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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners | Palstar AT4K Help


Reviews Summary for Palstar AT4K
Palstar AT4K Reviews: 54 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $895.00
Description: The AT4K is a premium quality American-made matching network
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.palstar.com
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K9CTB Rating: 5/5 Jul 11, 2012 17:32 Send this review to a friend
Excellent across the board!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased my AT4K to replace an aging Vectronics HFT-1500 (Pre-MFJ unit). Now, I admit that I gave the Vectronics a 5 in my review here. That said, then hands-down the Palstar deserves a "10"!!!

I could use the Vectronics to match any and every antenna I used, including for kicks, my rain gutter system. The problem was using anything more than 400 watts on 80 or 40 -- as stated on others' reviews, it was creative lighting at it's finest!

Those days are OVER!! The Palstar AT4K *is* what I had hoped the Vectronics would be -- the last tuner I would ever have to purchase. I use two antennas for 80 and 40 + MARS. One is a reg'lar dipole cut for right around 4MHz. The other is a standard sized G5RV, except that I exchanged the close-spaced twin-lead with standard window-line.

I have found the AT4K to work extremely well with either of these antennas. It allows me to operate effortlessly on my favorite frequencies on 80 and 40 as well as any of the MARS frequencies I need. While I have been happy operating in the 100-200 watt range, I have been working on a project amplifier, which literally came from a dumpster. With a lot of help from Dan at radiodan.com, I have a complete and perfectly operational Henry 2KD-5 amplifier. I'm rather proud of the fact that, although I got a lot of technical and parts support from Dan, I did all the labor myself -- so naturally I want to use the amp I worked so hard to restore. This is what justified the expense of the AT4K. Palstar hasn't let me down!!

I have been trying to determine why the Vectronics has such a difficult time operating QRO, so I have compared it to the Palstar AT4K and have an anecdotal idea of what may have gone wrong. In addition, of course, to very high quality components in the Palstar (the roller inductor and capacitors look very similar to what you would find in REAL mil-spec gear), as mentioned by other reviewers, most other tuner manufacturers place their built-in baluns on the output side of the "Tee" network. Palstar, on the other hand, places their balun on the input side of the matching network. Palstar explains why they take this approach on their website, but I believe that there must be some huge fields built up during extreme matching cases where voltages on the input capacitor are more than large enough to arc-over. and as stated, at 400W or above, that's exactly what happens with the Vectronics. The AT4K on the other hand, can take every bit of the 1400 watts my Henry amp delivers without raising a fuss at all -- on any band, 80 through 10 (I don't do 160 - and neither does the Henry - just yet).

Overall, I wish I had saved the money I spent on other antenna tuner solutions and went directly with the Palstar AT4K from the beginning. Sure, I learned some lessons, but I think the tuition was a bit steep! :-)

73,
K9CTB
 
W0AW Rating: 5/5 May 4, 2012 06:38 Send this review to a friend
Built Like A Tank!  Time owned: more than 12 months
After many years of frustration with an MFJ-989C that would eat the SWR bridge every few months, I finally gave up and purchased the AT4K. I didn't want any more tuner related problems so I went into overkill mode with the AT4K. The tuner has worked very well until this past January. The unit suddenly refused to tune anything. Shipped the unit back to Palstar where it was pronounced functional & no problem found. The unit was returned and functioned fine,...for about eight weeks, then wouldn't tune a dummy load. Sent it back to Palstar and was again told that it was fine. Put it back into operation and it wouldn't tuna fish, let alone an antenna. Finally took it to K0GX for repair and Gary said it worked. While demoing the unit I noticed that the SWR would occasionally jump. Finally found a fractured solder joint at the back of the roller inductor. No doubt, this was the problem. The unit is back inline and working fine. I don't consider the fractured solder joint an issue for Palstar. The fractured joint could have been a result of shipment issues. Would I buy another or recommend it to a friend? In a heartbeat!
 
N0AZZ Rating: 5/5 Jan 20, 2012 03:57 Send this review to a friend
The Best Tuner Made Today  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have owned a lot of tuners new and old some held up as built better than anything in the last 50 years well it just ain't so!

The AT4K smacks of quality even as you first open the box if you get one you will what I mean this baby is as well packed as any of my $6000+ radios. I use this tuner for QRO to QRP and beleive me it excels on the QRP rig as well as anything no loss in the tuner I have my Oak Hills Research QRP watt meter the other side of the tuner and the loss is about 1-2 milowatt's very acceptable to me.

I would recommend this tuner to anyone who needs a quality low loss tuner QRO to QRP.
 
NY4DX Rating: 2/5 Oct 26, 2011 20:08 Send this review to a friend
Poor QA/QC  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased a AT4K from Palstar earlier this year and noticed something strange. The Selector Knob for placing the unit in line "tuned" or allowing the antennas to be placed in a by pass "direct" mode was installed and positioned backwards.

So Antenna 1 was actually being selected as Antenna 2 and vice versa. This wasn't a big problem but I paid a lot of money for the unit and wanted it to be correct.

