Author Topic: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment  (Read 2291 times)

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Offline NY2KW

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SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« on: February 20, 2020, 04:49:01 pm »
I may be dense but it seems to me that the SVA1032X is missing a feature that seems so basic that I find it hard to believe that Siglent did not include it.  Bad enough that EasySpectrum does not work in VNA mode but every far less expensive VNA has an easily accessible marker table feature that displays a comprehensive table for any marker(s) listing for S11 or S21: Freq, Z, L&C (series and parallel), VSWR, RL, Phase, Gain, etc.  In the SVA1032X, each marker is locked to a specific format.  Unless I have missed a hidden menu item, how could such a table function be missing in a $3500 piece of test equipment when even the $60 NanoVNA has that basic feature in free software?  Yes, I have been led to scikit-rf but there's is a very steep learning curve (perhaps not so for RF-engineers) just to display these basic parameters.  I am not comparing the quality or sophistication between a NanVNA or SDR-Kits VNWA with the SVA1032X BUT it could not have been software design or CPU/memory limitations that led Siglent to omit this feature.   I read the user manual before purchase and the VNA section was so brief that I incorrectly assumed the basic features would all be there.  Further, nowhere did Siglent comment that EasySpectrum lacked VNA support.   The SVA1032X is likely overkill for a ham radio hobbyist like me but I was surprised to see these features were missing.   I hope that my comments are plain wrong and I am missing something obvious, so please chime in !!!

Jerry NY2KW
 

Offline tautech

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2020, 05:23:40 pm »
Jerry, I believe there's more firmware in the works that's resulting from the development of the 7.5 GHz SVA however I cannot say if it will specifically address the points you raise as I'm not privy to exactly what's happening.

However we can display a total of 4 traces, each with a different measurement and with up to 8 markers on each, toggling between each trace displays the list of each markers measurement. It needs be noted that each marker's frequency will be the same despite which trace is selected so some thought need be used to determine on what frequency each marker is placed.
Hope this helps.

The following screenshot from this thread gives an idea of how it's done:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/rf-microwave/what-really-is-this-antenna/



I have some other thoughts of what might address your wishes so if we can explore this further with input from other SVA owners maybe we can take a proposal to Siglent.
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Offline NY2KW

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2020, 06:17:43 pm »
Hi tautech !!  I was hoping you would comment :-).   Yeas, I have setup numerous markers within each of the 4 traces but the upper right Display of Marker values quickly becomes cluttered, unreadable. It just reflects a poor GUI design.  They could have used the same kind of split screen marker table display as in the SA modes.  I think everyone would be happy if Easyspectrum could provide this kind of functionality.  Setting up the multiple markers, across multiple trace format is tedious.  I have saved STA files for the format settings I use more frequently and that helps but the lack of display capabilities is glaring after you start really using the VNA a lot.  I hope the new firmware can address some of this or at the least they update EasySpectrum for full graphical control of the VNA

Jerry NY2KW
 

Offline tautech

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2020, 06:37:46 pm »
Hi tautech !!  I was hoping you would comment :-).   Yeas, I have setup numerous markers within each of the 4 traces but the upper right Display of Marker values quickly becomes cluttered, unreadable. It just reflects a poor GUI design.  They could have used the same kind of split screen marker table display as in the SA modes.  I think everyone would be happy if Easyspectrum could provide this kind of functionality.  Setting up the multiple markers, across multiple trace format is tedious.  I have saved STA files for the format settings I use more frequently and that helps but the lack of display capabilities is glaring after you start really using the VNA a lot.  I hope the new firmware can address some of this or at the least they update EasySpectrum for full graphical control of the VNA

Jerry NY2KW
It's important we hear other contributions, opinions and suggestions too.
Good idea of a split screen for a VNA marker table. I don't like it much in SA mode however for the purpose of this discussion it could well be useful.  :-+
Don't be shy to post any screenshots with discussion about each too and this thread can serve as a resource for Siglent to consider any proposals for changes and/or additions.

I'll go sniffing as to what's coming in new FW and get my SVA out to investigate any hard to find features.

Oh and a question, have you tried using a mouse for easier migration within the UI ?
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Offline NY2KW

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2020, 07:03:54 pm »
Have not tried mouse as the SVA is sitting on a shelf about 16" above the workbench.... but will try it today.
 

Offline hendorog

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2020, 09:24:39 pm »
Just to be clear - on the nanovna, is the detailed marker info you referring to coming from the application NanoVNASaver?

That application displays a lot of information for each marker as I recall. That application is open source and was developed by someone independently. The dev is on this forum (member 5q5r). I think their app could be modified to support the SVA pretty easily. Something on my todo list was to play with the SVA API...

