If you want to get the perfect signal from your radio, you need to tune it. And to properly configure the radio, you need the best SWR meter. And this is an axiom.
Many people ignore the use of the SWR meter and then complain for a long time that their radio has broken.It is not surprising, because SWR meter is required when you tune in a radio!
In addition, any SWR meter is easy to use. It is also very helpful. SWR meter gives a good indication of the level of standing wave ratio. In turn, it gives you the opportunity to configure the communication channels perfectly.
Still thinking do you need to buy a SWR meter for ham & CB radios or not to save on setting up a radio? Just look at these SWR meters and what it can do. I am sure you will immediately want to tune the radio as it should be.
Best SWR Meter for Ham &CB Radios
1. Astatic (302-PDC2) SWR/RF/Field Strength Test Meter
We can confidently say that this best SWR meter for CB radio is versatile and by buying it you save quite a bit of money.
If the antenna you are using is 50 Ohms and you need to tune in a CB radio, the 302-PDC2 test meter is exactly what you need. This meter is created specifically for such antennas and CB radio.
I like this test meter because it does not take up much space.
And if we are talking about CB radio, everything is in the car, that is, in a limited space. It is important that the devices used are compact like Astatic 302-PDC2 test meter.
You can install it on the mounting bracket, which is included in the kit, and which will not take up much space.
- The test meter combines 3 functions: tests for the CWS, RF power, and field strength.
- It is designed to test any 50-ohm antennas used for CB radio operation.
- Included with the test meter are a mounting bracket and installation equipment.
- Switches have from 10 watts to 100 watts.
- There are forward and reverse switches.
2. Workman HP201S SWR/Power Meter for CB Radio
Workman HP201S is an excellent SWR meter, which takes up little space (just 6 inches), as it is compact. You can use this SWR test meter with 50 ohm antennas.
My experience with this SWR meter has shown that it is quite good for testing, and it can work on different CB radio channels. And yes, you can use this SWR meter only for CB.
It is possible that you will get the real power, because this meter adjusts to 5 watts, 50 watts and 250 watts at a constant current of 12 watts.
If you want to get something small in the car that will give a good performance of several radio channels, pay attention to this SWR meter. Because this meter test is designed specifically for people. An example of this is the instruction that comes with the meter and the backlight.
- It has RF power and SWR-meter backlight for 26-30 MHz.
- Workman HP201S is great only for CB.
- It can be set to 5, 50, 250 and 1000 watts.
- SWR power meter has 12 watt DC.
- The test meter is designed for 50 ohm antennas
3. RF Power & SWR meter for 1.8-525Mhz – HF / VHF / UHF 200W
If you are a radio amateur, a high-quality SWR meter is very important to you. That is why you need a test meter like RF Power & SWR meter.
It is an excellent power meter that squeezes out up to 200 W.
This device is small (only 3 inches), but this is enough for convenient use at a wide angle.
I like to use it because it is has a well-marked black and red scale (this is noticeable on a white background) to better use. This scale allows me to quickly calculate the coefficient, power, and turn off the test meter.
RF Power & SWR meter is made wisely, because you can choose different power ranges on the front panel. In working with this SWR meter, I was guided by a 3: 1 ratio.
It is a unique thing with which you can see the values of peak, average, as well as direct and reflected power.
- RF Power & SWR meter can be used for CB two-way radios (at sea, in commercial activities and by amateurs).
- The test meter reads power up to 200 W in the 5 W, 20 and 200 W power range, respectively.
- The meter operates in the frequency range from 1.8 to 525 MHz, HF, VHF and UHF.
- RF Power & SWR meter shows the direct, reflected, peak and average power that is visible on the red scale.
- The meter body is all-metal, has rubber feet, and additionally it is protected by a strong speckled black paint.
- The test meter has air-dielectric connectors SO-239 with gold-plated center contacts for performance over 525 MHz.
4. Е56 Astatic PDC1 100 Watt SWR Meter
Astatic PDC1 is the SWR meter which is ideal for indicating the status of any 50 ohm antenna, as well as coaxial cable for CB.
