Winston Lawrence

KD2WLL - Amateur Radio Notes

Rig Expert Stick 230


Hopefully this is not the start of a trend but yes, I bought another antenna analyzer. The first one (in the $30 to $40 range) was the Surecom SW-33 SWR meter. I like the Surecom as it will test the SWR and the RF power in fact it is the only thing I have that can test RF power output. The digital readout is good and it is pretty easy to use it is connected between the radio and the coax. You must have an appropriate (for the output power) dummy load on the other end of the cable and that's why I next bought a Nanovna as I could test cable SWR without needing a radio (or dummy load) attached. The Nanovna is complicated and while I did use it for SWR testing it was neither quick, rugged or easy to take and use outdoors.

Enter the Rig Expert Stick 230. Like the Nanovna I don't need an attached radio or dummy load. Unlike the Nanovna very quick, easy to use handheld and works well outdoors! The only drawback with the 230 is that I DO need the Surecom to test RF power output when I do have a radio to test and I need the Surecom (or the Nanovna) if I want to test UHF - the 230 goes up to VHF frequencies (2M) only.

Operation: Start/Stop
The stick 230 has an e-ink screen that shows basic information when turned off. You turn on the device by pressing one of the device keys - generally the (power/stop) button. A long press on the same button will turn off the stick 230.

Operation: Multé mode.
Select Multé mode by pressing the button. This is a good choice if you want/expect the antenna being tested to work across more than one ham band. The results are easy to interpret as they are displayed, along with the frequency, as stars. The smaller the SWR of the antenna on a given band, the more stars are assigned. only bands with an SWR of 3 or less are shown so 5 stars is an SWR of 1.0 to 1.1; 4 stars is 1.1 to 1.15 and 3 stars is 1.15 to 1.3. Note: if the stick 230 did not find any resonance, then the antenna has an SWR greater than 3, or the antenna (or coax cable) is damaged.

Operation: Single mode.
Select Single mode by pressing the button. This is a good choice if you are already on the frequency that you are interested in. The measurement will start automatically. There are five screens available and the first will display the frequency and SWR

NOTE: Other values not described/noted above
The Stick 230 returns, in addition to the frequency and SWR: return loss value; |Z| value; value of active (R) and reactive (X) resistance;inductance (L) and capacitance (C) value depending on the test(s) being run.

Unexpected Benefit
The Antscope bluetooth software turned out to be much more useful than I originally thought. The main difference that I can see between this stick 230 and the stick 230 pro is that the pro has a color screen. I dont mind the black and white (particularly since the list price is about $100 cheaper than the stick pro.

'73 KD2WLL