RadioReference on Facebook   RadioReference on Twitter   RadioReference Blog
 

Go Back   The RadioReference.com Forums > Amateur Radio > Amateur Radio Antennas

Amateur Radio Antennas - For discussion of all amateur band designed antennas and related accoutrements. This includes base, handheld, mobile and repeater usage. For commercial antennas on the amateur bands please use Commercial Radio Antennas below.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #21 (permalink)  
Old 03-23-2017, 11:06 AM
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Woodlands, MB
Posts: 598
Default

Just to add... Chinese stuff like the N1201SA can be had for cheap. They aren't lab-grade, but will do an adequate job in the field.

In my eBay travels, I came across a Surecom SW-102 VHF-UHF Power/SWR Meter/Counter. SURECOM SW-102-VU V.S.W.R. POWER METER and frequency counter 409shop walkie talkie- Radio

It was only 50 bucks, so I figured "what the heck" It works surprisingly well and it's very portable, you can stick in in a jacket pocket.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #22 (permalink)  
Old 03-23-2017, 2:43 PM
W9BU's Avatar
Lead Wiki Manager
  RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Brownsburg, Indiana
Posts: 4,525
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by prcguy View Post
I have one and its very good, makes the MFJ look like the toy that it is.
Could you elaborate on this a bit? Aside from the small full-color display on the Comet, what technical differences exist between the two?
__________________
Lead Wiki Manager and Forum Moderator.

"The whole world's living in a digital dream. It's not really there, it's all on the screen." -- WB6ACU
Reply With Quote
  #23 (permalink)  
Old 03-23-2017, 4:03 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,851
Default

I have the original Comet CAA-500 with meter only, no color display. Internally its made very professionally, unlike the construction of MFJ products with sloppy point to point wiring. The frequency stability is very good and I've tested mine with 50, 25, 75 and 200 ohm loads and its very accurate across all ranges. Battery life is also very good.

I bought the Comet because I was disgusted with my MFJ 259B and the Comet seemed to be the only basic analyzer at the time that covered continuous from HF to 500MHz and I needed one to test a UHF satcom design. The Comet and a pricey HP microwave vector network analyzer is partially to thank for the MT X-wing satcom antenna project.

I wish I had the NS1201SA when testing the X-wing, the information it provides would have made the job go much faster.
prcguy

Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
Could you elaborate on this a bit? Aside from the small full-color display on the Comet, what technical differences exist between the two?
Reply With Quote
  #24 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2017, 9:09 AM
Dahwg's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 36
Default

I don't like cheaping out, so it sounds like I'm going to have to start saving some pennies. I love all of the information I'm seeing here.

Sent from my LG-H918 using Tapatalk
__________________
Henry,
K7AEL
WQYQ485
Reply With Quote
  #25 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2017, 12:23 PM
cmdrwill's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: So Cali
Posts: 2,442
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by prcguy View Post
I have the original Comet CAA-500 with meter only, no color display. Internally its made very professionally, unlike the construction of MFJ products with sloppy point to point wiring. The frequency stability is very good and I've tested mine with 50, 25, 75 and 200 ohm loads and its very accurate across all ranges. Battery life is also very good.

I bought the Comet because I was disgusted with my MFJ 259B and the Comet seemed to be the only basic analyzer at the time that covered continuous from HF to 500MHz and I needed one to test a UHF satcom design. The Comet and a pricey HP microwave vector network analyzer is partially to thank for the MT X-wing satcom antenna project.

I wish I had the NS1201SA when testing the X-wing, the information it provides would have made the job go much faster.
prcguy
I also replaced my MFJ with the Comet CAA-500, and it does very well on most antenna testing in my service work.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #26 (permalink)  
Old 03-25-2017, 6:19 AM
K2MFW's Avatar
Member
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Millville NJ
Posts: 29
Default Bird 43 as an SWR Meter

No, a Bird 43 is NOT an SWR meter. It's a wattmeter.

YOU may calculate SWR using forward and reflected wattage using MATH, charts or online calculators and apps that perform the math required to calculate the SWR given forward and reflected power.

A wattmeter is NEVER an SWR meter.

It's a WATTMETER. It displays wattage, it doesn't do anything else as a meter itself.

The only issue I have with my Birds and my 11 slugs is that of course it can get expensive, and having the right slugs for freq and power can be a pain in the butt.