On this device you can find a switch for 10 watts and 100 watts, as well as forward and reverse switches. This meter is very versatile.
In addition to the switches, the housing is equipped with radio connectors and an antenna connector. The viewed SWR meter does not come with a connecting cable, but this is not necessary.
Using Astatic PDC1 is also very easy. To do this, just turn on the PWR switch and press the transfer switch on the microphone. So you can read power.
I would not advise to transmit 100 watts, because it is dangerous for the device. Despite the good build quality, such power is usually contraindicated, even if it is permissible according to the instructions.
- Astatic PDC1 is a 3-function analog test meter.
- The meter indicates the condition of the 50 ohm antenna and coaxial cable used to operate the CB.
- Astatic PDC1 tests SWR and relative power.
- On the case you can find 10 W and 100 W switches.
- The design of the SWR meter is additionally equipped with front and rear switches.
5. SWR Antenna Analyzer MFJ-259C HF VHF 0.53-230Mhz
What is SWR antenna analyzer MFJ-259C? It is a unique antenna analyzer that informs the antenna performance almost instantly.
With the purchase of this analyzer, you can read the SWR antenna, as well as the impedance, rate factor and loss in the coaxial cable, cable length, and distance to the short (or open) and everything in the frequency from 0.53 to 230 MHz.
It is convenient that all readings are reflected at any frequency and you do not need to calibrate anything.
The MFJ-259C analyzer is large, so it is very easy to read the required readings. Imagine this: a two-line screen displays information quickly. It is perfect.
And yes, this model of the analyzer runs on batteries. But it does not mean that you are waiting for an unexpected shutdown. This thing will warn you about low battery.
I always have connectivity issues. The MFJ-259C SWR analyzer is very easy to install. You just need to set the switch, adjust it to the desired frequency and you can immediately get all the values.
- MFJ-259C analyzer instantly reads the SWR and impedance of the antenna.
- This digital SWR meter works independently of a radio or some kind of transmitter; a frequency counter is built into the analyzer.
- The case has a two-line LCD display.
- MFJ-259C is suitable for amateur radio amateur antennas, CB, Two Way and others in the range from 0.53 to 230Mhz.
- It works on 10 AA batteries, which are not included.
6. Signstek Professional UV Dual Band Standing-Wave Meter Power Meter SWR
Do you need to measure power output and SWR? So, Signstek Professional can help you.
The use of this meter is a truly pleasure, because it is very easy. For example, to measure the output power, you only need to turn on the key to the right, set the range and turn on the transmitter to 15, 60, or if you want to break the meter, by 200 watts.
And if you need to measure SWR, you need to switch the function key to the left, set the radio to the transmission mode and the meter will give readings.
Signstek Professional meter is very sensitive, and any vibration and mechanical shocks are contraindicated for this.
It is a simple and convenient meter, which has nothing superfluous, is made qualitatively and copes with its main function to measure indicators.
- Signstek Professional operates at minimum power – 15 W, at average power – 60 W and at maximum power – 200 W.
- The measurement accuracy with this instrument is from ± 5 to 10%.
- Signstek Professional UV Dual Band Standing-Wave meter measures both power output and standing wave ratio.
- The body is sensitive to shocks, direct sunlight and air temperature.
- It has connectors and keys for appropriate measurements.
7. Astatic (302-01768) PDC7 Compact SWR Meter
They say that an ideal purchase can be considered an ideal ratio of price and quality. If you need a quality device for an economic price, Astatic PDC7 would be the ideal option.
This meter is not only good by price, it is also compact in the car and efficient in measuring the required performance.
The PDC7 only works in conjunction with a radio and any 50 ohm antenna. In addition, for the operation of this meter you need a coaxial cable. Only such a kit will help you test the SWR.
The maximum power consumption of this meter is 50 W and this is quite enough not to strain the device too much.
When working with PDC7, I noticed one important feature. It does not return to zero until you disconnect the meter from the radio and antenna. This feature requires addiction, but otherwise everything is simple.
- This test meter is 3 functional: it measures the standing wave ratio, field strength and RF power.
