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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks | Palstar AT5K Help

Reviews Summary for Palstar AT5K
Palstar AT5K Reviews: 38 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $1195
Description: The AT5K takes power handling to the next level coming in with a rating of 3500 watts single tone continuous performance with low losses & wide Z range. Bands 160m to 15m with limited Z range on 10m. The AT5K provides balanced OUTPUT with high power 5kW TEFLON cable balun at the INPUT of the tuner circuit for excellent balanced feed antenna operation.
Product is in production.
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WT4P Rating: 3/5 Feb 18, 2017 14:18 Send this review to a friend
Just OK  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had mine for almost two years. I've had to have it repaired twice. First the internal balun went kaput. Then last November, something popped while transmitting under a kilowatt of power. The palstar's meter was showing a good match at the time. So, I had it repaired. It's been ok for a few weeks now. I have kept it clean and followed the directions in the user manual for the AT5K to the T. Go figure. I hope it's fixed for good now.
M0RDW Rating: 0/5 Feb 15, 2016 12:55 Send this review to a friend
OK while it lasted.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Iíve owned an AT5K for 8 years and its always had some issues from new. On 10m with 100w input it will peg the meter off the scale on the 300w setting and will usually read 1KW on the 3KW scale sometimes a good bang on the case will sort it out but as I donít use 10m very often, its never been a problem.

I used the tuner over the years with different aerials and loads and other than the 10m issue this tuner has tuned the lot although 35W on 160m will arc the tuner like a plasma ball although I am fully aware of the silly load presented to the tuner.

I have come to use the tuner today and the meter is telling lies, big lies! The power needle is reading low, way low. 150W is reading 25W when it has always read 150W and the SWR is reading way high, I have a 5KW dummy load connected to the bypass so I can tune up my amplifier at full power once in a while, the SWR today is reading 4:1. I have double checked on a spare meter and can see 1500W with a SWR of 1:1 however the AT5K reads 300W with a SWR of 4:1 all meters agree with each other i.e. amplifier and radio apart from the Palstar.

I have taken the lid off to find the tuner in immaculate dust free condition with absolutely no signs of arcing or burning anywhere in the unit, even behind the screening panels for the meter board and measurement board.

Now for a 5KW pep (3500W single tone) yes thats what it says in my manual although the Palstar site says 3.5KW pep. I find it strange that the power meter is only rated at 2KW, yet has full scale deflection of 3KW??? Likewise how does a tuner that is rated for 3.5KW continuous only have a full scale deflection meter that reads 3KW. I think Palstar are lying to themselves and everybody about what their products will and will not do!

I'm not going to go into details, but many emails and Facebook messages and posts on the Palstar page, I HAVE HAD NO RESPONSE WHATSOEVER, im left with a built like a tank paperweight with no customer support to fix it. So I can only give this tuner a big fat 0.

Do not buy this tuner, one day you could be left with a £1200 paperweight too.

Previous comments about glowing customer service must be lies as I cannot get a response from a manufacturer that prides itself on glowing customer service.

I would have rated the tuner a 4 out of 5 until this issue, but as my tuner is now useless and I cannot get the manufacturer to respond in any way shape or form, I have no other choice to give it a big fat 0.

You're reading this to get an honest opinion and review of this item just like I did. Do not take any notice of what has been said before, do not fall into the same false sense of security. Do yourself a favour and steer clear of this company and do not make the same mistake that I did.


K8AC Rating: 4/5 Jan 5, 2015 13:39 Send this review to a friend
A very heavy duty tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If you need a general purpose heavy duty tuner that will handle the legal limit on difficult loads, then this may be exactly what you need. But if you're looking for one tuner that will cover 160 through 10, then you may find it a bit lacking. Here's the way I see it:

1. Power handling - the components used in this tuner are high-end and usually found in only the finest homebrew tuners where cost is no object.
2. Resetability - the capacitor adjustments use Jackson ball drive verniers and the scale is graduated in units from 1 to 100. The inductor counter is 5 digits, with the last digit reading out the position in tenths of a turn. The result is that you can reset the controls accurately without having to apply a signal to adjust the tuner when you change bands or frequency within a band.
3. The antennas connected to the coax inputs can use the tuner or you can bypass the tuner circuitry just by turning the switch.
4. The tuner includes a muffin fan that can be turned on to cool the rotary inductor.
5. The wattmeter is reasonably accurate.
6. Palstar goes out of the way with details such as the use of nylon washers under the external cabinet screws, to prevent damaging the painted finish when installing/removing the screws.

1. The tuner is LARGE with a cabinet depth of 18" (larger than my old Alpha 86 amplifier).
2. The port to port isolation may not be what you'd like when using one of the bypass ports for a dummy load. For example, when receiving an S9 + 20 dB signal on a balanced line antenna on 40M, the same signal dropped to S3 when the AT5K was switched to the dummy load on Coax1(bypass mode).
3. I use the tuner on an 80 meter dipole fed with ladder line on 80 through 10 meters. I can't get the SWR down above the CW band on 10 but Palstar properly warns about the limited matching range on 10 meters. I think the basic problem is that the tuning capacitors have too high a minimum value. Palstar's tuner made for balanced lines only has a two section capacitor that can be switched between high and low from the front panel and it would be nice to have that capacitor on this tuner.
4. I put this one in the "nit picking" category, but when I unwrapped the tuner (bought it second hand) my wife said it appeared the cabinet had been repainted. A close inspection indicated it had not been - she was just noticing the irregular appearance of the finish owing to the powder-coat paint.