Say you wanted to measure the WATTAGE and then CALCULATE the SWR of a 146mHz freq at 25 watts transmitter.... I'd use the closest slug I can find to give me good meter deflection, then to get the wattage reflected, using the same slug, the accuracy of reading the reflected power on the meter can be a challenge, unless again, if you have a low power slug for more accuracy. Birds aren't the Cadillac anymore. But they do look good on my bench.

That's why I stick with the RigExpert when designing antennas and checking much more than SWR.

Matt - K2MFW
__________________
Matt Wilson
Ham Radio Call: K2MFW
Active ham for 47 years, age 60
All Modes, All Bands, All Everything
Reply With Quote
  #27 (permalink)  
Old 03-25-2017, 8:30 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,851
Default

That's like saying a Toyota Prius is not a Taxi, its just a car. I could say a Rig Expert is not an SWR meter because it doesn't have a switch for power and SWR and doesn't have a little cal knob on it.

The advertising for a Bird 43 is aimed at power and SWR measurements due to its unique RF line section and reversible pick up element with a big arrow on it to indicate forward or reflected power. Ever notice that big arrow on your slug?

This is right out of the Bird 43 manual "The 43 is an insertion-type RF wattmeter, designed to measure RF power and load match in 50 ohm coaxial transmission lines". The Bird wattmeter comes with an SWR chart in its supplied manual. Its a wattmeter and an SWR meter and that's what everyone I know who owns one does with it.

I'm sorry to hear you are missing out on using one of the functions of your Bird 43, which will do some things that your Rig Expert cannot.
prcguy


Quote:
Originally Posted by K2MFW View Post
No, a Bird 43 is NOT an SWR meter. It's a wattmeter.

YOU may calculate SWR using forward and reflected wattage using MATH, charts or online calculators and apps that perform the math required to calculate the SWR given forward and reflected power.

A wattmeter is NEVER an SWR meter.

It's a WATTMETER. It displays wattage, it doesn't do anything else as a meter itself.

The only issue I have with my Birds and my 11 slugs is that of course it can get expensive, and having the right slugs for freq and power can be a pain in the butt.

Say you wanted to measure the WATTAGE and then CALCULATE the SWR of a 146mHz freq at 25 watts transmitter.... I'd use the closest slug I can find to give me good meter deflection, then to get the wattage reflected, using the same slug, the accuracy of reading the reflected power on the meter can be a challenge, unless again, if you have a low power slug for more accuracy. Birds aren't the Cadillac anymore. But they do look good on my bench.

That's why I stick with the RigExpert when designing antennas and checking much more than SWR.

Matt - K2MFW
Reply With Quote
  #28 (permalink)  
Old 03-25-2017, 11:48 AM
k2ool's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,160
Default Meter

The best meter for the lowesr price is the Diamond SX-600
They can be had for around approx $130

1.8 MHZ -160 and 140-520MHZ

Diamond® Antenna ~ SX600 Dual-Band Power Meter
Reply With Quote
  #29 (permalink)  
Old 03-25-2017, 12:54 PM
mmckenna's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: SNCZCA01DS0
Posts: 7,147
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by K2MFW View Post
No, a Bird 43 is NOT an SWR meter. It's a wattmeter.
Moot point.

Just think of the thousands of radio techs that have been doing it wrong all these years. All the radio techs I've worked with who are foolishly carrying Bird 43's when they can have a plastic piece of amateur radio gear.

And...
If you are just looking at the ratio of forward to reflected power, you are sort of missing the point. Ideally you want the lowest reflected power. The X:Y ratio just becomes a bragging point.

The OP was looking for a meter that would fit his needs for years to come. Absolutely, a simple amateur grade SWR meter will work, nothing wrong with that.
However, if he's looking for something that offers the most amount of flexibility and to fit future needs, a Bird 43 is a good option. It is not the only option.

I'm sure the OP will make his own decision.
__________________
--------------------
Beer me.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #30 (permalink)  
Old 03-25-2017, 1:12 PM
cmdrwill's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: So Cali
Posts: 2,442
Default

And we also have several B1rd watt meters. THE Standard of the industry.
Reply With Quote
  #31 (permalink)  
Old 03-25-2017, 1:48 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,851
Default

For antenna and transmitter work I've got three Bird 43s, a Telewave 44A, a couple of cross needle Diawa meters, a Comet CAA-500, an AII N1201SA vector impedance SWR antenna analyzer, HP power meters with various thermistor mounts and power attenuators, an HP spectrum analyzer with tracking generator and return loss bridge and some other junk. If I could only have one of the above it would be the Bird 43 with the 25 or so slugs I have because it will serve me on a test bench, in a vehicle or on a mountain top.