I haven't kept up to date on the Nano firmware and all of the hardware and software variations and progress, but the ones I have (which are running older firmware now) only have very basic marker functionality. These work much like a simple version of what is on my HP 8753C - which itself is more limited than the SVA in marker numbers and traces. Hence my guess above.
 

Offline graybeard

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2020, 09:51:24 pm »
The SVA1032X will save into a data file the information for all of the displayed traces, of which you can have up to 4 traces.
to characterize two ports I like to use 4 traces.
1) smith with Z, R, & C&L
2) smith wtih S11 mag and phase
3) s21 mag
4) s21 phase.

This gives me the values I use most use in one data file  (S11Mag, S11phase, Zmag, Zphase, R, C or L, S21mag, and S21phase) , but not the full table of values that would be ideal.

I too would like to see a csv file with all of the values, but that has not yet been included.  However I did include the proposal in my 1st (and now outdated) YouTube video about the SVA1032X
The markeers can be locked to each other, or made independent by trace.
The marker values for each trace are saved in the data file.

The firmware has improved the performance of the instrument with each release. andI know they are still working on improvments.   I beleive they are consider doing a log frquency sweep per my request.  I will make a video about using some of the new features after I compete the one I am working on about capacitor measurments.

I use a logitech wireless keyboard/mouse combination with my SVA most of the time.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2020, 10:00:07 pm by graybeard »
 
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Offline NY2KW

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2020, 03:03:24 am »
Yes, NanoVNA-saver, Win10 version.  Very neat, clean GUI with lots of flexibility.  The other software package I use for my VNWA by SDR-Kits but I believe that is proprietary.
 

Offline tautech

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2020, 08:13:33 am »
Discussion of a much better VNA mode measurement suite has been initiated between some beta testers and the product manager. Early days yet and when there is some agreed direction we'll share some ideas and look for further input.

If you have some concepts please jump in and share them.
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Offline OwO

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2020, 09:02:37 am »
How about open sourcing the firmware? It potentially saves you a lot of development effort. Vendor provided software/firmware is rarely good.
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Online tv84

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2020, 09:22:46 am »
How about open sourcing the firmware? It potentially saves you a lot of development effort. Vendor provided software/firmware is rarely good.

Although this could be a wonderful thing for the community, given that all these equipments (from all brands) are usually "software license-crippled", releasing the source would definitely mean a huge loss in revenue. The only way to counteract that would be to increase the price of the lower models. I would be very amazed if we ever see this happening.

 

Offline NY2KW

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2020, 02:46:27 pm »
I will reach out to '5q5r' who wrote the NanaVNA-Saver software.  It looks like everything I would want :-).     I guess the first thing is to compare the data commands and data types between the NanoVNA and SVA1000x to see how much effort would be required to create a SVA specific version.
 

Offline NY2KW

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2020, 04:28:39 pm »
I cannot find anything whether the SVA1000x can export a Touchstone file.  I looked at their programming manual and no info there.  Anyone have any info on this?
 

Offline graybeard

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2020, 06:35:36 pm »
It exports csv format which is the most useful for me.
I don’t currently use touchstone format, but in the past I have just set up a linked spreadsheet in excel to convert from csv to s2p
 

Offline hendorog

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2020, 06:46:12 pm »
I cannot find anything whether the SVA1000x can export a Touchstone file.  I looked at their programming manual and no info there.  Anyone have any info on this?

To export CSV and convert to Touchstone this is what I have been doing:
* Setup a single trace as Smith Re/Img
* Export to CSV
* Open in a text editor - such as Notepad
* Remove all of the lines of text down to where the columns of numbers start* Insert these two lines at the top of the file:
Code: [Select]
# Hz S RI R 50.000000
!freq ReS11 ImS11
* Search and replace all commas with a space
* Save as .s1p
 

Offline NY2KW

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2020, 07:19:57 pm »
Thanks hendorog...

I found the Touchstone v1.1 format paper and saw how simple it is to convert.  I was looking at the command structure for the NanaoVNA and then tried to decipher the python code on github for the NanaVNA-Saver software.   I am not a python programmer but it seems like only 3 modules would need adaptation: 1) the NanoVNA-saver USB-serial interface module to recognize the SAV1000x,  2) replace the Nano command set with SVA command set and 3) minor changes to the data packet processing.   I am now reading through the SVA1000x programming manual as I want to first setup a terminal control to get familiar.

Jerry
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2020, 01:55:40 am »
Good to know.  The price for the Siglent was high enough once you fitted the options and with it not being a full two port system, I plan to give an old boat anchor a new life.   Last thing I would want is an SVA121GW. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline tautech

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2020, 12:36:00 am »
Current discussion is to tile or split the display with measurements below the traces as in SA mode and SSA instruments.
Preferences please and reasons why.
TIA
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Offline NY2KW

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2020, 02:41:25 am »
I don't know how the SSA does this, do you mean either side by side versus Traces on top and table on bottom?  I'm used to seeing it as Table below traces but if the SSA does it differently can you post a picture example?  thanks !!
 

