martes, 31 de diciembre de 2013

SARK-110 in Facebook

The SARK-110 Antenna Analyzer has now a site in Facebook 
Please feel free to post any content related to the SARK-110 and any other related topics such as measurement applications, antennas, transmission lines, etc.

ML&S Martin Lynch & Sons - New Distributor for the SARK-110

We are pleased to announce that ML&S Martin Lynch & Sons is now an authorized distributor and an exclusive distributor within the UE, for the SARK-110 Antenna Analyzer.

About Martin Lynch & Sons:

ML&S are the largest Ham Radio dealer and distributor in Europe. They have been the number one retailer for Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood products continuously for many years and have recently been awarded a factory direct distributor for Yaesu Musen Japan.  They import and export product to all parts of the world on a daily basis.

Their product range is very diverse but solely committed to Ham Radio. They operate out of a large premises to the West of London and have dedicated customer support and engineering staff on site.

For more information click here

lunes, 30 de diciembre de 2013

SARK-110: New firmware version v0.8.1 available

This is a major firmware update with lot of new functionality, enhancements and fixes. The new version is available in the Firmware area.
For users that already installed any of the v0.8.0.x beta drops, this release is nearly equivalent to the latest v0.8.0.20 with just a couple of minor corrections.
The user's manual (english version) has been also updated and available in the Documents area. Other language versions will be available soon.
It is my wish for 2014 focusing my development efforts on the SARK Plots client software, specifically on post-processing capabilities. This does not mean that firmware will not be opened to enhancements, but I believe that there is a lot of room for improvement in the client software such as measurement of transmission line parameters, tools for calculating matching networks for RFID antennas, improved calibration means, etc. Anyway, I am glad to hear suggestions for enhancements from users.
Following is the release notes for this version:
v0.8.1 -  Release date: Dec 28th, 2014
  • New transmission line Add and Substract feature
  • New programmable signal generator mode
  • New Multi-band mode
  • New automatic scaling option
  • Added ability to modify the default scale settings via special text files stored into the device disk
  • New Setup - Color Themes
  • New Setup – Plot Thickness
  • New Setup – Sampling
  • Different legibility and presentation enhancements
  • Added capability to modify the default band presets via a special text file stored into the device disk
  • Added new band presets
  • Implemented the capability to specify a custom value for the reference impedance
  • Added new cable presets
  • Implemented the ability to add three custom cable settings
  • Added automatic display of maximum and minimum values in the graph in Field Mode
  • New "Load Bitmap File" option in the «File»  menu
  • Added ability to store or load the measurements in Cable Test mode
  • Implemented a basic zoom feature in the Cable Test mode
  • Changed Computer Control mode from the «Setup» menu to the «Mode» menu
  • Added check of load condition for OSL calibration
  • Improvements in the USB HID driver for Windows 8 compatibility
Bug fixes:
  • Setting a largely different frequency value in Frequency Calibration causes the Single Frequency mode to crash
  • Forbidden characters were allowed for file names
  • Colors in the screenshots bitmaps were not accurate when displayed on the PC. Bitmap header did not include the RGB565 masks so they were display as RGB555
  • User cancelation in markers menu was not managed properly in nested submenus
Internal Notes:
  • Integrated FatFs module R0.10 (previous R0.07e)

viernes, 18 de octubre de 2013

SARK-110 Firmware beta v0.8.0.10: Color Themes

This new Beta v0.8.0.10 firmware includes the capability to change the color theme, with the possibility to select a color scheme with white background or the already available black background color scheme. 
In addition it has been implemented some improvements to the legibility, such as thicker traces and ajustments in the colors; and solved a couple of minor issues found in the previous beta.
The new version is available in the Beta area.
Example screenshots:

Scalar Chart:


Smith Chart:




Field Mode:


Single Mode:


domingo, 13 de octubre de 2013

SARK-110 firmware beta v0.8.0.9: Multi-band Mode

This new Beta v0.8.0.9 firmware introduces the new multi-band mode besides other minor improvements and fixes. The new version is available in the Beta area.

In the multi-band mode the analyzer displays independent charts for four independent bands.This feature will be useful for tuning multi-band antennas.

The operation is similar to the Scalar Chart mode but with the added "active" band selection. The new menu option sets the active band. This is highlighted in the frequency axis of the associated chart. The frequency and span settings apply to the active band. The detailed measurements display area is associated to the selected band as well.

In addition, there is an additional text line in the top area of the screen that displays the measured values at the center fequency for the fourth charts.

martes, 2 de julio de 2013

SARK-110 Firmware beta 0.8.0: Add/substract TL feature

The first firmware beta drop for the upcoming 0.8.0 release version is available in the Beta section.
This first drop adds the capability to add (transpose to input) or substract (transpose to load) a transmission line. This is exactly the same feature as the implemented in the SARK Plots client program.
There are other planned features for this new release so stay tuned!

SARK110: New firmware release 0.7.5

The new SARK-110 firmware release 0.7.5 is available in the Firmware area.

This release includes very little changes, basically improvements in the management of the Z0 setting and some changes to the filter functionality.

There is a new release in preparation including the capability to add and substract transmission lines. I expect that a first beta will be available by early to mid July.

domingo, 19 de mayo de 2013

SARK Plots for SARK-110 preview available

The SARK-110 can be connected to the PC USB port and it is accessible as a mass storage device for functionalities such as for updating the firmware of the device or for the upload of the measurements to the AC6LA ZPlots program for post analysis.

Starting from firmware release v0.7.4 the SARK-110 implements a composite USB device class including the former mass storage class plus a custom USB HID class allowing the remote control of the device. The specification of the HID interface is public and available at Commands Interface (Beta) for anyone wishing to develop its own client software for any of the major OS's.

The SARK Plots is a client application for the SARK-110 for the Windows operating system. This application is aimed to augment the capabilites of the device when a PC is available, for instance when operating it at the shack.

The software is still in development but a preview is available in the SARK Plots section. This preview is functional but there are some program features that are not yet functional and this program has not been extensively tested. The software will be updated periodically so please check for updates.

The SARK Plots provides equivalent features as the available in the device firmware such as Scalar Chart, Polar Chart (similar to the Smith Chart) and the Time Domain Reflectometer mode for cable testing.

The software provides features such as cursor, markers, user defined or automatic ranges, etc. In addition it will be provided advanced features as transmission line measurements, and adding or substracting transmission lines.

The following screenshots show the functionalities of this program:

Scalar Chart

Polar Chart

Time Domain Reflectometer

miércoles, 3 de abril de 2013

SARK-110: New firmware release 0.7.4

A new SARK-110 firmware is available in the Firmware area, and includes some enhancements and bug fixes.
One of the most important enhancements is the implementation of a computer control mode through USB custom HID mode, in addition to the existing mass storage functionality. This feature will be used by a client software for Windows PC that it is currently in development.
Besides, the interface specification and basic interface source code, is available at Commands Interface (Beta) to facilitate the integration with client software from third parties.
Regarding the basic measurement features, there are further improvements in the implementation of the OSL calibration algorithm and corrections in the Cable Test Mode, mainly in the presentation of the Step response. In addition, there are some slight changes to the impedance ranges for the Low scale.
It has been added a VSWR audio feedback to the Single Frequency mode. When activated, the analyzer produces beeps of different duration as indication of the VSWR. The audio is produced only for VSWR values between 1.0 and 10.0, and the duration is shorter for the lower values.
Finally there are some enhancements such as new frequency presets, the capability to change the SWR circle in the Smith Chart, and minor changes to the user interface.

The User Manual has been updated for this new firmware release. The new document is available in the Documents area.

domingo, 6 de enero de 2013

SARK-110: New firmware release 0.7.2

A new release of the SARK-110 firmware and the PC Simulation is available in the Firmware and PC Simulation areas. The changes are described in the Release Notes document.

One important consideration is that from now on, there will be two firmware variants in each release: one limited to 200 Mhz and the other working up to 230 MHz. The reason for this is because migrating to the 230 MHz version requires performing the full calibration process of the unit, therefore it is delivered the 200 MHz variant to upgrade the unit to the new version without the calibration. The firmware files are the following:
Frequency range: 230 MHz.
It is required performing Detector Calibration and OSL calibration when upgrading to this release from versions v0.7.2.a, v0.7.0 or v0.6.5.  Do not upgrade to this version if you don’t have the proper calibration loads
Frequency range: 200 MHz.
No calibration needed when upgrading from versions V0.7.0 or v0.6.5
The implemented changes in this release are improvements in the look and feel of the user interface and the addition of the "Field Mode", intended for field operation, see below some examples:
Field Mode:

Improved menus:
More visible trace in Smith Chart mode: