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Reviews Categories | Antenna parts, accessories, incl. baluns, hardware, etc. | LDG External 4:1 and 1:1 baluns Help

Reviews Summary for LDG External 4:1 and 1:1 baluns
LDG External 4:1 and 1:1 baluns Reviews: 35 Average rating: 3.5/5 MSRP: $30
Description: External 4:1 and 1:1 baluns
Product is in production.
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N7MSD Rating: 2/5 Dec 16, 2011 18:58 Send this review to a friend
Repeating the obvious: BEWARE OF LOOSE PARTS!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just got my RU-4:1 UNUN for free thanks to the LDG "get a free balun/unun with your tuner or antenna". Thus, since I got this for free, and I got my AT100ProII tuner for only $149 at HRO, my review of the balun is very tempered; if I had actually paid for this, I'd frankly be pissed.

If I could upload pictures here at EHam, everyone would know this from reading the other reviews, but since I can't:

I got the unun yesterday and, when I took it out, noticed it had a spring feel to it: that is, shaking it felt like there was a spring inside. Having read the reviews here, I was afraid of what I would find, and it was, in a way, worse: the toroid was not attached to anything other than the wires--the toroid, being suspended in the exact middle of the case by the wires, wobbled and bounced like it was on a trampoline. There was a sticky foam thing on the underside of the case that I think the toroid was supposed to be attached to, but it wouldn't stick.

The biggest problem--immediately obvious--was a wire disconnected from one binding post. Since it was attached dead-bug style, with no connection other than solder, it was no surprise the solder failed from the toroid's bouncing around. I imagine if this were RoHS lead-free solder, at least the other binding post would have failed, maybe more.

I'm not going to send it in since it's obviously a snap to fix, but I'm *REALLY* glad I caught this before connecting it to anything. I'm considering whether to pot the toroid and what to use to do it at the moment since those solder connections will just work loose again from both handling and thermal stress over time; another alternative is to add 2 screws on either side of the binding posts and physically attach the toroid's wires to those and then a jumper to the binding posts.

Finally, this made me open the tuner itself, which I haven't had a the chance to hook up yet (QTH issues): unlike the unun, it looked fine, with nothing loose and no obviously flaky solder connections. I wonder if these 2 products are made by 2 different people (say, the balun/unun by S9 and the tuner by LDG themselves)?

Bottom line: if you come into possession of one of these, even used, make sure to open them and check them out--consider them MFJ quality or worse. Sorry to say it, but true...
WV6U Rating: 3/5 Apr 14, 2011 00:42 Send this review to a friend
Good design but not so great build  Time owned: more than 12 months
This review is the for 1:1 current balun. I am using it to feed a long wire type of antenna and it seems to work well. My complaint is the balanced side binding post connector that has a narrow hole. I prefer wing nut type connector that makes connecting/disconnecting wires easy and does not cause wear and tear to the wire itself. Repeated connecting and disconnecting of wire to this balun, for testing, is cumbersome and leaves stranded wire in tatters. Even 14 AWG wire just about fits the holes. That said, the balun is 1/4th the price of more expensive industrial quality baluns so maybe I shouldn't complain so much. You get what you pay for :)
W6GQ Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2011 17:13 Send this review to a friend
Works Well  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have 2 of the 1:1 and 1 of the 4:1.

I carry one of each with me when I backpack the 817.

The 1:1 is on a permanent multi band dipole. I took a large zip tie and connected my wire ends to the banana jacks and tightened the zip tie as a stress relief around the body of the balun. I took another zip tie and connected it to the first zip tie to make a hangar. Connected some Dacron rope to the zip tie to hoist the apex in the air. Before hoisting it, I wrapped the entire unit with rubberized tape. It has been in the air for 3 years now with no problems. After reading the reviews here I decided to lower it and check everything out. The rubberized tape was cracked and dried up a little, but the balun itself was in perfect condition. I used Plasti Dip this time for sealing it and put it back in the air. Will let it go about a year and check it again. I have been tuning with this balun for years with no problems. Everything I do for HF is now QRP. You wrap your weather exposed coax ends with rubberized tape, why not wrap the balun?
KP2Z Rating: 4/5 Feb 23, 2011 14:49 Send this review to a friend
Works FB  Time owned: more than 12 months
No loose parts in mine. Owned about 1 1/2 years. I use it in the shack, so waterproofing is not an issue. It is rated at 200 watts. They don't say, but I assume it's continuous. I've run 400 watts pep through it using SSB, running an 80 meter net for 30 to 45 minutes, and it just gets very slightly warm. While I'll plan to get a higher power handling one down the road, this LDG 4:1 balun does a good job.
K7NNG Rating: 0/5 Feb 23, 2011 12:53 Send this review to a friend
POOR WORKMANSHIP  Time owned: more than 12 months
W4KPA Rating: 4/5 Jul 26, 2010 19:08 Send this review to a friend
Ok, just be aware of their limitations  Time owned: more than 12 months
I agree with the previous review. I've got a 4:1 and a 1:1, and I've never had trouble with either one. But, one look will tell you they aren't weather proof. Mine have been in outdoor installations for seven or eight years, but they're in protected enclosures and mounted so they have no mechanical stress on them. If you use them like that, they're ok.
NY4D Rating: 3/5 Jul 26, 2010 15:14 Send this review to a friend
Merely OK, Some Issues  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have both the 4:1 and 1:1 and both have come in handy for experiments, field day, etc. But I'd suggest you open any you get and make sure all is right inside, especially if you acquired them used. These were at one time available as kits so buyer beware.

