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Reviews For: Bird Model 8201 Dummy Load

Category: SWR & Wattmeters & Dummy Loads

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Review Summary For : Bird Model 8201 Dummy Load
Reviews: 4MSRP: 600
Coaxial Line Termination Resistor rated 500 watts and useful to 2.5 GHz
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
AL7CR Rating: 2022-01-06
A Stunning Piece of Test Equipment Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I agree completely with the other reviews. These are still sold new for over $1100. Mine cost $200 delivered. The cooling fins are 1/8" plate steel. It is made more like a dump truck chock than a piece of test gear.

My calibrated LP-100A shows an SWR of EXACTLY 1.0 on 20 meters. I can not imagine tuning up my 500 watt amp long enough for it to even get warm given it's thermal mass.

If you want a dummy load that doesn't leak, make noise, get hot quickly, or look like a paint can the 8201 is the ticket.
NG7M Rating: 2016-11-03
Quality Commercial Equipment Lasts Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I can only second the previous two reviews. If you are looking for a QRO dummy load, the Bird 8000 series can't be beat in price, quality and functionality. The 8201 is sill in production as mentioned before and there are many surplus 8201s to be found on the usual auction site.

I got lucky and found a very clean earlier serial number 8201 for an amazing price around $170 shipped on the auction site where you would expect to find these.

Here are some before and after pictures of the 8201 I picked up:

If you need a QRO load, this is the way to go hands down. Take your time and find one for a good price. You won't be disappointed. Still in production with all parts available.

73 de Max NG7M
VK3BL Rating: 2016-10-27
Better than any Ham product Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Not wanting to be one of those who tune amps on air, and appreciating having a well setup shack, I was in the market for a dummy load.

Before people chime in about making your own, hams being lazy etc, I will state that I have in fact made many dummy loads in the past, usually from 5 Watt metal oxide resistors. I have even made ones that will do 1Kw for a minute fan cooled!

That said, making a dummy load that works past 30MHz isn't as trivial as it sounds. About the only way to do it home brew is to obtain some of those so called 'hybrid' resistors that look like power fets. However, not only are they expensive, but they require A LOT of effort to cool, and even then are hard to tame beyond 500MHz. Not to mention the price of copper spreaders...

That's why I decided on a Bird 8201. You can pick them up second hand for about the same sort of money you'd spend on a top of the line MFJ load, and the bird will kick its butt.

The Bird 8201 is rated at 500 watt continuous. As in key down forever. While that may not sound impressive, and Bird don't provide a de-rating curve, if you dig enough you will find that Bird rate them for use with a 10dB PAR. What that means is, they will handle 10dB more PEAK power than their average rating!

So in summary, for around $200 second hand, a Bird 8201 will offer you the following:

No noise, no mess, completely passively cooled.
500 Watts CCS power, with 5000 Watts Peak A-OK.
An SWR of 1.1:1 to 1GHz, 1.25:1 to 2.5GHz MAX

It just doesn't make sense to make your own load. A load like this is a piece of test equipment you will have for life, and there is a manual! You can even buy spares if ever needed.

Like those in the know say, it doesn't make sense to home brew a dummy load, and I'd say it doesn't make sense to buy a brand new Ham quality load.

Bird 8201 Termaline Coaxial Resistors are common and cheap second hand from ex commercial pulls. Get one, and never ever spend a cent on a dummy load again.
W6LBV Rating: 2014-12-02
Cooking the Bird Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The Bird Model 8201 Coaxial Transmission Line Terminator (i.e., dummy load) is probably not something that you are likely to purchase new at retail for your station unless you are building a “no-compromise, professional strength contest station.” But, if you can find an 8201 in good used condition.......

The 8201 is a 500 watt (Continuous Commercial Service-rated) resistor-style dummy load, which operates with an SWR not to exceed 1.25:1 up to 2500 MHz. It is very widely used with base stations in the commercial radio services. My own load was part of a set used for 900 MHz, 500 watt paging base stations, either as a direct transmitter load (for testing) or as part of an RF isolator system to prevent spurious mix products from occurring. A lot of high powered 900 MHz paging base stations were built and put into service during the 1990s hey-day of the belt clip pager popularity, and many of these base stations are now being dismantled. (Hint, hint!!)

The device is still current in the Bird product line, replacement parts for it (if ever needed) are still available, and there is even an Instruction Manual that can be downloaded in PDF format. “An instruction manual for a dummy load???????”

The physical product consists of a 50 ohm carbon-film cylindrical resistor immersed in almost a gallon of mineral oil, all contained within a sealed, solid, finned-metal case. There is an external handle for carrying it. The RF input connector is a type N female, and the unit has no controls, adjustments, metering, or calibration system. The 8201 just..... “is,” .......and it is a very passive device.

Regrettably, Bird Corporation has not published any power level vs. operating time derating curves for the 8201. It will absorb 500 watts continuously (= “forever”), and published ham chit-chat indicates that it will take “full legal power” for reasonable lengths of time at frequencies at L-band and below, especially those on SSB duty cycles. Mine has never given the slightest problem in use.

With one of these puppies, your station would be complete, and you wouldn’t need to add anything else in the load department. You probably won’t ever buy a new 8201, but “be on the lookout!.............”