Electronics > RF, Microwave, Ham Radio

CB and Ham Radio Techs Love Their Bird Wattmeters

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joeqsmith:
There are a lot of videos of the CB and ham group talking about the old Bird Watt meters being the gold standard.   I knew UNI-T has a fan base but it's nothing compared with Bird. 

vk6zgo:
Ok, so Birds aren't the ultimate, but their accuracy is acceptable in many applications, they are rugged, the inserts (including those from Coaxial Dynamics) are interchangeable between different units, & their readings are pretty much repeatable over time,---the downside is, because they are used a lot in industry (often in fixed positions to facilitate a quick check of "forward & reverse power"), they are costly to buy.
 
When I used to travel around the State, doing routine checks & fault callouts on TV & Radio Tx sites, we used a HP410C, MODEL 1I036A AC PROBE,  a  MODEL 1I042A PROBE "T" CONNECTOR, & a known accurate test load, (I don't mean to yell, that is just as they appear in the 410C manual) to spec check the output power of the smaller Tx, up to around 2kW,------we wouldn't have used a Bird there!

Big Tx usually had a water, or sometimes oil, cooled load .
You read off the temperature change of the coolant, & calculated the power-----good old 19th Century technology!!

All the latter stuff isn't anything you would leave connected up, so simple, rugged devices like the Bird have a definite place.
For Amateur Radio fans, who over time, may have had several " ham" VSWR meters of varying accuracy, but all with limited life, the Bird is, indeed a revelation.

bob91343:
I never considered a Bird.  Way too expensive for making a measurement I don't need accurately.  What I used for a while was a Radio Schlock digital wattmeter until it failed.  It's on my project list.  What I use now is my HP410B connected to the transmission line.  Since my SWR is low, I can calculate power closely enough.

antenna:
I never understood why people care so much about the accuracy of a watt meter anyhow.  Not only are they incapable of differentiating between fundamental and harmonics, but it takes doubling the power twice to make 1 s-unit of difference on the other end ~ so who cares if its 22w or 29w?  Bird meters are just an ooh ahh factor for suckers searching youtube for the "best" cb repair shop.  One thing I've noticed is that the shops that show their fancy bird watt meters on video haven't got a spectrum analyzer in sight.

vk6zgo:

--- Quote from: bob91343 on June 01, 2022, 04:45:52 am ---I never considered a Bird.  Way too expensive for making a measurement I don't need accurately.  What I used for a while was a Radio Schlock digital wattmeter until it failed.  It's on my project list.  What I use now is my HP410B connected to the transmission line.  Since my SWR is low, I can calculate power closely enough.

--- End quote ---

How do you connect to the transmission line?
Do you have a Model 1I042, or a homemade version, just a "hole" in the screen & the inner insulation to get at the centre conductor, or just a plain old "UHF" coaxial "T" connector?

I loved the convenience of the 1I042, but I guess you could get away with something a lot less sophisticated at HF.

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