In summary, this is a fine high power tuner that uses the best components in a solid T-match design. But, it may not satisfy you if you want a single tuner to cover all bands from 160 through 10 due to the limited matching range on 10 meters. I'll be keeping my MFJ-989D around for use on 10 meters where it matches my ladder-line fed antenna across the band just fine. In all other ways, the MFJ is the inferior tuner of course.
5B4AJG Rating: 5/5 Sep 9, 2014 11:07 Send this review to a friend
Stunning!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I expect this'll be my last atu. Unless my shack should be hit by a nuclear missile......BUT then I'm tempted to believe the AT-5K would survive.
Top notch quality.
No more JUNK will enter my shack.
K6YE Rating: 5/5 Sep 17, 2013 07:47 Send this review to a friend
AWESOME  Time owned: more than 12 months
It is nearly as large as my Alpha 91B and sits on the amplifier rack. The quality is A-1 in every respect. It matches everything that I have tried. Prior to this, I had a Nye-Viking MB-IV but it did not like my Alpha-Delta Sloper on 160 or 80 meters. I have run all four amplifiers (Alpha 91B, Kenwood TL-922, Drake L4-B, and Heathkit SB-220) at 1.5KW without any problems. IMHO, you cannot buy a more robust manual tuner than the AT5K.

Semper Fi,

Tommy - K6YE
WD1V Rating: 5/5 Jun 26, 2013 08:58 Send this review to a friend
First Rate Support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I most likely got the same unit in the previous review where the forward reading watt meter didn't work and the ground screw inside the chassis had come loose. I called the factory and spoke with Paul. He encouraged me to look inside, found loose wire that I re-soldered, tightened ground screw and done. I think UPS was the shock test that loosened it up - at 25 pounds its got some serious mass. Took pictures - elegant construction! Tuner tunes all of 160 meters smooth as silk with Alpha 9500 and K3/P3 driving it.
W7ZZZ Rating: 0/5 May 24, 2013 13:01 Send this review to a friend
Junk out of the box  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought from HRO. Took it out of the box, put it on the bench and hooked it up. "Input" dial completely inoperative. Turning it lock to lock didn't move the needle a thousandth of an inch. The grounding stud on the rear of the unit was dangling loose, they don't even put a lock washer on it. Voltage reading from my Icom's 101 watts, read 70 watts. Put it back into the box, sent it back to HRO, got my money back. For the money they get for these, the product and the QC should be superb. Mine was DOA, junk out of the box.
WA4DC Rating: 5/5 Oct 7, 2012 20:33 Send this review to a friend
Awesome Tuner  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owen the Palstar AT5K TUNER for over a year now and I will have to say it the best Tuner I have owen in my 50 years of Ham Radio..It works well with my Commander HF 2500, tunes easy and a great piece of equipment Quality made in the USA with American Pride..It cost a little more then some of the tuner but I have not seen one that can match the quility..on a resent thip to New York I stop by the Palstar factory store in Ohio and I met Paul his crew and Coustomer Service Dept a Great group of folks that make the Palstar products. 73S Dan WA$DC
K5BJM Rating: 5/5 Apr 18, 2012 09:24 Send this review to a friend
Best Tuner Made!!!!!!!!!!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Palstar makes the best tuners in the world. Like people say, you get what you pay for. For the people who are never happy whith anything and always look for defects with everything, good luck with life. I have own the AT Auto and the AT 2K, and now the AT5K which is a rock crusher. This tuner will do exactly what it says it will do. I have tested this tuner at 2X legal limit running QRO 2500DX Amp. and it performed perfectly. Expensive but worth every penny.
WB3JGP Rating: 4/5 Jul 1, 2011 07:57 Send this review to a friend
I've seen this before  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
When I first got the tuner, I had sporadic problems tuning - seemed like the "Input" dial wasn't doing anything when I rotated the knob. I called for support, and they told me, yep, just tighten some allen bolts around the unit and see if that helps. So I opened it up (at their direction) and was surprised by what I saw.
When I was a kid in the 70s, I build an antenna tuner. And it looked very much like this. I didn't build it to handle a zillion watts, I built it with big spare parts bought at hamfests because that's all you could get back in the days of tube radios with lots of volts and amps. It's a pretty simple circuit.
This is a home-brew antenna tuner from the 1970s kept alive by the folks at Palstar. This is NOT a bad thing by any means, in fact, it's a really good tuner. It has a fan (my home-made one never did) and a lighted meter (mine never had lights).
Could you make one like this for a lot less money? Yes, as I said it's a pretty simple circuit. Should you? Depends on if you want to go through the trouble of building one.
But if I were going to make one again, I'd make it just like this, with similar grade components.
This is a traditional "old school" tuner, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. I've used it and it's worked very well since I tightened the little allen bolts that make the plates spin.
If you're going to buy a tuner, this one (I assume the others that look like it are pretty much the same design) is the one to get. I tried one from another manufacturer first, was cheaply made and not good. This is good.
Is it worth it? Up to you. But if you want a real (old school) tuner, this is the place to go.
I only give it 4 / 5 stars because of the loose screw problem, that should've been double-checked before it shipped. Since it's been tightened, I give it a 5 / 5.

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