Testing NanoVNA

NanoVNA is very tiny handheld Vector Network Analyzer (VNA). A vector network analyzer (VNA) is an instrument that can be used to measure antenna or coax parameters such as SWR, impedance and loss. It can also be used to characterize and tune filters. It is a very useful tool to have if you are building and tuning home made antennas, filters or other RF circuits.

Earlier VNAs have been considered to be be very expensive instruments costing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars so they have only been available on advanced RF laboratories. But now the cost has come down. Nowadays there are cheaper alternatives available. Thank’s to NanoVNA   the cost of owning a VNA has now been reduced to only US$50 thanks to the NanoVNA. The open source NanoVNA project by @edy555 and ttrftech has been around since 2016, but only recently have Chinese sellers begun mass producing the unit and selling them

NanoVNA is advertised as a standalone device with LCD display, portable device with battery. It can also controlled with PC software.The frequency range is from 50 kHz to 900 MHz.  I had earlier posted some videos on this device to http://www.epanorama.net/newepa/2019/08/11/nanovna-handheld-vector-network-analyzer-vna/

There are a ton of people selling them out of China. I ordered mine from my trusted source Banggood.com that sells one for around $65. Here is the device I received:

NanoVNA Vector Network Analyzer 50KHz – 900MHz Digital Display Touch Screen Shortwave MF HF VHF UHF Antenna Analyzer Standing Waveis a a DIY product with vector network measurement function. It includes a 2.8-inch touch screen, TX/RX measurement, can determine the complete S11 and S21 parameters (claimed that can be modified to measure S12 and S22). Here is the technical data from product page:

● RF output: -13dbm (maximum -9dbm)
● Measurement range: 70dB (50kHz-300MHz), 60dB (300M-600MHz), 50dB (600M-900MHz) enable extended firmware);
● Port SWR: < 1.1
● Display: 2.8 inch TFT (320 x240)
● USB interface: USB type-C communication mode: CDC (serial)
● Power: USB 5V 120mA, can use battery powered, maximum charging current 0.8A (battery Not included )
● Number of scanning points: 101 (fixed)

The firmware for the device is open source and available at https://github.com/ttrftech/NanoVNA. The device schematics are also available there.

The product package included NanoVNA device, USB Type-C data cable, two 30mm SMA male to male cable and test connectors, one SMA female to female connector and calibration parts (SMA connector with open, short circuit and 50 ohms terminator). Everything came in a nice plastic box that is useful for storing and transporting all the parts.

This is a DIY product that provides quite nice vector network measurement capabilities in the size of a credit card. It includes a 2.8-inch touch screen. The TX/RX method can measure the complete S11 and S21 parameters. The device promises to provide 70 dB dynamic range for frequencies from 50 kHz to  300 MHz. That’s the basic frequency range the hardware was originally designed, but there are tricks that allow it to be extended.
The improved frequency algorithm can use the odd harmonic extension of si5351 to support the measurement frequency up to 900MHz but with somewhat lower dynamic range.The extended ranges 300M-600MHz band provides better than 60dB of dynamics, and the 600M-900M band is better than 50dB of dynamics.This is what the software supports, but tthere are some hacks that claims can go even higher above 1 GHz.
Besides all the great things, there here are also some small caveats. The first one is the touch display is on the small size, which makes it somewhat hard to operate with big fingers. The ruggedness of the unit feels a bit questionable with small tilt switch at the top and the sides of the device open. It works OK for a lab use when you are careful, but might not be able to take heavy field use like it is. The user  interface elements are a bit confusing, the fonts and color choices are not super legible. The calibration accessories I received were not labelled in any sensible way, but could be measured which is which.

There is also PC software to work with this device. The device home page had software package that included NanoVNA v1.01 software did not work for me. After some Googling I found a discussion on the problem with this software on some countries (it was . vs , issue on number presentation) and the discussion recommended to download NanoVNA v1.03 from https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1IZEtx2YdqchaTO8Aa9QbhQ8g_Pr5iNhr. NanoVNA v1.03 worked for me.

There were also some Python software code that I did not try this time.

