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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks | Wanzer Z-Match Help

Reviews Summary for Wanzer Z-Match
Wanzer Z-Match Reviews: 9 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $139 / 159 metered (1980)
Description: Legal Limit 1.8-30 MC Impedance Matcher manufactured in the 1960's by Wanzer Co. of Portland Or. No longer in production.
Product is in production.
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W8EJO Rating: 5/5 Mar 8, 2016 09:38 Send this review to a friend
Robust Legal Limit Tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Quality components were used in this wide range tuner. No MFJ quality here. Easily handles legal limit. Turns counter on variable inductor allows you to record all bands/antennas for quick tune.
KD0WOO Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2013 16:22 Send this review to a friend
New Owner - Beautiful Z-4M  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just received mine today and I almost stole it! There are pictures on the internet but not much in the way of operation. I did get it to tune my 40 and 80 meter dipoles and it does a great job.

The first thing I did was take it apart for inspection and it is built solid and looks like new. There are a couple of small marks on the outside but you have to look for them.

My roller inductor goes from 0 to 223.9 and it does have stops at the ends. The variable capacitors are large and solid but you can tell they are not what other manufacturers were using at the time, they're better.

I know it looks "Homebrew" but Mr. Wanzer done a masterful job. Everything "fits", that is the wires etc. are tucked neatly and everything has a place. Mine has a label on the bottom that says 160-10 meter and the model number is listed as Z-4M, and not Z4M or Z4-M so I think the proper quotation of the model number is Z-4M as written by the builder and a non-metered model would be simply Z-4.

My meter is a 100 Microamp. There is a knob to select "R", "F" and "O" or "0". I can't tell if it is a zero or letter O. There is also a calibration knob like on an SWR meter but there is no SWR scale on my meter like I have seen on other Z-4M's on the net.

I don't know if the meter is supposed to tell you anything other than the tuning status like output etc. I mean I don't know if it is calibrated to where you can figure watts by the meter reading or if it is a relative output just for tuning.

I have not found a manual and if anyone has one please notify me. I am using it in T network mode and I don't know a lot about the Pi network setup but I'll research that. It is not a Z Match type tuner as others have said and I think the name is just Wanzer Match Z-4M.

I think maybe the large Z was just "Polish" to liven up the logo, not sure. I plan to keep it and treat it very well.

Without feet it measures 9.5 inches wide X 7 inches tall and 8.25 inches deep. The size is not impressive but the internals are. Being a new owner the final verdict will have to come later but it looks promising so far.

I will update this review after I acquire an amplifier and run a little more power through it. Right now I'm using a stock Kenwood TS-450SAT bypassing the internal tuner and get a flat, flat match.

If anyone knows if it is a zero or letter O or has a manual or any other information I would appreciate it greatly. I'm sure I can use it but I'd like to complete the package as it was when new as best I can. I'd like to print a nice manual on my laser printer and would be happy to mail anyone else a copy if I can get a good scan of it.

If you get one please post a review as there seems to be different models with the same name. I have seen a label that said Z-4M 160-6 meter. Maybe 6 meter was pushing it and he just changed it to 10 but it is the same tuner.

I'm for sure not scraping it for parts!You can find me on 7.200, Eham or QRZ to email me.

One last thing. Mine came from Spokane, Washington and there is a space for a serial number on the label but it is blank! Other labels have a number there so I may have an original prototype or personal tuner, possibly one of a kind!

WB2JIC Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2013 06:47 Send this review to a friend
Relieable Tuner  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my Z-Match in the early 1970's and still use it. I did not buy the version with the meter system. I have the simple box. It matches whatever antenna I connect. It handles full power on all bands. It is well built as it has traveled with me over eight moves and still works perfectly. There is not a dent on the unit. I like it and would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to run a bit of power to their antenna.
KF7NN Rating: 5/5 Jul 19, 2005 07:45 Send this review to a friend
suprised  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my unmetered z-match on ebay for 40 bucks
and didnt even have a picture of it when purchased
I just thought it would be another small tuner
that was useless, when i opened the box i saw this big black and grey box with a roller inductor and 2 var caps, i was happy now... so far over the years
i have ran 1500 watts thru it and it matched most of my loads just fine although i would like a cranker type knob for the inductor it still works great for me. it works as well or better than my home brewed unit which is a tee type.
WN9V Rating: 3/5 May 8, 2004 13:49 Send this review to a friend
Good tuner but a Z match in name only  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I owned a Wanzer “Z-Match” . It did match most unbalanced loads. Sold it and built several matchers of my own of various types.

Construction features: custom made capacitors with end plates made of insulating material for low minimum capacitance. If your preference is to have the capacitors on reduction drives instead of directly driven, be sure to verify from the seller which way these tuners are made, maybe another reviewer will remember. A nice turns counter on the roller inductor. Custom-made roller inductor in mine was not up to quality of Johnson or LaPointe rollers. Spacing between components and cabinet is rather tight, if you compare against other old full power rated tuners such as Dentron, Millen, Murch, Swan, Unique.

