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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | Yaesu FC-40 Help


Reviews Summary for Yaesu FC-40
Yaesu FC-40 Reviews: 29 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $400.00
Description: The FC-40 is a microprocessor-controlled antenna
impedance matching network designed to provide
all-amateur-band transmitting capability with the
FT-897/857 Series of transceivers, when used with
an end-fed random wire or long whip antenna.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.vxstd.com/en/news/image/FC-40.pdf
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KJ4DKT Rating: 5/5 Jun 6, 2011 06:25 Send this review to a friend
MINE WORKS GREAT  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a 135 ft horiz di-pole at 40 ft up fed w/60 ft of rat shak tv 300 ohm lead-in wire. It tunes 6 to 160. The 300 0hm wire goes directly into the fc-40 in the shack. I am happy with this tuner. I have used the tuner w/other antennas w/out any problems.
 
KC6IIH Rating: 5/5 Apr 23, 2011 16:47 Send this review to a friend
Verry Good - works for me  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased a new Yaesu FT-950 after achieving my EXTRA.
The FT-950 has an internal tuner but won't tune a wire antenna at least mine and I did not try a balun
I am using a W5GI Mystery antenna about 36 inches off the flat roof of my apartment building to be as stealth as possible.
This antenna works 80 thru 6, including 60 meters and the FC-40 gives me an swr of 1.4 or less across the bands with most 1.2 or under.
I don't know why there are so many unhappy users of this tuner.
 
WD0FIA Rating: 5/5 Jul 2, 2010 01:48 Send this review to a friend
High quality, works great!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought two of these, one I run with a 102 inch whip mobile on my FT-857D, the other with a 66 foot long wire on my VX-1700. Both are working great! I wish I had bought this combo years ago!

I have been getting great signal reports, and tuning is never an issue. I have been able to get an acceptable match on both Ham and MARS every time.

I got mine for $250 each from GigaParts, with free shipping.
 
KC5CQW Rating: 4/5 Jun 17, 2010 16:52 Send this review to a friend
Simple to use  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have the FC-40 base feeding a 102" whip with a custom top hat at 60" and 18" in diameter.
The whip is mounted on a Jerry Breedlove HF insulator on the bed rail of my pickup about 1' from the tailgate.
The radio in service is an FT-857D.

The top hat is needed for 40m without it, 30m is the lowest it can go. This tells me that I have indeed reduced some losses in the setup and validates the effort!

After installing the FC-40, all I did was tune up at the band edges and center of 40m-6m. This was enough to allow automatic frequency tracking throughout each band. This equates to hands off tuning while playing radio on the road.

Signal reports are always very good and RX is just fine.
Cost, integration with the radio and ease of use were the primary guiding factors for this method. If I had the cash and felt it was safe to mash extra buttons whilst watching a VSWR meter and driving at highway speed, I would have installed a Hi-Q 3/80.
My truck has a manual transmission BTW.

For me, the FC-40 was a logical compromise.
When base feeding a short vertical, it is paramount to reduce as much loss in the system as possible. I basically modeled my setup after the advice found on WWW.K0BG.COM

As a NASA certified polymeric operator, I decided to add extra staking to the coils, relays and larger components. This was a little insurance for reliable mobile operation.

When I want to operate from a local park, I use an alligator clip with a length of wire thrown in a tree. I just clip this to the top of the antenna.

In summary, I am very pleased with the FC-40. It has performed within my criteria for a mobile HF setup very well.

73, Damon
 
STAYVERTICAL Rating: 5/5 May 21, 2010 01:13 Send this review to a friend
Effortless tuning  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a follow up to a previous post.
I live in an antenna restricted community, and the fc40 has saved my multiband capability. I use an unobtrusive vertical in the garden with the atu at the base. I think the neighbors think it is a bean pole! It allows me to work 40 thru 6 meters with reasonable results. I agree that it is not as good at matching as an sgc, but paired with the ft897d it is very easy to use. Having the atu at the base means the swr is very low on the feedline and the antenna radiates most of the RF. Any radial ground losses help to warm my plants in winter! In summary, it wont match everything, but is a good partner for the ft897. Construction is good, stainless steel mounting hardware, and connections are outside the box.
Suggest using a cover in very wet or snowy climates. Has been very reliable so far. Remember, it uses the CAT port, so if you want to use radio control and the fc40 you will be out of luck.

