HamPod W2 MeterReader

 

   The HamPod W2 MeterReader provides spoken readouts of power and SWR measurements by an Elecraft W2 Wattmeter. It also adds an audio tuning feature and provides access the W2 Wattmeter configuration menus.

   This review is based on the W2 MeterReader user manual and information from the developer, K6DQ.

   The Elecraft W2 Wattmeter is described in a separate article.

HamPod Station Accessories

   The W2 MeterReader is developed by Rob Santello, K6DQ.

From the user manual:

   "The HamPod series of amateur radio station accessories are stand-alone, micro-processor based text-to-speech devices designed to provide speech output and accessibility to common station equipment such as transceivers, antenna controllers and rotor controllers, SWR/Power meters, and other equipment capable of serial data exchange. The voice synthesizer utilizes the popular Double Talk voice synthesizer and is customizable to your personal preferences."

W2 MeterReader

   The HamPod device (Figure 1) is 5.3" x 4.0" and 1.9" high, including the attached 16 button keypad and enclosed speaker. It communicates with an Elecraft W2 Wattmeter via a supplied serial cable. The firmware is updatable with a personal computer.

Figure 1. HamPod W2 MeterReader                     hampod.com

 

   The HamPod has two male DB9 serial ports. With the supplied firmware it can switch between two W2 Wattmeters. A different build of the firmware combines the HamPod K3 Reader on port 1 with the W2 MeterReader on port 2. In that case, pressing the [D] key for one second can switch between an Elecraft K3 (or KX3) transceiver and a W2 Wattmeter.

   The K3 Reader is described in a separate article.

Operation

   To hear a spoken measurement you press a key on the HamPod. For example, pressing the [1] key announces the forward power in watts; pressing the [2] key gives the reverse power; and pressing the [3] key gives the SWR. Pressing and releasing the [A] key followed by the [1] key toggles between average and PEP power readings.

   The audio tuning feature queries the W2 Wattmeter continuously and sounds a tone that increases in pitch as the power or SWR increases. For example, holding down the [1] key for 0.5 seconds turns on the tone to monitor forward power.

   Other keys configure the W2 Wattmeter. For example, you can set the SWR alarm trip point and enable the alarm.

   Pressing the [C] key for one second switches to the Configuration mode for changing settings in the W2 MeterReader. Changes persist when the device is restarted.

Jitter and Latency

   The W2 MeterReader manual explains the issues of jitter and latency. Jitter in the readouts is due to fluctuations in measurements by the W2 Wattmeter. Latency is the delay that results from data processing in the meter and in the reader, communication back and forth over the serial connection, and tone generation.

   There is a tradeoff between reducing jitter and latency. The manual explains how to select configuration settings for the best compromise.

Summary

   The HamPod W2 MeterReader is a convenient, well-designed accessory that blind and vision-impaired hams can use to monitor RF power and SWR measurements by an Elecraft W2 Wattmeter. It also adds an audio tone tuning feature.

   There are two serial ports, so one HamPod device can switch between an Elecraft K3 or KX3 transceiver and a W2 Wattmeter..

Acknowledgment

   Thanks to Rob, K6DQ, for information about the W2 MeterReader.

Author Information

   Peter DeNeef, AE7PD, is an Extra Class amateur radio operator in the U.S.  Email:  HamRadioAndVision "at" gmail "dot" com.

rev. 1/29/2014

HamPod K3 Reader

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