Cheaper radio with really good s meter?

jonwienke

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IMO dBm is a lot more useful and meaningful than s-units.
 

WB9YBM

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Call up any major US or Japanese radio mfr and ask what they use for S-9 and I'll bet its still 50uv. Call 10 different mfrs in China and you will probably get 5 that know what your talking about but don't really calibrate anything and 5 that don't know or don't care.
I'll even take it a step further: I'll be willing to bet a good percentage of manufacturers set up their meters to be a bit on the generous side, just to fool people into thinking that they make a more sensitive receiver. That's one of the reasons I posted the S-unit information, so that those that care can (if they so choose) calibrate at least their own receivers. (Or, as a minimum, be more informed.)
 

WB9YBM

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The Kenwood radios, if set up correctly, will show anything between -70dB down to -120dB.
To me the phrase "set up correctly" means it's set (and held) to some kind of standard, and not a (relatively) large range like -70 to -120dB, unless I'm mis-understanding something?
 

jonwienke

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That's the range where it shows dBm.
 

KE5MC

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A quick scan of the thread and I didn't see anything about an offset attenuator. I've used one on a few occasions and they work well when you get in close. My HT is setup for BNC connection so its easy to insert inline, light weight and battery last forever. Only down side is be careful not to transmit and maybe more expensive than a passive attenuator, but not sure about that.

 

mmckenna

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To me the phrase "set up correctly" means it's set (and held) to some kind of standard, and not a (relatively) large range like -70 to -120dB, unless I'm mis-understanding something?
Yeah, by 'set up correctly' I meant that the function has to be enabled via radio programming software.

And it does show dBm. I was keeping it simple for the OP.

I use this feature to test coverage quickly and on the fly. It's an easy way to check portable radio antennas that are suspect of damage.
 

WB9YBM

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Yeah, by 'set up correctly' I meant that the function has to be enabled via radio programming software.
I hadn't thought of the radio program software dealing with meter readings, but now that you mention it, it makes sense. I guess I'm so used to dealing with non-software radios I was focusing more on meters being driven by an adjustable analog amp. :)
 

mmckenna

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I hadn't thought of the radio program software dealing with meter readings, but now that you mention it, it makes sense. I guess I'm so used to dealing with non-software radios I was focusing more on meters being driven by an adjustable analog amp. :)
Many radios that handle trunking have the ability to look at signal strength to determine when to switch sites. Not all of them have the ability to provide a numeric signal level display, but some do.

On the NXDN capable Kenwood radios, it's under a "maintenance" menu item. When on a trunked system, it will tell you which site, which channel and the signal strength level in dBm.

The TK-x180 has a function where you can enable the dBm readout in place of the 'bar graph' display.
I've used it many times for direction finding. It's also a great simple test tool for comparing antennas.
 

prcguy

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This was a long time ago in the mid/late 70s but when I worked at the largest CB mfr in the world at the time and had my hands on thousands of CBs, one of the many things I had to verify was the S meter read S-9 with 50uv of signal. Its sad to think a mfr would willfully adjust their radios to read something different.

I'll even take it a step further: I'll be willing to bet a good percentage of manufacturers set up their meters to be a bit on the generous side, just to fool people into thinking that they make a more sensitive receiver. That's one of the reasons I posted the S-unit information, so that those that care can (if they so choose) calibrate at least their own receivers. (Or, as a minimum, be more informed.)
 

WB9YBM

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Many radios that handle trunking have the ability to look at signal strength to determine when to switch sites. Not all of them have the ability to provide a numeric signal level display, but some do.
Sounds like you're describing a voter :). Played around with a basic version of that myself for diversity reception.
 

mmckenna

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Sounds like you're describing a voter :). Played around with a basic version of that myself for diversity reception.
Voters are often done by signal to noise ratio.

This is an actual readout of the received signal strength (RSSI) in dBm.

From the Kenwood NX-3000 function manual:
Maintenance Display is the function to check the signal strength level (RSSI level), site information, and simplified BER by displaying them on the transceiver’s LCD as rough indications when structuring a system or executing maintenance of the system.
 

Ubbe

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Would it be possible to use another antenna type to aid in direction finding?

If you have two simple antennas, rubber duck or a metal rod, on a wooden stick and their coaxes had the same lenght and connected to a T-adapter before going to the scanner/receiver. One antenna at the end of the stick and second a 1/2 wavelenght from the first on the stick. It could be fastened with a thumb screw or other arrangement so it cold be moved along the stick to match the frequency and the wavelenght between the two antennas, or fixed if the same frequency are always used. When that stick are pointing at the source it would totally cancel out the signal, making a very deep dip in signal strenght that would be easily heard.

/Ubbe
 

jonwienke

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Yagi and LPDA are both better because they are directional off one end of the antenna instead of both, and have higher gain in the target direction. The only things that would be worse are a simple ground plane or dipole.
 

SuperFudd

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Hello, I have the cheapy uv5rs and the kguv8d. Both have crappy s meters. I need a low end radio with a good s meter.. what would you recommend? I was told yaesu has really good meters...

Would the yaesu ft65r work? Does it have a good meter? It's $90 prior tax.
I have a pricy Alinco DJ-G7 HT that I bought specifically for 2 meter transmitter hunting. Yes it is also 440 and 1.2G which I almost never use. It has a decent S meter but more importantly it has multiple levels of receiver attenuation. It also has a very useful audio S meter. As the signal got stronger the beeping would get faster. When full scale it would give a constant tone. Then I switch in a level of attenuation and continue. When walking very near the transmitter using "body fade" to get the direction I remove the antenna. This gets me within a foot or two. Prior to getting this HT I would tune to the third harmonic when close in which is in the 440 band.
 
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WB9YBM

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Hello, I have the cheapy uv5rs and the kguv8d. Both have crappy s meters. I need a low end radio with a good s meter.. what would you recommend? I was told yaesu has really good meters...
By "crappy" do you mean hard to read, or lacking accuracy? As far as accuracy is concerned, yes there are standards but that's no guarantee the radio mfr will calibrate it to that standard. Here's what I've been able to find out:

S unit old ham standard world standard

9 50.00μV 40.00 μV

8 25.06μV 20.04μV

7 12.56μV 10.04μV

6 6.29μV 5.03μV

5 3.15μV 2.52μV

4 1.58μV 1.26μV

3 0.79μV 0.63μV

2 0.39μV 0.31μV

1 0.19μV 0.15μV

S-9 was specified with an actual value; all others are 6 db below the previous and have been calculated by this author accordingly. Source: Japan Radio International broadcast, March 1994 and QST, June 1977.
 

spacellamaman

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Or, get a small cheap spectrum analyzer. I've never tried one of these, so I don't know how good they are:
yeahhh thats one of those things that looks waaaayy too fancy for the price. smells fishy. i'd be interested if anyone here has experience with one of those.
 

mmckenna

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yeahhh thats one of those things that looks waaaayy too fancy for the price. smells fishy. i'd be interested if anyone here has experience with one of those.
Looks similar to the NanoVNA product. I have one of those and it works well enough for the price.
No, the NanoVNA doesn't even compare to my Agilent at work, but for the price, it does what I'd expect.
 

spacellamaman

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Looks similar to the NanoVNA product. I have one of those and it works well enough for the price.
No, the NanoVNA doesn't even compare to my Agilent at work, but for the price, it does what I'd expect.
it's crazy how cheap stuff has gotten now. there are so many things, that are so within my economic price range, the biggest cost that stops me, is the Time-Cost-Expenditure and not monetary.

if i could only afford the Time to learn how to use em.....it's certainly not a position i would have thought would have occurred in such a brief window of time.
 
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