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 Post subject: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Fri 09, 2018 3:27 am 
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Joined: May Tue 30, 2006 4:46 pm
Posts: 9515
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
When our house burned in the N. Cal. wildfires last October, I lost my vintage Bird 43 RF wattmeter and about a half dozen slugs. Replacing it with a new Bird is pretty expensive. I will look at the ham swaps in then next month or so.

Am considering a "modern" solid state wattmeter, Chinese off Ebay, or Taiwanese via MFJ. Anyone have actual experience? When I buy a new transceiver, it will be under 200Watts, so I don't need KW capability... just reasonable accuracy and convenience. I would probably leave it "in-line" all the time, as I did with my old Bird.

https://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product. ... d=MFJ-826B

https://www.ebay.com/itm/MFJ-849-Digita ... 4928!US!-1

https://www.ebay.com/itm/MFJ-845-Digita ... 4928!US!-1

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Fri 09, 2018 4:14 am 
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Joined: Nov Mon 02, 2009 7:01 am
Posts: 3100
Location: Lincoln City, OR
Greetings to Rich and the Forum:

Two comments: There is no substitute for a Bird... they are the best there is.

There is a ton of 43's and slugs always for sale on the QTH Classifieds web site under test equipment: https://swap.qth.com/c_test.php

Good Luck,

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Jim T.
KB6GM


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 Post subject: Re: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Fri 09, 2018 4:16 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Maryland 20709, USA
Jthorusen wrote:
There is no substitute for a Bird... they are the best there is.

Truer words were never spoken.

- Leigh

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http://www.AtwaterKent.info
Click "Grebe Stuff" for Synchrophase info


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 Post subject: Re: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Fri 09, 2018 6:38 am 
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Joined: May Tue 30, 2006 4:46 pm
Posts: 9515
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Yes, I agree.

I got my Bird free from the lab at Westinghouse Semiconductor, when I departed in 1986. They had purchased it a decade earlier thinking it might be useful for testing a new line of power transistors that might have had some potential for VLF transmitters. By 1986, the manager said that I might as well have it as no one else had a clue of how to use it. He also gave me nearly a dozen VHF and UHF slugs. Who ever bought it had no concept of how it worked.

I plan to go to the Silicon Valley Ham Swap in Cupertino Saturday morning (about 90 miles south). Maybe I will get lucky.

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Fri 09, 2018 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 307
Location: Limington, Me
Check out the LP-100A by N8LP. It needs 12 volts but shouldn't be a problem for fixed
station use.

73, Roger N1RJ


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 Post subject: Re: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Fri 09, 2018 4:03 pm 
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Joined: May Sun 28, 2017 9:08 pm
Posts: 351
Location: Whiteville, TN
What about the Birds I have seen at the Huntsville Hamfest? Prices all over the place, conditions from nearly brand-new to seeing shovel marks, some with no slugs to some with bunches

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Karl
KI4ZUQ


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 Post subject: Re: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Fri 09, 2018 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 33575
Location: Maryland 20709, USA
A note regarding purchase of a used Bird 43...

The meter movement is quite sensitive, 30 uA full-scale.

The 43 ships from the factory with a solid metal slug installed. Its purpose is to short the panel meter terminals so the coil doesn't get damaged by mechanical shock. The same thing can be accomplished with any regular slug by rotating it so the arrow is straight up.

If you find a 43 with no dummy or real slug, the movement may be damaged.

- Leigh

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73 de W3NLB
http://www.AtwaterKent.info
Click "Grebe Stuff" for Synchrophase info


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 Post subject: Re: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Fri 09, 2018 5:14 pm 
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Joined: May Tue 30, 2006 4:46 pm
Posts: 9515
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Good tip, Leigh !

My past practice was to put a shorting wire on all my stored panel meters that were 1 mA or less in sensitivity. I also use this idea when buying meters at a ham swap. Short the terminals together and shake. If the needle moves, the meter is likely "open."

Rich

PS: My old Bird somehow survived 30+ years in-line with PA lightning storms and winter snow static.


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 Post subject: Re: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Fri 09, 2018 7:57 pm 
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Joined: Nov Mon 02, 2009 7:01 am
Posts: 3100
Location: Lincoln City, OR
Greetings to the Forum:

While I routinely store my Bird 43 with a slug with the arrow vertical, I have seen some 43's that look like they have been through the wars... and they still work. It may be a 30 uA meter, but it is a VERY well-built 30 uA meter.

Regards,

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Jim T.
KB6GM


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 Post subject: Re: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2018 9:14 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 22516
Location: Somers, CT
I've owned Birds and Dielectric wattmeters. One advantage is that their slugs are interchangeable.

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Just because it can be done doesn't mean it should be done.


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 Post subject: Re: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2018 9:46 pm 
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Joined: Aug Thu 20, 2015 3:09 pm
Posts: 947
Location: Albion, CA, USA, 95410
I agree that there is no substitute for a Bird when you need the accuracy. But the most of the time you don't, or at least I don't. For ham shack use, I have a Diawa CN-720B. Measures pretty darn well against a Bird and is certainly accurate enough for me to know if my transmitters are putting out what they should and the double needle makes it easy to keep an eye on the SWR.


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 Post subject: Re: Bird 43 Replacement
PostPosted: Mar Tue 13, 2018 12:06 am 
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Joined: Jun Wed 08, 2011 2:33 am
Posts: 7498
Location: Ohio 45177
I got a Bird and slugs but I have never even checked the power output on my current HF radio with it. Primarily used for VHF/UHF stuff. The radio came from the factory rated at 100W output and based on the current peaks it draws, I can assume it must be doing as it did at the factory. About the same with all solid state no tune rigs. Now if I was gonna check the output of a vintage tube radio or an old used solid state rig, it would be useful for that. Tubes go soft and the output power will drop or some shifty character might sell you a used rig with degraded output. Even at that I think some of the inline power meters such as Daiwa etc. etc. or ones built into tuners would be good enough to alert you to that issue. Mine was NIB decades ago, but these days a used Bird for a good price might be the way I would go, as the new cost makes it kind of a luxury item that is not absolutely necessary for most hams.


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