Pat Hindle, MWJ Editor
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Hindle
Pat Hindle is responsible for editorial content, article review and special industry reporting for Microwave Journal magazine and its web site in addition to social media and special digital projects. Prior to joining the Journal, Mr. Hindle held various technical and marketing positions throughout New England, including Marketing Communications Manager at M/A-COM (Tyco Electronics), Product/QA Manager at Alpha Industries (Skyworks), Program Manager at Raytheon and Project Manager/Quality Engineer at MIT. Mr. Hindle graduated from Northeastern University - Graduate School of Business Administration and holds a BS degree from Cornell University in Materials Science Engineering.
Test and Measurement Channel

Low-Priced, Full Featured VNA Comparison

August 24, 2022

VNAs have traditionally been high priced capital equipment that needed to be justified with many use cases. While Copper Mountain Technologies has made moderately priced, PC driven VNAs for many years, it is only recently that several low cost, full featured models became available from other manufacturers. Here is a comparison seven models. All of these are USB type, economy model VNAs except the Siglent and R&S models that have a display so are quite larger and heavier.

VNAs

VNA Model

Freq. Range (GHz)

Dyn. Range (dB)

Trace Noise (dB rms)

Output Power (dBm)

Price ($)

Weight (bs)

CMT M5065

.003 to 6.5

130

.002

-55 to 5

9495

3.8

M/C eVNA

.0003 to 6

>132 typ.

<.005 typ.

-50 to 10

7995

9.9

PicoVNA 108

.0003 to 8.5

124

<.006

-20 to 10/6

6535

4.2

Keysight 9372A

.003 to 9

115

.003

-40 to 7

15964

-

Anritsu MS46122B

.001 to 8

100

.006

-20 to -3

-

4.8

Siglent SNA5002A

.000009 to 4.5

125 .003 -55 to 10 8690 -

R&S ZND

.0001 to 4.5

>120

<.005

-20 to 3

18425

30.9


The Copper Mountain Technologies and Mini-Circuits models are the only ones with 130 dB or better dynamic range with a large output power choice too. Both are under $10k in price so seem to offer a great value but there are many choices here depending on the specs that matter for your applications. The PicoVNA is the lowest cost so the best for those on a very limited budget. If you want a display, the R&S and Siglent models are the only choice in this economy range that we found.

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