I recently moved the vertical and changed it into a 20m ground plane (16 feet high) with 3 elevated (4 feet high) wire radials each 5 metres (16 feet) long. The control cable needed to be extended so I made an extension cable from some shielded 12 core cable, although you only need 8 cores. The total length of the control cable is now about 25 metres or 85 feet in length.

As the CAT/Linear/TUNER port on the ft897 sends data to and from the ATU, and that normally limits line length, I was unsure if it would work. I thought it would be of interest to anyone else wishing to do the same that I can report it works without a problem, at least for me.
I made the cable by putting a 6 pin mini-din male plug on one end and a 6 pin mini-din female socket on the other end. The supplied 5 metre control cable has 6 pin mini-din male plugs on each end, so you can plug in the end of the supplied cable to the female socket and the extension cable male plug goes to the atu. These 6 pin mini-din plugs/sockets are awkward to solder, so take a lot of care. The ring of the plug and sockets should be connected as they carry the shield as well.

Also, if you make one, use a multimeter to check the pinouts. Test the Yaesu supplied cable with the plugs on each end, write it down, and then plug the Yaesu supplied cable into the extension cable and check the pinouts on the combined cable. It should be the same as with the Yaesu supplied cable. I would use the Yaesu supplied cable at the radio end and the extension cable to the ATU. Before fitting the connectors I also put some ferrite cores on the extension cable to reduce any induced RF getting to the radio. It is easy to get confused with extension cables, so triple check your work, and check for shorts.
If in doubt, don't plug it into the radio, and never unplug the cable while the radio is turned on, as this may damage the CAT port.

With the new antenna configuration it tunes 60m to 6m (including WARC bands) but not 15.
This new configuration seems to be putting out much more signal than the ground mounted version. I am sure with a bit of tweaking the length of the GP radiator I could get 15m, but I am not bothering at this time.

Once again, it is wonderful to be able to just change bands and the antenna is always perfectly tuned (if you have tuned it there before). Also, remember, a remote ATU gives you an efficient multi-band configuration as the coax swr losses are eliminated.

If you have an FT897/FT857 this FC40 ATU is hard to beat for convenient multi-band operation.

73s
 
KI5SO Rating: 4/5 May 11, 2010 12:01 Send this review to a friend
All bands with a little help  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ok, this is my follow up. I like this tuner. It is so nice to touch a button and you are tuned. I notice that you can turn the tuner off by touching the tune button on the 857d or 897d and use in bypass mode. That could be handy in some cases.

In my last report I mentioned I could tune every band except 160 and 40 meters. I didn't really care about 160 but wanted 40. I have not changed my wire out yet, but I did buy a nice 4:1 current balun and added it to the system and it fixed my problem. I can tune any band, anywhere on the band now. For those new or inexperienced in this, this is how I did it: I bought a quality 4:1 unun balun (AS-200-3) Be sure it covers 160 thru 6, if you like 6. I have all bands. I took a small 8x coax and cut it about 6 inches long and left the PL-259 connector on one end and trimmed the wires on the other end to fit to the center and ground of the FC-40 tuner. The 259 screws onto the 4:1 balun and sits in front of the tuner. I have my antenna long wire hooked to the hot side or center lead side of the balun and the counterpoise wire (in my case 134 feet long) to the ground side of the balun. Be sure to turn the radio off and disconnect the power cat cable from radio when you make these changes. When all is connected and tight, hook up cat cable again and turn on the radio. You can go thru and tune each band again where you talk, then it is automatically kept in the memory of the Yaesu radio. It's that simple. Maybe The FC-40 should be redesigned to have a 4:1 current balun added or built inside. Anyway, it solved my problem and it is very nice having all bands.

Anyway, you guys out there having trouble getting all of the bands, this might solve your problem. I can say it solved mine. If the Icom or SCG tuners didn't require a special interface cable I might have gone that route. I understand they will tune a broader range, but I'm very happy with this tuner.

