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 Buying a SWR meter

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PostSubject: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeFri May 07, 2021 3:54 pm

Hi all.

Just wondering what your thoughts or experiences are with cheap SWR meters. Are they accurate enough or would I be buying junk?

I'm considering buying a cheap swr meter on Ebay

All the best 
Andrew



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Alan Pilot
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeFri May 07, 2021 4:25 pm

To be honest you get what you pay for.
The low cost ones will work but not 100%.
Everybody has there own opinion and you will get more replies.
A lot of radio's have a built in one but again not 100%.
Anything is better than nothing.

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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeSat May 08, 2021 4:26 am

I learnt a long time ago that cheap is often false economy....
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeSat May 08, 2021 6:32 am

Hi Andrew,

SWR measurement is just a relative reading anyway so I've never worried about the 'price' of such units. (You surprisingly don't always get a 'better' meter by lashing out more money!)

All you're doing is calibrating the meter to how much power you are putting out then checking how much of that is 'reflected' and you've got your SWR reading. Anything less than 2 is good enough, 1.6 or lower is pretty much bang on and you know something is wrong if you get a reading higher than 3.

I have a 'cheap' Zetagi CB meter I use for all my radio work and it's good enough to work from 80m (3.5MHz) up to 2m (144MHz) with a fair degree of accuracy. The only let down is the 'Power' readings are inaccurate unless I'm on CB frequencies as these tend to be frequency dependant on the cheaper units. (I'm only checking SWR so never use the power reading anyway.)
If you're just using it on CB it will be more than good enough. Smile


In fact if you find a cheaper meter that only reads SWR that will pretty much do the job for you on CB! Buying a SWR meter 1f44d 


I've known operators that seem to collect SWR and power meters like god knows what. They'll have HF units, VHF, UHF, analog meters in both small and large meter displays, digital display meters and fancy bouncing LED monstrosities that cost more than your average domestic white goods appliance cluttering their radio rooms. Some will even send you to sleep with mention of 'Tandem Couplers', 'Bruene Bridges', Analog Devices 'true' dB, capacitive and 'op-amp' peak reading, RMS, Average, yada, yada, yawn, zzzzzzzzzz. Wink


Each to their own I suppose, but yeah, a cheap meter will do the job.


All the best,
Victor
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeSat May 08, 2021 3:08 pm

A cheap SWR is a handy device, I have 2 and they are both next to useless a Zetagi one from 26 years ago, does not read power with any accuracy and SWR ?? If it goes down when tuning that'll do. Who knows... seems roughly right and a little dual meter "cb" on the standard Chinese type that are branded by various companies... that one the needle seems to be a bit sticky.

The radios I use both have SWR meter built in and frankly that is perfectly good enough. I tune DIY antennas up on the internal meters so they get a close to perfect. I don't have a specific need to measure SWR at the antenna even though it is a more accurate reading. When your internal meter says 1:1 or 1.2:1 where you operate on the band job's a good un, if you have a decent radio the meter in it is all you need for basic antennas.

Personally I think blowing £200.00 on a SWR meter is a poor decision. All you need is an indication of reducing SWR so a cheap one that works on freqs of interest is fine.

Most modern radios either beep at you and/or reduce the output if a poor SWR is detected.

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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeSun May 09, 2021 1:35 pm

bought myself a new Daiwa CN-501H2 last month instead of the cheap thingys i used last years. just because my own mindset is to have something good. its all in the brains, between your ears Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeSun May 09, 2021 1:57 pm

As above it's all in the mind.
I got lucky and for £50 i got the Nissei DG-503 It does 1.6 TO 525 MHz
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeSun May 09, 2021 1:58 pm

The Daiwa CN-501H2 looks like a nice unit. Still quite affordable at around the au $150 mark.
Thanks peetassen
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeSun May 09, 2021 2:59 pm

I like the one i have as it shows you your power out + what's coming back and the SWR.
Plus no knobs to turn  Buying a SWR meter 1f618 ..
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeMon May 10, 2021 1:42 pm

Hotel Zulu 253 wrote:
The Daiwa CN-501H2 looks like a nice unit. Still quite affordable at around the au $150 mark.
Thanks peetassen
bought mine for 119 euros. so far i like the Daiwa, simple, easy and affordable Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeMon May 10, 2021 1:53 pm

