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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | Heathkit SA-2060A Help

Reviews Summary for Heathkit SA-2060A
Heathkit SA-2060A Reviews: 41 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $(1991 Kit) 279.95
Description: HeathKit SA-2060A Antenna tuner
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KC8VWM Rating: 5/5 Mar 10, 2013 20:27 Send this review to a friend
High End Tuner - Low End Price  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own a Palstar 1500 CV, MFJ 989 3 KW Versa Tuner, and of course the Heathkit SA-2060.

I picked up this used Heathkit tuner at a hamfest for $125, and it was in excellent condition. I like the modern styling and appearance of this tuner (SA-2060 non A) It seems to fit right in with all the modern gear in my shack.

On the other hand the Palstar 1500 CV is very modern in appearance too however, it cost me well over $400, but it too was in excellent condition.

I decided to give the Heathkit SA 2060 a good going over before operating it and found the build quality to be very good. Basically all roller inductors, regardless of tuner brand, require periodic maintenance. Swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol cleans any black, carbon like dirt off roller inductor coils quite well.

I find doing this maintenance to any tuner can reduce friction and serves to achieve smoother roller inductor operation. However, you should never lubricate the roller wheel or any other part of the inductor coild except perhaps the shaft, because the roller requires good electrical contact and oils will electrically insulate the connection, and of course we don't want that.

After doing this maintenance, the roller on the Heathkit was very smooth and had a high quality feel. I compared it to my Palstar 1500 CV tuner and in fact, the Heathkit felt a little smoother.

I quickly compared the MFJ 989 and it felt very stiff and it isn't even in the same class of tuner for that matter.

The Palstar 1500 CV is more expensive than all my other tuners, but yet it lacks a dual meter display as seen on the Heathkit. The cross hair "MFJ style" meter is not to my liking and the smaller numbers can sometimes appear confusing and harder to read. However, the dual meters on the Heathkit are very clear and easy to see. The meters are quite accurate. These internal meters are just as good as the readings taken on an external Bird meter.

The Heathkit meters lacks any internal backlighting. It almost seems this was an oversight in the Heathkit build manual. But then again, this is a Heathkit and therefore it is extremely easy to add a simple phono plug on the back of this tuner, a few wires inside for 12v lighting and your done. Lighting could be installed above both meters, and to provide inductor counter lighting. I suspect after the lighting mod is done, the tuner will appear to look like another rig or amplifier sitting in the shack.

The Heathkit tuner resembles amplifier equipment in terms of physical size. The tuning caps in the Heathkit are beefy and well made. They don't stick in any spots or bind and turn quite smoothly.

The Heathkit has copper metal work where the Palstar is constructed using aluminum sheet metal.

The round push buttons on the Palstar has an MFJ look and feel to them. The black square push buttons on the Heathkit seem heavy duty. Also the antenna switch on the Heathkit feels and sounds like an industrial grade clunk, but the clicker on the Palstar feels tight and works fine.

Although I do prefer the crank knob on the Palstar roller inductor compared to plain old round knob on the Heathkit, perhaps the Heathkit could be easily modified to include a crank knob too. But after using the round Heathkit knob, I find it actually provides for a very smooth precision feel and operation similar to a VFO knob. The crank knob on the Palstar does get you there faster though.

The Palstar has "electronics" inside, where the Heathkit doesn't. I prefer not to have any electronic circuit boards inside a manual tuner as these are just another series of components to potentially burn out in the event high output power is run, when something isn't tuned quite right. Therefore, the lack of any electronic circuit boards inside makes the Heathkit more bullet proof in my estimation.

The Heathkit SA-2060 is the clear winner. It's probably the last antenna tuner you will ever own.
N2DM Rating: 5/5 Jul 9, 2012 05:39 Send this review to a friend
Heavy Duty  Time owned: more than 12 months
A battleship example of a tuner. Never interfaced with an antenna it couldn't handle. Never an arc or spark.* Bought used, for $200 in year 2000. As with any good piece of gear, maint. is necessary, cleaning of roller col and switches.
*Note: tune up using 10 to 20 watts. Higher power will pit the roller coil, same as "hot switching". WHen properly adjusted, then it will handle a KW no problem! Dale, N2DM.
KE5AKG Rating: 5/5 Nov 22, 2011 17:51 Send this review to a friend
best tuner I ever bought  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is close to being the ultimate tuner. I use it for 40-160m, and it will load up everything on these bands for me. I can load up my 43ft vertical on 160m and tune it to a SWR of 1.2 or better anywhere throughout the band. Using 900-1000w PEP with an AL-80B, it has never arced even once( my Palstar AT2K did). There is no need to switch in extra inductance as on the Palstar. I love both those tuners, but in my opinion the 2060A is the clear winner. Best 300$ I ever spent on a tuner. Heathkit should bring it back...maybe with lighted, peak-reading meters and a larger coax switch...this would be the last tuner anyone ever needed to buy!
KA4KOE Rating: 5/5 Jun 22, 2011 09:20 Send this review to a friend
Nice tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought mine from the estate of a friend who recently passed. The only issue I had was the hex screws would not stay tight on the various cap/inductor shafts. I replaced the hardware with standard computer case screws and torqued them down with a Philips---careful though, or the brass couplings may strip out.