I am now giving this tuner 4 stars out of 5 as it should tune all bands without having to add a balun. I don't know of anybody who does get all bands without a little help from a balun. If you are going to buy this, then, expect to buy a good 4:1 current balun to get all bands. However, don't expect this on a short mobile antenna or short wire. 73's.
 
W8PU Rating: 3/5 Feb 9, 2010 07:41 Send this review to a friend
Not what the doctor ordered  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I bought my FT-897D I purchased the FC-40 as well since it was offered at half price. I am certainly glad I did not pay full price! My first experience with it was on Field Day 2008. I set up to operate my FT-897D with the FC-40 using about 100 feet of wire tuned against 100 feet of chain link fence as a counterpoise. To make a long story short I spent most of the day trying to find a length of wire that would at least tune 80, 40, and 20 meters but was not successful. At best maybe two of the three. When the tuner was happy with a given length it worked well, just not multiband as advertised. I finally gave up when darkness set in and I could no longer see where I was tossing the loose end of the wire.
 
VK4KKD Rating: 5/5 Sep 7, 2009 22:54 Send this review to a friend
BINGO!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
WOW! That was my first reaction when I hooked up this tuner.

Prior to this I have only had Tokyo Hi-Power manual tuners - slow but sure and able to match seemingly impossible loads.

But I digress - the FC-40 arrived and withing minutes I had it hooked up to the FT-897D and to the first of a series of antennas that I wanted to use when mobile and portable.

As expected the helical whips for 10/15/20/40 and 80 meters all tuned quickly and easily - all mounted on a side entry base and coax fed. Yep COAX fed!

The ability to use a helical wound whip antenna at any part of the band was astounding - especially on 40 and 80 meters - the FC-40 just cranked itself until it was happy and bingo - 5/9 signal reports. Obviously this type of device gets more of the radios output up the stick without the back pressure of high reactance. One thing is for sure - the antenna did not suddenly become more efficient - yet it was radiating far more rf than without the tuner - in fact without the tuner the FT-897D just refused to put out at all once the SWR rose to high.

Next horse in the starting gate was a homebrew antenna that I wanted to use portable - it is a telescopic aluminium tube pole 5.5m long (can be varied of course) with a 4.5m insulated wire coil at the base - I turned up and threaded my own base for it to suit the 1/2 side feed base that the other whips mounted on.

The FC-40 tuned that thing anywhere and everywhere from 40m to 10m (I did not try 6m) but could not manage it on 80m - maybe a bit more length will solve that problem.

But for the type of work I intend doing 80m will not be critical or needed and the FC-40 just breezed through tuning the "extenda stick" anywhere on any band - WARC included and that means I can use just the one antenna for portable use and not have to run a wire.

Well done Yaesu. This thing does all you said it should and more. I am a bit puzzled though after reading that it won't tune 1/2 wave? The extenda stick certainly is close to 1/2 wave on 20m yet it tunes everywhere in the band?

Does Yaesu mean it will not tune 1/2 wave of wire but will tune a 10m long antenna on 20m if it has a ground plane? Anyway - who cares - it works beautifully on the FT-897D - just as it is supposed to.
 
VK3ZGP Rating: 3/5 Jun 8, 2009 07:11 Send this review to a friend
Just OK, Could Have Been Great  Time owned: more than 12 months
The FC-40 would have been rated with a 5-Great rating for compatible Yaesu transceivers (FT-950, FT-450, FT-897D and FT-857D) if it had performed as specified. I can only rated it as 3-OK as the FC-40 does not function as specified by Vertex Standard (Yaesu) in their product release (http://vxstd.com/en/news/image/FC-40.pdf) or the FC-40 Installation Instructions leaflet.

Published specifications include:
Operating Frequency Range:
1.8 - 54 MHz with 20+ m end fed wire, 7-54 MHz with YA-007 HF 2.5 m Mobile Whip
Matched SWR:
2.0:1 or less (if antenna is not a multiple of 1/2 wavelength)
In practice the FC-40 can fail to match an antenna that is not a multiple of a 1/2 wavelength. With a combination of fixed and moveable antenna supports, nylon rope catenery and ~13AWG multi-stranded copper wire I constructed a variable length end-fed random wire as depicted in the FC-40 Installation Instructions as a "L" Wire Monopole. Height was limited and down to 3m at the lowest point.

