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 SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF 
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Post SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
Advice wanted please, what makes & models are considered the best for measuring SWR/Power out & antenna tuners for VHF (& maybe higher?)
73
Ray G3XLG


Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:25 am
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 SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF 
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Post Re: SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
Hi Ray

I use a combination of Bird 43's on the high power side which are permanently monitoring each amplifier output. And a Wavenode (The DX Shop) which I can switch between each system when more accuracy and further measurements are needed.
Also I use a Bird RF Sampler which allows sniffing off RF to feed test instruments.

As for tuning units, I make sure that the aerials are resonant and a good match directly so to avoid any losses that would occur if using a tuner.

It's just my opinion on monitoring etc, no doubt there are others.

73
Kelvin

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Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:39 am
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 SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF 
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Post Re: SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
I also use Bird 43s, for general measurement.
I've sections of line, or sensors, in each antenna feed for 4M and up to 23cm.

For more accuracy I use a spectrum analyser, in conjunction with attenuators.

I've never used an ATU, all antennas are resonant.
In fact, until recently, I wasn't aware that anyone used an ATU, it's certainly something I've never seen.

Cheers

Tony

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Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:04 pm
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 SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF 
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Post Re: SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
gw8asd wrote:
I've never used an ATU, all antennas are resonant.
In fact, until recently, I wasn't aware that anyone used an ATU, it's certainly something I've never seen.


People use ATUs on HF to make aerials tune on different bands - its a compromise, but it works as the freqs are not that far apart, and even with a poor-performing HF aerial you can still make some contacts.

On VHF the bands are a long way apart (50MHz, 70MHz, 144MHz) and getting the most out of your aerial is paramount to getting any sort of success. So as Tony says, I've never heard of anyone using an ATU at VHF - everyone goes for resonant aerials and the more gain the better.


Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:33 pm
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 SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF 
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Post Re: SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
Thanks Guys for your advice.
It sounds like I need to get hold of a type 43 wattmeter & suitable VHF slugs then.
Sorry for my ignorance about the need or not of ATU's for VHF! Its just that I am an HF user & the 2M colinear I've put up seems to have very poor performance & I was wondering if in fact its actually resonant on the 2M band.
73 Ray G3XLG


Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:32 pm
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 SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF 
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Post Re: SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
G3XLG wrote:
Thanks Guys for your advice.
It sounds like I need to get hold of a type 43 wattmeter & suitable VHF slugs then.
Sorry for my ignorance about the need or not of ATU's for VHF! Its just that I am an HF user & the 2M colinear I've put up seems to have very poor performance & I was wondering if in fact its actually resonant on the 2M band.
73 Ray G3XLG


If you are using a colinear, I would have thought a Bird meter would be an overkill.

You can get an acceptable cross needle meter for around £40 new, and £20 used, which would tell you what you need to know.

What are you comparing the performance to to say it is poor? And what are you using it for? (ie using it on SSB where most people are horizontal would make it seem pretty poor if it was vertical)

When I was trying dstar a couple of years ago, I tried a colinear and a white stick, neither received a signal that could be used, but a cheap and simple 3 el beam was OK, and probably less visible than the white stick.


Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:48 am
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 SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF 
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Post Re: SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
G3XLG wrote:
Thanks Guys for your advice.
It sounds like I need to get hold of a type 43 wattmeter & suitable VHF slugs then.
Sorry for my ignorance about the need or not of ATU's for VHF! Its just that I am an HF user & the 2M colinear I've put up seems to have very poor performance & I was wondering if in fact its actually resonant on the 2M band.
73 Ray G3XLG

I should have asked what you were interested in, on VHF.
If it's just dabbling with FM, as the vertical might suggest, the 43 is overkill.
You would be better off spending the money on an antenna analyser, then you would know how they are behaving.

How are you assessing how well the vertical is functioning?
What sort of distances are you getting, with what power?
As has been said, all the serious modes use horizontal polarisation so, if you are looking at the SSB end of the band, the cross polarisation losses will have an impact.

Cheers

Tony

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Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:59 am
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 SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF 
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Post Re: SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
Apologies Ray
I too assumed you were asking in relation to antennas for weak signal work (yagi's etc)

There are plenty of very reasonable meters that would be fine for your application, I just use a Daiwa 801 on a 2M vertical - the Bird / Wavenode would be a huge overkill as mentioned.

I agree that some form of analyser to assess the aerial is extremely useful - it doesn't have to be one of the top spec pc based ones there are numerous low cost ones that would be fine, even MFJ. I've a MFJ269 which is my workhorse out in the field so to speak. A 259 is certainly good enough for general checks etc if you have no need for 70cm coverage.