Offline tautech

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2020, 04:09:55 am »
I don't know how the SSA does this, do you mean either side by side versus Traces on top and table on bottom?  I'm used to seeing it as Table below traces but if the SSA does it differently can you post a picture example?  thanks !!
The topic is how the measurement suite in VNA mode could be improved so that the marker measurements for each and every trace are all visible at the same time. This is currently not the case as evidenced in the screenshot posted earlier.

Simplified overview:

Option 1
As done by dedicated VNA's, each trace format is displayed in a tile on the display and marker values are visible for each. As SVA models have a touch display arrangement of the tiles to suit user preferences should also be possible.
4 active traces will result in 4 tiles like is done in Modulation Analysis:



Option 2
Replicate in VNA mode the vertically split display in SVA spectrum analyzer mode in which measurements are placed in a list in the bottom pane like is done some SA Measure modes:



Option 3
Status quo, nothing is changed so the appropriate format must be selected to display the marker measurements for each format when multiple traces are active as in this previous example:



There are valid arguments for each implementation however users with SVA's that use SA and VNA modes will have preferences for how the measurements of multiple traces are best displayed to fit they needs.

Please discuss and/or suggest further options for us to consider.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2020, 07:54:34 am by tautech »
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Offline NY2KW

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2020, 09:26:08 pm »
My vote would be Option 1 first and if not then Option 2.

Thank you !!!
 
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Offline E Kafeman

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2020, 07:17:10 pm »
As with many measurement instrument of this kind is it of interest to be possible to read streaming data in a way that it can cooperate with other instruments and software or else does it limit functionality.
For that reason does such instruments support GPIB/SCPI/VISA as a kind of industry standard.
20 years old multimeters, SA, VNA, PSU and other tools provide such support from brands such as HP, Anritsu, TI, Keitly and R&S to name a few so it is nothing new.

I intended yesterday to add Siglent SVA1032X to a such environment. Typical scenario is streaming VNA data to a computer while measured antenna is rotated on a turntable or measure antenna in a reverberation chamber.
In computer can collected data typically be used to calculate resulting 2D or 3D radiation pattern or average efficiency, based on collected 100-10000 frequency sweeps. Basic VNA things. Basically same type of function as when periodically saving multi-meter readings over time while discharging a battery. Measurement data becomes much more interesting when a lot of data over time is presented as (dis)charge curves and graphs for a battery and same for VNA and antenna measurements and more information about antenna can be documented.

From programming view is this usually easy done, did check Siglent SVA1000x programming manual which showed that VISA and SCPI was supported so most job was practically done as SCPI is high level instructions, a few software strings and data can be read.
VISA provides a standard programming instrument interface, no need for me to keep track of low level instrument details.
Remained to put together existing software pieces to a executable software and job was assumed to be done.

First disappointment, it was no VNA function mentioned in Siglent programming manual. How is that possible? Confusion!!
Guess many believes that as instrument state it is SCPI compatible must it at least include being able to read data from basic instrument functions.
VNA function does clearly not exist in programming manual. Was it a mistake of had I downloaded wrong manual?

Last pages in programming manual showed three programming examples. It is common in these kinds of manuals with a few basic example for simple streaming/saving of measured data. But Siglent examples did not do anything at all, besides saying hello to its own instrument, no instrument settings or readings at all in these samples.

Crazy stuff, this can not be for real? To check further if I had  downloaded wrong file did I download additional two programming manuals from different Siglent sources but there was still nothing about any VNA functions.

Downloaded Labview drivers for that instrument from Siglent.eu website as a additional try, hoped VNA functions maybe existed inside these drivers even if it not was described in programming manual, but no.

Did then notice that Siglent did update its labview driver last time in March 2018 !! Guess SVA1032 not even was invented then.
Now was I a bit pissed. Have I spent several hours on a fraud?
Can not expect to make anything useful with these drivers. Only function they have is that such drivers makes presumptive VNA buyers believe full SCPI instrument support exist.

What I at least had expected is to be able to select S11 or S21 streaming data and getting or setting its data format, complex Re-Im or vector&angle which are the most common formats, binary or ascii. In reality is not any function implemented to be able to transfer such data, probably not even in firmware for this instrument.

It is very disappointing that Siglent software is missing any VNA functionality and no try since several years have been done to update its advertised communication software.

This kind of implementation of data streaming is a standard procedure in both RF-lab and many production environment. I have done such implemetions it for many brands of VNA, mostly more costly instruments but also instruments such as Coppermine Tech. R60, a single port VNA in similar cost and tech. spec range as SVA1032X, SVA1075X, with SCPI fully supported without any by me known bugs or hidden exceptions.

