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Author Topic: Auto tuner or manual?  (Read 2309 times)
KG6LET
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Posts: 14




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« on: June 05, 2002, 12:56:16 PM »

If you were starting out again and knowing what you do now, would you advise spending more money on an automatic antenna tuner or getting a manual?  I'm looking at the LDG AT-11 or the MFJ 949/941...the LDG has the capability to hook up with my Alinco DX-77 and use its tune feature...is this something that I will want?  any thoughts are much appreciated...thanks
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W4ILT
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2002, 11:35:03 PM »

I have been using AT-11MP from LDG for a little over a year. It works great!! Highly recommended.

Wayne
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KE6BGH
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2002, 04:07:18 AM »

I have the MFJ 941E.  It works fine for me.  In a base installation with the same antenna will repeat the normal settings for various parts of the bands, so it is a quick operation to "ballpark" the tuner.  If you use the same frequencies, say for nets, then it is easy to make up a "cheatsheet".

The built in switch for 2 coax jacks and a balun for 450 ohms are handy, too.

Automatic tuners are more convenient, but usually have a more limited impedance matching range.  The guys you hear talking about tuning up their raingutters are probably using manual tuners.  I have tuned up a raingutter, support mast, and once even a metal patio roof!

It comes down to the same old question about any gear--what's important to you and suits the way you operate?

My two cents worth, refunds available on request.

Dave Smith
KE6BGH
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W7ITC
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2002, 08:17:38 PM »

I like manual tuners. As has been mentioned their
matching capacity is much higher.  The main reason why I like a manual is I can keep in touch with the antenna.  If you manually tune it all the time you
learn about what the settings should be. If all the
sudden things change and you can't explain it
because of rain, snow, or wind you know you have
a problem.

                       Ken de W7ITC
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9879




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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2002, 11:59:35 PM »

Actually I use both. MY main rig is a kenwood 570 g (d)  and it has a built in tuner. I also have a dentron 2000 tuner in the line with it.  I use the dentron to tune up one of my several hf antennas and then use the auto tune on the rig to match it to which ever linear I am currently using or to the antenna if I am not using a linear.  

I usually use a Ameritron 500 watt solid state tuner and it is sensitive to the input and the tuner on the Kenwood will chatter a couple seconds when I use this one.  If I switch in the dentron clipperton L  (1200 watts or so) it will chatter again to tune to the input of this one.  

I often run barefoot then I tune in first with the manual tuner and then tap the auto tune button to double check.  Then it usually only clicks once or twice and stops. (I have my "presets" on paper for my different bands so it only takes a second to switch the manual tuner to a new band  and then tweek it in.)

 I think it sees the different impeadence of the linears as different loads.  It does work better this way, with higher out put from the hf radio as a better match and it doesn't turn down the output due to poor match.. I hope this helps.  

Bye the way  I keep an eye open on Ebay and pick up the occassional 1kw  dentron super tuner for under $100 and sometimes $50, so keep an eye out for a deal..  73 tom N6AJR  ( all junk radio)
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WA2JJH
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2002, 05:36:46 AM »

I WOULD HAVE TO AGREE, HAVING BOTH TYPES OF TUNERS IS BEST! I HAVE BEEN USING MFJ'S FOR 0VER 20 YEARS. NO YOU CAN NOT MAKE A PASTA NOODLE PRESENT A 50 OHM MATCH ON 160M. HOWEVER FOR 10-80 I HAVE EVEN GOT VHF ANTENNAS
TO MATCH UP. DO NOT BE SUPRISED IF YOU GET CARPLE TUNNEL SYNDROME IN 20 YEARS. THOSE TINY KNOBS ON MFJ'S
HAVE MADE MY FINGER TIPS RAW. EXPECT NO MORE THAN 50KHZ BANDWIDTH, IF YOU HAVE A HUGE MISMATCH ON 40 OR 80M.