Circuit is multi configuration, selected by a pair of toggle switches. This allows Tee and Pi matching. Important: Even though there is a Z in the name, this tuner is definitely NOT the sort of Z match circuit used in a Harvey Wells or a KW Electronics (DECCA) or EMTECH or the BLT or most other Z match circuits that are popular nowadays.

If you want a Tee matcher, there are lots of equal or better choices available. For some reason the Wanzers are commanding a high price on the auction sites. The unusual ability of the Wanzer to select a Pi match configuration could be helpful with some antenna system situations.

The Wanzer Z-Match does not use link coupling. Being coax in and coax out, is not meant for matching a balanced load. It is not a substitute for a link coupled Z-match tuner such as those already mentioned or for a Johnson Matchbox.

Summary: An OK tuner, for unbalanced loads only.
M0JSS Rating: 3/5 Dec 28, 2002 08:45 Send this review to a friend
Melted the Roller  Time owned: more than 12 months
I used one on Field day many years ago and for what ever reason the plastic that the roller is made out of melted to the point that the roller would no longer track. I replaced the orginal roller with a B & W one wound on a cermic core.

KB5XW Rating: 4/5 Dec 28, 2002 08:09 Send this review to a friend
Not bad for older technology.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my Wanzer 'Z' match many years ago. Fact is, I was one of the first to get mine from Cliff. Through the years I haven't bothered to upgrade any of my equipment until lately. I have recently bought an Icom 756 PRO. I don't need the match anymore for the new Icom but it sits in waiting for use with either my Icom 720A or my first rig, the old reliable HW-101. This thing is built like a 'rock'. The roller inductor is of heavey duty construction as are the caps. Yes, the inductor will come off the track if you 'crank' on it, but there is no reason to get harsh with it. If you like tuning your own radios to minimal SWR'S, then this is a match you would like to own and use. It's not fancy looking, just extremely functional. If you are lucky enough to find one for sale, you best jump on it. If you don't want to jump on it, let me know and I will. Contact me at raynles@yahoo .com.

VE6XX Rating: 4/5 Mar 5, 2002 02:07 Send this review to a friend
A good, solid , wide-range tuner!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Greetings: The Wanzer Z-match was manufactured by Cliff Wanzer, WB7DFD , of Spokane Wa. with whom I have been acquainted about 20 years.
Cliff devoted considerable effort to minimizing parasitic resonances in his tuners, of which there were several models. I own two "Z-Matches", & they are as described by a previous reviewer. Specifically, the tuner was designed as a" legal limit" tuner, using reasonable quality components,& without "bells & whistles" , so as to be sold for an affordable price. Cliff manufactured all or most of his components, including the enclosure. Models with metering of course used commercial meters. There were several iterations as I remember, & at least one version used a "glass" coil form for the roller inductor. I know of at least two instances where an amplifier was tuned/retuned at high power levels & melted the coil form!!! The two boxes I own have been in use for years, & provide matching to any load I have tried. It reminds of the Johnson "Matchbox" in as much as both were "basic" devices. Cliff's "Z-match business was scaled back in the mid eighties, owing to his operation of a ham radio store in Spokane that required much of his time. MFJ was beginning to make inroads in the tuner business, & Cliff subsequently sold his rights to the design & manufacture of his "Z-match" to a gentleman from Idaho, I believe. There was a "low profile" version of the "Z-Match" that Cliff had made , that looked like an MFJ 969. It was this version that the buyer of Cliff's business intended to promote. I am uncertain as to whether or not any were manufactured/sold. A "Z-Match" that is mechanically & electrically sound is a very good buy at a hamfest/swapmeet or second hand. The components were good quality, & the unit itself was robust. I can't state exactly what range of impedances it would match, but it is impressive. Front panel toggle switches provided for altering the internal component arrangement electrically.
In summation........a very worthwhile piece of kit! I gave it a 4 due to the "glass" inductor problem(abuse to be sure) & the lack of metering on some models.
Cheers! Brian, VE6XX
K7RZF Rating: 4/5 Mar 5, 2002 00:05 Send this review to a friend
The great little tuner that time (and everyone else) forgot!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my Z-Match from the 1980 QST ad shown and direct from the company then in Spokane. I have used it for 22 years with every type of antenna. It has performed well for me and matched whatever I hitched to it. I have run CW at 800+ watts out without a problem. If you can handle a Spartan existence, you could live blissfully with this tuner. If a monastery had a club station, they'd probably go for a Wanzer.
No antenna switching, no balun or dummy load. Mine is the unmetered version. A basic faithful workhorse. I don't give it a 5 because it lacks the modern conveniences that I, 22 years older, would go for today. The only problem I have had with it in all this time is with the roller inductor. If you tune it too hard against the low end stop, it could jump off it's track. It has happened to me a half dozen times through the years when I wasn't as attentive as I should have been. To fix it you need to remove a side panel and put it back on track. Gave the caps and the roller inductor an annual bath with tuner cleaner to clean out the cobwebs, that's it for maintenance. The Wanzer is the Volkswagen of tuners in my book. A well built, economical workhorse that gets the job done. As I get older, I must confess the thought of trading it in on a Cadillac version is becoming more appealing. Maybe next year.

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