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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks | Ten-Tec 238A Help

Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec 238A
Ten-Tec 238A Reviews: 18 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $485
Description: 2000 Watt Roller Inductor Antenna Tuner
Product is in production.
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KZ4B Rating: 5/5 Mar 6, 2016 09:10 Send this review to a friend
My favorite of the 229/238 Series Tuners.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The 229/238 Series Ten-Tec Tuners are the most efficient Tuners available anywhere (with the exception of a near tie with the Ameritron ATR-30). This is because Ten-Tec's L Network is designed to switch in up to approx. 2000 pfd in parallel with the near 500 pfd Variable Capacitor. The more (virtually zero-loss) capacity available--the less relatively lossy (Series) Variable Inductance is required! Most T Network Tuners are limited to 350 to 500 pfd Maximum Variable Capacitors--so the Lossy Series Inductance Values must be relatively higher for any given "Tune"!

The Ten-Tec 238(A & B / Grey & Black respectively) are in my opinion the best of the TT Tuners. While the tuner "guts" are pretty much the same--the all-important Rotary Inductor Turns Counter and Crank Knob are superior on the 238 (A & B). The relatively "smallish" SWR/Power meter on the 238 (A & B) is not peak reading and requires relatively frequent sensitivity re-adjustments--but is (for me) more informative (I.E.--provides direct SWR Calibration Units) than the larger and better-looking "Cross-Needle" Meter in the 238C.

All of the 229/238 Series Tuners use relatively marginal [Current and Voltage (3 KV) Rating-Wise) nominal 470 pfd Disk Ceramic Capacitors (paralleled with the 500 pfd, 3.5+ KV Variable Capacitors). Unlike the earlier 229/238 Tuners, the 238 (A & B) Tuners use paralleled nominal 240 pfd Capacitors in place of singe 470 pfd Capacitors to improve the Current Handling Capacity. I have therefore modified numerous 229/238 Series Tuners with the addition of four nominal 470 pfd, 5 KV "Door-knob" Capacitors mounted directly below and in line with the Capacitor-Selector-Switch Shaft. I have NEVER had a Tuner failure with this modification even when running the Legal Limit with "Marginally" Tune-able (High SWR) Antennas. NOTE that I have avoided modifying 238 (A & B) Series Tuners because the Capacitor Selector Switch and Capacitor Mounting PCB (with relatively low current capacity tracing) don't look like they can handle the higher-current-rated "door-knob" capacitors. Note also that the burned-trace-prone PCB is no longer available from Ten-Tec. I therefore try to limit RF Power to the 238 (A & B) Tuners to about 1200 Watts PEP, 1000 Watts Continuous.
N2ETJ Rating: 0/5 Aug 10, 2010 06:48 Send this review to a friend
Buy a palstar  Time owned: more than 12 months
Second time back and TT wants in excess of $400 to fix. Don't think so. Ordered a palstar which I should have done first
HFRF Rating: 4/5 Nov 28, 2009 09:00 Send this review to a friend
Could be more rugged  Time owned: more than 12 months
I would use a well designed L tuner like this one than a high loss touchy T type tuner any day. The TT tuner is built using some flimsy parts and the new price for this tuner is very high. But it is a good tuner overall.

At one time TT made an auto/preset tuner that was essentially the same as this one except auto. After using a auto tuner, its hard going back to manual. It is fortunate that most auto tuners are L tuners and they run circles around T tuners.

I am not sure why TT has not produced a current auto tuner that will work high power. That would be a very desirable piece of equipment.
W4II Rating: 4/5 Nov 28, 2009 08:39 Send this review to a friend
Close.....robust?  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned this tuner for years. It is close to being a superb device. Very good loss characteristics, and truly wide ranging. BUT, I have now replaced the rear populated PCB twice due to burning holes in it at near legal limit power on high freqs (21-28Mhz). The ceramic impedance switch and associated wiring could be more robust!
KA5ROW Rating: 5/5 Nov 15, 2008 19:41 Send this review to a friend
By far the Best Tuner  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The Ten-Tec 238 A tuner I by far the best tuner I have owned. My previous tuners were a MFJ 989-C and a Dentron MT-3000 and both them worked fine, except on 160 meters. But on 160 meters They would arch at about 300 to 350 watts. The Ten-Tec would not arch, even at 1300 watts. The Ten-Tec is a L network and both the MFJ and Dentron are a T network. I don't know if that had any thing to do with it are not, but the Ten-Tec has never arch.