Initial experiments confirmed the FC-40 could not simultaneously match the whole 1.8-54MHz operating frequency range when configured with a 2 to 30m end-fed random wire. Basically 6m and 10m bands were never a problem, 12m band soon settled down but practically every other band would fail to match at one or more wire lengths. At some lengths it was possible to tune upper or lower sections of a band. Obviously the earthing arrangement, height above ground, near field objects, etc would change results. Varying wire length allowed a different combination of bands to be matched but I couldn't sucessfully match all bands in the operating frequency range out to a 30m wire length. I didn't bother testing with changes in small increments above 30m as the Yaesu specification was 20+ m.

With approximately 90m length of random wire in my location the FC-40 can successfully tune all bands from 160m through to 6m. Other long lengths less than approximately 120m that were tested could still fail to match 160m or all the 80m band.

The 'permanent' random wire antenna I've built is only relatively lowly slung and zig-zags through trees, etc. as there is no point to constructing anything better. Next to the house in the backyard there is a 66KV, a 220KV and two 500KV transmission lines. Due to QRM I can not provide any meanigful comments about reception, although I can hear the difference in noise level at the band edges where the tuner is disabled.

The only documentation supplied with my FC-40 was a 6 page Installation Instruction leaflet and this actually covers installation plus tuner operation with the FT-897/857 series.

This leaflet doesn't cover the control signaling or protocol. During the tuning process an external SWR meter can appear to show the FC-40 has achieved a better than 2.0:1 SWR match but then the FT-897D displays a HI SWR status which implies a greater than 3:1 SWR load. I assume there was a design decision to cripple the FC-40 microprocessor's load matching algorithm for greater than a 3.0:1 SWR load. Maybe the high-Q matching components, relays, PCB or some other component voltage or current limitation means the FC-40 is too delicate to match 100W at greater than 3.0:1 SWR load. If this is the case it is a pity the FC-40 communications protocol couldn't force the FT-897D to reduce transmitted power instead of disabling the tuning process as both devices are microprocessor controlled and they both have Tx and Rx data lines for control.

The FC-40 microprocessor's matching program appears to store one set of parameters for each 10 kHz block of frequencies. If you are trying an antenna the FC-40 fails to match but is actually marginal within that 10 kHz block of the band, just increasing or decreasing the Tx frequency within the 10 kHz block can sometimes provide a successful match. Once the tuning match has been accepted it holds for all that 10 kHz block. So what originally caused the HI SWR tuning failure has been side stepped. Given that I've only tested this with a random wire antenna on the 80m and 40m bands this procedure may not work in all circumstances or may cause equipment damage.

After the FC-40 has been trained to successfully match a load the operation with the FT-897D is just magic. Bounce around a band or between bands and tuning just happens without any fuss and works flawlessly every time.

Given how well the FC-40/FT-897D operate as a pair, if the FC-40 antenna matching performance actually met the device specifications or there was an acknowledgement (nothing mentioned in the current 2009 Catalog Amateur Radio Equipment, or current FT-897D brochure) of a 3.0:1 or whatever SWR load limitation, then I would have given it a 5-Great rating.
 
G6EJD Rating: 4/5 May 17, 2009 06:41 Send this review to a friend
Works well with FT-897  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Initially I was disappointed with this tuner, largely because of the lack of information from Yaesu, my main problems were getting it tune a random length wire across the bands, but after meticulous experimentation, I have concluded it favours shorter lengths, for example a 9M antenna length for me tunes from 80-6m with no gaps and no VSWR greater than 1.2:1. IF I adjust the length to 9.5M or above then it won't tune 40M and some intermediate bands, but always all above 17M. So I conclude it is designed for mobile use and a reasonable length antenna for such. Overall I am now very pleased with it. I have never been able to get it to tune 160M, even with a 60M long wire.

The problems I've found are due almost certainly because of the harmonic relationship between antenna impedance say between 80M and 40M, where the impedance variation can be huge, so the ATTU can tune a random length for 80M, but the same length on 40M represents a very high impedance, or vice-versa. It is counter-intuative to shorten the antenna length when it is sold as a random length ATU!

Conclusion use a short (long wire)... 9M or less works.
 
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