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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | Hamware AT-515, symmetrical, remote ATU (1.5kW, 160 to 10m) Help


Reviews Summary for Hamware AT-515, symmetrical, remote ATU (1.5kW, 160 to 10m)
Hamware AT-515, symmetrical, remote ATU (1.5kW, 160 to 10m) Reviews: 3 Average rating: 3.3/5 MSRP: $2217 $ incl PS + cable+ shipping
Description: Technical Specifications
RF Unit
Frequency Range Amateur Bands 1.8 to 30 MHz
Matching Circuit balanced pi filter
Input capacitance is 256 steps of 17 pF. ea.
Inductance is 31 steps increasing from
0,2 uH to 35 uH Variable output capacitor 400 pF tuned by
stepper motor with 200 steps of 0.9 deg. ea. Input 50 Ohm, N-connector
RF Power 1500 Watts SSB/CW when tuned
Lightning Arrester 2-Electrode-Arrester 2.5 kAmps
Control Cable 24 x AWG22 ( 0,35mm2), AMP plug
Outdoor Cabinet Polycarbonate, water tight, UV resistant Dimensions L x W x H = 14’’x 10’’ x 6.5’’ mm
Weight 6 kg (13 lbs)

Controller 3 rotary encoders are used to adjust
tuner elements
Tuning Memories 85, automatic or manual selectable
Automatic Mode frequency dependent selection of the
memory allocations. Frequency is sensed
by RF probe
Displays - LCD Display indicating single steps
for input C, L and output C
- Frequency cell
- Service advices Indicators - Standby LED
- LED while tuner is matching
Power +15VDC, 1.5A and +36VDC, 0.5A
Metal Bench Cabinet 7.8’’W X 3.2’’H
Weight 1,8 kg (4 lbs)
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.hamware.de
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K6XG Rating: 5/5 Jul 3, 2010 15:01 Send this review to a friend
Unique solution. Works great.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Purchased in 2007 and used effectively since then (July 2010). Antenna restrictions require stealth wires hidden in the redwood trees. This was the only remote tuner I found that could handle my ICOM PW-1 amp at 1KW. Drives a 102' (31m) CF doublet at about 50' (15m). Use an IC7800 at 200w and this power level damaged the AT-515 RF sensor circuitry. Klaus quickly supplied a new pickup toroid that fixed the problem. Very pleased with the construction. Without the AT-515, I'd be stuck with a long coax run to a shack located tuner. The multi-conductor control cable was a bit hard to find, but Google located it for a reasonable price at www.emtel.com.
 
DJ5PJ Rating: 5/5 Jan 25, 2009 10:51 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: more than 12 months
This sym. Tuner is good and solid workmanship. (Balun on 50 Ohm site) - exact symmetrical, on the output a stepped air-variable-capacitor. It works fine on all shortwave bands,(without 50 Mhz) with my expert. I am very happy with it. After programming - one spot - and it wend to the minimum-point of SWR ! Congratulation Mr. Bemmerer DJ 2 HW !
 
HB9CVQ Rating: 0/5 Jan 18, 2009 16:34 Send this review to a friend
oh boy  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The following operating- and small test-lab report is based on my AT-515+PS, Serial No.: #0318. Observations and findings are basically restricted to this item. Before the end of my first year I had major problems in performance under 1kW output conditions, using a 2x25m doublet antenna, up 12m, about 10m away from the shack (< 7V/m). I can use this antenna from 160 to 10m. The manufacturer in Germany stated prior to my purchase this should be ok, according to his experience.

Unfortunately the unit quit working after 1 week as advertised. The first contest HB9 H26 in April 08 terminated it. The capacitor bank turned out to be damaged. The smaller caps (WIMA FKP1) can obviously not carry the RF current at 1kW.

On notification, the company sent a set of new caps, which I replaced in about 3 hours.
For a short period of time the unit worked ok, but I found this ATU to cause EMI on 160 and 80m in particular. Many birdies showed over the spectrum.

Next was a total failure (June 08) again, with caps damaged again, including this time the stepper motor and the micro controller (in the shack unit) for driving the variable cap in the remote tuner. This unit is a symmetrical Pi filter with fixed Caps and inductors, switched by relays. The variable cap on the antenna side has only about 2.5mm spacing.
Principally it is a good solution to tune close to the antenna port, outdoors.