If Siglent software had included VNA functions had it been relative easy stream or save results in industry standard Touchstone file format.
A VNA not including reading and writing Touchstone is above my head how Siglent was thinking. For any brand and type of instrument that use complex impedance measuments is it the most important file format.

A fully functional software as promised and it will increase possible sales and makes more buyers less disappointed.

It is possible that by Siglent expected customer category mostly is amateurs with simpler measurement needs, no need to calculate anything on the fly, save or synchronize measurement with other instruments and tools and have no needs to stream data in industry standard formats which 3:rd part VNA software normally support.
A VNA is maybe just seen as a expensive VSWR meter by these customers or a freebee extension of a spectrum analyzer, something without real functionality?

It would be very practical if Siglent told people like me in advance, no idea to spend time on trying to use provided drivers or reading programming manuals, VNA software functions does not exist except in own advertisements.
It would at least save me several hours  trying to find expected functions.

From PDF "Siglent_SVA1032X_Datasheet" ver. DS0701X_D02A:

Remote Control Capability:  SCPI / Labview / IVI based on USB-TMC / VXI-11 / Socket / Telnet/ NI-MAX

Do above row say anything about that VNA part is excluded from these protocols?

Have Siglent any plans to ever support VNA as promised above or does it already exist such support but is hidden somewhere where I not can find it?
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 07:21:41 pm by E Kafeman »
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Offline tautech

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2020, 07:33:48 pm »
Can I ask what version Programming manual you have been working from ?
The current version is PG0701X_E02A
You can get it here:
https://int.siglent.com/products-document/30.html?DId=267/
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Offline E Kafeman

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2020, 04:37:14 pm »
Thanks a lot for that link. That manual did at least have a VNA section.

Have downloaded all available programming manuals at https://www.siglenteu.com/ and https://www.siglent.eu/ and you is right, they are older versions then version available at int.siglent.com.
By judging in file size do I have two versions at around 2.7 MB and one version at 3.7 MB and all says version PG701X-E01A. None of them mention any VNA functions.
I was actually also looking at download section at int.siglent.com for updated drivers but could not find any drivers at all and did then not download anything else either.

Version E02A from int.siglent.com contains a section about VNA programming which seems to be useful. From quick view does it lack some information such as binary or ascii numeric structure of trace data (header format, endian order, real and complex number delimiter...) but such things can often be understand by reading programming examples or dissect available drivers if it had existed. An additional possibility is trial and error, debugging an see what kind of data that is returned, but that is no possible as I not have any Siglent VNA available locally.

I will dig deeper in this manual to check for calibration programming procedures, trigging and practical parts such that if user can interact with buttons while data is read but that have to wait as this week is way to busy and I have already spent more then a half day debugging drivers and reading manuals, which all was outdated, downloaded from assumed official Siglent web-sources.

Actual software I try to update to include support for Siglent VNA is having users worldwide, mostly very commercial RF labs, and VNA hardware compatibility list this software support is currently more then 50 models for which function is granted. Can not add a VNA to that list if its functions are undocumented and then could be changed by Siglent anytime later. Reason to update was due a request from a potential customer for the software and Siglent VNA.
As documented information do I accept programming manual, programming examples and labview drivers downloaded directly from VNA producer website which maybe is int.siglent.com? where none of promised labview driver seems to exist or at least can I not find them.

I will do another try with programming manual and/or try to find updated labview drivers next week.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 04:40:39 pm by E Kafeman »
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Offline tautech

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2020, 07:19:12 pm »
int.siglent is the head office in Shenzhen website and the other page you're looking for with drivers and SW is here:
https://int.siglent.com/products-software/sva1000x/

If you need further assistance to develop Antune support for SVA1000X please ask.
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Offline E Kafeman

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2020, 08:07:27 pm »
Thanks, but actual driver files inside these zip files are from April 2018 and same as I already have checked. Contains nothing about VNA functionality.
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Offline tautech

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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2020, 08:16:22 pm »
Thanks, but actual driver files inside these zip files are from April 2018 and same as I already have checked. Contains nothing about VNA functionality.
OK, I know nothing about labview but if you need specific requirements and are happy to PM me I will attempt to put you in touch with the SVA team.
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Re: SVA1032X VNA Disappointment
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2020, 04:14:56 pm »
Yes, I have been led to scikit-rf but there's is a very steep learning curve (perhaps not so for RF-engineers) just to display these basic parameters.
Hello. I'm a scikit-rf developer and I'd would be please to hear about your user experience, in particular, what you have found difficult and would merit new or additional documentation (maybe by private message since it is not the purpose of this thread). 

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