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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | 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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G3TXQ Rating: 3/5 Jun 8, 2010 03:49 Send this review to a friend
By no means perfect!  Time owned: more than 12 months
"Built like a tank" etc etc, but this is why it gets a 3 from me:
* Limited matching range at low frequencies as a result of the 960pF max capacitance
* Poor balance at low frequencies as a result of the low choking impedance of the input balun
* Low tension on a jockey wheel makes one of the roller-coasters intermittent at one end of its travel.

And a few "niggles" I don't expect when I spend 580 on a tuner:
* Supplied with the two roller-coasters "out of sync"
* One case screw missing
* Not supplied with a 12v power adaptor in UK

A shame - I like Palstar kit, but the BT1500A doesn't live up to the high quality I expected. It has given way to a Ten Tec 238 with a good 1:1 current balun at the output which has better balance and a wider matching range.
KJ5XF Rating: 5/5 Apr 23, 2010 14:25 Send this review to a friend
Great balanced line tuner!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this tuner for over 2 years and it works like a champ!. I am using it with a 40m doublet
fed with 600 ohm open-wire feeders. I can tune it on all bands from 40m up to 10m (including the WARC bands). Great product!
WA3A Rating: 5/5 Dec 25, 2009 08:45 Send this review to a friend
FB  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have used only open-wire fed balanced antennas for nearly 30 years. Dipoles, Vees, Rhombics, Loops, Lazy-H, etc. I have built several tuners similar to the BT1500A and knew that this balanced L design was a good. I first saw the design from AG6K in QST. My homebrew units suffered from lack of capacitor range and switching capacitors was cumbersome. The BT1500A solves this problem. As others have said, it wont match everything but usually feedline length adjustments will solve that. Ive noticed that adjusting the length of coax between the tuner and the rig also is useful. After having some match problems on 10 (too much capacitance) I looked at the schematic and found that by removing two screws and lifting two leads from the hi/lo pass relay ( I NEVER need to match anything less than 50 ohms) I can now reduce the minimum capacitance even more when using the hi/lo pass switch. It even allows me to match on six meters on some antennas. My only complaints are backlash on the capacitor vernier (not all that bad) and the crank on the inductor is too small. For such a beefy tuner the tiny crank is marginal but useable. As others have said, the quality of the BT1500A is excellent. Dont bother with the other popular brands for a balanced tuner.
KI4BUN Rating: 5/5 Jul 24, 2009 18:06 Send this review to a friend
Buy once, cry once!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This tuner isn't cheap. Neither in price or in quality. Palstar builds 'bullet-proof' gear. I'm running a 137' dipole fed with about 50 ft of true ladder line. It'll tune about anything I throw at it. I had various tuners over time but nothing like the quality, capability, fit, and finish of the BT 1500A! Not even close.

Most of my operating is on MARS frequencies so being able to tune outside the ham bands is required. Of course there are no issues, but the repeatability of the settings for a given frequency are superb.

Just a note on Palstar's customer service. After many, many hours of use, the meter bulb burned out. I emailed them asking if I could purchase a new one...I got one in the mail a couple of days I'm a fan.

Buy once, cry once. You won't be sorry.
K9SQG Rating: 5/5 Jun 19, 2009 14:01 Send this review to a friend
A real keeper, excellent quality, excellent staff.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The BT-1500A continues the Palstar tradition of an excellent product. You don't see people selling theirs and for good reason. Note that my experiences are with 40 and 80 meter horizontal loop antennas for swap net operations.

The overall design is rugged, has a clean appearance, and matches my Drake gear perfectly. It gives no hint of being strained even at legal limit power levels. Resetability is right on. Never thought much about "peak and hold" on a wattmeter but now I wonder how I got along without it. Customer support is A1 and Paul and Don care about the people that use their products. Mine is a keeper and if it gets sold, it will be by my survivors.

On the slight downside, the labels took a little getting used to but a lot of things do. A chart of settings gets you back to where you want to be in seconds. The price is not entry level but the quality and capability is second to none. You get what you pay for and this tuner should be considered a lifetime investment, you won't have to put any money into maintenance or repairs.

