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Author Topic: Recommended Antenna Tuner---  (Read 850 times)

Posts: 104

« on: March 11, 2008, 10:19:07 PM »

What is a good-quality 300 watt Antenna Tuner available in today's market?
Palstar used to offer a nice one, but not any more.
MFJ's offering is HUGE, but is there ONE that 'makes the grade'?
There seems to be trend to go 'automatic', but I would prefer to stick with a 'manual' one---
Any and all advice/suggestions are welcome.  Thanks. VE3GNU

Posts: 9930

« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2008, 11:56:49 PM »

I have several mfj tuners ( 929 comes to mind) but I prefer a certain style rather than manufacturer.  I buy most of my stuff used on ebay so I am fairly flexible.  

What I want is a meter that has dual cross needle meters so you can see foward, reverse power and swr at the same time.  great for tuning antennas, no push in and set, pull out and check.

So  a nice dual cross needle meter and I prefer a cap/ switched coil/cap setup as they are easier for me to use. you can also get a cap/ rollor inductor/ cap style and a single cap/ coil model.

 remember a 300 watt tuner is really only good for 100 watts if the swr is high. I also have a Big tuner, a dentron MP 2000 AT which easily handles legal limit and has no meter so I use it with an outboard cross needle meter.

Most all of my stuff now has autotuners on it. I like to contest and I don't have time to retune every few minutes while doing search and pounce  so I use a  ldg at 1000 for my pegasus and the als 600, and the 746 pro has an ic2-kl/ at500 set so it is auto tune auto bandswitch and  the orion / alpha 87a runs straight into the antennas.  the low band antenna is a gap voyager and I know and operate it in its "good area "( its fairly broad banded)and on the higher bands I use the 3 ele steppir so it needs no tuner as it will auto tune and follow the radio, as will the alpha 87a.  

so in effect the orion is a legal limit transciever( the alpha autotunes) , and the pegasus is a 600 watt transciever ( I have to manually band switch that on) and the 746 pro is an 800 watt transciever. no tuning and it all keeps me from screwing up and making an expensive mistake.

it does make life easier.  

so a good 300 watt manual tuner with dual cross needle meters, or an ldg tuner of sufficient capacity, or an autotune setup.  

I am lazy and like the autotune setup.

by the way, with a manual tuner, make your self a matrix and write down the settings for like low middle and high on each antenna for each band.  like with the c/l/c tuner the matrix may be

antenna a

14.100  5  c  7
14.200  5  d  8
14.300  6  f  9

so if you are going to work some one at 14.250 you could pre set you tuner to 5 1/2 e and 8 or 9 and be darn close and tweak it while talking.  also you can "cheat" aas you learn  that if you tune to a part of the band with no signal and tune for the loudest backround hiss  you will find your self darn close

hope this helps  her is a link to some picks of the stuff

Posts: 6642

« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2008, 07:08:38 AM »

This depends on the price and what you are looking for.
I like the cross-needle meters, as long as they are large enough to see.  I do desire an internal balun, and a built-in dummy load can be useful too.
Roller inductors are nice, but the tapped coils work fine for most use.
Size can matter if taking it portable, but large knobs are better on the desktop.
Remember that voltage limits are due to capacitor spacing, while current limits are based on inductor gauge.


Posts: 1421


« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2008, 08:47:09 AM »

TenTec 238

Posts: 10

« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2008, 01:25:39 PM »

I have been using the MFJ 941E for a number of months.  So far, so good.  This is one of the better rated MFJ tuners on e-ham reviews.  No roller inductor - tapped coil only.  I'm running my FT-980 barefoot so the tuner only sees peaks of about 125 watts.  My only gripe is that this is the model with the smaller cross needle PO/VSWR meters.  Gotta squint a little to read it.  Not much room for a tuner since the FT 980 is a bit of a hulk, so the smaller size of this unit works just fine in my application.  I've seen these listed here and on other ham sites for $65.00 to about $80.00.  Good little tuner.

Dave - N7PZI

Posts: 273

« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2008, 06:38:49 PM »

I chose Palstar AT1KP( manual tuner ) - after much research. Performs well - but will not tune very very high SWR. Reviews of Palstar are excellent in contrast to MFJ products. A manual Tuner is a lot cheaper than the auto Tuners but more cumbersome to use.
73, Ira, KE5STP

Posts: 104

« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2008, 09:44:16 PM »

Gentlemen, thanks for your insight, experience, and opinion on an Antenna Tuner.  What I neglected to add initially---I have had a manual tuner for a number of years---Viewstar VS300A, that has served me well---especially hooked up to my G5RV.  
The meter 'gave up the ghost' recently---meaning I can still tune the antenna with my ICOM-IC-740, which has a six-function analog meter, but can't be used with my QRP rigs.
I'll probably have the meter 'trouble-shooted' first---and I doubt that a replacement can be found (the tuner is 25 years old)---and if that fails, then I might consider looking for a tuner on one of our swap-nets.
OTOH---a nice cross-needle meter addition to my old tuner might just 'do the trick'.
The meter of my tuner has a scale of 300 watts out and a reverse scale of 30 watts.
Thanks again for your help; it is appreciated.

Ernie VE3GNU

Posts: 6642

« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2008, 11:14:57 AM »

I am sure you can repair, or increase the sensitivity of your present meter far cheaper than replacing it! (the electronics are fairly simple).
On the other hand, having a "back-up" tuner might be nice.


Posts: 287


« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2008, 12:27:26 PM »

Don't cut yourself short on the rating is my .02

The reason tuners get large is the size of the air variable caps in them.  There's a good reason for the size of these components and it is simply power handling.

I would second a recommendation of a Palstar AT1KP, I own an AT1KM and my only regret is that I didn't just buy a full legal limit rated model without the 4:1 balun in it.

I'll probably be upgrading to a BT1500 at some point or building something similar.

It is much easier to tune with a manual tuner than many people make it sound.  I went entry-level because of all the bitching people did.  I found out quickly that it's a nothing task to tune up and here I am, wanting to upgrade to a lower loss model to feed my ladder line.
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