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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | LDG RT-600 Help

Reviews Summary for LDG RT-600
LDG RT-600 Reviews: 14 Average rating: 3.1/5 MSRP: $449.95
Description: The RT-600 is a 600 watt PEP coax in / coax out remote autotuner designed to be placed near the feedpoint of the antenna. DC powered over the coax by the RC-600 control unit (included).
Product is in production.
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G3RCE Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2017 02:00 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am puzzled by the recent negative reviews?
My rt600 has been in use for nearly 2 years outdoors.
I have used it with various end fed wires etc and the ZS6BKW doublet, no problems with 400 watts, the measly UK limit!
A couple of queries to LDG have been satisfactorily answered immediately.
It is important to read the handbook.
I recently opened the case and found it in immaculate order, no sign of burning or weather ingress.

KQ6IG Rating: 0/5 Jan 7, 2017 12:13 Send this review to a friend
Avoid This Tuner  Time owned: more than 12 months
I second GW4PJQ's review. I purchased this tuner to use with a 16-32 ft mobile antenna. It was one of the most unpredictable problematic pieces of hardware I have used. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it would not work. Sometimes it would match quickly, sometimes it would tune endlessly with the same antenna and frequency and fail to match. The trouble seemed to increase the longer it was bouncing around the back of my Jeep. I eventually gave up on it, put it on the shelf and replaced it with an SGC SG-237. The 237 has worked flawlessly tuning my verticle from 160m-10m, everytime.
GW4PJQ Rating: 0/5 Jan 5, 2017 14:28 Send this review to a friend
Complete junk  Time owned: more than 12 months
How anyone can give this load of junk 5 is beyond me. I have owned this for over twelve months and it is the most temperamental thing I have owned. Sometimes it loads up my 130ft end fed against a good earth fine other times it doesn't want to know. I tried to load up 3.757 to no avail but I was able to sneak up to 3.757 by loading up on 3.600 first then going to 3.757. I was in QSO on 1.933 once and all of a sudden having loaded up just fine it decided to have another go whilst on the air! This is a trick it does quite often. Oh I could go on but you would think LDG would have tested this more thoroughly. I replaced this perambulating disaster with a Stock Corner model from the Netherlands which really works. DONT BUY THIS!
G0UOO Rating: 4/5 Oct 11, 2016 09:06 Send this review to a friend
Works as Advertised  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
My antenna is a 120ft doublet, fed with 30ft of 300 Ohm slotted line. The feeder is connected to the tuner via a choke BALUN. Then I have about 30ft of co-ax buried back to the house.

With this arrangement the unit finds a match on all bands 80M thru 10M (including 60M), with a low VSWR indicated at the rig. I tune at around 20W and run 100W SSB/CW.

On the air I get reports that are in line with what I'd expect with my antenna setup. In fact reports around the UK are excellent on 40 and 80M, with a spot of DX at times on the higher bands. I guess what I'm saying is that there doesn't appear to be any noticeable loss introduced by the tuner.

No issues noted other than it seems to lock up very occasionally. This is easily fixed by cycling the power. If it weren't for that I'd give it a five.
KI4WMO Rating: 5/5 Feb 10, 2016 21:23 Send this review to a friend
Works as described for me  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Admittedly, I haven't had this thing terribly long. If it has a problem after a few months, I'll come back and update, but in the meantime, I figured I'd give my thoughts on this.

The short version is this: I went ahead and took the plunge despite some less than stellar reviews of this, based solely on my own past experiences with LDG being very positive. I have not been disappointed - there are some "quirks" to this tuner, but the manual actually does describe these issues, or at least, to me, made it apparent how to deal with them.

This tuner is installed at the base of my S9v43 vertical (about 42' main element) with 500' or so of radial wire down in lengths of 20-40 feet. (I'm adding about 8 50-60 foot radials this spring, but I digress...). That antenna is used occasionally for 20m, but primarily for 17m, 30m, 40m, and 80m. I run very close to the power limit of the tuner, as I use a KPA-500 amplifier with it. I have chosen to leave, for now, by Balun Designs 4:1 unun installed at the base (between the tuner and antenna). The antenna itself is mounted in an atypical configuration - it is mounted 7' in the air so that the center element and fee point clear a nearby wire mesh on my fence. A wire runs down from the unun to the ground radials. I've found through a lot of experimenting (on-air reports in close in time field meters, checking current at various points, etc.) at different heights that this has no discernable difference on 40m and 80m, and only a small difference on 20m and 17m (didn't test 30m that much) - it had more of a difference on higher frequencies, where the 7' length approached a quarter wavelength.