Thanks Palstar for an excellent tuner and excellent customer support!
KG6I Rating: 4/5 May 26, 2009 14:29 Send this review to a friend
Good Tuner For My Big Loop  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After 20+ years of using my HB link-coupled tuner to feed my FW 160 meter loop in the vertical plane, after doing much Web research on tuners and tuner circuits, I elected to upgrade to the Palstar BT1500A. The main reason was I could get my HB tuner to tune my loop to a 1:1 match on 160, 80, 60 and 40 meters, but it would either do 80 or 40 but not both well, with a given length of 450 ohm window line. The Palstar gives me a good match on all bands, 160-40. Two minor complaints: first, the cross-needle SWR/Power meter's illumination is weak. I may install a couple high-ouput LEDs to remedy that. Second, there is just a bit of backlash in the vernier drive for the variable capacitor. Since the tuning is quite sharp anyway, the backlash complicates obtaining a perfect 1:1 SWR a bit. My old HB tuner was sharp as well, so I can live with it. The construction and look of the unit is first-rate. A bit pricey, but I found mine used, in excellent condition, so that helped somewhat. The ability to use my FW loop (546 feet around, hanging from 100 ft+ tall Redwood trees) on four bands, without having to monkey around changing feedline lenghts is a real plus.
K0EX Rating: 5/5 Feb 17, 2009 11:01 Send this review to a friend
BT1500A  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Wanting to work the WARC bands and 160m, I retired my Johnson kW MatchBox (no, it's not for sale!) in favor of trying a BT1500A. I have two inv-vees co-fed with 450-ohm line -- one cut for 40m and one for 80m. The BT1500A tunes "sharper" than the MatchBox and it doesn't seem to match as well in some instances. However, it is a well-designed (physically and electrically), built-like-a-tank tuner! Expensive? Yes. Worth the investment? I certainly think so. Am I happy with it? Absolutely. For a balanced-line-only tuner, it's the way to go.

-Mark K0EX
since 1974
W8EEO Rating: 5/5 Jun 25, 2007 20:55 Send this review to a friend
Best tuner I have ever used!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have always used a transmatch because I prefer open line. Over the years I have constructed tuners with some working fine and some not all that well. A few years back I bought the Palstar AT1500BAL and was really happy with the tuner. It had some problems on the higher bands with stray capacity but was ok. I bought the BT1500A about 6 months ago because of the relay switching between high and low capacity.
I am using a twin delta setup with a a 132 foot loop on each side. It is up about 55 feet in the air.
I must say that the set-up I am using now is the best all around one I have had in the last 48 years or so on the air.
A balanced tuner is necessary to use this antenna on all bands and the BT1500A covers them all. It is a bit "pricy" but worth the money if you want the best. There is an old saying about these things. "Any station is only as good as the basic antenna in use". The only thing a transmatch can do is match the rig to the antenna. The BT1500A has shown that it is able to do that in my case. I usually don't suggest what other folks should get because any problems they have becomes my problem in a sense.
However, in my opinion, the BT1500A cannot be beat.
KC5BHJ Rating: 4/5 May 14, 2007 08:33 Send this review to a friend
Good Tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have a G5RV in an inverted V with the peek at about 50' fed with 450 ohm ladder line. I had been using a Nye Viking MB-V-A. I could tune 80 and 40 to 1:1, but 20 meters went to hell in a handbasket... best I could do was 3.5:1. I bought a new BT 1500A hoping to get it on 20 meters.....I run a Alpha 374 and would like 1.5:1 or better...
I have gotten the exact results with the BT 1500A as before. Palstar recommended adding about 10' of ladder line and trying again. I haven't done that yet.
Overall the tuner looks good and is well built. I'd rate it as good as the MB-V-A, which to me is a GREAT tuner. BUT the MB-V-A will tune coax also.
And has a dummy load connection.
Would I buy it again? Depends on what happens when I add the ladder line.
In the mean time I bought an Isotron 20M antenna. (waiting for ti to arrive).
N9JG Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2007 13:42 Send this review to a friend
Excellent quality and works 160-10  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
My antenna is a 110' dipole fed with open-wire line, and the antenna is 30' above the ground. My amplifier is capable of about 1 KW output. The previous tuner was a Johnson Kilowatt Matchbox, and while it worked fine on 80-10 meters, it would not resonate on 30 meters. Furthermore, even though a 110' piece of wire is short for 160 meters, I did want to have the ability to use this antenna on 160 meters. To use the Matchbox's SWR meter you have to connect a cable from the Matchbox to an external inline coupler, which is a pain. Finally, the Kilowatt Matchbox has very large dimensions.

The Palstar BT1500A tuner has overcome the Matchbox shortcomings I have listed above. Its built in SWR meter, with twin meter needles, is very easy to use and has 300 and 3000 watt ranges. The BT1500A tunes all the WARC bands, and it does allows me to operate on 160 meters with my shortened dipole.

To use a shortened dipole on 160 meters, it is standard practice to load both the feedline and the flattop against ground. I did this by shorting the feedline wires together and connecting the shorted pair in series with a loading coil to one side of the Palstar's balanced output feed-throughs. The second feedthrough was connected to an external rf ground. To make it easier to switch between the balanced and unbalanced setups, I installed bannana jacks and plugs. Naturally, this is not a "balanced" antenna on 160 meters, but it is a method for me to operate on that band. This method will not work with a Matchbox because a Matchbox can not resonate on 160 meters.

The BT1500A is very easy to tune with only two knobs to twist. However, it does have two push-buttons, one labeled High-Pass/Low-Pass, and the second labeled Low-C/High-C, and these buttons must be in the correct positions. In my case I made up a simple table containing the knob and button settings for the CW and Phone portions of the bands I wanted to operate on.

The case is very sturdy and has an attractive appearance. The quality of construction is excellent. I highly recommend the tuner.
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