On the HamRadioHelpGroup mailing list, a ham asked:
Will a CB SWR meter work on a 2 meter ham radio??
Mark, K5LXP, replied:
Yes and no.
I use a CB SWR meter to check 2M antennas all the time. There is a trick to it however.
If all you want to to is check SWR on your 2M antenna, you don’t necessarily have to buy a dedicated VHF/UHF SWR meter. What I keep in my toolbag for that is a cheapie $5 hamfest special CB SWR meter. They really don’t work well on 2M but there’s a trick you can do that will net a reasonably accurate SWR reading on 2M with one of these meters. What you do is connect up the meter as usual, key the rig with the switch in the forward power position, set the adjustment for full scale. Now, without touching anything, swap the coax connections so that the rig is connected to the “ANT” side of the meter, and the antenna is connected to the “XCVR” side. The reading you see on the meter will be very close to your real SWR. The closer to 1:1 your SWR is, the more accurate it will be. It would be more convenient to have a real SWR meter or antenna analyzer if you do a lot of testing, but for a quick antenna check after a mobile install or whatever, the $5 CB meters work OK.
When I asked his permission to use this, Mark said, “I don’t get the credit, I picked it up from some OF years ago.” (E-mail me if you don’t know what an OF is.) Well, Mark, you might not get the credit for thinking this up, but you certainly get the credit for passing it on. Thanks!