Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Elecraft W2 Wattmeter

Category: SWR & Wattmeters & Dummy Loads

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
Review Summary For : Elecraft W2 Wattmeter
Reviews: 24MSRP: $229.95 Kit $289.95 Assembled
• Power & SWR LED bar graphs with peak/hold
• Four power ranges with auto/manual selection
• Up to 2 remote sensors with selection switch
• Compact size: 1.5x6x4.5” (HWD)
• 1-200 W sensor for 144-450 MHz
• 0.1-200 W & 1-2000 W sensors for 1-54 MHz
• Remote control/measurement via RS232
• Overrange alarm output & amp keying control
Versatile Auto-ranging Power/SWR Meter
The Elecraft W2 wattmeter provides fast
LED bar graphs to keep track of
transmitter and amplifier performance. With four power
ranges (2/20/200/2000 W), the W2 can satisfy the needs
of both QRO and QRP operators.
Sensors optimized for
144-450 MHz and HF-6 m are available
The sensors use standard CAT5
shielded or unshielded cables.
The W2’s built-in RS232 port allows you to use a
computer to read both power and SWR with higher
accuracy, as well as to set and check alarms, turn the
LEDs off, and other operations. You can use the
supplied PC software, or write your own remote-control applications.
Factory-Assembled or No-Soldering Kit
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W6CJ Rating: 2022-12-09
Easier to read for my eyes Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased the factory assembled version, with a 200W HF sensor and a VHF sensor. Power and SWR readings seem accurate enough.

In my shack, I like having a quick glance at power and SWR and with the visual distractions of modern radio displays, did not want a cross-needle or similar SWR/wattmeter to decipher. I like that I can turn it off when I no longer need power and SWR to be displayed.

The small size and remotability of the W2 open up many more mounting possibilities. Too often, I've had awkward coax cables pulling on my old wattmeters, but with the W2 the sensors can stay hidden with the coax cables, and an ethernet cable can be used between the sensor and W2... and the W2 won't wander.

One thing that needs work is the brightness of the LEDs. The W2 has a rear pot for dimming the LED display, but I am considering adding resistance in series with the pot, to dim the LEDs further.... I find that the yellow LEDs especially, even at the dimmest setting, are too bright and annoying if using the W2 as a fulltime accessory in the shack. So, I've given the W2 a four instead of a five because of this issue.


WX2S Rating: 2022-01-21
Pretty good, dated and could be better Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The W2 does what it's designed to do pretty well -- measures power. After calibrating it against my Bird 43, it seems pretty accurate and the power readings are in line with those on my P3 and KPA1500.

I do hope that Elecraft updates it, though. The LED bargraph display is dated and imprecise. (The app helps some, but it also needs a refresh.) There is no way to hold peak power for more than a few seconds. And in autorange, the bar graph jitters if the power is on the border between two ranges, which can make you think you've got a severe problem in the antenna.

Looking forward to a W3.
K7JQ Rating: 2019-01-14
Follow up years later Time Owned: more than 12 months.
After many years of use, the W-2 has given me great service and accurate readings. Small in size, but big on performance and features. The LED's are fast acting, giving your choice of average or peak readings. SWR threashold alarm protects your amp, and the meter also hooks up to your computer for ease of reading and extra control. Well built, easy kit or factory assembled, and won't break the bank. Highly recommended.
NI0C Rating: 2017-01-30
Helps protect my amplifier Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The power meter on my little ACOM 1010 amplifier has a resolution of 50 watts, and the W-2 display has a 100 watt resolution on its 2KW scale.

So why did I purchase the W-2? Three reasons: a) On the 200 watt scale, the W-2 has a resolution of 10-30 watts, essential when I wish to use my amplifier on the 30 meter band; b) The W-2 provides a display of SWR, while my amplifier displays reflected power; and c) The W-2 gives added protection for my amplifier-- by routing the keying control line for the amp through the W-2, the keying connection opens up instantly if the SWR exceeds your pre-programmed limit.

Based on the experience of other reviewers concerning LED alignment, I chose to purchase the factory assembled unit. My unit cam with firmware v. 1.0; however I obtained a v. 1.07 from someone on the Elecraft Reflector.

I really like the compactness of the unit, and the fact that it uses a remote directional coupler that I have installed at my amplifier output.
N2ZDB Rating: 2016-09-13
Great Product for my VHF/UHF equipment! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Received it over the weekend and had it up and running in less than an hour.

Works great - both the main display unit and the VHF/UHF Coupler are high quality products!

K7FD Rating: 2015-04-10
Lookin' good! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Ordered by XYL as birthday gift for OM; shipped on Monday, received following Thursday USPS Priority Mail. Very well packed and arrived in good condition.

