Volunteers Providing Emergency Communications for Multnomah County, Oregon

Hardware 101: Amp Meters

Is your radio acting strangely? Coughing? Runny antenna? Watery display?

A quick way to check its overall health is with an amp meter. If power is going out, then your radio will be sucking power in! The amp meter is the thermometer of the radio world.

A quick review of your manual will tell you what your radio consumes when putting out full power. Most mobile radios will consume 20-22 amps.  So don’t hesitate; if your radio seems sickly and you think it’s got the coronavirus, stick an amp meter in its mouth and key the mic and see if its temperature is normal. 22 amps on the meter? It’s not a virus!

If your 700 amp, klystron powered, 473 pound linear (another topic for another day!) power supply does not have a built in amp meter, you can certainly find one, like the one pictured here, on Ebay for around $10. A quick set of Anderson power pole connectors on each end and the doctor is ready to check radios!