Author Topic: Signal meter on Ham International Concorde  (Read 2276 times)

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Offline Crazy Ivan

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Signal meter on Ham International Concorde
« on: February 06, 2014, 13:29:03 PM »
Hi all,

I have a Ham International Concorde (Mk II, I think) and have recently started working into 11 meter operation, having come from a CB background. When I set the rig to AM, for instance, and key up, my signal meter shows a value like 5. When I switch to FM, I get a similar response. When I am receiving proper modulated signals, I see the needle move correctly and give me a signal reading.

However, when I switch to USB, I hear plenty of stations but no signal reading on the S-meter. Is this correct behaviour?

I haven't really responded yet as I'm listening first to learn the lingo etc. I have keyed up the mic and put out a couple of calls when the band was quiet. When I do this, the signal meter responds to my voice -> higher amplitude leads to a higher signal reading. Again, is this normal or do I have a problem with the rig?

I had a go with the SWR meter and when I'm in USB mode, I get no deflection at all. It works fine for AM and FM. I figured that this was because there was no carrier but now I'm starting to wonder if the rig is transmitting.

Offline martins

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Re: Signal meter on Ham International Concorde
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2014, 17:51:16 PM »
I don't have the rig myself but a quick look at the pictures online suggest - when you key up, your signal meter turns into power meter. It shows how much power is getting out of the rig. You have to look at the red values then, not pale/yellowish

Signal meter may not indicate anything if signal is very weak. However if you can hear the station clearly, it should show something.

the purpose of SWR meter is to show standing wave ratio. If it's not showing anything while you're transmitting, that means either the antenna is well tuned or you're not transmitting (or your SWR meter is not sensitive enough/made for different power handling). If the numbers go up, let's say out of 1.3-1.5 zone, then you're in trouble. SWR meter wont show anything when you're not transmitting.


Get a scanner and see if you can hear yourself calling is probably the best I can suggest to test the rig.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 17:54:10 PM by martins »

Offline Crazy Ivan

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Re: Signal meter on Ham International Concorde
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2014, 21:39:24 PM »
Hi Martins,

Thanks for the reply. I had figured that the s-meter becomes an output power meter on TX but the behaviour was so strange on USB. I have made a couple of good local copies on AM but have only listened so far on USB. The s-meter definitely ain't budging, even for a strong R=5.

The fact that the output power appears to be jumping around on TX based on the amplitude of my voice is bizarre. It's a secondhand rig and obviously had someone poking around in it before. I'm worried it could be negative swing or something like that.

The SWR is strange too. I gunderstand well what SWR is and what the meter does. I had used an external meter Iinstead of the built-in one and tuned the antenna on AM. I still couldn't understand why I got nothing on USB. Good idea using a scanner. I'll try that tomorrow.

Offline northdublin

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Re: Signal meter on Ham International Concorde
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2014, 01:01:43 AM »
you could just have a lazy needle on recieve, but audio on sidebands can be much easier to hear even with a low signal, which is why they are more suitable in long range comms, aka dx.
side bands are modulation driven, so this is why your needle responds to your voice in ssb mode.
setting or checking your swr on side bands is not posible cause you need the steady signal that am and fm give to calibrate it properly.
however once your swr is set, you can monitor it on ssb to make sure it doesnt alter or suddnely rise, as most radios push out more power on ssb.
have you used the swr meter on the radio yet, also what antenna are you using.
i have a superstar 3900 here, and they pretty much a match of each other.
kenwood ts 870
Yaesu ft-857
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Offline northdublin

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Re: Signal meter on Ham International Concorde
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2014, 01:18:18 AM »
Also,
in normal opperation the far left switch should be up at s/rf to give an accurate reading of incomming signals.

to check the swr, put this switch cal, and on a free channel and on fm, key the mic and turn the cal knob til the needle sits on set.
still with the mic keyed switch the far left switch down to swr and the needle should drop down according to the swr reading.
in this case you want to see the needle drop to between the 1 & 2 on the bottom, and the lower the better.

when the clarifier knob is pulled out, it will allow you to change the frequency you are on, to enable you to tune into other stations better.
the tune knob does this also but as far as i know it only shifts your recieve and doesnt alter your transmit freqency.

your rf gain should be in the fully clockwise position, unless a very strong nearby signal is being recieved.
kenwood ts 870
Yaesu ft-857
sirio gainmaster
inverted vee
chameleon ch v1

Offline Crazy Ivan

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Re: Signal meter on Ham International Concorde
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2014, 17:57:22 PM »
Thanks for all the info northdublin!