I wrote this same review on the Ten-Tec 238 on e-Ham.
The only thing I don't care for is the on the 238 was the slide rule dial. But the new 238-A has corrected that.

I have traded up and got the Ten-Tec 238 A same results no arching on 160 with 1300 watts.
"But I like the looks of this tuner, and will keep it"
N2ETJ Rating: 5/5 Jul 27, 2006 10:58 Send this review to a friend
Long Time Review  Time owned: more than 12 months
After ownership of this tuner for over 4 years, it still performs flawlessly. I use a 160m full wave loop and tunes easily any frequency with exact duplication by the numbers. A real bonus when band hopping. No problems with Alpha 99 at max. either(legal power that is)
K5NT Rating: 5/5 Aug 29, 2004 17:25 Send this review to a friend
A Great Product!  Time owned: more than 12 months
The versatility and flexibility of this tuner came to my rescue when I moved to a restricted community and found myself using an attic dipole (Alpha Delta DX-EE) for my HF activity. My smaller tuners just couldn't handle the challenge, but the 238A lets me achieve 1.2:1 on all bands, which my Corsair II likes just fine. In all its variations, this is a great tuner and I recommend it highly!
K8JS Rating: 5/5 Feb 22, 2004 03:23 Send this review to a friend
Very Close To Excellence!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
My own comments would largely echo those other previous "5/5" Ten-Tec 238 reviews.
No need for me to repeat them.
However, as a suggestion to Ten-Tec I would highly recommend as future improvements:
1) A LARGER meter that is also the modern design of dual-reading SWR and Peak at the same time without having to manually readjust it when changing bands and/or antennas.
I was truly disappointed when TT's "new" all-black 238B was still sporting that tiny old-fashioned SWR meter.
Oh well, at least TT eliminated that stupid smoky-dark, viewing window so that now one does not need to use the meter lamp.

2) Design-in more inductance and capacitance for better, more successful tuning on 160 meters.

The Ten-Tec 238 is very efficient when it comes to transferring the RF from your rig to the feedline. Unlike those T-network and Pi-network tuner designs, the L-network inside the 238 has hardly any internal losses. THAT is a big plus!!
An L-network type of tuner will not force a "fake" or "partially fake" loading only to end up merely heating up the tuners internal components instead of delivering most all of the RF into the feedline.
in other words if an L-network type of tuner design, such as the Ten-Tec 238, will not totally tune your antenna-feedline system, then that system isn't worth a damn, and should be modified or replaced.
Bottom line: An excellent rugged tuner that only needs a couple of additional modern design updates. ---John, K8JS

K5NT Rating: 5/5 Nov 2, 2002 22:23 Send this review to a friend
Great Value!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This tuner is truly a quality product. The construction is excellent, and the unit is both nice looking and a great performer. The metering is accurate, and responds so quickly that it could almost be advertised as "peak-reading". Being an L-Network, this tuner also serves as a harmonic supressor. I am told that T-Network filters do not do this. I am very satisfied with my investment in this tuner. There is now a version called the 238B, but the only difference is a black paint job to match Ten-Tec's new color scheme. You can't miss with one of these!
W3ULS Rating: 5/5 Nov 12, 2001 17:31 Send this review to a friend
Tuner for life  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Like WQ8Q, I use a Carolina Windom, a CW-80, with the Ten-Tec 238A. I have a Japan Radio JST-245 transceiver, which puts out about 160 watts (PEP), and has a built-in antenna tuner. The built-in tuner works fine on 80 and 40 with the CW-80, but not on 15 and 10, which is when I switch in the 238A. It works just as WQ8Q describes, quickly and efficiently. And, if I decide on adding an amp, it will be just as effective I'm sure. So, you only need to buy one tuner once to handle all a (modest) station's needs. A good deal.
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