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Reviews For: FPM-1 Universal Frequency Counter/RF Power Meter Kit

Category: Tools & Test Equipment for the amateur radio work bench

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Review Summary For : FPM-1 Universal Frequency Counter/RF Power Meter Kit
Reviews: 5MSRP: 169.
A unique combination of frequency counter and RF power meter in a single package. But this frequency counter is unlike most frequency counters available today except in high end, high cost models. The M3 FPM-1 frequency counter uses reciprocal counting technique to develop true 7 digit resolution from 2.000000 Hz to 1.3 GHz with 1 second gate timing. With several additional built in functions, this is truly a "UNIVERSAL" frequency counter!

The integrated RF Power Meter allows for the measurement from +16dBm to -72dBm, +/- 1dBm, over a frequency range of 1 MHz to 500 MHz, but is usable to over 800 MHz. Coupled with an external attenuator or amplifier, the M3 FPM-1 RF Power Meter will measure from hundreds of Watts to Picowatts.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VA7ION Rating: 2009-11-10
Outstanding products, outstanding after market support Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This review was long overdue: bought every single piece of equipment this company has to offer. Never disappointed, outstanding products, outstanding after market support.

Thank you Mike and Mike#2
AC0DS Rating: 2008-01-22
Great value Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This review will address the FMP-1 power meter as well as the 40 db attenuator option and the 10 MHz reference option. Overall I'm rating the group as a "5". I'd give the power meter itself a "4", however, due to the user interface.

First of all, let me say that all three work exactly as advertized and deliver excellent accuracy. Lots of capability for the dollar. The 10 MHz reference comes completely assembled and calibrated. The build and calibration of the 40 db attenuator is straight-forward after the power meter is operational and calibrated. I would rate the build of the power meter to be for the intermediate to advanced kit builder. There are some fairly challenging mechanical operations involved with cutting, fitting and soldering the shields fabricated from brass sheet stock. But it all went together OK and worked the first time I fired it up.

The calibrator actually has accurate standards at both 10 and 20 MHz, calibrated for both frequency and amplitude. I use this unit quite often with my scope and other frequency counters for calibration purposes - quite handy!

The 40 db attenuator is highly recommended if you are doing any work at power levels above +16 dbm. Very handy for checking your transmitter output at power levels up to over 150 W. And you can calibrate it exactly on each band up into the VHF range.

The power meter itself offers a lot of features and flexibiltiy, and I won't touch on all of them here. In fact, the richness of the feature set leads to what I consider to be a poor user interface - to be discussed below. The unit does an excellent job of performing its two main functions - measuring input power and frequency. The frequency counter has both 50 ohm and high impedance inputs via separate connectors, and operates up to 1.3 GHz with the 50 ohm input. The power meter is very slick, and will give you a reading in either watts (or mW) or dbm. You can also zero it so you can easily measure changes in power from any arbitrary reference power. To get the most accuracy from the power measurement, you must first either measure or specify the frequency of the signal so that the internal frequency compensation comes into play. Without the attenuator, the range of power levels is from -72 to +16 dbm, a very useful range!

Now for the only downside I found with this unit. All the functions and options of this meter are accessed in a menu-driven interface from 4 pushbutton switches which have various functions depending upon the mode you are in and what you are trying to accomplish. The switches are software labeled on the display, but the labels are criptic unless you use the meter very often. In my situation, I might use the meter only once every couple of weeks, and then need to get out the manual and figure everything out all over again. This adds some frustration to the process, but the end result has always been an accurate measurement. Less functionality and/or a better user interface would make this unit more pleasant to use.

All-in-all, I rate the entire package as a "5", although I see the meter itself as a "4" with its present interface. M3 makes several other kits which look interesting, and I would not hesitate to purchase another product from them.

.... Craig AC0DS

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KE8BQ Rating: 2007-12-04
Very useful tool, excellent support. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased the kit recently at the Ft Wayne hamfest. Also purchased the Rf calibrator as part of M Cubed's 'package offer' and the 40 db tap kit at the same time. I would say moderate construction skills would help. Also a box shield made from shim stock must be fabricated. A pair of tin snips or heavy scissors and small vise helps. Assembly is straight forward. I had a problem with the rf calibrator which I was going to use as part of the FPM-1 calibration procedure. Contacted the guys via email the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving. Didn't really expect a response until after the holiday. Friday I receive a new RF calibrator in the mail. I called Mike in tech support and thanked him for the unexpected service. Mike said he was sorry about the problem And because he forgot to enclose return postage for the defective unit. I have all the equipment they offer and it makes a great low cost test setup thats quite accurate for ham use. I will use this unit to plot antenna power patterns as it's speck'd at -72 dBm to + 16 dBm, greater range with external pads. I can feed the output of my MFJ 269 into my Hy Tower and plot the power pattern over the entire antenna range. Technical and application support is great.
AK2B Rating: 2006-03-22
A well thought out piece of test gear Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
It amazes me how little it takes these days to put together a professional bench for very little money. I think the FPM-1 has joined my “how did I ever do without it” list. I never really trusted any of the watt meters that I have. I trust this one - plus it measures power over a very wide range.
I didn’t buy the calibrator at first thinking I would take it to the shop and use one of the service monitors to calibrate it. But after comparing the output of several of the service monitors and generators my head began to spin. It was a case of a man with too many watches having no idea of the correct time. The factory constructed calibrator set me straight and now I have all the confidence in the world that this box does work as advertised.
I went about measuring the power outputs of all my Elecraft rigs, the KX1, K1 and K2. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the internal power meters in all three rigs were pretty accurate.
If you’re like me and are somewhat of a kit junkie, you’ll really appreciate being able to check for sure the output of your IQ-VFO, DDS VFO or any homebrew VFO’s you might have lying around.
The frequency counter is also a fine instrument, being dead-on accurate on every standard I could find.
Building the unit was pretty much routine. I did make one small mistake soldering a resistor lead into a through hole. An e-mail to M3 took care of that in a matter of minutes.
I would recommend purchasing all three items together, FPM-1, frequency standard, and the 40dB tap. Get an XG-2 and a dummy load from Elecraft, a DVM, scrounge up a scope somewhere and you have a first class shop to take care of experimentation, construction or repairs.
KC0DLP Rating: 2006-02-19
Excellent kit and product Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Got the FPM-1 working yesterday. What a great unit. I'm thoroughly impressed by the frequency meter--especially with the features involved. I've had several that I bought used, and one that I built with the Elecraft K-1. The
"professional quality" used ones were only moderately stable on a good day. I was impressed by the accuracy of the Elecraft, but you've blown it away with the features on the FPM-1. I quickly made my way through the calibration routine, after running through the resistance, voltage and power up tests. Everything was within range and worked just great.

Technical support was outstanding. Two screws were missing from the kit, and were replaced immediately. The tech support was friendly, and provided lots of additional info about the product. The kit took two good days to build, but mostly because I took my time with it since I wanted to understand more about how it worked. This kit, along with their 40dB tap attenuator, and the 10MHz frequency standard have a fixed place on my test bench from now on!