So that's the setup. I installed the tuner, and at low power (20-30 watts) went through the various bands and did initial tuning - no problems at low power. I then reconfirmed at 100W - all bands worked as described, except that on 75/80m, the tuner would sometimes want to retune if I moved frequency even the slightest bit. Having worked with other remote tuners before and understanding the high voltage present on a shortened vertical element near the base on 80m, I figured that what was happening was that when I tuned at the lower power setting, and then went higher to 100W, the voltage increase was increasing the effective SWR reading at the tuner, even though the shack reading was only marginally increased if at all (this is because, more than likely, some of that increase is lost to ground even though I'm using 9913 coax with a 70' run, including an isolation coil or 2).

To fix this initially, I went out to the base of the antenna and connected the ground lug on the tuner directly to my radial plate. This lowered SWR and improved the situation (the instructions, as far as I can tell, do not include this step, but again, past experience told me this may be necessary). This meant that both the tuner's ground lug and the unun's ground-side lug are connected to the radial plate. However, in some instances it still wanted to retune at 100W if I tuned with low power. So, I went out and moved the coax between the tuner and the unun so it was secured away from the main element of the antenna and was physically 90 degrees perpendicular for most of the short 5' length - this improved the situation further. At this point, 90% of the time it will stay on its lock on 80m. I imagine this will improve this spring when more radials of an appropriate length are added.

Of course, running an amp, I absolutely do not want the tuner to start hunting for a match randomly at all (even though the KPA-500 has very excellent protection circuits). Fortunately, the manual provided the final solution. You can cycle the power of the remote control unit 3 times (1 second intervals to fully power up/down) to force the tuner into "manual" mode once you get the original match. For those that have used shack-based LDG tuners, this is equivalent to the semi-automatic mode until you press the tune control again - meaning it won't try to retune. While perhaps not the most elegant solution (I imagine a third button could probably have been added to the remote), this solution has worked perfectly. I have not had the amplifier trip or any anomalous operation on 80m when I tune at power around 50-75W now, then lower the drive to a level the amp needs and switch it in - I can run the KPA-500 to its max output.

Operation on all other bands is exactly as described in the manual and does not require this (although I have not used it on 160m - it does not tune my vertical there, nor would I expect it to). It "can" tune my vertical on 15, 12, 10, and even 6m, but I have other antennas that are more efficient for my uses on those bands. I use it extensively on 40m, and sometimes on 20m when some stations are ocassionally stronger on the vertical than the rotatable dipole. Unlike some other reviews, I DO find that the memories work, and that the tuner seems to retain them when the power is off. For instance, as a check to confirm again I'm right on this, I just reached over, turned the system and radio on, and checked tuning on 40m. I've had it powered off for over a day, and it took under a half second to find the match - immediately accessing the memory (It was last used on 80m).

I have a concern of reliability based solely on reviews on here. The unit appears well built and came properly assembled and sealed. Instruction manual could be a little better, and it would be nice to have a few more of the usual LDG tuner controls on the remote - especially the ability to change it to manual/smei-auto and back with a single button push. Also, somehow my remote 300W tuner used up to 300W from another brand on 80m is able to operate without the desire to retune in its automatic mode on this configuration, but it also has a different set of specs and can't handle 600W (that maker's 600W remote tuner is NOT as good as the LDG in my opinion).

Again, if my experience changes, or I have a serious problem or failure, I'll report back here. I have a very recent revision of this product, so it may be that LDG has been revising it bit by bit to make a better product, or maybe I'm just lucky or have a setup it likes better than some of the other reviewers. Operator error is always a possibility too (we've all been there), but I don't presume to know if that is the case in any review on here. With the quirks I've described, I would give it a 4.5/5 but will round up because of good experiences I've personally had with the manufacturer over the years.

