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Is SWR?

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.