is in stock.

Features similar to the VNA2180 with coverage up to 1 GHz.

Click for more information on the VNAuhf .

Orders can be placed at our on-line store

May 2, 2014-- Latest program and manual : VNAuhf_628A

Dec 8, 2012

VNA2180 Vector Network Analyzer

New program Aug 27, '14. Click for the latest information .

The latest version of the VNA2180 program is version VNA_546B

The VNA2180 is in stock.
Orders can be placed at our on-line store

Jan 9, '11

The AIMuhf is in stock.

Same features as the AIM4170C with coverage up to 1 GHz.

Click for more information on the AIMuhf .

Orders can be placed at our on-line store

Sept 21, '07:


The PowerAIM model 120 is focused for commercial broadcast applications. It's able to measure antenna parameters in the presence of external interfering signals. Read about it here.

The PowerAIM won two awards at the National Association of Broadcasters show in 2008. Click for information.

June 1, 2014:
The latest version of the AIMuhf, AIM4170 and PowerAIM program and manual is here:
AIM PROGRAM UPDATE - version AIM_876

This version features a DLL so a user program in any Windows compatible language can operate the AIM.

The latest version of the VNA2180 program is version VNA_546B

The latest version of the VNAuhf program is version VNAuhf_628A

Application Notes by Larry, W0QE:

Sept 18, '11:
Crystal Filter Design
By using the AIM or VNA to measure fundamental crystal parameters, the procedure for designing crystal filters is straightforward and the results agree very well with theory.

Aug 24, '11:
High Impedance Measurements
How to measure the parallel capacitance across high value resistors. The results using an HP8753B and an AIM4170C are compared.

June 11, '11:

Ian, G3NRW, has prepared an excellent and very comprehensive presentation on the AIM4170C.
This features several applications of real antennas and also examples using the TDR function.

Apr 15, 2010:
Comparison of three analyzer models:
AIMuhf, AIM4170C, & VNA2180.

Dec 12, '09:

John, WQ1P, has sent us information about using a tablet PC and a MAC with the AIM4170.

June 12, '08:

This application note shows how to use the AIM4170B to tune an antenna even when there are high power broadcast stations nearby:

Tuning a 160 Meter Vertical

This is also the subject of an article in the ARRL's NCJ publication for Nov/Dec 2008.

July 16, '08:

This application note shows how the AIM4170B can be used to measure the Q of coils and tuned circuits and to evaluate transformers.

Q-Measurement

Mar 5, '08:


W0QE has made an independent comparison of the AIM4170 and the HP8753 up to 170 MHz. His results are shown here: AIM4170 and HP8753 Comparison

Dec 26, '07:
Information for using the AIM4170 with a Mac has been provided by KH6ZZ.
July 10, '07:

See the QST product review of the AIM4170 in the August '07 issue.

ARRL Bottom Line:
"High accuracy, ease of use and multiple output parameters make the AIM4170 a great addition to your home laboratory."

This article in Nov, '06 QST describes an earlier version of the AIM which covered the HF band up to 32 MHz. The principles of operation are the same as the AIM4170.
It is presented here with permission of the ARRL.
Checkout the AIM4170 reviews at eHam.net.
  This article in the Nov/Dec '06 issue of NCJ describes an earlier version of the AIM which covered the VHF band up to 160 MHz. The principles of operation are the same as the AIM4170.
It is presented here with permission of the ARRL.
 
The AIM4160/4170 compared with several other antenna analyzers.

  A comparison of several network and impedance analyzers, including the AIM4170, by Rudy Severns N6LF.
  5/7/07:
The AIM4170 tolerance to external RF signals is illustrated here.

  7/27/07:
If you would like to make a club presentation, you are welcome to use the AIM4170 Power Point slide show.

Here is a very nice program for graphically processing AIM scan data for off-line analysis and presentations: Zplots by AC6LA

 

AIM4170


AIM4170 BLOCK DIAGRAM

(The earlier AIM430 HF model has been replaced by the AIM4170/AIM4170C VHF model. The basic operating principles are the same. - June, 2008).

This new antenna analyzer measures the complex impedance (magnitude and phase) at each frequency of interest in the range of 0.1 to 170 MHz. A PC is used to calculate several parameters, including SWR, and plot the results.

The test frequency is generated digitally and bandpass filters are used to reject stray signals (like broadcast stations) that are more than a few KHz from the operating frequency. A 12 bit analog to digital converter digitizes the raw data. This avoids non-linearities associated with diode detectors, and results in very good dynamic range and linearity for accurate magnitude and phase measurements.

Impedance measurements can range up to 10K ohms. The true phase angle is measured, so inductive or capacitive reactance can be determined without ambiguity.

The RF generator can also be used as a signal source for testing receivers. The frequency is very stable and it can be calibrated to WWV.

The digitized data is sent to the PC via the RS232 port. Power for the analyzer can be obtained from a small DC power supply or a battery. With a laptop computer, the unit is quite portable and it can even be mounted up on a tower at the antenna feed point if desired, with power being supplied through the RS232 cable.

The impedance at the antenna itself can be read with the AIM4170C located in the shack at the receiving/transmitting end of the coax. The cable can be any length. The cable's impedance and loss characteristics are determined by a simple calibration procedure and the antenna's impedance is plotted directly during the scan.

There are no internal adjustments for calibration.

The frequency range is continuous from 5 KHz to 170 MHz.

Some of the parameters that are calculated by the PC include:

  • SWR referenced to any impedance
  • Resistance and reactance at the cable input
  • Resistance and reactance at the antenna terminals
  • Resistance and reactance of discrete components
  • Return loss
  • Reflection coefficient
  • Cable length
  • Cable impedance
  • Cable loss
  • Distance to fault (open or short)
  • Smith chart display
  • Band scan for interfering signals
  • Quartz crystal parameters

The scan data can be saved to disk or printed to compare before and after results. It can also be imported in spreadsheet programs for further analysis.

The program has been tested with Windows 98, 2000, ME, XP, Vista and Win 7. It does not require an installation procedure. (It will run directly from a CD, a floppy disk or a flash drive.)

The display can be scaled for use on any size computer monitor.

The unit of length used for input/output data can be selected as feet or meters.

A USB port can be used for communication with an optional USB/RS232 adapter.


15 meter dipole antenna. Scan = 20.5 to 22.5 MHz.

The traces correspond to the colors shown for the labels on the vertical axiis:
SWR = Red
Magnitude of the Impedance = Green
Resistive Part of the Impedance = Orange
Reactive Part of the Impedance = Yellow
Phase Angle of the Impedance = Violet
Return Loss = Blue

Open coaxial cable approximately 28 feet long. Scan = 4 to 14 MHz



Same cable as above. Scan = 10.5 MHz to 12.5 MHz

 



Scan of unterminated coax and Smith chart. Scan = 5 to 25 MHz

 

CIRCUITS AND PROCEDURES used by this system are covered by patent.

Updated: June 2, 2014

antenna analyzer