Are you looking for something to get accurate signals from your ham radio? In that case, SWR meters for ham radio is the deal. It is an essential tool for a ham radio enthusiast. However, we have the best SWR power meter for ham radio that you have most likely searched for so long!
Many people do not understand that different meters come with unique features for various purposes. Hence, you cannot pick any meter randomly for your ham radio. It is an essential matter to understand, so we are here to guide you.
In this article, we will be going a little far to walk you through the top five meters for ham radio and CB radio in the market. We will provide you with proper instructions to avoid getting bothered and wasting your time on the wrong ones.
Let’s dive in!
Best SWR Meter for Ham Radio Reviews
You may think that tuning an antenna is not a big deal. But, it is an essential thing to get the exact frequency. We have focused on the brands depending on their sensitivity, frequency, quality, and price range in this segment.
We reviewed the best SWR meters for CB and ham radios based on their ease of use and reliability. Keep scrolling to know them.
1. Asiatic PDC1 Power And SWR Meter For Ham Radio | 100 Watt
The first entry in our review list is the Asiatic PDC1 SWR meter for ham radio. If you are on a tight budget and looking for a quality product, the PDC1 will be the most suitable bet. It is a fundamental meter with all the necessary features.
The manufacturer has designed this ham radio power meter to indicate the 50-ohm antenna condition—moreover, the radio and antenna connectors plus COAX cable function the analog meter on the back. Additionally, you can use this COAX cable for CB operations as well.
If you want to tune your antenna well, the PDC1 is the most suitable option. It is a three-function analog meter with forward and reverses switches. Furthermore, the meter provides 10 watts and 100 watts switches. Therefore you will be able to tune CB radio antennas very quickly.
You can easily afford this meter because it is not as expensive as others. Also, its construction is durable and sturdy and will serve you for an extended period. However, its functionality is too straightforward, and it works perfectly. However, do not confuse Asiatic with an Astatic compact SWR meter.
- Affordable price
- Works well with ham radios
- Tune to antenna quickly
- Includes forward and reverse switches
2. Surecom Mcbazel Digital SWR Meter For Ham Radio | 120 Watt
Surecom Mcbazel is another high-quality and one of the best CB radio SWR meters. It works excellently and shows accurate results for both power reading and SWR. It provides a forward and reflected power direct digital readout without any calibration.
Whether various brands struggle with HF, this meter works brilliantly for UHF and VHF. However, it happens with a low insertion cost. The reliable structure of this meter allows it to connect permanently. You can also adjust the SWR with power and frequency.
The meter is compact and easy to use. The meter itself looks of good quality. Additionally, it comes with an adapter that you need to connect to this reliable SWR meter. It comes with easy functionality that paves the way for much quicker and simpler operations.
While using the meter, we have seen how quickly and easily we could tune the antenna with excellent accuracy. The meter provides a built-in frequency range of 125 to 525 MHz with a ground plate. Thus, you will never go wrong because the frequency it shows is accurate.
All in all, this meter serves all your requirements perfectly. Though it is an affordable meter, it comes with commendable features that we could not help mentioning here.
- 120-watt power
- Built-in N-J interface
- Accurate frequency
- Easy to operate
3. Workman 104 Power And SWR Meter For Ham Radio | 150 Watt
Next up is the Workman 10 SWR meter. It is not just a random meter out there. It is a frequency analyzer and provides a lot more than a typical CB and ham radio power meter. You will be surprised o see how quickly it allows you to tune your antenna.
The quick adjustment of this antenna helps to save sanity by setting it up quickly. You will not face any impedance while setting it up. Plus, the meter reads SWR super fast. Thus, whether you are a beginner or a professional, the meter will only take 10/15 minutes for the primary adjustment.
Purchasing the best meter for CB and ham radios is a wise deal because it is an excellent frequency meter at an affordable price. It offers advanced features that you will hardly get from other brands. Thus, you do not need to break your bank just to purchase a high-end meter if you get this one.
The antenna analyzer incredibly shows accurate tuning. It works very well both for UHF and VHF. It will be an outstanding deal if you want a radiometer for the ham station. We can guarantee that it is worth every penny you invest in it.
- Shows accurate SWR
- Great Frequency range
- Easy to install
- Reasonable price
4. Surecom Gam3Gear 102S SWR Meter For Ham Radio | 120 Watt
Another intelligent deal is the Surecom Gam3Gear 102S model. Though it is relatively less known, it is undoubtedly a satisfying product you can purchase at an affordable price.
There are various reasons for this meter getting universally popular day by day with much positive feedback. First of all, its accuracy is spot on. It directly shows a digital readout without any calibration. You can try it with ham and CB radios, and it will deliver a satisfactory performance each time.
The radio antenna meter comes with a digital display. Moreover, its structure is high-quality and made with durable metal. We ran a comparison test of this SWR meter with other brands, and it turned out to be the right option every time.
You can use it as both an SWR and a power meter. It has forward and reflected direct power digital readings. Therefore, you do not need to doubt the accuracy because it shows the same tasks. However, it works just fine for VHF and UHF as well.
The SWR meter has a maximum measurable power range of 120 watts. All in all, It works as well as the professional meters. It is a professional-grade meter at an affordable price range. Here, have a look at our review on ham radio for beginners.
- Durable metal body
- Professional-grade meter
- Digital readout
- Value the price
5. Youmei RS-50 Digital SWR Meter For Ham Radio | LCD Backlight
The Youmei RS-50 digital SWR meter is incredible and powerful. It surprisingly works for both ham radio and CB radio. Its remarkable features blew us away as many competitive brands do not even come nearly to this as per quality.
