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write your own review of the Ameritron SDC-103.
Jun 26, 2014 19:21
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Screwdriver Controller for ICOM
Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This new product is close to perfect. It comes with the controller, control wire with 4 pin Molex connectors at each end, a Snap on RF choke, a 3.5mm mono audio cable for the CI-V interface from radio to controller, and a small manual.
It took me over an hour to get it programmed once I had it installed and connected to my IC 7000 and Tarheel 100 antenna. There are three main programming sections involved with several steps each. First the programming the CI-V interface to talk to the SDC-103. There are three manu items to set in the radio as outlined in the manual. then you set up the "stall current" of the motor in the screwdriver. This is to signal the controller it has hit the end of travel. It has a set up option that measures and displays the current in real time as you run the antenna up and down. The default is 75ma but I found I had to go to 90 ma to get it consistent. this might take a little of playing to get it right. Then the 2nd step is to decide which bands you want it to control the antenna for. the choices are 6-160. then you go through all of your choices one at a time setting the lowest SWR at high and low end of each band using the radio. When this is done it returns to operating mode. Then if all works the screwdriver will move itself when you change bands or frequency on the radio. No need to transmit those annoying TEST transmissions to check the SWR, just tune to your favorite frequency and talk.
I had a little problem with RFI getting in on 17m. This caused the set up procedure to crash at this point until I cured it. It was cured with the addition of an additional snap on choke at the controller end of the wire. there is already one at the antenna end. (incl)
1. RFI on 17m. Ameritron should use shielded wire for the control wire.
2. Touchy buttons during setup. A little more debounce in the program so the buttons would be good for us with fat fingers!
3. Current readout. This jumps around faster than it can be read. A SLOW averaging time would be helpful. (More programming.)
4. Small manual without pictures. It is adequate for me but could be improved with pictures of the screens of the controller as it does some of the steps.
1. Works well
3. Good available tech support and warranty.
4. Auto Park is GREAT!
5. Readout is easy to see, not that you really need it if all is working.
6. A GREAT safe mobile operating appliance for the mobile HFer! Makes Life much simpler operating on the road.
I will update this review as I log more time with it.
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