I would not consider these for permanent use as issues I have had are - cheap banana jacks mounted loose, loose screws on the so-239, cold solder joints, loose coil inside, shorted wires inside. None of these are critical, merely annoying, and all of them were easily remedied.

Rather than suspend the coil by the soldered wire ends with no slack so it won't move around inside the case, these have a piece of double stick tape on the top of the inside of the case that the coil is supposed to stick to. Supposed to being the operative words, as any heat (like outside where the sun shines) or movement (like carrying it in my go bag) ends that in a hurry. So the coil is pretty loose inside unless you do some first aid. I just bent the slack out of the wires.

There is an attempt at waterproofing with gasket material on the banana jacks and the so-239 but the bottom of the case has none. Has not been an issue with mine but I have taken care to keep that side down.

I guess the good thing about these is that here is nothing much to fixing what's wrong and the case opens up in a jiffy, way better than having to crack open someone elses pvc wonder to see what's wrong.

The LDGs don't cost a bundle, they work ok if you're careful, but for more permanent installations at this power level I'd suggest the Balun Designs QRP (300 to 400 watts) models. They cost a little more but well worth it IMO.
WX4O Rating: 4/5 Apr 22, 2010 20:24 Send this review to a friend
Used it for 6 or 7 years.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Never had a problem with LDG 4:1. Runs from my 100 watt radio via ladder line to my 80-10 Cobra Ultralite Jr.
KC0YVW Rating: 1/5 Apr 22, 2010 17:20 Send this review to a friend
VERY Under-whelmed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ummm… Ok, not bad if you don’t mind spending $30 on a disassemble-fix-and-reassemble kit. Luckily I got my 4:1 Balun free as a promotional item with the purchase of an LDG tuner, so at least I’m not out any direct investment. My first observation was only 2 screws (where there should be 4) in the surface mount, SO-239 input…..what? Then I thought I’d open it up to silicone seal the bottom plate and just check things out inside……OMG! Loose toroid windings randomly twisted on the core and the entire birds-nest floating in the box suspended only by wire itself. My first thought was that it was bounced around in shipping and got damaged but then I read a couple of the other posts here and I think I see a pattern forming, (note that in the “features” portion of the manual, item number one is, “ Compact, sturdy construction”…..HA!)

Off to the bench we go for a complete “re-ferb” on the unit (including remounting jacks, de-soldering, rewinding, trimming and epoxying the guts back into place) . A couple hours later I had a functioning 4:1, weather resistant, Balun that I “think” will suite my needs……….maybe?

In any event, here’s MY observations, (actual results in YOUR shack may vary):

1.) It is compact, as the “feature” list describes.
2.) It does have a standard SO-239 Jack, as the “feature” list describes.
3.) It does have twist on binding posts, as the “feature” list describes.
4.) I think I was able to “waterproof” the unit, as the “feature” list describes.
5.) Quality Control is Non-Existent.
6.) Workmanship is on par with that of a one-eyed, dyslexic Monkey on Cocaine.

All that said, I have never had any problems with LDG products and hope that this is just some silly phase their going through (like my teenage son) and that they will learn from these oversights and correct the problems.
Once I built (excuse me) “rebuilt” my RBA-4:1 Balun kit, it’s preformed very well………just remember, “Some assembly, reassembly and repair” are required.

NZ0T Rating: 5/5 Sep 16, 2009 13:47 Send this review to a friend
Seems fine  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got the 1:1 model and opened it up when I got it. Seems fine and the quality was what I would expect for $30. I'm using it with a 160 dipole fed with ladder line and it works great with an LDG IT100.
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