Other issues:

The device supports rechargeable LiPo batteries, but the batteries are not included on the model I bought because of the safety of international transportation. I also liked to have the LiPo battery installed on my device. The device has battery charging circuitry, so installing suitable LiPo battery should make it very portable instrument (500mAh battery should give offline for 2 hours). Getting suitable LiPo battery and installing it is for another article.

Sometimes I feel that it would be nice if this device has a full case. I saw one 3D printable case for NanoVNA at Thingverse. I have downloaded the files, but I have not yet had access to suitable 3D printer to print it.

Related postings:









Getting the device:

If you are interested in getting one, use this link https://www.banggood.com/NanoVNA-Vector-Network-Analyzer-50KHz-900MHz-Digital-Display-Touch-Screen-Shortwave-MF-HF-VHF-UHF-Antenna-Analyzer-Standing-Wave-p-1471576.html?p=27131452996820140438 to get the version I got. It seems that the same web shop has also a slightly cheaper version (white color) in pre-order at https://www.banggood.com/NanoVNA-Vector-Network-Analyzer-50KHz-900MHz-Digital-LCD-Display-HF-VHF-UHF-Antenna-Analyzer-Standing-Wave-USB-POWER-p-1549963.html?p=27131452996820140438


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Another worth to try software


    A multiplatform tool to save Touchstone files from the NanoVNA, sweep frequency spans in segments to gain more than 101 data points, and generally display and analyze the resulting data.

    The software was written in Python on Windows, using Pycharm, and the modules PyQT5, numpy and pyserial.

    You can get Windows executable and Python source codes from

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    About RTL-SDR
    Quick Start Guide
    Featured Articles
    Signal ID Wiki
    RTL-SDR Store
    Guide Book

    October 4, 2019
    A NanoVNA 2.0 is in the Works: Same Price, Frequency Range up to 3.5 GHz, Higher Dynamic Range

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NanoVNA Tests Antenna Pattern

    After building the Yagi, the predicted tuning and impedance matched the real antenna nicely. But what about the radiation pattern? To test that, he used a NanoVNA and a clever test setup.

    He needed a test spot out of the antenna’s near field so he set up his workstation 18 feet away from the test antenna which was on a mount that could rotate. On the edge of the workstation table — affixed with painter’s tape — is a NanoVNA connected to a laptop.

    Plotting the resulting data with GNUPlot matched up pretty well with the antenna’s predicted performance.

    Another aid to consistency was the use of the NanoVNASaver software. This software allows for a frequency sweep along with a display and the creation of Touchstone files.

    Test Antenna Signal Pattern on the Cheap

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NanoVNASaver software
    A tool for reading, displaying and saving data from the NanoVNA

    A multiplatform tool to save Touchstone files from the NanoVNA, sweep frequency spans in segments to gain more than 101 data points, and generally display and analyze the resulting data.

    This software connects to a NanoVNA and extracts the data for display on a computer, and for saving to Touchstone files.

    Current features:

    Reading data from a NanoVNA
    Splitting a frequency range into multiple segments to increase resolution (tried up to >10k points)
    Averaging data for better results particularly at higher frequencies
    Displaying data on multiple chart types, such as Smith, LogMag, Phase and VSWR-charts, for both S11 and S21
    Displaying markers, and the impedance, VSWR, Q, equivalent capacitance/inductance etc. at these locations
    Displaying customizable frequency bands as reference, for example amateur radio bands
    Exporting and importing 1-port and 2-port Touchstone files
    TDR function (measurement of cable length) – including impedance display
    Filter analysis functions for low-pass, high-pass, band-pass and band-stop filters
    Display of both an active and a reference trace
    Live updates of data from the NanoVNA, including for multi-segment sweeps
    In-application calibration, including compensation for non-ideal calibration standards
    Customizable display options, including “dark mode”
    Exporting images of plotted values

    The software was written in Python on Windows, using Pycharm, and the modules PyQT5, numpy, scipy and pyserial.

    You can find the latest binary (.exe) release for Windows at https://github.com/mihtjel/nanovna-saver/releases/latest


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