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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks | Palstar AT-500 Help

Reviews Summary for Palstar AT-500
Palstar AT-500 Reviews: 20 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $$439.95
Description: 600 Watt PEP Antenna Tuner
Covering 160 to 6 Meters, the AT-500 features a differential tuning capacitor with 2 stators and 1 rotor, a precision ceramic body roller inductor, and a 4:1 ferrite current balun for balanced line feeds.
Product is in production.
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G4DWV Rating: 3/5 Jan 5, 2017 17:51 Send this review to a friend
Overpriced  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got this as I wanted to get back on the air ASAP after a very long break. I can agree with all the points made in the previous reviews. The thing that annoys me is that the inductor reading/indicator is not illuminated. I like to work at low lighting levels such that my keyboard has to be illuminated too. The price is outrageous. As to performance, it will match my 30m long wire to 1:1 on all bands except 17m, where the best is between 1.5:1 and 2:1. Rating is low due to cost vs quality.
AI4WM Rating: 3/5 Nov 9, 2016 18:22 Send this review to a friend
Average, but not great  Time owned: more than 12 months
In some ways better quality than the MFJ tuners I have owned and used, but not all that great. Palstar does not make any of their tuners with good SO-239 connectors or ceramic insulators. Instead they use cheap 4 serration Chinese ones that do not make good contact like the fully serrated ones unless one only uses a 4 nib PL-259 that will properly mate with the SO-259. They are also chrome plated instead of silver plating. Palstar uses nylon stand-off insulators and feed through insulators. These dry and crack. Ceramic are much nicer and will outlast any plastic ones. Then there is the poorly designed front panel with too small to see indexing on the capacitor, incorrectly labelled buttons, like the 3kW scale is silk screened 1kW, and the confusing 12VDC needed to use the normal bands and no power or relay off to use 160. If 160m was the band requiring a relay closure then the only loss of not having 12VDC would be top band and the peak reading meter. The roller inductor (uses a plastic web shaft coupler instead of a good ceramic one) is not better quality than MFJ so why pay for Palstar? As far as matching. It does ok with my dipole and G5RV, has some problems on my vertical. Depending on which antenna and band I'm using it will match to 1.5:1 to about 1.3:1. Some bands it does not do better than 2:2 where my others will do better.
I got my tuner second hand with some other gear I bought. Had I bought it new and paid full price it would get a one rating due to the design and build quality. I gave it a 3 since it matches my antennas ok, but the overall quality is not very impressive.
W3VVV Rating: 4/5 Aug 31, 2016 07:07 Send this review to a friend
Solid tuner with a few shortcomings  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a solid tuner that works very well, but has a few minor flaws.

The faceplate power range button for the meter does select -- as the manual says -- the 300 watt or 3000 watt range. However, the faceplate is marked "1000" and "300". It should be marked "3000" and "300". I reported this to Palstar but they are still marking "1000" on the faceplate.

As another reviewer mentioned, the numbers on the capacitor scale are rather small and somewhat difficult to read.

There is no "soft stop" for the end of the ranges on the inductor. The manual cautions the user to be careful not to bang the ends of the ranges.

Once set, the tuner does work very well. My rig puts out about 120 watts CW, so I don't know if the tuner arcs or has other issues when used with highly reactive loads at its rated limit of 500 watts.

The internals are a work of art. Very clean construction. High quality caps and inductor. Circuit boards that are almost Tektronix quality (in other words, top quality). It is definitely repairable (if needed). Not a throwaway product like so many products nowadays. Should last almost forever.

