General: S-Meter

This time our General question is about, well, s-meters! [G4D06]

Where is an S meter found?

A. In a receiver

B. In an SWR bridge

C. In a transmitter

D. In a conductance bridge

The answer is, A. In a receiver.  Now, in most modern transceivers, the receiver and transmitter are packaged in the same unit.  So C. is not technically correct, although your transceiver does have one, it belongs to the receiver section.  An S-meter specifically measures the received signal.  Therefore, B and D are not correct, either.

Your S-meter is how you measure the strength of a received signal.  The meter indicates in dB, on a logarithmic scale.  Most signals, including the noise floor, will register below the “S9” level.  When you hear someone refer to “10 over” or “20 over” it means their received signal is quite strong indeed.

The top-most scale in the image above is an example of a typical analog S-meter.

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