    AUTO TUNERS ARE NEW TO ME. JUST GOT ONE WHEN I PURCHASED A USED KENWOOD TS-850SAT. WHAT A DELIGHT!
TUNE UP IN 5 SECONDS. OK YOU HAVE TO HAVE LESS THAN A 3:1 MISMATCH TO GET A 1 TO 1 MATCH IN SECONDS. BUILT IN TUNERS AUTO TRACK AND AUTO STORE BANDS AND FREQS. IF YOU HAVE JUST A 15 METER DIPOLE OR BETTER INVERTED V, YOU CAN TUNE UP IN SECONDS ON ALL BANDS.(EXCEPT 160M) LOVE IT WHEN I AM ON 80M, POP UP TO 10M AND THE ANTENNA IS READY TO GO WITH FLAT VSWR, BEFORE I KEY THE MIC. THE AUTO TUERS ARE GREAT WITH TRAPPED VERTICALS. FULL BANDWIDTH ALL THE TIME, WITH FLAT VSWR.

    AS FOR TUNING DRAIN PIPES, AND THE LIKE...GO MANUAL.

   I STILL KEEP MY MFJ AROUND. IN BYPASS MODE FOR AUTO TUNE. IN LINE FOR TOUGH LOADS. I HAVE USED BOTH THE AUTO AND THE MANUAL IN TANDUM. THE MANUAL TUNER WILL EXPAND THE AUTO TUNE VSWR RANGE TO MUCH GREATER THAN 3:1. I USE THE C TAP ON THE MFJ. HOWEVER A LOT OF POWER AND RX SENSE WILL BE LOST AS WASTED ENERGY IN YOUR COAX.

    IF YOU GOT AN AUTO...A $100 INVESTMENT FOR A MANUAL TUNER IS NOT A BAD WAY TO GO. EVEN IF YOU PUT THE MANUAL TUNER IN BYPASS, YOU STILL GET A DUMMY LOAD, A MULTIPLE ANTENNA SWITCH AND A NICE LARGE ANALOG WATT METER.

73 MIKE  WA2JJH
10-80M. ALL T
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K3AN
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Posts: 787




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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2002, 04:11:51 PM »

New hams should start out using manual tuners because it will make them that much more appreciative of the autotuner technology when they finally do make the switch!

I was one who resisted the technology, but my first new autotuner HF rig convinced me of my prior stupidity. Later I also bought a SGC-230 for its ability to match just about any random wire, with low SWR on the feedline because it's out at the antenna end of the coax.

Use a three knob T-match manual tuner? Fuhgeddaboudit!

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N4VNV
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2002, 10:10:03 AM »

 Hams ask questions like this all the time, and without knowing what antenna you are going to run, its impossible to answer except as multiple choice.
 Some hams (myself) run end fed wires. These require much better tuners than other antennas. So, the answer is; buy the tuner that matches up to your desired antenna. If you hop around the frequencies all the time as I do, an automatic tuner is the answer. If you have the money to spend. They do cost a good bit more.
 My SGC model 231 is the best tuner I have ever owned, and I have owned a LOT of tuners.
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KC6PGA
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2002, 11:18:43 PM »

I went for the manual tuner because I knew sooner or later I'd get an amp.I got a old Heathkit sa2040 for about $150.  This tuner is built way better than the mfj and will tune almost anything.  I will admit the one touch tuning and the one less piece of gear on the desk was tempting but, I don't regret going with the manual.
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KB3FFH
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Posts: 157




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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2002, 08:30:03 AM »

I use a LDG autotuner. It works great. Remember it is only good up to 150 watts. Mine took a lighting strike and was repaired with in a couple of days. Great support. Bill kb3ffh
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WA1DVR
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2002, 09:53:16 PM »

It may be too late since this was posted a while ago, but I just bought an SGC 239 Automatic Tuner, It's an amazing unit, it will tune into almost anything in an instant. Check out their web site, it does what they say, for about $249 I'm thrilled.

  73 BOB
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KU4QD
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Posts: 59




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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2002, 12:06:25 AM »

It's a personal preference issue.  I prefer manual tuners.  When I run QRP/portable they simply don't consume power and they'll tune about anything.  

I use a Tokyo Hy-Power HC-200 (discontinued, but easy to find on the used market) for my "big" 50W rigs and find it to be excellent and easy to tune.  

My portable tuner is a Mizuho KX-QRP (recently replaced by the SX-9S in their product line, but still easy to find), which is a four knob Pi-C network.  (Someone complained about three knobs?  Geez!)  It took some getting used to but it tunes anything and everything provided you don't try to put more than 10W through it.  It's extremely rugged and beautifully built.

If I didn't care about power consumption and didn't care about tuning odd lengths of wire, I might consider an auto tuner.  Considering it typically takes me just a few seconds to tune up, though, I have to wonder if it'd be worth the money.
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