It is a high-end meter that comes at an affordable price. Plus, it comes with advanced features. Hence, the manufacturer kept its functionality easy and user-friendly. You do not need to follow any complicated calculations to operate the meter.
Another fantastic feature about this meter is its LED backlight on display. You can read the meter even in the low-light ambiance. Additionally, the device is powered by two AAA batteries. You can operate the machine with batteries or an external USB port according to your ease.
Moreover, it can measure up to 120 watts, which is also a fantastic thing at this price. Its insertion loss is 0.3dB, which is relatively low. Therefore, it allows you to connect permanently. It has a power button, which you just need to push to turn it on.
Overall speaking, it is something that you can hardly pass on. From its convenient control to durable service, you will love this one.
- One push button to turn on
- LED digital backlight display
- Removable battery and external USB cable port
- Power range 120 watt
Things To Consider Before Buying SWR Meter for Ham Radio
As you all know, different ham radio meters provide unique features that vary from brand to brand. Also, a poorly configured SWR meter will give inconsistent readings. Hence, you will not get a fruitful result from any of the meters if you do not consider a few things before buying them.
We have mentioned the significant points below to help you get the best SWR meter for CB and ham radio.
The first consideration before getting an SWR meter is its accuracy rate. The meter should accurately tune the antenna to your radio. Plus, the other measurements, like power readings, should be correct.
If the meter does not show accurate reading, you cannot get the expected benefit after tuning your antenna. An SWR meter is not helpful if the tuning is not correct, and it will eventually damage your radio.
Another essential thing to consider before buying a meter for ham radio is its band coverage. Most meters do not work on UHF or VHF. Therefore, you have to be sure if the meter you are purchasing supports UHF and VHF or not.
After all, you definitely would not want to compromise with the HF factors, an essential feature. All the meters we have mentioned here work brilliant for HF.
Generally, an SWR power meter for ham radios comes in various price ranges according to type, quality, and available features. The products with advanced features tend to be in a high price range.
On the other hand, the meters with a low price have a minimum or basic features only. The SWR meters we mentioned above come with advanced features and technology at affordable prices. You can blindly pick any of them.
The SWR meter for ham radios has different sensitivities according to the features. The standalone SWR meters have higher sensitivity than the inbuilt SWR meters. That’s why you should ideally select the one with average sensitivity.
The susceptible meters are suitable for professional CB or ham radios. On the other hand, the low-sensitive meters are for minimum use.
What are SWR Meters?
SWR meters, abbreviated for Standing Wave Ratio meter, are also known as VSWR or ISWR (V= Voltage, I= Current). They are devices that measure the standing wave ratio in a transmission line.
The SWR meter detects the amount of disparity between a transmission line and its payload (An antenna usually) in an indirect manner. This is useful for determining the efficiency of technicians’ impedance matching.
SWR meters detect how much energy bounces back to the transmitter as radiofrequency and compare it to the amount of transmitted power. So, if the ratio is very high, we know that there is a high amount of system loss.
That’s why an ideal SWR ratio should be about 1:1. Then, we can conclude that the total energy reached the destination and no amount of energy was lost.
How A Common SWR Power Meter Works
A dual directional coupler is found in the most common form of SWR meter used in ham radio markets. In a directional coupler, a tiny quantity of electricity is sampled in one direction. After that, it’s rectified with a diode before applying it to the meter.
SWR may be measured in various ways, but the most straightforward is to utilize a slotted line, which is a portion of the transmission line. It has an open slot that may be used to pass a probe through. This probe aids in detecting the actual voltage at various locations along the line.
A unidirectional SWR meter is often used to measure the intensity of the broadcast and to reflect waves using directional couplers.
The inner transmission system connects the transmitters to the antennas. Two couplers electromagnetically pair the wire. Then it’s hooked up to resistors on one side and then a diode rectifier on the other user input and output connectors.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
1. What does an SWR meter do?
An SWR meter measures the wave ratio and transmits them in a line. It has a display where it shows the readout about the measures. So, to tune your antenna correctly, you need an SWR meter.
You attach the device between the radio and the antenna. The device will measure the quantity of radiation bounced towards the transmitter to measure the success of your outbound broadcast and any possible threats to your radio.
2. Does it work with HF?
Of course, it does. It works excellent with UHF and VHF.
3. Why does the SWR go up when I use it?
When you use the meter unbalanced, the current flow on the coax shield causes the SWR meter reading to go up.
4. Does the best SWR meter for CB and ham radio measure watt?
Yes, it can measure up to 120 or 150 watts.
5. Is the high SWR reading normal?
The reading will go extremely high when you incorrectly adjust the SWR meter with your radio and antenna. So, it is not normal.
It may seem challenging to find the best SWR meter for ham radio because there are a lot of variations in the market. Hence, getting the right one is not troublesome since you only need to know your requirements.
Usually, it is the first milestone for any ham radio enthusiast to get a high-quality and valuable power meter. When it is time to tune your radio, SWR meters for ham radio is an unavoidable object.
I, Mike K. was born on August 25, 1992, in Abingdon Virginia. Our family relocated to Santa Monica, California after middle school.
I received an electrical engineering degree from U.C. San Francisco. While looking for work, he was guided by an engineering position at the company where he is working for. Besides working, David and I are started blogging about the latest developments of electrical stuff and enjoy sharing my thoughts with readers.