This is one of the more detailed reviews I've written here, but I felt from reading the other reviews a detailed explanation of how I use it could be helpful to other purchasers. Keep your initial tuning power low, read the manual, and do the power-cycling if needed to lock in a tuning value, and hopefully your experience will be as good as mine has been so far.
K9AAN Rating: 1/5 Feb 10, 2016 15:44 Send this review to a friend
It didn't last long  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Bought it from HRO and it worked for about 3 - 4 months then, according to my TS-2000 SWR meter, it would search and find a match but wouldn't lock on to it. Finally it just gave up and ended with the same SWR it started with. I sent it to LDG. After a MONTH without hearing a peep from them, I emailed to ask about it. The guy at LDG then insulted me. When I responded back, he told me my future emails would be automatically trashed. I asked HRO to look into it.

THEN LDG told me I had put too much power into it. It's supposed to handle 600 Watts. My MAX output is 500 Watts, at best, but I usually run 200-300 Watts. Somehow, though, I just knew it would be my fault. They did offer to sell me another one at a reduced cost though.

IMHO, if I had put too much power to it, how did the RF circuits work to find a match but the logic circuits wouldn't lock on to it?

IMHO, that tuition was expensive but I learned my lesson, I am going to stay away from LDG from now on.
NN4BJ Rating: 3/5 Aug 3, 2015 09:38 Send this review to a friend
Full Disclosure Not  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Waited a long time for LDG to develop this remote 600W tuner and I bought one. It works great BUT with one MAJOR drawback or FLAW. LDG RT-600 claims to have 2000 memories and that maybe correct, but the RT-600 Autotuner does not retain any of those 2000 settings once the power is removed. This I am informed by LDG Repair is because the RT-600 does not have any latching relays. Minor oversight - but this LIMITATION should really have been made clear and included in their advertisements. I was expecting an autotuner with 2000 memory locations to work like every other autotuner with memories and retain those memory settings for each frequency. Definitely lowered my opinion of LDG on the whole. So if you will be content to RETUNE every time you use this tuner on different frequencies because you removed power from the RT-600 then it works great. I would be hesitant to recommend the RT-600 for this reason.

OE8UWW Rating: 4/5 Jul 12, 2015 06:00 Send this review to a friend
Good but could be better.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The RT-600 comes in a plastic case which does not look like it would withstand bad weather conditions so I mounted the tuner inside a standard stainless post box. Does have a lock with key now! I am using a 2x20 meter G5RV antenna with ladder line and a 1:2 or 1:4 balun. Standard antenna lenght would be 2x 19.5 meters. The RT-600 does not tune all bands well, depending on the length of the ladder line. Now I am using a switchable coiled piece of ladder line to change the overall ladder line length, but have not yet finished optimization. The tuner does not memorize tuning settings if the SWR is over 1.4, which is very annoying. Have to re-tune all times when switching to certain bands which don't work so well. Also there is a considerable noise increase as soon as the power is switched on at the controller unit. This should not happen. Have not yet identified the noise source. Could be bad cable grounding or the like.
When the RT-60 starts tuning there is a sound like machine guns in my garden amplified by the metal case of the post box. Very funny indeed.
WB9JOX Rating: 5/5 Jul 1, 2015 12:54 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful tuner  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Installed tuner early spring this year.Using 3/8 wave inverted L antenna and tuner works just fine on 160'80,60,40,30,.Im sure tuner will work on rest of bands but I use a beam for the rest of higher bands..Will also handle up to 650 watts no problem.well worth the cost.Very satisfied with tuner.Might purchase another for Zero 5 ground plane later,but no hurry.A honest review from me.
G3RCE Rating: 4/5 Jul 1, 2015 10:25 Send this review to a friend
Good  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

After using this unit for two weeks, the red led on the RC-600 went out.
I had a look inside and found that 12 volts was not getting to the output SO239 when powered on.
An email to LDG brought a very quick response and after my making a few suggested measurements,they suggested that D1 was faulty and to fit a 1N5400 replacement whick I fitted.
The unit is now working ok.
I am using it with a ZS6BKW doublet which by itself provides a good match on 40 20 17 and 10m and 80m and 6m using the internal atu on my radio.
The RT-600 enables me to use 60m(SWR 1.2),
30m(SWR 1.7), 15m SWR(1.7), 12m (SWR 1.5)
It doesn't like 160m or 80m even when strapping the feeders.
I had a look inside the RT-600 box and the unit is beautifully constructed and weather sealed.
73 Rob
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