Would I buy this tuner again? Actually, no. Instead, I would spend an additional $100 for an AT2K or AT2KD. For just 20% more cost, you get a tuner that has almost 4x the power handling capability and is far more robust than the AT-500, which allows for future growth. However, if you absolutely know that you'll never buy a large amp, an AT-500 is a fine choice.
AD4C2006 Rating: 5/5 Jan 16, 2016 18:55 Send this review to a friend
Same high quality as other PalStar tuners  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just sold my automatic antenna tuner that in spite of never tripped and could tune any antenna to 1.2 swr in less than 3 seconds, it was very noisy when all relays were choosing the proper combination of LC to tune, that for me was very anoying so I decided to try again another PalStar tuner, in the past I owned for 5 years the AT2KD and it was the best tuner I owned, never had any issue.
So because my amp makes only 650 W on SSB I made my mind on this one and called PS to talk with a tech about if this one really could handle the 600W they claim in the specs, his word was this tuner can handle more than that level of power so I purchased it, its already installed at my shack, it works perfect, no issues at all as expected, it tunes very smooth and the low swr is kept along almost the whole band without needing to tune again.
Only dislike is that certainly the front panel says 1000/300 at the power meter scale switch when it really is a 3000/300 meter, I think in the future panels they should either change the label or better, recalibrate meter scale and internal board to have a real 1000W scale.
Anyway is a well built tuner.

OE3SGU Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2015 08:57 Send this review to a friend
Great solid ATU  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is my 2nd Palstar ATU. My AT2K is in service for well over 7 years and works troublefree. The AT-500 is used in my 2nd QTH. It easily handles my AL-811 (and probably even more) without any problems. Tuning is very smooth and accurate. Built like a tank, not to compare with other US manufactured tuners....
KF6BPV Rating: 5/5 Feb 22, 2014 17:01 Send this review to a friend
Great for use with ALS-600  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For a year or more I have been using an auto tuner with my Ameritron ALS-600 solid state amplifier and had problem with the amplifier tripping into load default. The auto tuner was returning even after I had tuned up. I replaced the auto tuner with the Palstar AT-500 and have not had any problem with the amplifier tripping into load default. If you are looking for a manual antenna tuner consider the Palstar tuners they are a great product.
N0MEU Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2014 09:32 Send this review to a friend
Two Thumbs Up!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well made. Works great. Easy to use. I do agree that the capacitance dial scale could be made a bit easier to read.
N8LOQ Rating: 5/5 Nov 16, 2013 20:08 Send this review to a friend
5.0  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I might let my FT-990 go and I might let my Zero-five antenna go, but I'll NOT let this tuner go! get one, you'll see!

73 Sid W8SFC
KD7XH Rating: 5/5 Jan 23, 2013 11:27 Send this review to a friend
I would give it a ten  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This antenna coupler works better than expected. Plus 12 Volts is not needrd for operation on 80 thru 10 meters (only to engage the 160 M relay and for peak reading function on the meter. The vswr meter works normally without 12 V power).. To get the most efficent match adjust the capactor closest to 100 as this adjustment gives the most output capactance, thus the least loss throught the tuner. I use it with a 80 M inverted Vee at 30 feet using 300 Ohm twin lead about 115 feet long. So far this tuner works great.
G4FFD Rating: 5/5 Nov 13, 2012 07:31 Send this review to a friend
Well-Made, Versatile and Effective  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Mine was a replacement for a 30 year-old MFJ Differential Tuner, which has been excellent and reliable. It had become tired and needed a rest. The lower power AT-500 has been a satisfactory purchase. It has a well-pressed strong case that fits together well and the components are high-quality. Reading the capacitor dial is easy with a glance at the big red triangular pointer. It is like an analogue watch face that does not need figures, your reading becomes spontaneous within a degree or two. The triangle stands out in subdued light.
The design uses an inductor with increasing spaced windings. It is not quite as versatile as the old MFJ and there is one combination it finds difficult to match on 21Mhz on my centre-fed balanced line antenna. It gives a 1.5 VSWR which works well. All other bands below the design frequency of the antenna are matched 1:1 with low reactance.
I happened to have a Palstar 1/1 current balun to hand. Plugging this in to a spare coaxial socket at the rear of the ATU and attaching the balanced line allowed perfect matching on 21Mhz,
but not on 24Mhz. (The internal balun is a 4:1 current transformer.)
If you want perfection you have to seek it. If you start trimming your antenna and/or feedline, you will be at it for weeks! Using another ratio balun on an alternative entry portal is much easier.
I think this ATU is good.
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