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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks | Palstar BT1500A Balanced L Tuner Help

Reviews Summary for Palstar BT1500A Balanced L Tuner
Palstar BT1500A Balanced L Tuner Reviews: 32 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $795
Description: Dual inline roller balanced L network antenna tuner with Hi/Lo Z and Hi/Lo C relay operated push buttons. Incorporates illuminated cross needle power/SWR/reflected meter with active peak, peak hold, average readings, 300/3000 watt selection. Covers 1.8 - 29.5MHz. 1000 watt single tone, 1500 watts PEP.
Product is in production.
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KD0ZV Rating: 5/5 Aug 18, 2017 05:36 Send this review to a friend
Best available  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Balanced tuners are probably not for everyone as you need to understand in multi-band operations there are massive impedance swings on the transmission line. Because of this even the best tuners can't tune with without tweaking the length of line or messing with the system. Just because a T-Match will match something a balanced tuner will not does not mean its a better tuner.

The BT1500a is without a doubt the best tuner for balanced line I have used. It uses a heavy relay requiring 12 volts to switch the capacitor from the output of the roller inductor to input so you can have it configured for low pass or high pass and a second relay to switch out some of the capacitance for low capacitance tuning.

The components are massive in size and should allow decent power even in tricky match conditions.

I am not a fan of cross needle meters so don't have much to say about Palstar's choice of meters.

I am running it on a 450 ohm fed 160 meter half wave that is only elevated 25 feet above the ground. At 160 this is very low impedance and on 80 its every high. The tuner has no issue with either not to mention the other bands up to 6 meters.

There really are not many options for balanced tuners currently so Palstar does not have much competition. I have owned 5 different Palstar tuners over the years (3 currently) and all of them are well built.
KA4KOE Rating: 4/5 Sep 8, 2014 05:00 Send this review to a friend
Nice Tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just obtained the tuner. The configuration seems to work well, with matches obtained on all bands except 15m (1.7:1). No tuna is perfect. I did notice a lot of RF in the shack on 80m. I assume the choking impedance of the 1:1 current balun was dropping off on the lower frequencies, which is not totally unexpected. I inserted a W2DU coaxial choke balun on the input and it cleaned up a lot of the shack RFI. Otherwise, no complaints. My antenna is a full sized doublet fed with 600 ohm open line, 160-10m.
KI5FJ Rating: 2/5 Oct 8, 2013 16:16 Send this review to a friend
Not Recommended  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I inherited the ATU from a friend who bought it for little cash. In my opinion most balanced feed-lines /systems are not absolutely balanced.I think a more accurate description is Quasi-Balanced. Imbalanced feed-lines radiate. When you bring a radiating transmission line into the shack you are inviting RFI issues. Back in the Early days this technique was the only option. Also Back in the Early days the most RFI sensitive item in the shack was an incandescent light bulb. Now back to the BT1500A, I
converted the output to UN-Balanced (SO-239). When I loosen one of the nuts securing a short wire to a capacitor the wire fell off the capacitor. I guess the Palstar assembly ATTEMPTED to solder the wire to the massive heat sink AKA capacitor. If you are experiencing issue look for cold solder joints. Z matching range of this L-Network is limited. The slightly higher losses of a Hi-Pass T-Network are small compared to the the wider Z matching range.73 Joe O NNNN
K5YZS Rating: 5/5 Feb 9, 2013 00:35 Send this review to a friend
Almost perfect  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have used many matching networks over the years for my balanced line antennas -- 160 m flat-top dipole; 40 m ground independant verticle
dipole (balanced line feed and no radials) and an
80 m 1 wave length loop at lower power. The BT-1500A can match my ICOM-756 and Alpha 91B with no arcing at legal limit to all antennas. The adding of the Alpha 91B made a matcher upgrade necessary. I bought the "2500 Watts patent pending" MFJ-9982. What a mistake!! with the MFJ-9982 that had many defects and when those were corrected, the MFJ-9982 would arc-over at 700 to 900 watts. Read my review of MFJ-9982 to
avoid many headaches and design flaws(especially
only 0.070 inches capacitor air gap). The BT1500A
has 0.100 inches capacitor air gap). I would give the BT1500A an almost 6 rating, but I had to add external 500 pF additional capacitance to
the antenna terminals to match from 1860 kHz on down to 1801 kHz on my 160 m dipole. Paul had parts to sell me for new meter bulb and a more
precise capacitor shaft coupler. Great service and great feed-line matching network.
73 Jim, retired engineer K5YZS
W0NGA Rating: 1/5 Jan 26, 2013 23:09 Send this review to a friend
Close but No Cigar  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned my BT1500A for about 5 years now. I purchased it new from Palstar in June of 2008. I also have a Heathkit SA-2060, and between the two tuners, I can match just about any antenna. The Palstar tuner will match some antennas that the SA-2060 won't match, and vice-versa.

While the tuner is built like the proverbial battleship, if anything should ever break I probably won't be able to obtain a replacement part from Palstar. An example is the light assembly which illuminates the meter, which after a year or so, burns out and needs replaced.

For two years now I've sent e-mails asking how I order the replacement light assembly used to illuminate the meter, and my request is met with total and utter silence. There is no response from Palstar. If I should ever need some other part, such as a replacement relay, or capacitor, I'll probably have to sell the tuner for parts.

