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SWR is short for 'Standing Wave Ratio'. It's a very important measurement because it indicates how well your radio system is performing. The typical radio system is comprised of a transmitter, antenna, coax cable, antenna mounting device, and ground plane. Ideally the entire system should be matched in a manner that allows the transmitter to radiate all of it's power through the antenna. A perfect match, would measure 1:1 on a SWR meter. A SWR reading of 2:1, or higher, indicates power is being reflected back to the radio. This is undesirable and could possibly damage the transmitter.
What causes high SWR?
- Incorrect coax cable, type, length, quality, or damage.
- Poor installation, or location.
- Antenna not properly tuned. | NOTE: DON'T TUNE A DUALBAND ANTENNA
- Insufficient ground plane.
- Damage to the antenna.
How do I measure the SWR of my antenna?
Measuring SWR and tuning an antenna may vary from system-to-system but it's usually not difficult. Below are the basic instructions:
- Connect the SWR meter between antenna and radio.
- Measure the SWR of lowest frequency in your band and then measure the SWR of the highest frequency.
- Raise or lower your antenna whip so both SWR readings are equal. If the SWR is too high, lower the whip. If the SWR is too low, raise whip.
- Adjust the antenna in 1/8" increments.
- For mobile installations it is recommended that you keep the doors closed because your ground plane will change when your door is opened. Stay away from buildings or high fences.