Field, Crystals and capacitance meters schematics

Posted on Jun 20, 2012

Because it uses few parts, a printed circuit board is not necessary; components can simply be soldered to one another. However, a box is desirable for operating convenience. The case and aerial from a discarded toy walkie-talkie was used in the prototype (see photograph), though any small plastic case will suffice. The meter movement need not be large; we are only detecting the presence of RF, and not making precise measurements. A meter from an old radio or tape recorder should work fine. The diodes can be any germanium type; the actual part number is not important. Germanium diodes can be recognised by their 6mm-long clear glass case with two coloured bands towards the cathode end. None of the component values shown are critical; a 50 percent variation would have little effect on circuit operation.

Field, Crystals and capacitance meters schematics
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Field, Crystals and capacitance meters schematics - image 1
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Field, Crystals and capacitance meters schematics - image 2
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A field strength meter is perhaps the simplest piece of RF test equipment that can be built. Used for checking transmitters, antenna experimentation, and testing RF oscillators, field strength meters provide an indication of the presence of RF energy. They are not frequency sensitive and are useful where indication of a change in level is more important than the actual strength of the signal indicated. Figure One shows a schematic of an RF field strength meter. Like a crystal set, it requires no power source. However, unlike a crystal set, the meter has no tuned circuit. It responds to signals of any frequency. To test the operation of the meter, a transmitter is required to provide a source of RF. Placing the field strength meter's extended antenna near a handheld VHF rig should produce an indication on the meter, assuming that the sensitivity control has been set to maximum. No indication means that the meter is not working. Common construction errors include connecting the diodes or the meter wrongly and using silicon diodes in place of the germanium diodes specified. In this case, the meter will still work, but with reduced sensitivity. The earth wire is optional; when working with low-powered oscillators, it is useful to clip it to ground (of the circuit under test) to ensure a better indication on the meter. Those without a transmitter can use an RF signal generator or crystal oscillator (such as that described...

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