Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KJ7QNP, Nov 16, 2020.
I've used this Slim Jim for multiple SOTA activations this summer. 50+ miles on a couple of summits. Rugged design, very well made.
I wouldn't count it as a necessity, but consider:
The practical application of measuring SWR is to make certain you won't burn out the transmitter. How tough is your transmitter? some are more resilient than others. Some are cheaper than others.
If you have confidence in the antenna's quality and a cheap tough radio, there's little point in spending money on a meter.
If you have a precious antique and spare parts are expensive or impossible to get? Heck yeah, get a meter check everything twice before you tx.
For a situation like yours I'd ask around the local club and see if another member is willing to loan you one for an hour. Do a quick test and then get on the air.
While you technically don't need an SWR meter, it would make life easier. As pointed out, it may protect your finals. If you have an FT-817 with a built-in SWR meter, then it becomes less important.
Not sure I'd recommend a nanaVNA for this but it does hit the level of being a) cheap, b) useful for other bands (unlike an VHF-only SWR meter). But not as easy to use a simple meter. The cheapo SWR meter I have will measure forward power though, so it has some value (to me) for leaving in-line and verifying SWR and forward power, so like many tools, it can be hard to reach the level of "too many".
While its not going too give you the satisfaction of building your own those fiberglass dual banders like Tram and Jetstream work great, around 50 bucks for about a 6 foot version. I've got a 10 foot or so one. I've had up about 15 years still works great,much more gain than a j pole.
Well - as was said above, you could simply make one. But when I was getting started (and in a hurry), I purchased a copper pipe J-Pole from KB9VBR at a local hamfest and have been perfectly happy with it. Dual band, works local repeaters just fine. I've got the break-away one that can be unscrewed to fit in your car, if necessary. Put it up in a temporary manner with an old fiberglass tree trimmer pole and some zip ties on our upper balcony railing. 2-1/2 years later - it's still there. Gave it a clear-coat of paint before putting it up, so it's still nice and shiny.
For simple antennas like a "so239 groundplane", no.
Your ht (when running off a standard battery pack) is immune to damage from a improperly tuned antenna.
But when you start building more complicated antennas a vswr meter is needed, again not to protect the ht, but because there is a lot more to "go wrong" that would cause the antenna to not work as well as it should.
Thank you again everyone, I now have a better idea of what I want to buy or make, I am feeling a little more confident in making one, and I think I should have enough parts in the shop to make something.