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Thread: In-radio Power Meters

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Ligonier, PA
    Posts
    3

    Default In-radio Power Meters

    I've always wondered if the RF power meters displayed on the radio are any good. I have a Kenwood TX-480SAT. With 40W set on the radio and my SignaLink TX Level set at the eight o'clock position (virtually no ALC), the radio says I'm putting out only 4-5 watts. That seems kind of low considering I'm making contact 800 miles away using an end-fed antenna in the attic.

  2. #2

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    I have not owned any Kenwood products in a lot of years so I do not really remember much about the power meter/readings.
    My current radios are Icom and Yaesu.
    The Icom power meter does actually read the wattage output exactly, it reads percentage. I have a couple in line power meters I use to see what the radios are actually dong...
    The Yaesu FTDX 5000 has a separate window used to display menu options and settings that the power level shows up in momentarily as you make any power level adjustments and I find it reads close to, but not always the same as the meter on my amp is showing for input.. or quite the same as my power meter when I put it in line.... so I would say that on board power meters are mostly a reference point and not exact...

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by N5BLP View Post
    I've always wondered if the RF power meters displayed on the radio are any good. I have a Kenwood TX-480SAT. With 40W set on the radio and my SignaLink TX Level set at the eight o'clock position (virtually no ALC), the radio says I'm putting out only 4-5 watts. That seems kind of low considering I'm making contact 800 miles away using an end-fed antenna in the attic.
    No good ham worth their weight in salt would operate a radio without having in line a good VSWR / Power meter.

    I'm not saying you have to go the full Monte and buy a Bird Watt Meter, but even a $100 Diamond meter is cheap insurance against damage.

    The inline SWR / Power meter shows you what you antenna system is doing. If you see a drastic change in power or SWR, then you know that you should shut it down, investigate the problem before you continue to transmit.

    This is just one reason why it is important to have a REAL ELMER helping you.

    This is the problem with amateur radio today, they give the test and then hang the new ham out to dry, or the new ham refuses to listen when they do try to help, so they just stop offering to help them..

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Ligonier, PA
    Posts
    3

    Default

    I appreciate the responses.

    My original post reflected my ignorance in a couple of areas - both now corrected.
    1) The TS-480 manual does not show a picture of how the ALC indication appears on the meter, so I never really saw the ALC indicator at that time. I just got this radio and was still learning it.
    2) The relationship between software drive level, the SignaLink TX level, and power output from the radio. The radio was putting out 4-5W because that's all I was driving it.

    The in-radio meter appears to be giving good indications, but I'm still in the market for an external one.

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