- Any 50 ohm antenna can be measured with this meter and coaxial cable.
- The meter is intended for use in basic or mobile operations.
- The maximum power meter is 50 watts.
- It only works with radio and antenna.
8. MFJ-884 MFJ884 Original MFJ Enterprises 200 W 1.8-525 MHz Cross Needle SWR
The latest best SWR meter is the MFJ-884 Original. This SWR meter model also embodies comfort, compactness, and functionality.
To begin with, the size of this meter is only 3 inches. As you can see, the meter is quite compact and does not take up much space in your car.
It is also comfortable. The point is that the meter body has a backlight and you can see the indicators on the display at a wide angle.
With regard to functionality, I boldly declare “this is done for people.” Good readability is provided by a three-color scale, which allows you to better see the values. LED backlighting is also useful if you work in the dark.
MFJ-884 Original is made with high quality. This meter has air-dielectric connectors with gold-plated contacts. Nothing can provide better performance than that.
- MFJ-884 Original SWR meter has a three-color scale on the screen.
- The meter requires 13.8 watts of direct current and 110 watts of alternating current.
- The meter body has connectors SO-239.
- MFJ884 meter operates within 525 MHz.
- It measures peak and average, direct and reflected power readings.
- MFJ-884 Original has separate power sensors HF and VHF / UHF.
9. Tenq 1051 VHF UHF Digital SWR Meter for 2-way Radio Mobile Radio
TENQ is a great brand known for its high quality products. The 1051 model is an excellent confirmation of this.
Such a meter can be called powerful, because the maximum power of this is 120 watts. Using this meter does not require additional knowledge.
To do this, you just need to connect the output of the transceiver and the antenna, press the red button to turn on, wait a couple of seconds for diagnostics. After that you can measure the necessary indicators.
The meter has a UV indicator and it is displayed in the sequence “+ XXX P” (throughput), “- XXX P” (feedback power), “XXX Γ” (value of CWS). Each mode takes 2 seconds to turn on.
If you want to hold the current display, press the red button and press it again to continue. A nice bonus is that you can use this meter in the dark, because the TENQ 1051 SWR meter has a blue backlight.
As you can see it is quite simple and functional.
- TENQ 1051 SWR meter automatically shuts off if the power is not measured within 8 minutes, has a backlight and many modes.
- The maximum power is 120 watts.
- The frequency range of the TENQ 1051 SWR meter is 145 MHz for VHF and 435 MHz for UHF.
- It works on AAA batteries.
- The 1051 SWR meter comes with a hand strap.
10. SWR / Power METER for CB Radio 100 Watts
The SWR/Power meter is made specifically for CB radio, as well as for those who want to get the device equally good in price and in quality.
In my opinion, the main side of this meter is that it has an included coaxial jumper. I have never seen such a thing and it “captivates”.
In addition to “forethought”, SWR/Power meter has many other advantages. For example, it is powerful and can generate from 0 to 10 watts and from 0 to 100 watts.
The case is durable because it is metallic and has all the necessary connectors. And the meter size is 5 inches and this is the average size for products of this type, so it will not take up much space in your car.
And in general, this device is simple in all aspects and worthy of being a purchase.
- SWR/Power meter измеряетмощность 0 -10 или 0 -100 Вт.The SWR / Power meter measures the power of 0 -10 or 0 -100 watts.
- The housing is equipped with a SO-239 UHF connector at each end for connecting to a radio and antenna.
- The meter works in the frequency range from 1.7 to 30 MHz.
- It has a metal body of 5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches.
- The SWR/Power meter also includes a field strength antenna.
Best SWR Power Meter Buying Guide
Features To Look For During Purchase
SWR meters come in different shapes and sizes, despite the fact that all this has the same function.
How not to get lost in diversity, to buy an affordable and useful SWR meter, which will fulfill its main function – an entire science to find answers to these questions. But I will try to draw your attention to the most important aspects for a successful purchase during this SWR meter review.
VSWR and SWR
What to choose VSWR or SWR? For many people, this question is no easier than the Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be” question. However, it is only a fly swollen to the size of an elephant. Why?
