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What makes the BIRD 43 the "go-to" Wattmeter ???

unit_399

EL CAPO
Jun 17, 2008
1,651
1,529
173
ALEJANDRIA, COLOMBIA SA
What makes the Bird 43 the go-to wattmeter.?? Why is it so much better than anything else out there ?? For years, I have relied on 2 watt meters: A DRAKE W-4 and a TRANSEL Mark II A. The Drake belonged to my father and it's old as dirt. I bought the Transel in '76 ,or so, because it was of the few (if not the only) peak reading wattmeters out there back then. Both of them have served me well over the years. What can a Bird do that these can't ?? Remember, we're talking CBs here.

Personally, I think the wattmeter output of a cb radio is a relative thing and it really doesn't mean much. It either works or it doesn't. I suppose it's good for bragging rights to the uninitiated, but not much else. I really don't understand the need to choke every last milliwatt out of a transmitter. Like it will make any difference on the receive end ?? IT WON'T. Actually the money spent on an expensive wattmeter is better spent on a decent 'scope with an RF pickup. This way you can SEE the output and tune it for the best waveform without harmonics or spurs. If you must have more power ... run a linear.

Still I would like someone to tell me what makes the Bird 43 the Holy Grail.

- 399
 
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Captain Kilowatt

Professional Amateur
Staff member
Apr 6, 2005
16,847
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Nova Scotia,Canada
Unfounded myths is the simple answer. They run rampant on 11m. Bird meters are used in many professional settings simply because they are fairly rugged and can be certified and calibrated. Also one meter covers the entire RF spectrum by using the appropriate slugs. There are meters that are perhaps slightly more accurate but do not have the other attributes.
 

AudioShockwav

Extraterrestrial
Staff member
Apr 6, 2005
7,355
4,959
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Sierras Near Yosemite National Park
I really don't know, when I first started playing CB many years ago everyone wanted Dosy meters.
I had a Radio shack with 3 meters in it for my first new meter and that was simply because we had a RS in town.
I think the first bird meter I ever seen was at Farmboys house, he was building a amp with a bunch of 3-500z tubes in it and that was the late 80's or early 90's.

We should just do away with SWR and watt meters and just use a RF amp meter.
Tune for max current

73
Jeff
 

GlocknSpiel

Member
Mar 19, 2022
35
34
18
69
SW Florida
Dittoes what Capt Kilowatt stated. Byrd meters have been around for eons and are kind of hard to beat for accuracy due to the slug system they use. Coaxial Dynamics' meters are just as accurate, and Telepost makes some good maters too.
But it all boils down to reputation.
I've sold all my Byrd meters and bought an LP-700 from Telepost. I'll never go back to Byrds, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with them. They're still the "industry standard".
 
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Jay Mojave

Sr. Member
Nov 17, 2015
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Wow aint dat a coinsdance, the same watt meters I have, and yeah my Dad used his Drake W4 with his Contex 500 linear Amp back in the 60's and 70's. I picked a Transel meter off e-bay years and yeas ago.

Back in the 60's only a few watt meters were available and there quality was not as good as the Bird Cavity Watt meter, as its looks and construction and ability to be calibrated for military and defense efforts. So this was the hot set up for many.

Friends inside the notornis SSSS ( Seven Six Secret Service) a rouge bunch of 2 meter hams always used the Bird Watt Meter to measure output power of the 2 meter stuff. They used my 4 wheel drive truck to get a 1000 watt linear amplifier to the top of one of the Los Angles Mountains to ward off rule following hams who wanted to have a repeater on 146.76 Mc. After a weeks of the 1000 watt linear all was lost for having a repeater in Southern California. Of course a SSSS party had to celebrate the victory. Oh the memories. Surly the Bird Watt Meters were of better quality and way more expensive than the other CB type meters. But as status one would need the Bird Watt Meter, as a 1000 watt VHF linear to talk local.

Jay in the Grate Mojave Desert
 

Crawdad

Down in the mud invasive species
Nov 11, 2016
807
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HomerBB

Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2009
3,861
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Rogers, Ar
Sounds like a lot of trouble having to change slugs and recalibrate for every band. Too much fuss for ham use, but I suppose it will do for a single band. OTOH, almost any meter will do for a single band if your chasing the magical 1.0:1 SWR.
I just use my on board radio SWR Meter most of the time for HF, although I have a Radio Shack meter if I want to put it inline. For VHF/UHF I just tune the system for acceptable SWR and screw the coax without a meter onto the radio and talk. Any meter is overpriced, and the Birds I've seen are way over priced for something that won't even stream Netflix.
I suggest the Bird may be largely the victim of 11m imagination. My imagination has a skinny pocketbook. . .
 

Captain Kilowatt

Professional Amateur
Staff member
Apr 6, 2005
16,847
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Nova Scotia,Canada
Sounds like a lot of trouble having to change slugs and recalibrate for every band. Too much fuss for ham use, but I suppose it will do for a single band. OTOH, almost any meter will do for a single band if your chasing the magical 1.0:1 SWR.
I just use my on board radio SWR Meter most of the time for HF, although I have a Radio Shack meter if I want to put it inline. For VHF/UHF I just tune the system for acceptable SWR and screw the coax without a meter onto the radio and talk. Any meter is overpriced, and the Birds I've seen are way over priced for something that won't even stream Netflix.
I suggest the Bird may be largely the victim of 11m imagination. My imagination has a skinny pocketbook. . .


Recalibrate for every band?? NOPE. No need to do that at all and in fact the meters should only be calibrated at an approved service centre and for the most part for hobbiest use you would not really have to have that done unless you dropped it or such. Slugs are available that basically cover the entire HF spectrum so no need to change out slugs when switching bands.
 

Rwb

tell the devil im gettin there as fast as i can,r
Jun 30, 2018
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Well. That clears that up. Now, which car should they repo so I can afford one of those Birds...
my $39.95 ebay elcheepo meter works fine. let a friend use it n he was all wanna sell it can i have it? i said save up your shillings n buy new
 

GlocknSpiel

Member
Mar 19, 2022
35
34
18
69
SW Florida
I would love to see one of "the big three" develop a good GC meter by using a bandswitch instead of slugs, or freq-specific couplers (have the slugs/couplers built-in and selected from the band switch).
 
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