Recently I ordered a WaveNode WN-2 for an accurate RF power station monitor. I must say that I really love this little box! I first saw the advertisement for the WN-2 on eHAM.net, but my buddy Jeff N9IZ bought one before me, so I got a bit of a chance to play with one before I bought it.
At the core of the WaveNode is the controller, a small device with a nice multi-function LCD display. The display will show the information of up to 4 sensors connected to it as well as Voltage and Amperage and also 2 channels that you can define for other devices. The controller connects to a PC via USB connection, but you can use it as a stand-alone system. It’s when you connect it to a PC and use the supplied software that the unit really shines!
My WaveNode WN-2 system consists of the following:
- The WaveNode WN-2 controller
- 2 HF1 sensors (1.8 – 60 MHz – 2 kW power handling)
- 1 HF1 sensor with RF-View (1.8 – 60 MHz – 2 kW power handling and a BNC jack for connection to an oscilloscope).
- 1 UHF1 sensor ( 140 – 460 Mhz operation – 500 Watts power handling)
For my setup I connected sensor 1 to the output of my IC-7600 and sensor 2 to the output of my SPE 1K-FA 1000 Watt amplifier so that I could monitor the output power between the IC-7600 and the amp, and the output of the amplifier. This works really great for accurate SWR and power monitoring of my primary station.
Sensor 3 is used on my test bench where I can test radios that seem to make their way in and out of my shack. I have connected my oscilloscope to the RF-View BNC connector to monitor modulation waveforms.
Sensor 4 is connected to my IC-910H. This allows me accurate power and SWR measurement of my VHF-UHF radio.
WaveNode has other sensors available that go up to 8 kW!!!!! You can see the very impressive line-up of sensors here.
As far as the good goes, there is MUCH to say about the WaveNode. I have had other power meters from Diawa, and Power Master. And although those products are good, they cannot come close to matching the capabilities of the WN-2. Here are just some of the features of the WN-2:
- Power measurement (up to 8 kW depending on the sensor used!)
- SWR measurement and protection.
- One WN-2 can handle up to 4 sensors, but two WN-2 units can be cascaded together for up to 8 sensors!
- Excellent information on the LCD display.
- PC connectivity using a USB connection with a quality FTDI chipset (no junky, problematic Prolific USB to serial chipset!)
- Sensors utilize a PS/2 style mini DIN plug that can be extended using PS/2 style keyboard extension cables.
- Software is included.
- Software measurement shows Peak/Avg power, power forward, power reflected, and SWR. Even has a nice pie graph to show forward/reflected power.
- Software tracks elapsed DC power usage.
- Software tracks elapsed RF power usage (Watt-Hours).
- A totally awesome histogram of power that compares different sensors with a power vs. gain graph.
- A SWR vs. Frequency graph that you can run on multiple sensors (and different antennas if you wish on a switch!)
- WN-2 has connections for rotator control. Control is done via software.
- Software has an audio tone generator for testing.
- 4 logic outputs for controlling additional accessories with supplied schematics.
- And still there is much more! Check out the WaveNode site for more information!
Here is a screen shot of the “Main Screen” window:
Technical support is also EXCELLENT! Most people will have absolutely no problems connecting the WaveNode WN-2, but I did have a small issue when connecting mine. It turned out that a PC accessory that I was using was conflicting with the WN-2. The PC accessory was a VL Systems L.I.S. 2 status monitor for the PC that monitored fans and other aspects of the PC that I really didn’t need to use anymore. I called WaveNode for support and spoke with Alan Burroughs AD6MT. What a nice guy Alan is. He was very patient and offered me different solutions to get my new WaveNode working properly. Thanks Alan!!!
Now this really would not be a very objective review if I couldn’t state what I didn’t like about the WN-2. But I have to say there aren’t many dislikes. Here is my run down of the things that I don’t really like about the WaveNode WN-2 (pretty petty stuff really):
- Their website is a bit basic and old-school. They really need a web site revamp! Make it easier to navigate and find information.
- The WN-2 shipped with 2 very large front feet. I guess this is so that it can be presented at a slight tilted up angle. I removed those feet and bought some smaller ones to make it fit where I wanted it…easy enough done.
- The software works great, but is not very refined from an aesthetic standpoint. I would like to see some additional configuration options to get it to display the way I want (i.e. sizable windows). Low resolution graphics and text makes it dated looking.
- The “Dim” feature just looks horrible, but it swapps the light grey background with a dark grey one so that it isn’t so beaming. In other words it works…
*ugh* the “dim” version….bleeeech!
Now for a nice slideshow of my WN-2 in my shack!
If you are in the market for a great SWR/Power station monitor that does more than just the basic, the WaveNode WN-2 is your girl.
The price was very reasonable and way cheaper than my Power Master for way more features and performance.
I rate the WaveNode WN-2 at 4 3/4 out of 5 stars. Really you cannot go wrong with a WN-2. Get one and you will love it.
I made a video showing the WN-2 in action. Here is the video for your viewing pleasure!
This was my first go with some video editing. I still have a lot to learn :-D.
73! de Nick N9SJA