Posted on Saturday, May 28, 2011 • Category: Test and Measurement
This Field Strength Meter has been specially designed for our FM bugs. It is capable of detecting very low power transmitters and will assist enormously in peaking many of our FM transmitters that have a coil in the output stage that can be adjusted for optimum output.
Up to now, field strength meters have only been able to detect transmitters with an output of 100 milliwatts or higher, and for an output such as this, a simple circuit such as a meter and a coil is sufficient. But when it comes to a low power device, a simple circuit, with no amplification, is not suitable.
We spent more than 5 days building all the circuits we could find - that purported to be suitable for low-power transmitters, hoping to find one that would work.
Unfortunately none came anywhere near good enough so we had to design our own.
The circuit we came up with is shown above and it incorporates an RF amplifier, diode rectification, and a DC amplifier so that a movement from a multimeter (a movement is the 'meter' part of a multimeter) could be used as the readout. The heart of the design is a pair of diodes that are partially turned on via a resistor (the 100k sensitivity control) and this overcomes some of the .6v threshold of a diode.
You may not think .6v is very much but when you are talking in millivolt terms, it is 600 millivolts. The signal we are attempting to pick up produces one or two millivolts on the receiving antenna and if you need 600 millivolts to turn a diode ON, the field strength meter becomes very insensitive. SWR Meter Oscilloscope ESR Tester 0-500MHz PIC16F876 RF Power Meter Function Generator XR2206 Accurate LC Meter based on PIC16F84A DS18S20 Dual Temperature Meter Special Edition Accurate LC Meter Kit Curious C-Beeper LM386 Audio Probe Amplifier Function Generator using XR2206
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