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If you have a

ham radio
license and a
transmitter, it
really helps to
check if your
signal is coming
out of the
antenna! This
extremely
sensitive field
strength meter
will show
whether or not
something is
being
transmitted and indicates any changes in power output or antenna design. It does NOT indicate
whether the signal is free of spurious unwanted and illegal! emissions " for that a tunable field
strength meter wavemeter! is needed. Nonetheless I find that this unit comes in very handy for
checking a transmitting system. # big advantage is the wide range of meters that can be used for
this pro$ect% almost anything that can be found will work. I threw this design together myself with
what I had on"hand at the time and use it fre&uently.
'ow it works( )* signals entering through the antenna are detected by voltage"doubler diodes
+,-+.. # /0, I1 op"amp configured as a non"inverting amplifier increases the signal by a factor
determined by ), and ). according to the formula
2#IN 3 , 4 ). - ), !
and finally a micro" or milli" ammmeter, shunted by resistor )5 to read ,"volt full"scale, displays
the amplified signal strength.
1onstruction( 6uild on a prototyping board first and start with ), and ). values shown, with
appropriate )5 value for the meter you have see 7, in parts list below!. #pply power. The circuit
will probably need ad$usting to 8ero the meter( add resistance in increments of about ,9: of )5 in
series with 7, to bring the meter needle to 8ero " this will take some trial"and"error. #lternatively, a
8ero"ad$ust potentiometer can be inserted between 7, and ground. *or more gain, increase the ratio
of ). to ), and re"8ero the meter. ;se a walkie"talkie, remote or cellular phone, toy car remote
control " anything that emits an )* signal " to confirm that it<s working. =older and assemble the
unit. #n I1 socket for the /0, is always a good idea.
Operation( >xtend antenna, power up, and approach )* source. #d$ust sensitivity control ,9? pot!
for desired reading. 7y version, built with the values given in the schematic, pins the needle when
brought to within @ feet of my dipole antenna fed with the 7ighty 7ite transmitter powered at ,0
volts.
A#)T= BI=T
), " C.@?"ohm resistor see text!
). " ,99?"ohm resistor see text!
)5 " resistor appropriate for meter used see 7, description below!
7, " any meter from ,99u# to ,99m# fullscale. ;se Ohm<s Baw
to determine the )5 shunt resistor<s value for meter chosen.
for( ,99u# meter use( ,9? resistor
.99u# C?
C99u# .?
,m# ,?
Cm# .99"ohm
,9m# ,99"ohm
.Cm# 09"ohm
C9m# .9"ohm
,99m# ,9"ohm
Ohm<s Baw( )3>-I% in this application(
)esistanceDinDohms 3 voltsDdesiredDfullscale - meterDcurrentDinDampsDfullscale!
If you have a C9u# or less! meter, =#E> IT for a different pro$ect!!
,! ,9?"ohm potentiometer
,! /0, op"amp integrated circuit
,! F"pin I1 socket for above
.! ,N50# germanium diodes, or e&uivalent " =chottky diodes such as the ,NC/,, are fine.
common GglassG silicon diodes such as the ,NH,0 will also work,
but with greatly reduced sensitivity!
,! 9.99,"u* ceramic disc capacitor
6,,6. " H"volt transistor"radio batteries
=, " +ouble"Aole, =ingle"Throw =witch or use ,-. of +A+T switch...!
1ollapsible portable"radio replacement antenna
or use about an ,FG of wire as an antenna!, box, knob, etc.