73
Kelvin

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Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:22 pm
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 SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF 
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Post Re: SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
Whilst I agree a vertical co-linear is a poor choice for SSB or indeed any preferentially denoted "horizontal" modes, I was unaware there was a grade of "seriousness" across any of the modes or polarities?
Plenty of people use vertical antennas for instant 360 degrees contacts, with perfectly adequate results, and if they are to be deemed as mere "dabblers", and not serious enough for the band and its many modes, perhaps the manufacturers should stop selling 2 meter verticals, and concentrate on horizontal only?
What determines "serious" anyway?

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Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:23 pm
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 SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF 
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G0BHD wrote:
Whilst I agree a vertical co-linear is a poor choice for SSB or indeed any preferentially denoted "horizontal" modes, I was unaware there was a grade of "seriousness" across any of the modes or polarities?
Plenty of people use vertical antennas for instant 360 degrees contacts, with perfectly adequate results, and if they are to be deemed as mere "dabblers", and not serious enough for the band and its many modes, perhaps the manufacturers should stop selling 2 meter verticals, and concentrate on horizontal only?
What determines "serious" anyway?

By "serious" I'm implying weak signal modes.
Where horizontal polarisation was a technical choice, not an accident, just as vertical polarisation has ended up as the choice for local FM because of the constraints of site sharing etc.

Things such as tropo to the limit band conditions will allow - over 1000km on 2M yesterday - ES, MS, EME and other occasions where just picking up a microphone and speaking, with inefficient antennas, poor feeder and a lack of an element of attention to detail will not achieve good results.

I didn't imply that there wasn't any room for those wishing to dabble, in whatever mode, just that if that's what you intend to do, spending can be reduced.

Cheers

Tony

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Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:10 pm
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gw8asd wrote:
G0BHD wrote:
Whilst I agree a vertical co-linear is a poor choice for SSB or indeed any preferentially denoted "horizontal" modes, I was unaware there was a grade of "seriousness" across any of the modes or polarities?
Plenty of people use vertical antennas for instant 360 degrees contacts, with perfectly adequate results, and if they are to be deemed as mere "dabblers", and not serious enough for the band and its many modes, perhaps the manufacturers should stop selling 2 meter verticals, and concentrate on horizontal only?
What determines "serious" anyway?

By "serious" I'm implying weak signal modes.
Where horizontal polarisation was a technical choice, not an accident, just as vertical polarisation has ended up as the choice for local FM because of the constraints of site sharing etc.

Things such as tropo to the limit band conditions will allow - over 1000km on 2M yesterday - ES, MS, EME and other occasions where just picking up a microphone and speaking, with inefficient antennas, poor feeder and a lack of an element of attention to detail will not achieve good results.

I didn't imply that there wasn't any room for those wishing to dabble, in whatever mode, just that if that's what you intend to do, spending can be reduced.

Cheers

Tony

Ah just "picking up a microphone and speaking", the very avenue radio inventors went down when upgrading from dots and dashes original CW modes, as a way to convey more instant and less cumbersome communications!
There is no "dabbling", just communications, and how much you want to invest time, effort and money into it, be that weak signal modes or local FM "chat" as you deem it!
And on the point of measuring equipment, then whatever modes and polarities you are in to, the better quality test equipment you can afford pays dividends!
Or do you think commercial companies installing often vertically polarised antenna infrastructure are happy with a cheapy cross needle whatever?
To say a Bird meter plus suitable slugs is "overkill" on FM vertical "chat", is condescending to say the least!

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Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:25 pm
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 SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF 
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Post Re: SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
I think that before 'kicking off', we should wait for Ray's one sentence answer regarding 'what he wants to do' on VHF.

If he just wants to work semi-local, it's no use telling him what he needs for moonbounce.

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Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:52 pm
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G0BHD wrote:
Ah just "picking up a microphone and speaking", the very avenue radio inventors went down when upgrading from dots and dashes original CW modes, as a way to convey more instant and less cumbersome communications!
There is no "dabbling", just communications, and how much you want to invest time, effort and money into it, be that weak signal modes or local FM "chat" as you deem it!
And on the point of measuring equipment, then whatever modes and polarities you are in to, the better quality test equipment you can afford pays dividends!
Or do you think commercial companies installing often vertically polarised antenna infrastructure are happy with a cheapy cross needle whatever?
To say a Bird meter plus suitable slugs is "overkill" on FM vertical "chat", is condescending to say the least!

