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Old 03-13-2019, 01:54 PM
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SWR Meter has me scratching my head

So, I had my 4x4 shop permanently install my CB radio while they were doing some other work for me. Got home, grabbed my little Workman SWR-2T SWR meter, and did a quick reading on my SWR right outside my house just to see what it said, and it came back with really good SWR Readings, so I was happy.


However, I know the advice is to try to typically test it in a more "open" environment, so the next day, drove to a park in my neighborhood, and did the test again, and the needle is not moving at all. just dead.


Does this make sense to anyone? Did my SWR Meter just simply die overnight? or is there a better explanation for this where my first readings were flawed and impacted by my environment, and the lack of readings is my reality? And what would cause me to get no movement on the needle? The radio is working, I am picking up transmissions from other users, but haven't tried to send anything because I don't want to damage my equipment if my SWR is actually really bad.


any thoughts would be appreciated. Don't know if this info matters at all, but when they ran the wiring to power it, they wired it to my ignition so that the radio would turn off when my ignition turns off. I am going to have them change that out though, because I am getting a lot of electrical interference from it, such as, when I go in reverse, the amount of static and the volume of the static goes up as opposed to when I am in forward, neutral, or park.

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Old 03-13-2019, 02:09 PM   #2
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Question, what is the switch set to? FWD or REF?
You need to always calibrate the meter so set the switch to FWD and turn the dial till the needle hits the Set Point on the scale.
I don't care what anyone told you anywhere, always do this as step #1 when testing a antenna.
Did the needle move? If not then either the meter isn't connected correctly or its toast.
Workmans aren't really the best name out there, they sell them everywhere cause they are cheap and most people only ever use their SWR Meter once then lose it.


If you calibrated the meter and the needle still doesn't move when you set the switch back to REF to get your SWR Reading then Congrats, thats a perfect 1:1 match
(Not likely really as the Workmans aren't normally very accurate, but close enough)
If you really want to get into Antenna testing look up MFJ Enterprises.

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Old 03-13-2019, 02:28 PM   #3
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Also make sure you're grounded to frame, not to battery
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Old 03-13-2019, 05:05 PM   #4
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Also make sure you're grounded to frame, not to battery
Not OP, but for the radio itself ground to frame? Cause I always thought the recommendation was run power and ground directly to the battery for the radio
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Old 03-13-2019, 05:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck21570 View Post
Don't know if this info matters at all, but when they ran the wiring to power it, they wired it to my ignition so that the radio would turn off when my ignition turns off. I am going to have them change that out though, because I am getting a lot of electrical interference from it, such as, when I go in reverse, the amount of static and the volume of the static goes up as opposed to when I am in forward, neutral, or park.
Non-radio experts commonly screw up by not powering 2-way radios directly to the battery, or at least as close to the battery as possible. Powering a CB or ham radio to a switched source of power increases the odds it will pick up static from the engine, alternator whine, or fuel pump whine.

A great source of very clean non-switched power that is connected directly to the battery is the 12v power input lug at the rear/side closest to the battery lug on the Power Distribution Center.

As shown here, which is where I have my CB & ham radios powered from.
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Old 03-16-2019, 01:15 PM   #6
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When my SWR needle doesn't move, I'm a happy guy.
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:51 AM
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Thanks for all the feedback guys, just to close the loop on this SWR Meter question, appears my meter just died overnight. As screwlose pointed out, the meter I bought was dirt cheap, so I guess it's shelf life is short.


Radio is working fine, other than the static I am getting when in reverse, so need to re-run that I guess, maybe going the route that Jerry recommended, but otherwise, all is good.
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:22 AM   #8
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Did you put in LED Reverse lights by chance?
LEDs can cause some RF noise.
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