K5UY - PowerMaster Review
Through the years, I’ve struggled to find a Watt Meter (Besides a Bird) that could handle the traffic, is accurate (As a Bird) and has a display that was readable with my 55 year old eyes. The recently purchased POWER MASTER Software Defined Watt Meter from Array Solutions meets all these prerequisites. With a newly comprised cosmetic face lift, this meter is attractive and fits in well with my FT-2000. Its accuracy matched my Bird Watt meter (that I trust), through the bench test from zero to 5 KW. The guys at Array Solutions are pleasant to talk to and guarantee that their meter will meet or surpass its spec sheet.
I had some apprehension about a digital meter, but this apprehension was quickly put to rest as I found the meter action easy to see, accurate and easy to tune VSWR and Power output. Did I say fast? The read-out speed is very fast, a major concern of mine with this type of meter. The Computer software display did little for me, but I suppose some of you may find a use for it. The sensor cable to the remote power sensor could be longer by just a tad, but it’s adequate. I like the auto display timeout feature. This meter is loaded with features that many of us may or may not need. All of the features I tested have worked. It costs a little more, but in Amateur Radio some of you may have noticed that you get what you pay for, especially with accurate watt meters.
Once you learn your way around the mode functions and set up features, this meter will make you smile.
I’ve recently had some very disappointing experiences with watts meters. I will share with you a brief description of each and my observations, so you can feel my frustration and my pleasure as I searched for a watt meter that would meet its manufacture’s advertised expectations. The following observation, focus only on the primary function, “Accurately Measurement of our station power levels and reflected power”
PALSTAR WM-150; purchased about two years ago and was accurate up to about 1500 watts. But bench test revealed that the upper end of the scale (over 2000 watts) of the PALSTAR meter was 20% inaccurate. PALSTAR was contacted about the problem. After Paul offered shallow excuses and defend his less-than-honest marketing practices; he sent me another meter which tested the same. Money down the drain.
RADIO CRAFT PRO 3000; was purchased this year. This meter seemed to be the pill for my watt meter ailments, but this was short lived. The meter looks really nice. Radio Craft is right on the money cosmetically. Nice big meters, with blue lights, However, bench testing revealed similar issues as with the PALSTAR. The 3000 PRO would not show power levels above 2500 watts and at 2000 watts, the accuracy curve dropped sharply. The meter stops measuring as the BIRD METER continued to show our tests. Readings up to 2000 watts were very accurate. VSWR readings varied from band to band. I believe this meter has some real issues with SWR measurements. There seems to be some interaction issues with this meter on different antennas and environments. Now, both the PALSTAR and RADIOCRAFT meters are marketed as 3000 watt RF Meters. Lets be real here guys, how many of you have amps that run more than 1500 watts. You may not run them past the legal limit but you still paid for an accurate 3000 watt meter for what ever reason. I understand from some of the guys around, the band the failure rate on this meter has been high although mine never failed. Considerably better than the PALSTAR, money down the drain.
I realize that sometimes money is an issue when purchasing a watt meter. However, if you’ue picky and you want upfront honesty, dependability, accuracy and bragging rights with out spending a fortune on slugs, the Power Master SD Meter is the meter to buy.