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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks | SGC SG-231 Help

Reviews Summary for SGC SG-231
SGC  SG-231 Reviews: 11 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $595.00
Description: Model SG-231 Smartuner automatic microprocessor antenna coupler
Product is in production.
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G7HZZ Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2017 09:04 Send this review to a friend
Very good indeed  Time owned: more than 12 months
Provided that it is installed correctly this is a great way to operate Q&D (Quick and Dirty) or stealthy portable stations. The important points are grounding and counterpoise. And there's no excuse for reading the manual, it's packed with hints.

Don't expect to leave it outdoors in a permanent or semi/permanent location without additional weather protection - it's common sense, especially for a secondhand one.

Almost all of Phoenix ARC (UK) portable events have used the SC-231 with single-wire antennas with lengths as described in the manual. The only problems have been when we tried to cut-corners and skip using a decent ground.

The sheer flexibility that the SG-213 offers for portable ops is its main strength. For permanent antennas there are better solutions unless space and visibility are issues.

KX4TT Rating: 5/5 Nov 5, 2015 06:40 Send this review to a friend
Back in Production  Time owned: more than 12 months
I currently use the SG-231, which was purchased after SGC brought them back into production. This unit replaced a SG-239, which was a great coupler, but with reduced tuning capability when compared to the '231. With a random wire around the ceiling of my bedroom, and tuned radials (including a MFJ-931 for 80 and 40) 80 through 6m is possible. If RFI gets into the units, they can act up, so it is important to do things like choking the input and placing ferrites on the power leads. I use the unit with up to 50W on RTTY, CW, PSK, JT modes, and SSB without problems. The SGC techs are good at answering questions in regards to placement and grounding.
N4VNV Rating: 5/5 Mar 8, 2006 11:07 Send this review to a friend
BEST IN THE WEST!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Been using mine over seven years. I run a 450' Loop Skywire with the SGC outdoors on a pole at the feed point. It could be better, however it's way above anything else I've ever had in 30 years.
KE4IZA Rating: 5/5 Mar 8, 2006 05:46 Send this review to a friend
Simply Amazing  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Best ham device I have ever owned. Once connected the SG-231 is fully automatic. Move in the band it tunes. Change bands it tunes. I forget it is even there at times. I use the SG-231 to tune a 102" CB whip on 10m ~ 20m. SWR is usually 1.3:1 or better. Just make sure there is a GOOD ground. The SG-231 is not really a tuner but a coupler. It installs at the antenna end. I also bought the SGC DC coaxial line isolators so I can run the 12vdc down the coax thus eliminating the need for a power line. Check out the SGC Smartuners, there is nothing like them.
K6JEY Rating: 5/5 Mar 14, 2005 09:55 Send this review to a friend
Very Flexible  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Follow up. Having had the tuner for a while, I am impressed. Yes, it could use a better box, but the use of a Pi network in addition to the L network gives the tuner flexibility others do not have. The larger and huskier components give it lower loss and the ability to handle more electrical stress at high SWR than the cheaper ones. I am now using it on a 120 ft inverted L antenna at 30' on 160m and am doing very well with coverage (all over NA). It also works well on the other bands (JA on 40M for the first time). The tuner is in the garage at the feed point and works transparently. Like we used to say about the Johnson Matchbox, probably even tunes a wet noodle on 80m.
K6JEY Rating: 5/5 May 9, 2004 17:24 Send this review to a friend
Great Tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought it to feed an R-7 vertical on 160m. I switch out the balun on the R-7 and feed it directly from the 231. It works! The R-7 is very short for that band but it tunes fine. It also works on 80m. I switch back to the balun for the other bands. Why not use a horizontal antenna for 160m? Angle of radiation. The tuner is in a protective tub.
KG5JJ Rating: 2/5 Jun 14, 2003 01:28 Send this review to a friend
Nice tuner; beware of shortcomings  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There is a reason SGC wants you to install the tuner in an upside down plastic wastebasket; the unit is not waterproof (water-resistant might be a better term to describe it). Water-ingress because of the foam-rubber seal not sealing against the plastic case (the plastic case distorts because it is not heavily made) ruined the 12-volt DC trace on the board from the fuse to the plug going to the control socket. Also, I had to resolder ALL the relay, switched capacitor and switched inductor solder-joints because of bad/intermittent connections, presumably because of heat/cooling cycles from weather exposure. I purchased this unit used (yes, buyer beware) and disassembled it because of intermittent operation the moment I put it in service. It was used in amateur radio operation.