I have the non - "A" version.
W0EAJ Rating: 5/5 Feb 26, 2011 22:09 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: more than 12 months
Understand that there IS a difference between the 2060 & 2060A - you must leave 1 output open with the 2060-no biggie. Important also, is no matter how tight you think it is, go inside and tighten up ALL the hardware, and that includes the hand-built capacitors. (also verify the output posts in the power/SWR "box" are tight - they usually aren't) Set the torques right and pay attention to the little adjustments that make a difference. This thing is based on the original "Ultimate Matchbox", and the description is spot on - sucker will load up a coathanger. One of only TWO impedance-matchers (they are NOT antenna tuners, if you get right down to it) that Heath ever made.
K3ROJ Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2010 18:37 Send this review to a friend
What a Tuner  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Over the past 10 years I have tried 4 different auto tuners even the high power MFJ994b but always had little quirks with them, either not tuning right or just too noisy and knew there was no problem with RF in the shack. Then I received an offer from the XYL of a friend that passed away. She had sold his main rig, power supply, antenna, key etc. and only the tuner remained. I had no idea as to it's worth and gave her $150 for it since when taking the cover off, could not believe the solid look and nice large roller inductor. Since I do not jump from one band to another, this tuner is now used everyday and tunes my horizontal skyloop antenna perfectly from 160 to 6 meters. I made up a chart to keep nearby and can quickly tune it on another band if I want. In a matter of 6 months, have worked many countries and all states. It feels so solid and built like a brick outbuilding. By the way, my rig is a Flex Radio 5000A and an Ameritron 611.
W8KZW Rating: 5/5 Oct 14, 2009 19:30 Send this review to a friend
Will keep forever!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a tuner you will not regret owning. I use it with my SB-200 routinely, and it's a real pleasure to use ... tunes flat smoothly and with ease.

It replaced my Dentron MT-3000A about two years ago and has never let me down. I've used tuners from MFJ, Nye Viking, and Palstar, but found none I'd rather have more than the 2060A.

And remember, it's important to judge equipment by its design, the quality of components and the quality of manufacture. This tuner is exceptionally well designed, and uses surprisingly high quality components. As it is a kit, the quality of construction may vary. Mine is built very, very well.

Don't let someone's review complaining of a dirty roller inductor or loose parts (it's not Heathkit's fault if, for example, the unit was left uncovered by a prior owner or screws were not properly torqued when the kit was assembled) keep you from enjoying this tuner if you have a chance to. Take the time to distinguish between the quality of a device versus the condition you happen to find it in.

Also, regarding 'screw count' for shielding, it's a myth. Tuners don't even require RF shielding to prevent TVI. Read Doug DeMaw's column in CQ, August 1995.

KM3F Rating: 3/5 Oct 14, 2009 16:25 Send this review to a friend
Aessement of used SA2060.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Picked one up at a hamfest after looking at the assembly manuel. It's much the same as an ATR 20.
I has several issues that were all able to be corrected.
The Roller inductor needed to be cleaned.
The Cin and Cout caps needed to have there friction increased by adjusting the rear sets.
The roller to turns indicator coupling needed the set screws replaced with hardened 3/32 set screws.
The roller drive shaft was loose.
After all these items are checked and corrected, the tuner works well with my AL80B amplifier.
The cover only has 8 screws and is not as RF tight as it should be besides the clearence issues already discribed by others.
Don't over pay for this tuner on the basis of it being said it's so good. An ATR 20 or 30 would still be a better unit in quality and with it's peak reading meters.
K2HAT Rating: 5/5 Feb 16, 2009 11:50 Send this review to a friend
Good working older tuner  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this tuner for about 18 months,
Works Great! I can even tune an Imax 2000 verticle for 40 meters, and a "30" meter dipole
for 20 meters.

The only thing I have noticed, was when I first unpakced the Tuner, I heard something rattling inside.I opened the cover and found a small ball bearing, I had no clue where it came from, and put the cover back on.

Today I was moving my "Ham Shack" equipment around and heard a rattle inside again,
took the cover of, and another ball bearing.
The switch used to choose an antenna has a spot which the ball bearing fits into; with 2 tension springs to keep some tension on the knob/shaft assembly.

I had considered adding a couple LED lights behind the meters to make them easier to see, but, I dont want to modify the case.

73 K2HAT
W6RTW Rating: 5/5 Oct 8, 2008 21:28 Send this review to a friend
This Tuner Is Amazing  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been using this tuner for several years. When my TS-940 internal tuner couldn't do the job, the SA-2060A could. When I added a Drake L7 Amp, it never complained, even on 160. I switched to an ICOM Pro II and still no problem. Now I have assembled an SO2R station made up of a Pro III with the L7 and a ProII with an AL80B. Since I only had one tuner, I needed a second. Of course, another SA-2060A. Can't beat perfection. It's a steal at almost any price!
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