I've found a second hand meter that is being sold with a separate frequency counter. Hopefully I can get to the big smoke before it disappears.
REACE RS-107 "Transceiver Testmaster" ,
and
DIGITOR Frequency Counter
Au $100 for the pair
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeSat May 15, 2021 10:32 am

Thanks to all who replied.
I managed to pick these up avoiding the cheap ebay stuff.
Au $100, I think I got a cracking deal, now to download a user manual for the SWR meter👍Buying a SWR meter 20210517
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2021 4:23 am

I'm happy to report that the swr meter has enabled me to tune my mobile antenna, I've managed to achieve the perfect  SWR, atleast that's what the meter is telling me.
I had to take almost 6" off the antenna to achieve my results.
It was a slow process, my instinct told me to cut away 1" at a time until the SWR came close but I chipped away at about ⅓" at a time.
Its nice knowing that I'm getting all my rf out with nothing reflecting back.

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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2021 7:23 am

1" at a time is a lot but then 6" is massive what aerial was it ????.

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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2021 8:35 am

Hotel Zulu 253 wrote:
The Daiwa CN-501H2 looks like a nice unit. Still quite affordable at around the au $150 mark.
Thanks peetassen

Must admit I like Daiwa meters, cross needle type, have three that cover every thing to 2.4gig.

That said I do have cheaper versions which give a reasonable indication.

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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2021 8:39 am

Hotel Zulu 253 wrote:
I'm happy to report that the swr meter has enabled me to tune my mobile antenna, I've managed to achieve the perfect  SWR, atleast that's what the meter is telling me.
I had to take almost 6" off the antenna to achieve my results.
It was a slow process, my instinct told me to cut away 1" at a time until the SWR came close but I chipped away at about ⅓" at a time.
Its nice knowing that I'm getting all my rf out with nothing reflecting back.

What we must realise there is more than likely no perfect SWR.

Take a look at this article, explain better than I can.
https://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/tis/info/pdf/q1106037.pdf

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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2021 11:11 am

Alan Pilot wrote:
1" at a time is a lot but then 6" is massive what aerial was it ????.
Cut to tune Superspring Skipwhip from mobile one antennas. Its a very well made, copper braid, heavy fibreglass antenna.

They suggest on their website that the spring base adds to the working length of the antenna, so that would probably explain it.


Last edited by Hotel Zulu 253 on Wed May 26, 2021 11:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2021 11:28 am

Ivy Mike wrote:
Hotel Zulu 253 wrote:
I'm happy to report that the swr meter has enabled me to tune my mobile antenna, I've managed to achieve the perfect  SWR, atleast that's what the meter is telling me.
I had to take almost 6" off the antenna to achieve my results.
It was a slow process, my instinct told me to cut away 1" at a time until the SWR came close but I chipped away at about ⅓" at a time.
Its nice knowing that I'm getting all my rf out with nothing reflecting back.

What we must realise there is more than likely no perfect SWR.

Take a look at this article, explain better than I can.
https://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/tis/info/pdf/q1106037.pdf
I did just happen to read that just last week while researching SWR, I had a funny feeling someone here might have mentioned the "no perfect SWR thing"
Well even if its only giving me the placebo effect, I'm still very happy to see 1:1
With a stock low wattage mobile cb, I recon every little performance gain I can get will be helpful.
I'm a big fan of screwing every little bit of performance out of my equipment, 1% here and there eventually adds up to significant gains.
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2021 11:28 am

Only ever remember trimming one aerial and that was a fire-stick 35 years ago.
With that you cut around  1/8th" at a time if that.
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2021 11:37 am

Yeah, I had over 2:1 on 40 and about 1.5:1 on 1 so I was pretty confident that it "needed" a serious hair cut.
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PostSubject: Re: Buying a SWR meter   Buying a SWR meter Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2021 5:03 pm

Quote :
We're just lucky that Mother Nature doesn't require our antenna systems to be perfect to work our radio.

Quoted from elsewhere but true.

Many people use SWR to tune their antennas.  Others tune to resonance.  A few like me prefer field strength.  In the end, in this world we live in, you will never notice the difference in performance between any of these three tuning methods.

If an SWR meter is the best you got then by all means tune to the lowest SWR you can get.  If you can't get a so called "perfect" swr, then as long as you can get close enough for your radio/amplifier to be safe and not use less power then its fine.


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