All my Bird 43s read the same and any measurement I do can be repeated by anyone else with a Bird 43, where I can get different readings using a Diawa or other hamster meter. As mentioned, the Bird 43 is an industry standard and its readings (power and SWR) are generally never questioned. The Telewave is not bad and doesn't need slugs but its not the same quality nor does it have the same durability of the Bird 43.

As the OP learns and expands his knowledge he will want to add to his test equipment arsenal. There is a lot of good used test equipment out there and each one will do certain things better than something you might have now. The key (for me) amassing lots of good test equipment is getting it for a good price so if you decide it was not the best purchase or you want to upgrade again, you can sell it for what you paid or even make a profit.
prcguy


Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdrwill View Post
And we also have several B1rd watt meters. THE Standard of the industry.
Reply With Quote
  #32 (permalink)  
Old 03-25-2017, 2:46 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Davenport,Fl.- home to me and the gators and the skeeters.
Posts: 1,316
Default

One of my first Elmers said that if you want to fix/repair, build antennas, get the Bird 43. He had his almost new Bird on his work bench about a year or two after they were developed and sold, some time around 1963 or '64. He showed how you can check your power coming out of your transmitter, and how you could then check the VSWR. He would not let ANYBODY use it because it cost an arm and a leg.
But the Bird was/is able to read VSWR. And they are very accurate!
__________________
Freedom, a beautiful way of life.
Pro-107, Pro-44, Pro-94, Pro-2006, DX-440
YAESU FT-2900R, YAESU FT-101EE, RS HTX-202, ICOM IC-2AT, RS BTX-121, BAOFENG UV-5R
Reply With Quote
  #33 (permalink)  
Old 03-26-2017, 5:28 PM
K2MFW's Avatar
Member
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Millville NJ
Posts: 29
Default

Guess u didn't read my post. I spoke about reflected power in my post that you mentioned concerning the arrow on the slug. Don't be so insulting.
__________________
Matt Wilson
Ham Radio Call: K2MFW
Active ham for 47 years, age 60
All Modes, All Bands, All Everything
Reply With Quote
  #34 (permalink)  
Old 03-26-2017, 5:57 PM
Dahwg's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 36
Default

Guys, I'm seriously going to use this thread as guide going forward. {Furiously scribbles notes and wish list.}

Sent from my LG-H918 using Tapatalk
__________________
Henry,
K7AEL
WQYQ485
Reply With Quote
  #35 (permalink)  
Old 03-26-2017, 6:39 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,851
Default

Others have pointed out the Bird 43 is a standard of the radio industry for measuring power and SWR but you don't seem to accept that. Sorry if my response seems insulting but what else are we to think?
prcguy


Quote:
Originally Posted by K2MFW View Post
Guess u didn't read my post. I spoke about reflected power in my post that you
mentioned concerning the arrow on the slug. Don't be so insulting.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #36 (permalink)  
Old 03-29-2017, 2:40 PM
K2MFW's Avatar
Member
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Millville NJ
Posts: 29
Default Not a SWR Meter

Like I said, and again, look at my first post.

A Bird 43 is NOT an swr meter. It's a wattmeter. Call BIRD!

Like I said in my original post once again...of course it will show you forward and reflected power, that's what this does as a wattmeter.

I look at my Birds here in the shack...do they tell me VSWR? NO! VSWR is an actual number arrived by using math. Sure, the Bird can give you an IDEA of what the VSWR is by saying to yourself...man, that reflected power is low or high...but did the METER give you the SWR?

Take the meter into the field and tell me the SWR. You can't unless you do the math or consult a chart etc.

The meter, on a BIRD 43 shows wattage. Forward and reflected power, and ROUGHLY gives you an idea of the VSWR, but certainly doesn't do what an SWR meter does.

So with my BIRD 43, to arrive at the STANDING WAVE RATIO, I'd take my readings, then calculate the reflection co-efficient, and THEN I'd still have to apply the math for the VSWR formula, or use a chart etc.

Bring your BIRD 43 over here, unless yours is different, show me on the Bird 43 the VSWR (and tell me the SWR, the ratio exactly) That's what an SWR meter does. It SHOWS me the ratio, something that the BIRD 43 doesn't do.

