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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | SGC SG-230 Help

Reviews Summary for SGC SG-230
SGC  SG-230 Reviews: 64 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $595.00
Description: SG-230 Smartuner automatic microprocessor antenna coupler.
Product is in production.
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KI5SO Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2013 20:13 Send this review to a friend
Very durable and effective  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a used one and simply rely on my radio swr meter to show me whether or not I'm tune. This tuner is fast. It is as good as the Icom AH-4 tuner only bigger and will handle 200 watts and can be connected to any radio via the coax. Requires 12vdc which wires are part of and built under the outer plasic of the coax jumper going from radio to tuner. The good news and surprise is it works just fine with balance and unbalance antennas. I am using it to tune a 300 ft. loop antenna which is feed with twin lead then I join the twin lead to two pieces of coax I use as balance line to bring it into the shack to the tuner. No ground; just one coax center to one main connector of tuner and the other coax center to the ground connector (sheild is unused and probably helps prevent RFI). Works great. I like being able to simply moving the coax from one radio to another one and keying down and start talking while the tuner quickly begins adjusting your swr while you are talk and fast too! It is big. About the side of a mid sized hf rig but not as thick--maybe the size of a stepping stone but not exactly square--twice the size of the Icom AH-4. If you find a used one at a good price, grab it up. I take it to the limit with my Yaesu FT-2000D and it handles the 200 watts with no problem and stays tuned with no drifting out of tune during the QSO.
W6LBV Rating: 4/5 Jun 14, 2012 08:14 Send this review to a friend
Tune in....turn on!  Time owned: more than 12 months
A factory-new SG-230 auto-tuner came on-board my station in the mid 1990s, and it has been in use most of the time since, with generally good, but not excellent, results.

The good features first, then the problems. For almost all of its service it has been mounted outdoors, under the eaves of my house, feeding an inverted-L random length wire antenna. Dismounting the tuner and opening the case last year, I found no signs of corrosion or water damage during the past fifteen years. The weatherization installed by SGC has done the job.

The station inverted-L antenna worked against a modest earth radial system. I did find, several times, that when the radial system was insufficient for the purpose, the 230 tried to load the radials as an antenna working against the inverted-L as ground! But that’s described in the manual and is not a difficult situation to remedy.

The significant test of a tuner working with a short random-length wire antenna is whether it will load the system on 160 meters. The 230 was especially good at this, seldom failing me. Other tuners I have owned often could not load the same antenna. However, even when short wires can be loaded on 160, they don’t produce magnificent signals and the 230 could not fix that.

But there have also been problems with the 230. During much of its useful lifetime the 230 produced receivable (digital artifact) carriers that impeded operations on the various bands. The problem was especially bad on 10 meters, where S-5 level carriers were spaced every 90 kHz across the band.

I called the factory (in the days when long-distance conversations were still toll calls) and inquired about the problem. They flatly denied that the 230 would do that. But “repairs” at SGC even then were prohibitively expensive, so the problem remained. And I am still dubious of their assertion: microprocessor-controlled products are notorious for producing spurious RF.

Finally, last year the 230 stopped achieving tune-lock, and I did a little trouble shooting. The problem is most likely a bad detector diode or capacitor. I’ve temporarily replaced the 230 with a newer auto-tuner and will repair the SGC later.

For the product:

Pro: The 230 is a quality product which will tune non-resonant wire antennas that other auto-tuners may not. The case and its weatherization are very good.

Con: Only single-ended antennas can be used; there is no inherent provision for feed lines. A good ground/counterpoise system is required. The product may produce spurious RF emissions on receive. The electrical design is now old compared with recent offerings. Indication of the state of tuner operation to the user is almost non-existent. Component reliability may be a problem. Purchase price and non-warranty repair costs are high.

This one is a toss-up. Evaluate your needs carefully, consider the cost, the design limitations, and the competition, and if the 230 will work for you then it’s a quality product worth purchasing.
VA6DWH Rating: 5/5 Jun 12, 2012 19:31 Send this review to a friend
Legendary  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I see what all the positive remarks are all about....Very durable antenna tuner...excellent build quality...made to perform ...When you hook it up to a SGC Power Talk SSB radio its unstoppable ! Not a toy like so many "fiddly" amateur products...They are a few $$...But you get what your paying for in this case...A little noisy....but its all in where you install it....Its a keeper...
PU2KOC Rating: 5/5 Feb 2, 2012 17:38 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is the best and most reliable tuner ever made. I have been using mine for the last 16 years and never got a fault or “no-tune”. Just have a good grounding system or some ¼ wave length wires well attached to the ground terminal and it will tune your random wire to less than 1:1.5 always. Use the length according to the tuner specs. (they really match!)
Just now, after 15 years I decided to open it and do some relay cleaning with a clean business card and some “blue showers” or equivalent contact cleaner. A very small dirt came out from some of the relays, may be the ones that are most used during the switching.
Since my SG230 is always exposed to rain, I added a sealing tape all around the corners were the two housings join and some silicon glue in the bottom part of the output connector. After opening it, NO corrosion or moisture found on the PC board.
My suggestion is to keep the internal jumper to “always tune” so if you change frequency, or, if it rains or moisture changes, we don’t use the memory pre-set conditions that could leave the SWR at a higher value.
Congratulations to the SGC design team and the quality of the components used.
W6EDD Rating: 5/5 Oct 27, 2011 10:14 Send this review to a friend
Great for Stealth Antenna  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Like many, I live in an antenna restricted area so I needed to come up with something. A friend came across this tuner and we were thinking how it would work on my 3" dia, 38' aluminum mast flag pole on the deck in my back yard for flying my flags. Mounted the tuner at the bottom of the 4x4 that the flag pole is mounted to, with a 5' 4 gauge wire connected between flag pole and tuner. Used an old 12v power supply to power it and 4 radials off the tuner ground lug. She is working SUPER!! Flat swr on all HF except 10m which I get about a 1.2. Have made contacts all over with good reports.
I was using a 6BTV with a lot of radials before this and the flag pole got better reports. Have since removed the 6BTV and only using the flag pole now.
K5TED Rating: 4/5 Oct 5, 2011 19:50 Send this review to a friend
Good product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just got a used one from the Belton TX Ham Expo and it works as advertised. It tunes below 2:1 and in most bands 1.4:1 from 160m thru 10m on a 40' +/- length of #12 electrical wire strung horizontally about 25' high. Ground is a three floor steel stairwell.

