No matter how you look at it, Palomar Engineering's model M-827 swr and power meter is a unique product and the result of a unique idea... so much so, in fact, that a patent has been applied for.
What can be so different about an swr and power meter, you say? WellT the display, for one thing.., LEDs that show both swr and output power simultaneously. These are arranged in two side-by-side vertical columns on the front panel of the meter and light up when rf power (and ac power, too, I must say) is applied. The swr value appears in the left hand vertical column. The swr scale is logarithmic and is graduated in increments that read from a value of 1:1 up to a value of 10:1H white the output power scafe depends upon which range switch can accommodate powers from 0-20 Watts, 0-200 Watts, or 0-2000
Watts, at any frequency between 1 and 30 MHz,
The M-527 is fully automatic, which means that you don't have to set either a set or sensitivity control when measuring either swr or output power. All you have to do is plug the unit into the house mains (115 volts ac), attach your antenna and transmitter coax, and set the range switch to the peak output power anticipated: 20, 200, or 2000 Watts. A built-in computer automatically sets the full-scafe range so that your reading wifl always be correct. The light-bar, or segmented LED display, is instantaneous, following voice peaks on SSB or keyed characters on CW.., meaning that there is no meter lag and permitting continuous monitoring of the essential facts of your transmissions: Are you putting out power, how much, and is your antenna operating normally?
The logarithmic display of swr is useful because at the very low range of swr, the adjustment or tuning of an antenna tuner can be critical, and it is difficult to get those tiny and exact adjustments to ensure a perfect match every time.
For example, I can adjust one of my antennas to read down to as low as 1,02:1 swr. The analog computer and digital comparator in the circuit show exact relationships between output power and swr, meaning that you know at ail times just where you are in the antenna and transmitter department. Besides a\\ that, it is plain fun to watch the little red columns fill up or empty as conditions change, and what s more, you can do it in the dark! Maybe I'm one of the few hams who like to operate in the dark, or at least with reduced ambient lighting <n the station, but under these con ditions conventional metered swr meters and power meters are almost impossible to read. Not so the M-827, which can be seen under virtually ail conditions of ambient fight from brilliant sunlight to darkness.
The M-827 makes a very nice station accessory, in addition to being useful, because it is aiso small and attractive. The dimensions of the metel case are 4 x 4'" x 5" The top and sides are finished in biack vinyl, while the front panef is a neat and conservative brushed aluminum. A power cord for 115-voit, 50/60-Hz ac js furnished (supply built in) and twoSO-239 chassis connectors are provided on the back panel, one for input from the transmitter and the other for output to the antenna or to the tuner.
Having owned and used many different types of reflected power meters, I was most anxious to try this new one and to see if it would be compatible with my station and my operat ing needs. It turned out to be both. I used it to tune and calibrate my new R-3 antenna (report elsewhere this rssue) and io measure output power and swr on my other antennas, ait of which turned out (thankfully) to have less than 1.5:1 swr. I was also surprised to learn that ihe output of a popular-brand trans ceiver that 1 use is considerably less than what I have been telling hams on the air.
Since the little Palomar swr and power meter works so wet!, I am looking forward to Palomar's new 300-Watt-range antenna tuner so that \ can connect the two and run some experiments on a bunch of different wire antennas that I've had in mind for some time.
Need I mention that due to its smal) size the M-827 wou id be an ideal portable companion to take along with your rig to that vacation QTH? That's where mine is going, if I can ever get the Ijme to take a tew days off to do some laid-back hamming.
Finally. you don t have to believe everything I say aboul this little gem from Palomar Engineering. Get one yourself and find out that I wasn't kidding. . .it's great, and I recorrv mend it highly.
For more information, contact Patomar Engineering, 1924-F W. Mission Rd,r Escondh do CA 92025.
Jim Gray W1XU 73 Magazine Staff
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