The same meter was available under the Workman brand a year or two ago. It didn’t catch on because of poor marketing. I wasn’t aware of this meter until just before it was discontinued.
The catalog had very little information, and the picture wasn’t even eye-catching. One day, thumbing through a distributor’s catalog for meters, I stopped and was intrigued by the possibility of a digital SWR meter.
Then, I realized it was a power meter, too. I tried a couple and was sold on them. When it was time to reorder, they were gone. Now, a reasonable facsimile is available under the Aries brand. The only apparent difference is the brightness of the LED display.
The Workman is brighter, but the A-SWR460 is readable in well-lit areas. In the dark, it’s easy to read. It could be possible to modify the unit to increase the brightness of the display, and I’ll look into it and find out what can be done.
The following is the instruction sheet supplied with the meter:
A-SWR460 DIGITAL-SWR/POWER METER
This unit is a compact device for checking the operation of the CB transceiver. It may be installed and left permanently connected. For SWR and POWER measurements, the unit uses a bridge to get the actual forward and reflected values from the antenna system, and then the SWR and POWER are calculated by the microprocessor.
The operator can accurately and quickly match the antenna to the transmitter. At the same time, the power being fed into the antenna can be determined.
- Turn the transmitter off and disconnect the antenna coaxial cable of the transmitter output.
- Install the unit, “RTX” connector to the transmitter output, and “ANT” to the antenna connector. A short cable equipped with male connector on both ends will be required between the transmitter and the unit (NC-535). Connect the supply cord of the unit to the power supply, and switch “ON” the unit.
- Turn the transmitter “ON” and the unit automatically displays the SWR and POWER being fed to the antenna. Right side portion of the display indicates the SWR. and the left side portion of the display indicates the POWER.
- A 1:1 ratio is the ideal match adjustments on the antenna system should he made so that the SWR is as low as possible. A SWR of 2 is considered satisfactory, taking into account the line losses and slight mismatching.
*Please note that this instrument will handle up to 500 W. Power over this rating may cause damage to the unit.
Meter display with voice modulated SSB signal into 1.6:1 match.
A-SWR 460 Top Front View
Meter display with 9.5 Watt dead key into a dummy load.
Meter display with no input.
As you can see above, there isn’t much in the way of component count in this unit. The SWR bridge is very simple. But for the money, it does work well. One thing digital meters eliminate is the analog meter scale inaccuracy. Even analog Bird meters are rated at ±5% accuracy at full scale.
This means the meter could be better but most likely will be worse at other points of the scale, especially at the lower end of the scale. Surely, many factors affect the accuracy of this unit, but if calibrated properly, this could be very accurate.
Different inductive loads could give false readings, but for its intended use, this is a convenient way to make SWR and power readings. There are no knobs to turn; just key and read both measurements simultaneously.
For the best SWR readings, I recommend using a short RG-8X or mini 8 jumper(1.5′ or less). The shortest possible length, the better. If you can’t go that short or you want the most accurate reading, use a 12′ RG-58au jumper.
Using this 1/2 wavelength of coax cable, your coax doesn’t become a factor in the SWR reading.
And when the meter is removed, the match will stay approximately the same. Just keep in mind never coil the coax cable up. Always run it back and forth, and to keep it neat, tie it with cable ties.
This meter will read peak power, but you will have to whistle or modulate with a constant tone because the digits jump around too much during regular voice communications.
A few things I would like to see in a new version of this product would be the ability to read 1000 Watts or more, a brighter display, and a peak setting so the digits don’t jump around as much on SSB.
My final opinion is that this is an inexpensive meter that does more than meters at two to three times the price and does it more accurately.
For operators that aren’t sure about using a SWR meter, this one is for you. No more remembering FWD/REV or CAL/SWR; just hook it up and read.
No more recalibrating at either end of the band or after each antenna adjustment. It can’t get simpler unless you have auto-tune antennas. And before you ask, they don’t make an auto-tune antenna for CB…yet.