I don't notice any particularly better transmit performance on any band compared to the same wire on a 9:1 unun with manual tuner, but now I don't have to manually re-tune all the time. I did test last weekend with a station in NH, on 20m PSK, switching back and forth between my MFJ-1786 magloop and the SG-230 & 40' wire combo, and that station reported no significant difference in signal strength in a blind test.

Receive may be a bit less noisy. Hard to tell just yet. Again, the bonus is being able to tune anywhere quickly.

Feedline radiation must be substantially lower now, and I do notice my pattern may have changed a bit according to reception reports via JT65 logger, PSK reporter and World SSTV cams. Not certain yet, though. Still evaluating. I can, however, now transmit OK on 160m and 75m, which were very hard to tune before on the manual tuner.

Overall, it was a well spent $150 for the unit in good condition with manual.
M6GOM Rating: 5/5 Aug 20, 2011 07:32 Send this review to a friend
Keeps on keeping on  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had mine for over a year now, having bought it used with no history from a Bring and Buy stall at a ham rally. It has been outdoors in the lovely British weather all the time uncovered, even in the near record freezing winter we had this last year. It is screwed to a short wooden stake hammered into the ground and is feeding a 75ft inverted L with 20 ground radials between 15 and 40ft long and has performed flawlessly and continues to. Having a Kenwood TS480 and then TS590, I assigned CW Tune to one of the programmable keys and that is enough to wake it up.

One thing I noticed though is that when the inverted L was originally 68ft long, it had a hard time tuning the bottom end of 80m. I think it doesn't like 1/4 wavelengths. I added 7ft to it and it is fine.

One thing I would say is to learn EZNEC and model your antenna. Horizontal and inverted L antennas when used on multiple bands have lobes and nulls that increase with frequency in number and severity and become more narrow as the operating frequency rises and the antenna length increases over 1 wavelength. If you understand where your antenna transmits, it is a whole load easier to orientate it so the areas you want on the bands you intend to use don't end up in a -20dB null on both TX and RX.
PA3GQD Rating: 5/5 Feb 1, 2011 14:47 Send this review to a friend
excellent  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Living in a small appartment I almost gave up my radio hobby. A small whip with a wire extension from my balcony in conjunction with my SG-230 gives me a usable and most convenient antenna for working HF 80 mtrs and up. Yes, even 80 is usable with this setup. Now enjoy contesting and casual CW QSOs again.

Not cheap but most recommended.
KK5JY Rating: 4/5 Nov 15, 2010 22:02 Send this review to a friend
Very useful.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I like to experiment with antennas, so I have used this and one of its kin (the 237) to allow me to string up all manner of wire antenna, then match them to my radio. Dipoles, ground planes, even some loops.

If you use a balanced antenna, choke the cable. SGC says that's not necessary, but I have had the experience of others with feedline radiation. Choked the feedline at the tuner and problem solved. Wrap its 9' cable on a toroid or use a prefab choke like you can get from DX Engineering.

Why 4 and not 5? It gets a 4.5. When moving from one antenna type to another, it is occasionally hard to force it to retrain. This tuner does not have an option to reset the memories in one operation. It has to 'relearn' by use. If you use it on one antenna, then move it to another antenna that has similar impedance characteristics, it will try its memory tune first, and if that is less than 2:1 SWR, it will be satisfied with that, even though it can do better. My experience is that I have to temporarily modify the new antenna to mess up the impedence enough that it forces it to relearn a new tuning solution, then put the antenna back the way it was, and retrain it again.

If they would add a button, even internally to the unit, that would simply force it to 'forget' all of its in-memory tuning solutions and start from scratch. I would give the tuner a 5+.

Used inside, outside, hot weather, cold weather. Read SGC's documents on 'good' installations, and the things written by others, and it will serve you well.
KI8M Rating: 5/5 Sep 7, 2010 07:57 Send this review to a friend
Great Tuner!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I live in a HOA subdivision and had to put up a "stealth" type antenna. I just purchased the SG-230 and use it in conjuction with a Zero Five 30 foot Flagpole antenna. Very happy with both! I am able to load up the Flagpole on all bands between 12 and 160 meters. After only having it up and running several days, I have used to make contacts on 15, 20,40 and 75. Also, purchased the Array Solutions ATD-1 in order to ground the antenna and protect the tuner when not in use. Although I ended up spending more money than I originally planned, I'm very satisfied with the results.

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