The unit was two years old when I purchased it, it now performs as advertised, but the unit will not survive out-in-the-open on land, and I can only guess what will happen to it in open-air marine use.

I gave this unit a two because it now performs brilliantly, but the build quality is WAY below the retail price asked for it.

73 (Mike) KG5JJ
OH6KXL Rating: 4/5 Dec 25, 2002 13:19 Send this review to a friend
Handy compromise!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After few weeks usage I am satisfied. I am using 100W transmitter (10W in 6m). Antenna is about 70 meter long rectangular horizontal loop fed in corner by few meters 450 Ohm open lead. One side of loop is about 25 meters and other 10 meters. SG231 usually tune my antenna to whatever band between 80m and 6m. 160m doesn't couple in my location. Reason can be odd reactance fault described by manual or RF incoming to my shack.

I replaced original coaxial jumper cable by half inch semirigid full copper jacket coax. I am not using SmartLock or any other device to monitor the tuner.

Tuning process is extremely quick. Normally some milliseconds only. Sometimes I have to switch of the tuner or tune to another band to find required match in exact frequency.

Why rating four?

160m problems, and poor rg58 coax jumper. I prefer quality cables like NK or Andrew.
N9FG Rating: 4/5 Jun 26, 2002 18:27 Send this review to a friend
Nice Tuner...  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I use this tuner on a center fed vee (60 feet per leg) on all bands. The ends of the vee are up approximately 50 feet and the center is up only 10 feet. I work all bands without any problem, the tuner finds a match within 1 to 3 seconds...

I would have rated this tuner a 5, but have found the case not to be as durable as some of the others on the market. SGC recommends covering the tuner case, to keep it from being exposed to a lot of sunlight. The tuner is physically bigger than a few others on the market, and is a little more akward to mount. (I also have an Icom AH-4 which doesn't have any of the previous shortcomings.)

This is a nice tuner, but because I have an Icom 756 Pro2 and an Icom 706MK2, I favor the AH-4.
The AH-4 plugs right into the rigs and is controlled from the tune button.

M0BQ Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2001 10:43 Send this review to a friend
Exellent - Plug and play radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
After several years of trying with little success to fit some sort of directional antenna into my 4M square garden I took the gamble of selling the mast to buy an SG-231 ATU. I was and still am very glad I did, the unit can be used in almost any situation with very small antennas if necessary. I made a new mast from a scaffolding pole and windsurf masts and attached one end of a dipole to it, the other end went to the chimney with a total length of about 10M. I fed the antenna in the centre with 450 Ohm ladder feeder and connected it to the SG-231. I was very impressed right from the beginning as the ATU tuned almost instantly on all frequencies, and when on air the reports were equally impressive, so it seemed that the ATU was matching well and not losing my RF as heat. I have worked some great DX with this setup and one night I had a 10 hour pileup on 17M and almost worked all states in one session. Many stations told me that I was the only station they could hear from Europe that night.

I have since moved house and now have a bigger garden but it is still not wide enough for even a small beam so I am using the centrefed doublet again, this time 60? long and fed with home made open wire feeder at about 40? AGL. It again works very well on all bands, Richard 2E0AVF has been using my station lately and he has been very successful working DX on 10M .

I have also used the SG-230 mobile for a while to match an 8? whip on my towbar. This worked fairly well, until the feed wire from the ATU to the antenna shorted out and caught fire. That just shows how high the Voltages can be on antennas as the feed cable was heavy cored with a 3mm thick rubber insulation and it arced through it. I now use loaded whips on the car which seem to work better, but they are less convenient, and the SG-231 is back where it works best, in a steel cabinet fixed to my garden wall. The one down side is that the SGC231 does not always give as good a match as it could even when using the Smart lock Pro to force it to retune. The only way round this is to tune it up on a different frequency in the same band where the VSWR is high enough to make the ATU retune, then come back to the desired frequency and tune it again.
This is not a problem as the VSWR is always below 2:1 and the internal ATU in most new radios will handle it. Please feel free to contact me if you want any more information.

It is a common mis-belief that these ATUs are for end fed wires only. They can be used in any situation, dipoles, end fed, loops etc. For more info visit

Jon Illsley
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