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Mar 4, 2015 20:42
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QRP, HF Digital Power/SWR Meter with 12VDC Power Source
Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This tiny-self-contained unit measures a mere 100 x 60 x 35mm (approx 4” x 2-3/8 x 1-3/8”) and is housed in a black, powder-coated steel case.
The DP1 only has 2 switches: on/off (slider) and a red push-switch for selecting 5W or 25W range. The DP1 has two BNC connectors: labeled ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’
The DP1 is designed with the QRP operator in mind and provides 2 switch-selectable ranges: 0-25W and 0-1W, with an associated dBm scale.
The front panel also includes a bright-backlighted (40 x 25mm) display, showing:
1. internal battery voltage
The unit is powered by a 12V (2200mAh) rechargeable Li-ion battery. (A battery Charger is supplied with the unit).
DP1 Operation is straightforward:
Connect a BNC jumper to your QRP Radio and the DP1’s ‘IN’ connector and your antenna (or tuner) to the ‘OUT’ connector.
Switching on the unit will display 0.00W and 0dBm. There will of course be a zero SWR display until the radio is keyed!
Test # 1
I tested the unit with my KX3 as the driver on 40m and 20m, using an MFJ-949C as a dummy load with the DP1 in series - in both cases the DP1 scale reads ‘high’ -
(KX3 5W = DP1 5.39W)
(If anything I would have expected the DP1, in series with the MFJ to show a slightly lower reading at BOTH Power levels – although the anticipated (slight) SWR (from 4ft BNC jumper cable) did indicate reasonably accurately at 1.13:1. It could be associated with the ‘random length’ of my BNC to BNC jumper cable???)
The next test I did used the same setup but with a power level of 10.00W – the DP1 was this, time fairly accurate (9.94W) , (in series with my MFJ-929) and it passed with flying colors!
This test was repeated on 20m with similar results. The SWR remained constant.
On Air test – relative Power and SWR indication was satisfactory.
Next, I ran a test using a ‘WIN-IND’ 60W Dummy Load directly connected to the ‘DP1’s ‘OUT’ connector and nothing in the path.
The results were interesting:
KX3 set to 0.5W DP1 reads 0.55W
KX3 set to 1W DP1 reads 1.12W
KX3 set to 5W DP1 reads 5.42W
KX3 set to 10W DP1 reads 10.00W
KX3 set to 0.5W DP1 reads 0.55W
KX3 set to 1W DP1 reads 1.08W
KX3 set to 5W DP1 reads 5.35W
KX3 set to 10W DP1 reads 9.90W
The above tests are of course subjective, the DP1 is NOT a high-priced piece of laboratory equipment (and neither is my test set up!) but as a useful and reasonably accurate Power and SWR Meter the DP1 is competitively priced, functional and is a neat accessory for your ‘QRP Go-Bag’!
Conclusion and Dislikes/Likes:
What I disliked:
There is no carry-case offered, however WALMART camera dept. obliged!
No rubber feet - a viit to the hardware store solved this problem!
The Steel case, while protecting the unit adds additional weight which back-packers may not favour, however see below 'BIG-PLUS'..
The on/off switch may accidentally slide to 'on' - fortunately the battery lasts for ever!
What I liked:
The user can calibrate their radio output ahead of time with the DP1 and any known Power Meter/TX source. The dBm scale makes this really accurate!
The Unit is self-contained and the battery will run all-day!
It will withstand being dropped Winking smile
I tested my unit at VHF (out of range) but was able to at least verify a good SWR on a new antenna!
The back-light stays on (power switch set to ON), so it makes for a cool reading light for QRP rigs that don’t have illumination – and yes you can read from it!!! Smile
The unit ‘defaults’ to the 25W scale when cycled on/off. If the user accidently transmits more power than the selected range, the scale will indicate ‘>’
alerting the user to adjust the scale reading accordingly by depressing the red button.
Last of all a BIG-PLUS-feature is that the 12V battery source is made available at the charger port, even when the unit is switched off, making for some interesting QRP Radio/DP1 possibilities!
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