I get it folks...and now it's a moot point and end of discussion. But I'm sure you see my point and my angle. Bird wouldn't tell you that their wattmeter is an SWR meter that displays the SWR, like an SWR meter does. Thanks for your comments. It's been fun, but let's move on. I've had my 43 since 1968 and rarely use it nowadays. It stays in it's perfect like new condition in its Pelican case. I like knowing what the SWR actually IS..the real number, and I like graphing functionality without having to have the transmitter present, so my RigExpert(s) come with me now, without having to bring charts etc.

Taxis, cars...I get it...Does an barometric altimeter tell you the barometric pressure? Or does a barometer tell you the pressure altitude?
__________________
Matt Wilson
Ham Radio Call: K2MFW
Active ham for 47 years, age 60
All Modes, All Bands, All Everything
Reply With Quote
  #37 (permalink)  
Old 03-29-2017, 8:06 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,851
Default

Every Bird 43 meter comes with a manual and an SWR chart is in the manual, what else can I say. Note to self, don't call K2MFW for doing any SWR checks on my antennas with a Bird 43....
prcguy

Quote:
Originally Posted by K2MFW View Post
Like I said, and again, look at my first post.

A Bird 43 is NOT an swr meter. It's a wattmeter. Call BIRD!

Like I said in my original post once again...of course it will show you forward and reflected power, that's what this does as a wattmeter.

I look at my Birds here in the shack...do they tell me VSWR? NO! VSWR is an actual number arrived by using math. Sure, the Bird can give you an IDEA of what the VSWR is by saying to yourself...man, that reflected power is low or high...but did the METER give you the SWR?

Take the meter into the field and tell me the SWR. You can't unless you do the math or consult a chart etc.

The meter, on a BIRD 43 shows wattage. Forward and reflected power, and ROUGHLY gives you an idea of the VSWR, but certainly doesn't do what an SWR meter does.

So with my BIRD 43, to arrive at the STANDING WAVE RATIO, I'd take my readings, then calculate the reflection co-efficient, and THEN I'd still have to apply the math for the VSWR formula, or use a chart etc.

Bring your BIRD 43 over here, unless yours is different, show me on the Bird 43 the VSWR (and tell me the SWR, the ratio exactly) That's what an SWR meter does. It SHOWS me the ratio, something that the BIRD 43 doesn't do.

I get it folks...and now it's a moot point and end of discussion. But I'm sure you see my point and my angle. Bird wouldn't tell you that their wattmeter is an SWR meter that displays the SWR, like an SWR meter does. Thanks for your comments. It's been fun, but let's move on. I've had my 43 since 1968 and rarely use it nowadays. It stays in it's perfect like new condition in its Pelican case. I like knowing what the SWR actually IS..the real number, and I like graphing functionality without having to have the transmitter present, so my RigExpert(s) come with me now, without having to bring charts etc.

Taxis, cars...I get it...Does an barometric altimeter tell you the barometric pressure? Or does a barometer tell you the pressure altitude?
Reply With Quote
  #38 (permalink)  
Old 03-30-2017, 4:23 PM
cmdrwill's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: So Cali
Posts: 2,442
Default

The Bird Model 43 Watt meter also reads standing birds on the antenna.............................

PRCGUY, I need your help, you do install repeater antennas? I will bring the B1rd.
Reply With Quote
  #39 (permalink)  
Old 03-31-2017, 10:49 PM
Dahwg's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 36
Default

All this talk of birds and slugs makes me think of shotguns. I think it's time to hit the range this weekend.

Sent from my LG-H918 using Tapatalk
__________________
Henry,
K7AEL
WQYQ485
Reply With Quote
  #40 (permalink)  
Old 04-19-2017, 5:12 PM
Dahwg's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 36
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by prcguy View Post
If you can find a good used Fluke 8060A it was their best hand held DVM at one time. Its 4 1/2 digits and very accurate. Even 20yrs out of cal its probably more accurate than a brand new cheaper meter. Its also an audio frequency counter with some other features. I keep one around for more precision measurements and it was also a standard piece of equipment in the broadcast industry. There is a guy on eBay that offers a cal service for these meters for only $25.
prcguy
For day to day ham work, will I need to be able to measure current at the mA level or is Amps sufficient? I haven't needed mA yet, but I'm just getting started. Do I need the accuracy of an RMS meter, or does a good meter that gets me "close enough" get the job done for what I may need in the wonderful world of radio?
__________________
Henry,
K7AEL
WQYQ485
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 7:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
All information here is Copyright 2012 by RadioReference.com LLC and Lindsay C. Blanton III.Ad Management by RedTyger
Copyright 2015 by RadioReference.com LLC Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions