These are some of the characteristics of this VNA:
The original VNWA was interfaced via a PC parallel (LPT) port. That port is obsolete now so the designer decided to add a plug-in PCB to control the VNWA by a more common nowadays USB port.
So the first thing I did was to build the USB interface plug-in board. It has some SMD ICs but lots easier to deal with than the VNA PCB ones. All in all, here you have some pictures of the process.
The kit is beatifully packaged, as you can see here:
This is one of the SMD ICs being positioned prior to solder it
And this is the unit soldered... it is not as difficult as it may seem.
Hint: use soldering flux
This is the other SMD IC, already soldered:
A general view of the PCB:
And now more populated:
The rear side, with the interconnecting plugs:
OK, now that I had the easy circuit, I went for the real one!
This part of the kit is even more carefully packaged
This is the PCB with one of the SMA connectors temporarily placed
You need to file a bit the PCB in order to properly fit the connector
Assembly manual is nicely written and provides an step-by-step approach so you build a part, check it and then go for the next one.
This is first part, the main power supply
Then you add some more components and check they are OK
So far, so good... now, let's start with the dreaded DDSs!. No, my finger is not unusually large ;-). You can see how tiny these items are. And how many pins they have!
After some work, here you have first DDS placed
But... would it be soldered OK?. Let's use a magnifier...
It seems so!. OK, let's do the second one
I checked the DDSs, using the VNWA software and, yes, they worked fine!!!
So let's continue with next step, the output section
Once basically checked (only voltages and consumption), let's go with the input section:
So we are almost done!!!. And this is the result
Perhaps looking at the pictures it could seem a couple hours work... no, it took me lots more, because there are plenty of 0603 SMD components. And they are really small.
I wanted to do a good work, even with all SMD labels in same orientation and all soldering as nice as I was able to do. Here you have some detailed pictures
There is a semi-rigid coax which should be placed on the rear side
And then the SMA connectors... and this PCB is done!
Once I checked the unit, it was time to put it inside its casing
And this is the result of all the work, a little RF jewel!!!