FA-VA 4 / FA-VA 5 Antenna Analyzer

Today the FA-VA 4 und FA-VA 5 antenna analyzers are frequently used by hamradio operators and other users.

A description of the FA-VA 5 and its usage with the VNWA software in English and Danish language can be found in the download section.

On the Hamradio 2018 in Freidrichshafen there was a workshop about networkanalyzers, but also a presentation in English language about the FA-VA 4 and FA-VA 5.
Decks are available in the download section.
Link to the videos on Youtube:
German: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryazPDSNDLU
English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8Z7veGV57o

Please note that SDR-Kits is also selling very usefull accessories like a presentation case and different adapters.


Local parameters for BNC-Calibration-Set (BX-245-SOL / SDR-Kits)
Q: The attached note shows different sets of parameters. Which one should be used?
A: The calibration-set is a male one, therefore the first set of parameters should be used (male, simple model).

Local parameter port-delay/ps
Q: What does port-delay mean? I do not find this parameter on the attached note?
A: Port-delay has nothing to do with the calibration set. Port-delay enables a shift of the measurement plane in total. For further information, please have a look at the VNWA help document. If not used, it should stay at 0.

Calibration file for BNC-Calibration-Set (BX-245-SOL / SDR-Kits)
Q: If I load the parameter file by the link from the attached note, will the parameters be transferred also to local setting in the FA-VA 5?
A: No, because of software architecture this is not possible. Local parameters (without VNWA) have to be entered in addition locally manually into the FA-VA 5

Change of center frequency for sweeps
Q: Changing the center frequency for sweeps takes some time, if there is a change from one band to the other. Is there any other way to do this faster?
A: Yes, the frequency may be set in any single frequency measurement mode. This will be very fast as every single digit can be changed separately. Switching to sweep modes the frequency will be transferred as the center frequency.

Change requests for a new firmware version
Q: How do I best address change requests for a new firmware version?
A: Best is to send an e-mail to dg5mk@darc.de. But before sending, please check here if the requests is not already on the list. 


Current firmware: V1.08 - accepted change requests

1) 11/04/2018 - backlight - force display backlight to 'fully on' if USB cabel is plugged in; allow configuration 'fully on' vs. 'traditional mode like DIM, Auto etc' in setup menu
2) 11/04/2018 - buzzer - buzzer does not restart automatically after pulling out USB-cabel and moving to SWR-buzzer mode. On/Off or manual selection 'SWR-buzzer' needed
3) 11/22/2018 - swr scaling - change plot scaling for SWR sweep analog to 5 band view to 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10 (t.b.c)
4) 11/22/2018 - backlight - backlight in auto-mode should stay on as long as a button is pressed
5) 11/22/2018 - frequency change speed - press and hold a button to change frequency should be a stepped approach, from slow to fast during pressed button


Current firmware: V1.08

firmware version 1.08 from 09/26/2018

changes from version 1.07 to version 1.08
1) frequency span will be saved in EEPROM during power off / on
2) wrap around (up and down) for menus with more than 4 items implemented
3) 'auto SWR' implemented (new menu item 'Auto SWR' in setup menu, default is 'off'); this includes jump of marker to minimum SWR after SWR-sweep and transfer of marker frequency as frequency of single-frequency-SWR measurement; this allows quick SWR checks from sweep to detailled analysis
4) SOL entries moved to last items in single- and multi-frequency measurement menus
5) new increase / decrease scheme for span of multi-frequency-modes with 10, 20, 50 kHz etc. implemented; (new menu item 'Span Start' in setup menu, default is 'Start 100 kHz'); the old scheme (multiple of 2) can be enabled via the new menu
6) some smaller bug fixes in display routines and rework of interrupt processing to prevent issues because of peripherals timing


Current firmware: V1.07 - accepted change requests

1) 06/18/2018 - menu - allow wrap around scrolling in menus
2) 06/21/2018 - Z display in sweeps - very small real parts of impedances may become negative. This will lead to 'out of range' display which leads to jumps in the trace. Better plot negative values instead showing them 'out of range'
3) 07/10/2018 - menu - swap entries for SOL and according measurement; first the measurement, second the SOL
4) 07/10/2018 - frequency span sweeps - the last defined frequency span should be saved and not fall back to default if mode is changed
5) 07/10/2018 - transfer frequency of marker from sweep - moving from sweep measurement to single frequency measurement the marker frequency should become the new measurement frequency, not the middle frequency (t.b.c)
6) 07/15/2018 - frequency span sweeps - give user a choice in setup to have span as a power of 2 kHz (2, 4, 8, 16 ...) or multiple of hundreds kHz (50, 100, 200, 400, 800) (t.b.c)
7) 09/09/2018 - marker to minimum SWR - automatically move marker to minimum of SWR after sweep (on/off to be selected in setup)