VSWR and SWR are the same. And that is the reason. In both cases, the standing current and voltage waves are set, the power is reflected.
What Is Inside?
The SWR meter has resistors, diodes, and connecting lines. As a rule, resistors are in the amount of 2 pieces and are needed to provide the necessary load on the connector. Resistors are 150 ohms for a 50 ohm line.
Diodes are kind of signals. Diodes are germanium or Schottky diodes. The latter are the best because that has less voltage when turned on. You can use Schottky diodes for weak signals.
And connecting lines are also different. Most often, a PCB is used as the connecting lines, which draws the main matching line of 50 Ohms on the PCB.
It is an important aspect when choosing a SWR meter, but the absolute value of sensitivity is not defined by anyone. It is clear that a good SWR meter should not have high sensitivity, because it can damage the transmitter.
Which SWR meter will you find in the store? It will be a meter with a 100 uA full scale deflection. The fact is that this is the most common value for a SWR meter and it is OK.
Be sure of the availability and good condition of the connectors. The SWR meter must have a connector for the antenna, as well as a TX connector for the transmitter (to be connected to the transmitter).
Each SWR has a different frequency range. You must be sure that this range is enough for you. Because if you use the SWR meter out of range, it will not be sensitive enough.
Why need a SWR Metter?
This question is asked by many radio lovers and this is reasonable. The fact is that many people are deeply convinced that tuning the radio can be successfully done without a SWR meter. It is a big misconception.
SWR meter is needed to measure the voltage standing wave ratio. When will you use the SWR meter?
You can use it when you tune the radio up. When configured, the meter will show you the degree of inconsistency between the transmission line and its load. Plus, you can use the SWR meter to measure the effectiveness of the impedance matching effort.
It is important to use the SWR meter when you tune in a CB radio, because it will allow you to be accurate and eliminate interference. SWR meter will help you keep the radio and antenna safe.
And if you are going to measure the actual impedance, it is just impossible to do it without a SWR meter.
How To Use The SWR Meter?
There is nothing complicated about using the SWR meter, you need to follow a few steps:
- Use a low-power channel (or a clean channel) if you do not know the characteristics of an antenna or SWR meter;
- Your goal is to find at least one standard in two-way contact, to do this, spend time listening to the signal;
- Reduce transmitter output power so as not to damage the transmitter if SWR is low;
- Set the mode switch so that a constant output is set (CW, AM or FM) – it will allow you to set a steady reading;
- Set the SWR meter (switch to the Forward position) and turn the adjustment knob (or CAL) to the down position. It is important to prevent overloading the meter;
- Adjust the direct reading (using the same adjustment knob or CAL);
- Reverse the measurement and read the SWR value;
- After you receive the coefficient value, you need to stop the transmission of the signal quickly in order not to interfere with other radio stations and not to break the transmitter.
And it is important to remember: if you want to use a large number of channels, check the SWR readings for the following channels, because the values will necessarily change. And when you measure full power, close the SWR meter right after that.
What Is A Bad SWR?
There is no overall assessment of good or bad SWR or failure. It is ideally, when you get a 1: 1 ratio. And accordingly, the situation when you get a 2: 1 or 3: 1 ratio is not the best.
It turns out that the lower the difference, the better. That is 1: 1 – very good, 2: 1 – normal, 6: 1 – everything is bad.
What Is Return Loss?
By getting information about the SWR you can find “return loss”. It means a loss of power in the signal that the break in the transmission line shows. “Return loss” is expressed in decibels.
“Return loss” suggests that how much power was transferred to the load. If all power has been transferred.The return loss will be infinite. And if not all the mobility has been transferred, the return loss will be zero.
To measure return loss, you need to use a SWR meter with feeders or transmission lines.
It was difficult, but we figured out the SWR meters and how to choose them.
Actually, the best SWR meter for ham radios & also for CB radios is a very relative thing. That is why before buying VSWR you need to know the exact characteristics of the antenna and radio.
Be sure what you really need and make only successful purchases!