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RF Power meter and dummy load

RF Power meter and dummy load

A 50 Ohm dummyload is an essential part for any radioamateur as is a powermeter. The prices of such relative simple equipment is expensive, but not for us handy Hams HI.
All you need is a metal box (or plastic box painted inside with graphite or other conducting/RF-shielding capable material), a few resistors and basic components (which can be salvaged from old radio’s, switching power supplies etc..) and a analog meter. I used a Radio-shack meter, but any (sensitive) meter can be used. It’s all a matter of calibrating your meter correctly, which is easy if you can lend a good commercial RF power meter.

This RF-power meter combined with build-in dummy load is made to measure power levels starting from a few milliwatt up to 50 watts (or more if suitable components are used and more then diode is used). IT has 3 scale readings: 0.5 watt, 5 watt and 50 watts. Again, you can extend the scales easily. The power meter is ideal for measuring QRP levels.

In short, an easy and cheap project to build yourself. Even a beginner in HAM homebrewing can make his own fair (if not better then meters you buy in the shop) power meter!


Is done with a good (commercial or already calibrated) SWR/RF power meter capable of measuring HF power levels from 5 (or less) to 50 watts and has a frequency range that covers the entire HF-band. You also need a transceiver which you set in series with the meter: TRX -> COMMERCIAL RF METER -> ON6MU RF METER. Set all potentiometers (R2,R3,R4) to maximum resistance. Choose one of the scales (0.5, 5 or 50 watts) to start with. Other power levels/scales with the same step (X1 X10 X100) will have the same indication multiplied. So if you choose scale 2 being 5 watt and calibrate at least 5 power levels of your transceiver it should be ok for the other scale selections. Set R3 for full scale at 5 watt and work your way down. One calibration for all power level settings is sufficient.


precision power meter capable of measuring power scales of 500mW…100W (depending on components used, see text)*

frequency range: entire HF band 1Mc…30Mc (50Mc should is possible but the precision tolerance will drop)

switchable scale ranges (in this schematic 0.5W, 5W, 50Watts)

can be used as dummy load also HI

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