Got out of bed the wrong side eh! :lol:
Why grab a phrase out of context?
No one who chats locally, and on repeaters, needs a Bird.
Of course there are those who dabble, that's just what I've done on HF.
No time spent on understanding the finer points of propagation, no thought of scheduling what times I go on, no great effort into antennas. Just dabbling, popped on occasionally and took whatever was available.
The opposite to my approach on the higher bands.

As for commercial companies buying Bird 43s, I've plenty of experience of that.
The reason, bearing in mind they're not very accurate, is more to do with versatility and robustness than anything else.
I'd have happily used a cheaper, cross needle, affair if I'd have been happy taking it up towers, in the rain, hanging it off ladders, and being able to take measurements from 70MHz to a couple of GHz at power levels from a few hundred mW to in excess of 100W.
If a 43 can get dented, and seriously scratched, a flimsy piece of amateur tin box stands no chance. :D
Even they don't survive sometimes!

Cheers

Tony

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Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:37 pm
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Post Re: SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
Oh Boy, I seem to have started a bit of a debate here! ......

Well, to answer some of the questions:-
I currently have the Diamond Co Linear at 70ft at the top of my Versatower & I am only currently using it for local CW, SSB & FM. But, I have on order a wideband 9-El yagi which will primarily will be for CW & SSB, both local & also some contesting. So in fact, I don't see a Bird 43 as overkill for my longer term purposes and I was indeed seeking info on "better" measurement of SWR & power output than perhaps a very cheap cross needle meter would provide. I was wondering if anybody uses a Wavenode & found they do.
The reason I have been disappointed with the vertical, is because at my last QTH in Norfolk (we moved last year) the collinear would enable contacts up to a 30/40 mile radius on FM with 25W from a height of about 30ft. Here in Suffolk from the top of a "hill" (if there is such a thing in Suffolk!) I struggle to get a 519 report from local stations I am receiving at 579 from only 20/25 miles. To be fair I am now using only 8W on 2M. I take the point about SSB transmissions being mostly horizontally polarised but for example most locals using CW & SSB (non contesters I assume) are only using colinears too.
I use an antenna analyser with my HF antennas but unfortunately the model doesn't cover VHF. Maybe I'll change it.
On another question, I will be mounting my 3-El SteppIR beam at 55ft (just above my rotator cage & was thinking of putting the 2M Yagi about 2 metres above it, rather than on the top of the stub mast where the Colinear is situated. Do you think I can get away with that for the 2M yagi?

73 Ray G3XLG


Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:34 pm
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Post Re: SWR Meters & ATU's for VHF
G3XLG wrote:
Oh Boy, I seem to have started a bit of a debate here! ......

Well, to answer some of the questions:-
I currently have the Diamond Co Linear at 70ft at the top of my Versatower & I am only currently using it for local CW, SSB & FM. But, I have on order a wideband 9-El yagi which will primarily will be for CW & SSB, both local & also some contesting. So in fact, I don't see a Bird 43 as overkill for my longer term purposes and I was indeed seeking info on "better" measurement of SWR & power output than perhaps a very cheap cross needle meter would provide. I was wondering if anybody uses a Wavenode & found they do.
The reason I have been disappointed with the vertical, is because at my last QTH in Norfolk (we moved last year) the collinear would enable contacts up to a 30/40 mile radius on FM with 25W from a height of about 30ft. Here in Suffolk from the top of a "hill" (if there is such a thing in Suffolk!) I struggle to get a 519 report from local stations I am receiving at 579 from only 20/25 miles. To be fair I am now using only 8W on 2M. I take the point about SSB transmissions being mostly horizontally polarised but for example most locals using CW & SSB (non contesters I assume) are only using colinears too.
I use an antenna analyser with my HF antennas but unfortunately the model doesn't cover VHF. Maybe I'll change it.
On another question, I will be mounting my 3-El SteppIR beam at 55ft (just above my rotator cage & was thinking of putting the 2M Yagi about 2 metres above it, rather than on the top of the stub mast where the Colinear is situated. Do you think I can get away with that for the 2M yagi?

73 Ray G3XLG

It sounds as if you have a problem there.
I wonder what sort of feeder you are using?
How do TX and RX reports compare? Is the problem mainly on TX, I wonder.

I'm surprised you say most of your locals are using vertical for CW/SSB, they're certainly not the ones I work from here, and I would suspect that they are not very successful.

The 9ele will probably be fine, but not ideal, at 2mtrs above your HF antenna.
I suspect it will be fully in the capture area of the HF antenna.
http://www.ifwtech.co.uk/g3sek/stacking/stacking2.htm

You're about 300km from me so, with 100W, you should be a reasonable signal especially if you are on a high spot.
There are a couple of stations reasonably local to you who are regulars up here.

Cheers

Tony

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