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Sark 100 Analyser Review

Posted: 26 May 2018, 22:51
by Buick Mackane
I recently bought one of these on ebay and i'm quite surprised how well it works for the price (£50ish) Seems to be reasonably accurate, And it has quite a few features such as measuring inductance & capacitance.

It can also be hooked up to a PC where you can download SWR info and update the firmware etc. There is also a built in calibrate feature, Which consists of attaching three resistors to the analyser (50/150/274 ohm) But mine was pretty accurate straight out the box.

It comes packaged in a Bomb Proof metal enclosure, The screen is well lit and easy to read. And its very easy to use, Attach your antenna select the required band and hit scan, It then scans the entire band and displays the bandwidth (Beeps when the SWR goes above 2.0 ) and the frequency of the lowest SWR. As mention above other modes can be selected.

On to the not so good points, It has a recess on the back panel to install a battery, But doesn't include a battery tray, Although it does provide the wiring for one, These can be picked up for a few quid on ebay. I tried running mine from 6 x AA Batteries, Although it worked it didn't match the accurate readings i got when i ran it from a 12 volt mains adaptor. So really needs to be ran from 8 x AA batteries, An 8 X AA battery tray won't fit inside the battery compartment, But can be screwed to the back panel.

Another point to note is the displayed frequency and the actual frequency the analyser is transmitting on aren't quite in synch, For example if its displaying 7.000-Mhz it will actually be transmitting closer to 6.990 - Mhz, Although this is hardly a deal breaker.

Another minor pain is that it reverts to the 20m band when switched off and back on.

But considering the price the above are just trivial.

You'll probably read a lot of hit & miss reviews on these, Think its really down to quality control, These were previously available as kits, And i think a lot of the negative reviews are based on the earlier kit versions.

Coverage is 160m to 6m, Power consumption is 12 volts at around 300 ma.

So to sum it up they're a lot of bang for the buck, And get the :thumbup: from me.

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Re: Sark 100 Analyser Review

Posted: 28 May 2018, 09:48
by Tim
Myself and others in my locality are often wondering what these Sark analyzers are like performance and function wise, now we know. Would be nice if someone could do a review on the MFJ equivalents.

Re: Sark 100 Analyser Review

Posted: 28 May 2018, 19:53
by DX-Digger
I have to agree I have been very pleased with mine, you can also get pc software to display smith charts of your plots and sweeps.
http://www.sm6why.n.nu/SARK-100
:thumbup: :thumbup:

Re: Sark 100 Analyser Review

Posted: 29 May 2018, 14:21
by kilimax
Nice review Jason. :thumbup:
I'd be interested to find out how this compares to my MFJ. For the cost, I may well order one and carry out some comparisons.

Re: Sark 100 Analyser Review

Posted: 07 Jun 2018, 15:14
by kilimax
Just to add to the above review of the Sark 100, I recently went ahead and purchased one from the same supplier as Buick Mackane, specifically to compare it against my MFJ-259B.

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Here are my findings, along with my thoughts on the Sark.

First off, the comparison.

Test antenna was my Hustler 5BTV trapped vertical, I measured frequency where minimum SWR was indicated, along with the Z (impedance)
I checked both meters on the following bands; 80/40/20/15/11/10. Meters were connected to the same 12 Volt DC source.
The Sark was tuned both manually and automatically using the scan facility.

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As you will see, with the exception of 15M, the Sark 100 is very close to the MFJ in terms of reading minimum SWR, the frequency and the given Z. As for the readings on 15M, both analyzers show the resonant frequency to be too high, in fact, around 1.7Mhz. While this obviously shows some issue with the antenna itself (I suspect the 15M trap to be at fault for this), there is a bigger variance between the two meters on this frequency range. As a test, if I adjust the frequency on the SARK to match that of the MFJ, the indicated VSWR reads as 1.9 and impedance is 68 ohms.

Once I sort the antenna, I will check them again to see if the variance still exists.

The scan function was 100% accurate in use, always picking the same point that I found when manually tuning.
The TX frequency of this particular meter was within 750hz of the displayed frequency.

As for the build quality, while mine was in a sealed box, it did have some defects.
The antenna socket was very loose and it did not read correctly to begin with. After getting nowhere with the Chinese seller, I decided to repair it myself and on stripping down the unit to tighten the socket, I noticed one of the chip capacitors lying off the board.
This had to be re-soldered. Once the socket was tightened, the unit then worked as intended. These sort of QC issues seem to plague this unit, so I think you need to understand this before deciding to buy as it does look to be hit and miss.

Overall, I echo most of Buick's views. It's a very useful bit of kit for not a lot of cash and should be considered as an essential tool for budding antenna builders, especially if you get a good one :D