So before vacation, I contacted Palstar Tech Support who told me I was "nuts" and the unit couldn't be screwed up. Then the tech support told me...the customer...that I was "wasting his time" by discussing this problem and to send the unit back to Palstar. So I did. ...and I waited until I got the tuner back before writing this review.

Palstar claims the AT4K Antenna selector knob was installed and positioned incorrectly. They repaired my AT4K at no cost. (except for my expense of sending the units down to them).

My operating experience with the unit is that it is verrrrry touchy...you can tune a mismatched antenna to registered a low SWR at a point that can best be described as having very sharp skirts...a slight variation from that perfect point and your SWR readings can go form 1.2 to 6.5 moving the knobs ever so slightly.

My rating is low for this unit because of what Palstar "claims" was a mis positioned knob. If this was the case..Palstar could have made a tech support statement to fix the problem over the phone...but when tech support told me I was wasting his time...back the unit goes...

A mispositioned knob (if that was what it was...maybe the unit was wired incorrectly?) is poor QA/QC. and telling a customer that he is wasting his time...0/5
 
WD8RWI Rating: 5/5 Mar 18, 2011 14:07 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had any number of tuners including a Palstar AT100CV among others and bought the AT4K to go with a QRO amp that I now have. I have checked this tuner out on all bands and it tunes everything quickly and repeatably. If you need a high power tuner this is one you should seriously consider.
 
W8YG Rating: 5/5 Jan 31, 2011 10:29 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a wonderful tuner has served me well for 2 years and is virtually indestructible but beware of 2 year olds they can do the impossible.LOL Excellent tuner and great service from Palstar.
 
N2ETJ Rating: 5/5 Oct 14, 2010 13:44 Send this review to a friend
BIG is the word  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Had the Ten-Tec 238a tuner for years, always had to be careful, caps c11 went out twice but when it failed for the third time and I was told 400 plus dollars to fix I said time to get a real tuner and this AT4K is the real deal. Easily tunes anything and everything and duplicates it every time. What a nice feel too. I should have purchased one years ago. This will be last one I will ever need. Yes, I would purchase again
 
K9CRT Rating: 5/5 Jan 18, 2010 11:20 Send this review to a friend
Great tuner BUT  Time owned: more than 12 months
As my summary states this is a great tuner. However I got off to a rocky start with Palstar. I was told it was in stock ready to ship when I called them on the telephone to inquiry about it. I was told it would be here within 2-3 days from Ohio to IL. After a week/noshow I again called Palstar and was told at this time they were just putting the finishing touches on my tuner and it would be shipped later that day. It did arrive in a couple of days and the metering was total out of whack. RF output readings on both scales were W-A-Y high. In addition the meter would not zero and it appeared a small object had gotten into the movement preventing it from going to 0. I called Palstar and talked to Paul and he stated he had never seen this before but was more than happy to make it right. He shipped me a new meter and I agreed to install it myself. After replacing the meter and calibrating it with a Bird Model 43 everything was correct. IMHO this tuner was pushed out the door with little or no testing and calibration. It really put a damper on my buying from Palstar but after a couple of years the tuner has more than lived up to its good name. I run legal limit on 160-15 (AL 1500) each day and run ladder line on 75-40m with this tuner and never once has it protested. Again IMHO for the price & class of this tuner I expected better quality control. To Paul's credit he did offer to issue a call tag and pick the tuner up, return it to him and he would do the work.
 
KC2DIS Rating: 5/5 Jan 18, 2010 09:06 Send this review to a friend
Well Built and BIG!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the AT4k becasue I wanted a tuner that would handle larger power requirements for future amplifier upgrades and still provide maximum tuning efficency. I use the Palstar with a G5RV cut for 10 to 80. My previous tuner was an MFJ 989D. I returned that tuner becasue the metering was grossly inaccurate and opted instead to try this Palstar. Well there is no discernible difference between the 989d and the Palstar in terms of tuning ability but there is a big difference in construction. This unit is built very well. The Inductor really does have the feel of a VFO albeit a bit stiff. There was also a nice little bag of extras that included an extra bulb should the original burn out, some cotton swabs?? and some extra screws althouth no mention was made of these in the instruction manual. The tuning chart does NOT include settings for the WARC bands but I have had not trouble tuninging those bands. Have not tried 10 meters yet. The metering was VERY accurate. The unit does NOT include a dummy load so one must be purchased seperately and hooked to the BYPASS output. If you really want nice construction this is the unit to get but beware it is BIG. I gave it a five for construction but I would not expect it to tune a wet noodle. I would say it does an average job in this department but this could be because of the particulars of my antenna installation. I have NOT tried the unit with high power yet but from the looks of the construction it should have no problems with it. I think if it were possible to give it a 4.5 I would becasue of the average tuning ability. If you really want to invest in quality construction you will not be disappointed.
 
K5BTV Rating: 5/5 Feb 3, 2009 13:22 Send this review to a friend
Super Tuner  Time owned: more than 12 months
Not only is this a terrific piece of gear but when I requested factory support Palstar took care of me first class! Wish more USA companies were this fine. You will be pleased all the way around.
 
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