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Old 26-04-2012, 13:06   #1
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Recommendation for SWR/Power meter

A few months back I received a lot of great advice on troubleshooting my SSB system. I haven't been able to get the time to do the work yet, but have taken the time to buy some of the pieces that should help my system works right i.e. KISS Counterpoise, new GTO-15 wire, etc. I plan on also buying an SWR/Power meter to put between my Icom 710 Pro and SGC tuner. Can anyone suggest a particular make/model. There are a lot of them on ebay at a relatively low price, and I don't want to buy just anthing, or more importantly, the wrong one. In addition, do I understand correctly that all one has to do is plug the coax from the radio into the meter, and then the coax from the tuner into the meter, and that's it? Thanks again for your help. George - Papagayo
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Old 26-04-2012, 13:49   #2
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Re: Recommendation for SWR/Power meter

George, SWR meters are all fairly simple, just some wire and diodes and a switch. A grade school kid could build one if he knew how to solder.

So I'd feel comfortable with any brnad name, as long as it was for the frequencies that you want to cover. The big Daiwa's with twin needles are nice, no need to flip a switch, but really, even a "Shenzen special" should do OK.

As to holding up in the marine environment and so on...I don't think any of them will be gold flashed, or a problem. Pick a seller that seems reliable, 100% feedback, and you should be OK.

As to operation: yes, you plug a SHORT double-male coax into your radio, then plug in the SWR meter as close as convenient to the radio, then another coax going up to the antenna. The meter stays in place.

If it is a double-needle type, you can just galnce at it, put a dot at "normal" so you can see if that changes with age, etc. If it is the cheaper kind that you have to flip a switch on, switch it to forward, calibrate it, switch it to reverse and then normally just leave it there, again with a dot on the scale to show "normal". Check the forward calibration whenever your guilt nags you, but no need to be compulsive about it.

Also buy a "double female" adapter, so that you can just unscrew both cables from the SWR meter and replace it with the adapter if at some time you ever want to remove the SWR meter conveniently.
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Old 26-04-2012, 14:14   #3
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Re: Recommendation for SWR/Power meter

George,

New Daiwa CN-101L .... $99 online from Chuck Martin RF or HRO. Cross-needle, compact, lighted, well built. The cross-needles make it much simpler to see power out and SWR simultaneously.

You'll never have to wonder again if you're "putting out" or if your tuner/antenna system is OK :-)

Bill
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Old 30-04-2012, 10:47   #4
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Re: Recommendation for SWR/Power meter

Hellosailor and Bill: Thanks for the input. George
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Old 30-04-2012, 11:12   #5
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Re: Recommendation for SWR/Power meter

I like the Daiwa cross-needle SWR meter, but you for your boat testing needs you might look at the MFJ-872 SWR meter. This unit covers 1.8 to 200 MHz, so you can use it for not only SSB testing, but VHF (and AIS) testing as well.

The Daiwa meter is only rated up to 150 MHz. It's probably going to work well enough on the Marine VHF bands (156-162 MHz), especially for SWR measurement, but the power measurement may be off-calibration.

MFJ has a reputation for functional but flimsy gear. The MFJ-872 is actually quite solidly built.

Regarding power measurement, none of these SWR meters have laboratory-grade accuracy, so you should consider their readings to be ballpark. They are definitely good enough for the kind of troubleshooting we need to do.
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Old 30-04-2012, 12:07   #6
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Re: Recommendation for SWR/Power meter

Just out of curiosity, do the Marine SSBs not have a SWR function built in?? My Icom 718 ham radio has the ability to display SWR, seems like the Marine radios would also have the function.
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