Antennas are the most important of our projects. Wherever we need our projects to exhibit a distant communication, you will definitely observe an antenna to support the communication. There are a variety of antennas present in the market and we can use several different antennas for any single project of ours. But have you ever thought that how your antenna is performing? Is the low range of your device that you are observing due to the Antenna itself? Most of the time we do not give this thing much importance and most of the time the communication or range-related issues are due to the antennas themselves.
So, what to do how to check if the antenna is working fine or not. Don't worry today we are to tell you how to test your antenna performance and which antennas you can use while making projects which include LoRa and other technologies. For that, we have an SAA-2N NanoVNA with us. We also have two long and robust antennas from RAK wireless, which can be considered the best antennas for Helium miners. We will check their performance and compare them with other antennas as well and by the end of this article, you will get to learn that how you can test your own antennas.
So let's go ahead and play.
The components used in this project can be purchased from the links mentioned below:-
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What Is a VNA?
VNA stands for Vector Network Analyzer. VNAs are used to test component specifications and verify design simulations to make sure systems and their components work properly together. Today, the term “network analyzer”, is used to describe tools for a variety of “networks”. For instance, most people today have a cellular or mobile phone that runs on a 3G or 4G network. In addition, most of our homes, offices, and commercial venues all have Wi-Fi or wireless LAN “networks”. Furthermore, many computers and servers are set up in “networks” that are all linked together to the cloud. For each of these “networks”, there exists a certain network analyzer tool used to verify performance, map coverage zones, and identify problem areas.
Vector Network Analyzer performs two types of measurements – transmission and reflection. Transmission measurements pass the Vector Network Analyzer stimulus signal through the device under test, which is then measured by the Vector Network Analyzer receivers on the other side. Comparatively, reflection measurements measure the part of the VNA stimulus signal that is incident upon the Device under Test but does not pass through it.
A Vector Network Analyzer contains both a source, used to generate a known stimulus signal, and a set of receivers used to determine changes to this stimulus caused by the device-under-test or DUT. The stimulus signal is injected into the DUT and the Vector Network Analyzer measures both the signal that's reflected from the input side, as well as the signal that passes through to the output side of the DUT. The Vector Network Analyzer receivers measure the resulting signals and compare them to the known stimulus signal. The measured results are then processed by either an internal or external PC and sent to a display.