Initially had problem with AUTO power sense...W2 would not change to next range when power increased. I contacted service by email and received a response immediately by technician Craig. He suggested a reload of firmware which did not correct the problem. Next he asked me to try a different sensor cable, a standard CAT5 cable. Replacing the cable fixed the problem.

W2 performs flawlessly and is just what I hoped it would be. I did take time to straighten the LEDs so a straight line of color would result vs. the up & down look of Billy Bob teeth. Factory built should look factory built...

Big thumbs up for Elecraft service...and a decent wattmeter for the price.

73 John K7FD
N4NRW Rating: 2014-05-23
Same quality kit as the K2 or K3 Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
OK...time for another kit build project. First, this is not a complicated electronics kit. Only mechanical assembly required. Build quality was just as expected and in line with the previous K2 and K3 kits I have assembled. The cons first. I thought the LEDs protrude past the front panel a bit far. The mechanical stability of the LED board leaves a bit to be desired. The kit does not have very good instructions for using the PC application. I had trouble with Windows XP (no flaming remarks about the EOL of this operating system please) locating the USB driver. XP finally located it and installed after 3 attempts. Next problem was establishing communication with the unit. Hardware indicated Comm 4 was the new USB port. I set the W2 PC software for Comm 4 but unit would not connect. A power cycle of the W2 fixed this issue! No mention of the proper power or install sequence that I could find. In operation, the only objection so far is the overshoot displayed in PEP hold mode. Now this may be a slow ALC problem with the K3 and nothing to do with the W2. Output power from the K3 on the first syllable or dot may be overshooting the set point. Still looking into this. Calibration was a bit off against my Bird 43 and a stack of HF power slugs from 50 - 2500Watts. Using the calibration routine in the PC program brought this in line, with the final accuracy within approx. 1% of the Bird (Bird +/- 5% of full scale). Pros, fits and looks like a quality pc of gear. Supplied with a DC power cable terminated in an RCA male so it plugs right in the back of the K3 for dc power. Takes up a small footprint on top of my K3. Can be calibrated to your own known reference. PC program provides more resolution for the power display than just 17 LED steps. Full control over features like PEP hold time, PC bar graph color etc. Price / Features is right where I wanted to be. Would have rated a 5 except for the few CONs listed above.
K3NB Rating: 2014-03-25
Small but big performance Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This thing works. It was fun to put together, works well with Windows 7 AND with MAC OSX and doesn't take up a lot of space on my desk.

One little detail, however. Stray RF. I found when I hooked up a linear (AL-811H) and keyed the mic, my radio software (TS-590) AND the Elecraft program would disconnect. I did this ONCE thinking maybe it was a fluke, the SECOND time I stopped using the linear for a couple days' time while I ordered a handful of 5mm clip-on ferrites through I put one on either end of the USB cable - just to be sure - and fired everything up. No problems since.

I'm still contemplating using some superglue on the LEDs as I tried to make them more or less level before final assembly without great success. Kind of reminds me of the reports I used to type out on a 1950's-era typewriter with the letters all kinds of cockeyed. It's not a big deal, but a minor annoyance. They could have fixed this at the factory with a jig, some glue, and a minimum wage-slave from Goodwill industries but left it for us, the OCD hams to have something to fret about.

A very nice unit, I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.
HB9FIX Rating: 2014-03-25
That is what I looked for Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Since I don't like to have thick Antenna Cables on my Desk, I searched the web for a SWR/Powermeter with external Sensor.
The W2 from Elecraft does much more. It can handle two sensors! So I bought the W2 with two sensors, one for HF with my IC-7200 and one for 2m/70cm for my IC-7100.
The W2 works very fine and does a good job, especially with the W2.exe Programm for the PC. This tool gives additional functionality to the W2. I can choose PEP or AVG, LEDs on and off, PEAK on and off. Short, I like the W2 very much.

K6USN Rating: 2014-03-14
Just What I Was Looking For Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I use an Elecraft K3 for my travel and portable ham radio operations. I carry my station in a Pelican travel case and space and weight are limited.
I wanted a quality SWR/Wattmeter in a small package that interfaced well with the K3.
I find the W2 Wattmeter meets all my requirements and the accuracy measured against my Coaxial Dynamics watt meter is spot on.

The LED lights are easy to read and I do not find them too bright as some earlier reviewers had said. I like the auto ranging feature so that when I go from 100 watts of CW/SSB to 25 watts on PSK 31 I don't have to change the power settings.

This meter is not inexpensive, but meets my needs exactly and I plan to take it with me everywhere in the US and overseas.