I figured that the 3900 looked very similar. I thought it was a 3900 when I saw it first to be honest.

Anyway, I'm starting to suspect a problem here. Basically, the signal needle never moves for RX on SSB modes. Never ever. As for the TX, I wouldn't have expected the power needle to jump as I talk. If I key up and say nothing, the power reads 0. If I key up and give a steady tone, it shows a steady power value. Very very odd.

I am using a springer stinger antenna (only a few weeks old). I get a good SWR reading on AM/FM - around 1.1 -1.2. I did this with an external SWR meter as I didn't fully trust the built-in one. I was told once that they are only OK and to stick with an external one. I had one anyway so I used that.

When I try to measure the SWR in SSB mode, it's not that I find it difficult... I simply can't. I throw the meter to FWD and key up... nothing! No needle deflection at all (on the external meter). I can't turn the knob to SET etc. It's really strange.

I tried Martin's suggestion with a scanner (...had to dust off the MVT-7100!) and managed to see that I am putting out signal but the readability is rubbish. You can't really make out what I'm saying. Sounds a bit like QRM or like I'm transmitting in the middle of a pile-up. Could it be the mic? I had to buy a replacement mic for the rig.

I had a nose around and I think I found a service manual for the set. Might see if there's anything in there that might help.

Offline northdublin

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Re: Signal meter on Ham International Concorde
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2014, 20:41:38 PM »
To the best of my knowledge, the needle on all radios transmitting on ssb will move to indicate your modulation.
it is not untill you put modulation onto the carrier on ssb that the radio actually pushes the signal out.
therefore, limited only by the radio power,  ie 12 watts, the louder you talk the stronger the signal.

your swr should only be checked on am/fm. if your swr is safe on either of these and you dont alter anything, when you switch up to side bands your swr should be fine.

checking a radio with a scanner on sidebands is allways going to be difficult.
firstly, the scanner is very close to the transciever and the radio will overdrive the scanner even with the scanner antenna disconnected.
also your concorde might not be exactly on freqency, which can be the case with a lot of those older radios, and some of the newer ones too.
so if you are  on ch 12 (27.555) USB on your scanner, and the same on the radio, the radio could be transmitting on 27.553 or 27.557.
which will give the impression of distortion or bad quallity audio.
if this is the case and the radio is off centre frequency, the clarifier is used to adjust the freq to compensate for this.

if there was a problem with the mic, and i mean if even one of the 4 wires was wrong, the radio would not transmit, posibly not recieve and you would not have been able to qso on am or fm. the fact you have qso'd on am/fm would lead me to believe the mic is ok.

kenwood ts 870
Yaesu ft-857
sirio gainmaster
inverted vee
chameleon ch v1

Offline freecb

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Re: Signal meter on Ham International Concorde
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2014, 23:13:14 PM »
ur rig might be off frequency as well that's why you sound rubbish,,,when in ssb mode the needle wont swing until the signal is strong or you start chatting to make a carrier for the needle to move,,sounds like a lazy needle as you should have a signal of about 8/9 when in am/fm during a key up but that depends on your antenna being setup good as well,,,,also having good wattage from the set,,,you might have a bad connection in the coax and we hope that your power supply is over 5 amps,,,,7/9 would be good,,,,,,trouble shooting is a great part of the hobby and youtube is a gift for all to share the problems,,,check there as well make a video and post it up for us to see
go on Bertie bud