Because of the inadequate source for replacement parts, I would not recommend this tuner to anyone. It's expensive and if it should break, I'm apparently on my own based upon my experience so far.
KY3W Rating: 3/5 Aug 27, 2012 09:17 Send this review to a friend
Not for Everyone  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It is built very well with quality components. In case anyone is wondering, the relay problem has been corrected some time ago. Don't be afraid of wiping out relay coils. Where this tuner falls short is in the design. There is not enough capacitance range to sucessfully tune all bands, especially 160, 17 thru 6M. I had read where others had to add a cap to the terminals in the back to tune 160. In my case, I needed to add 1000 pF to tune the upper portion and 1820 pF for the lower. By shortening or lengthening the feedline, I could make it tune say 17M but then I would lose another such as 10M. If I could make it tune 10M, I would lose 15M, etc. A borrowed VCI 1500 tuner could easily tune 160 thru 6M, despite the feedline length. After much experimenting, I finally called Paul at Palstar and he was very cooperative. He allowed me to swap the BT1500A for an AT2K w/ 1:1 Current balun. The AT2K tunes all bands with no problems whatsoever. I'm very happy with the AT2K and regret not believing other reviews that reported insufficient tuning range on the BT1500A. I am not a tuner expert by no means but I do have a degree in electrical engineering. Based on my experience and comments from others, the BT1500A will work fine for some and others should avoid it. If you want to tune 160M on an antenna that is less than say a half wavelength, this is not the tuner for you. I do, however, think it would work fine on most 80 & 40M wires. I have also read full wave 160 loops seem to tune fine. If you're looking for a tuner that will "tune a wet noodle", the BT1500A isn't it. I hope this review helps others in their decisions.
W2CS Rating: 0/5 Feb 6, 2012 11:33 Send this review to a friend
Very Disappointed (Update)  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
In addition to my prior review of this model I should like to add that one of the relays just blew. The coil now leaks black, smelly goo and the relay no longer closes. However it does produce a nice wideband hash "signal" over all bands so at least the defective relay makes itself obvious :-(

For all the reasons stated in my first review and this update I cannot recommend this tuner to a friend, especially one running 1500 W output.

I am now in the market for a robust tuner and will sell this one for parts shortly.
K4YAB Rating: 5/5 Nov 7, 2011 09:17 Send this review to a friend
Operation  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I installed a 140 ft double zepp dipole,fed with about 35ft of 450 ladder line. The tuner works great. I did have a problem at first,I couldn,t get it too tune the antenna.
I called Palstar and talked to Paul. He told me to check the setscrew for being loose on the Variable Capacitor. She enough it was loose.
Tightened the set screw and the tuner works great.
In the instruction manual it says the Variable Capacitor is for fine tuning...I understand that,
but when I got the tuner to work the Variable Capacitor changed the Swr alot.
So I would advise when first getting use to a new one, that you make sure and rotate the cap 360 degrees just in case while tuning with it and the Roller inductor.
AD5VM Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2011 08:54 Send this review to a friend
The ONLY way to tune...  Time owned: more than 12 months
Maybe I'm missing something but, I don't understand why the vast majority of hams with multi-band antennas are feeding them with coax to a transmatch. Just look at the reviews for the high power antenna tuners! I can't imagine running a KW on 20 meters through a feedline tuner and a hundred foot of RG-8 to some random length doublet!! Gasp!!! I'm no RF engineer but it seems the only time it's good to use a tuner is to use a coupler at the feedpoint (like an AH-4 or SDG product) or to use a balanced tuner between your rig and a balanced feedline. I'm not trying to start a debate, if you're reading the BT-1500A's reviews, you have seen the light and know all this. You are on the right track here, go ahead and call Palstar and place your order O wise one. The thing is built like a brick S%#t house inside a battleship and the customer service couldn't be better. Ladder line is NOT hard to work with, all the bad things you ever heard about it was probably just propaganda created by Big Coax!:D keep your runs a couple inches from gutters and window frames and put a twist in it every few feet and you'll be fine. I run mine with a 160 meter loop through the trees @ 50 foot in the shape of a jacked up rectangle with 600 watts and the signal reports I get on ALL bands 10-160 are comical and sometimes make me feel guilty. I don't know how many of these antenna tuners I've 'sold' over the air for Palstar but I think they need to start giving me a commission or finders fee lol.. Buy It!! just Buy it! I know the XYL will freak but just remind her of all the crap she buys, hell at least with a Palstar product, no matter what happens to it you could get about a hundred dollars for it at a scrap metal dealer!! 73.
NA0AA Rating: 5/5 Oct 12, 2010 21:50 Send this review to a friend
Works well for my loop  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
OK, I have had this now for a couple of months tuning a 160 meter loop fed with homebrew open line. It matches my loop well on 160 up to 15 meters but runs out of range for the very highest bands. To be honest, this neither surprises nor disappoints me - the antenna pattern is not that good anyway there.

The setting indicators are reasonably repeatable once checked, although I double check frequency with an analyzer that I switch into the line. Usually if I use my cheat-sheet, I can get to 1.3:1 without needing the analyzer, which is good enough for my radio to be happy.

I have not tested this above 100 watts yet, but I bought it with the intention of using it with an amplifier in the future - it's certainly built for the job.

I've long been an autotuner fan, but I'm impressed with the quality and easy of use of this tuner - certainly if you have a need for a dedicated balanced line tuner, this merits consideration.
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