If you’re in the market for a directional coupler, there are a few things you should know before you hand over your credit card. Consider this a quick buying guide to couplers.
Different couplers will offer different coupling values. A good rule of thumb is to look for something very tight in the 6-20 range, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you. There’s rarely a “right” or “wrong” answer when it comes to power preferences. It all depends on what you’re doing and what you need the coupler to accomplish.
Why are you buying a directional coupler in the first place? Purpose can have a big influence on purchase. For example, if you need strong, military-grade parts for a classified operation overseas, cheap couplers simply won’t do. On the other hand, if you’re only buying couplers for a hobby, maybe you don’t need something that high-tech.
The cost of a directional coupler will vary wildly depending on what kind it is and where you’re buying it. Try to compare and contrast prices as you shop. What seems like a good deal from one store may turn out to be a horrible price in another, and you’ll never know unless you take the time to look.
The best way to gauge the value of a product without actually buying it is to evaluate customer reviews. How many people love it? How many people hate it? If everyone is praising the same thing, it’s probably legitimate; on the other hand, if everyone loathes the same bug or feature, you should consider your purchase carefully before you wind up adding your own voice to the litany.
If you need to fit your coupler inside something, size is a very important thing to know before you go shopping. There’s no use buying a coupler, getting it home and only realizing right then that it’s too big or too small for your needs. You’ll also want to consider size if you’ll be transporting your coupler to various devices and locations; the smaller it is, the more portable it will be.
These are just a few things to keep in mind as you shop for directional couplers. Whether you’re applying them to military, tactical or recreational projects, these tips should be enough to help you make the right decision as you shop.