Complaining and asking for at least partial, reasonable money-back (after trying some modifications) resulted in an email documented harsh “No”, you are the only HAM having problems and you must have done something wrong!

Being left alone in this situation, I started a deeper engineering analysis in the lab.

Major test equipment used: spectrum analyzer HP 8591E (TG), EMI current probes, field sniffing probes, directional coupler (MC), signal generator HP 8647A, scope Tek 2465A, DL 1kW 50Ohm –60dB, power meter LP100A, Counter Racal DANA 1999 TXO.

The purpose of this report is to add user info, which is not so easily found elsewhere. Trying also to be more quantitative, simple test lab data is added.

Pros:

1. The principle idea of tuning the antenna in the feed point or at the end of open wire feeder (outdoors) is what is needed.
2. Mechanical workmanship of the unit is nice quality.
3. For power up to several hundred watts it seems to work and mostly tunes well
4. The unit can tune down to 25 Ohms and less, mainly under resistive loads.
5. Under resistive loads reasonable performance
6. Relays are more or less ok.
7. Tuning is within a few seconds, if properly pre-tuned and put in memory.

Cons:

1. The unit is electrically underrated and has e.g. diodes in the remote RF-Tuning Unit.
2. Tuning feeder lines may change considerable under rain, snow or ice conditions. How should the memory know?
3. The 1:1 symmetry transformer does not work properly below 14 MHz. The inductance is only about 3.4uH.
4. The coils started smoking at 1kW and capacitive load (Cu windings, insulation failure)
5. The variable Cap starts often arcing (many white spots on the surface)
6. The tuner often looses memory and does not return to previously found positions.
7. A systematic L and C check revealed inconsistencies in programmed software values. Continuation with higher L and C values for higher display values is partly broken.
8. Major EMC design flaws in the tuner as well as in the sensor and controller. Some filters are 2 orders of magnitude and more off.
9. The power supply was oscillating and caused broadband EMI before my fix.
10. No shielded control cable foreseen to the tuner. A lot of unpleasant soldering of multi-pin connectors is the customer’s job.
11. No CE compliance report published (difficult to imagine this was ever done with full understanding of all requirements)
12. Unit here exceeded under some conditions conducted and radiated emission CE limits (e.g. EN 55022, this does not refer to electrical safety here).
13. The design impedance of the L and C board is for very small cap settings is closer to 100 Ohms, rather than 50 Ohms. In this range tuning below VSWR of 2 is hardly possible.
14. Measuring efficiency of the tuner revealed inappropriate internal RF connectors (AMP) among others.
15. The manual already points out to indirect EMC problems by calling for placement of the sensor (QRG) very close to the TX and recommending shutting down automatic to manual to prevent self induced (disaster) tunings.

Status of present Fixes:

1. Being in the EMC business, I found this to be a challenge. Therefore the Sensor was redesigned and can now, properly shielded, be placed anywhere along the coax to the TX-Power Amp. Return loss is good. RF levels match the circuits used.
2. The 1:1 Balun is replaced and works well from 160 to 10m.
3. The control box is undergoing complete EMC redesign. The RF path of feeding the sensor signal works ok now. RF overloaded the HP transistor before AD. The loss of memory is based on supply voltage filter problems. The control cable feed has been reworked. May be a shielded cable is needed.
4. All caps in the Tuner replaced by real RF caps with current capabilities. There is no RF reference ground yet. Ferrites must be tested for non-linearity; diodes here are also critical.
5. It is difficult to fit all into the existing plastic box.
6. The variable cap keeps on arcing under certain loads.
7. Still problems with the logics of recognizing “stop” conditions for the 180 deg. variable cap range.
8. The redesign project is extending.

There is still hope to get it right, but I could have done it much better and easier start building it from scratch.
As a summary I can state, my unit is highly problematic and I found various QSO partners in EU confirming that.
Would I buy it again? Definitely not, way too expensive for the quality, reliability and performance presented.

Andy HB9CVQ
 


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