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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks | Ten Tec 238C Help

Reviews Summary for Ten Tec 238C
Ten Tec 238C Reviews: 11 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $819
Description: HF antenna tuner with dual cross-needle forward / reverse power display
Product is in production.
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AB4D Rating: 5/5 Mar 30, 2016 17:40 Send this review to a friend
One of the Best  Time owned: more than 12 months
I recently acquired a pristine Ten Tec 238C. I've already owned a modified 238B, and it's given me great service for my QRO station, using a full wave loop and dipole fed with open line through the built in balun. The 238C is very similar in design to the 238B. The notable differences are the cosmetics, the addition of a gear drive for the inductor, the style of the circuit board, and the addition of the large meter movement with peak reading. As expected, they both tune identical at my station.

Inside, the inductor, variable capacitor, and fixed capacitor network, appears to be nearly identical to that in the 238B, but the case does appear to be a bit heavier. In comparison, I've owned legal limit tuners from MFJ, Heathkit, and Palstar. The 238 series of tuners stands out from others, because of the unique modified "L" circuit it uses. I found that tuning always is correct and less cumbersome, when compared to other manual tuners I have used. Testing by the ARRL indicated, the 238B had the lowest loss for all bands except 10 meters when subjected to various impedance mismatches. I suspect the 238C's performance would be comparable. In summary, it performs as advertised without a failure or issue.
K7NG Rating: 5/5 Sep 28, 2015 07:28 Send this review to a friend
Excellent tuner  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I managed to find a slightly used 238C tuner for a decent price. For some time I had been researching tuners to determine if there was a possible replacement for the Dentron MT2000a I have been using for years - not that there is anything wrong with the MT2000a, but I like to consider my options. The 238C looked from specs, reviews, and tests like almost the only possibility as an upgrade, so I got it.

It appears that the 238C tunes up my various wire antennas more easily, and gets through some spots where the MT2000 was a little cranky to tune. The speed and ease of tuning is really appreciated, however you have to spend a lot of time building a tuning chart or cheat sheet, not that you don't have to do that for any manual tuner. It also appears that I get better or more consistent signal reports. Due to the theoretical lower losses thru the L, rather than a Pi network, it is possible I have slightly more power going into the antenna, but more likely I have found proper tuning whereas it's possible to have 'wrong' tuner settings with a Pi network.

I really like the cross-needle meter, however I have a N8LP LP-100a watt/VSWR meter which I use for the very finest tuning adjustments.

I have not yet found any antenna where I could not reach a good tune, even though it was not always possible to hit 1.0:1 VSWR. 1.2:1 is perfectly acceptable. That only occurred on one antenna at one frequency anyway.

The only question I have is how durable and trouble-free the rotary inductor will be over a period of years.

The 238C has become the main tuner in the main station. The MT-2000a I still have, and I really am not sure whether I am going to part with that big old tank.
W3MT Rating: 5/5 Jun 3, 2014 10:36 Send this review to a friend
238C ...a fine tuner  Time owned: more than 12 months
A far better impedance match than my old Dentrons. Appreciate the new larger meter, roller inductor, and the fact that its a L-Network. The old tuners were okay, even good. But this new 238C is outstanding!
W3HKK Rating: 5/5 Jan 28, 2014 06:15 Send this review to a friend
Quality tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ordered it last Thursday. Arrived Monday around 11 am in good shape. The UPS guy even delivered it to the place I instructed ( chair by the front door) and the box was marked with those words.) It was 5F and we had 6" of fresh snow, so he didn't stick around to chat. Nice job, UPS.

Box had one small ding in one corner but inside was well wrapped and foam protected and arrived damage-free.

An inspection of the case, knobs, buttons, switches etc showed them all snug and operating smoothly - no binding or looseness. All screws brackets, and rubber feet were likewise solid.

I bought the 238C tuner because I had recently acquired a 1999 TenTec Centurion amp, with original tubes, from an in-state estate sale. They were 14 yrs old and putting out less than full power but the 3-500Z's are readily available and cost around $300 a pair, so the amp can last for many more years. I was impressed by the quality of the build and the fine condition of the amp. Plus, I am concentrating on 160 and 40M these days, plus chasing the remaining 18 countries missing from my qsl card collection and needed some oomph on my IC7600 to break through the pile ups. Once I added the amp, my wire antennas for the Low Bands needed something to match them to the amp.

The Centurion amp's build quality, plus word of mouth helped me decide to fork over the Big Bucks for a 238C tuner.

Took the better part of a day to make room on the shack desk, rewire the station, and record the set points for the tuner's three front panel switches and knobs. Started on 160M ( every 20 kHz across the entire band,) then 80M ( every 100 kHz across the band,) then 40, 20, 17, and 10m.

Lots of data points to enter on the spread sheet! CW power output ranged from 550w to 950w, depending on the band and antenna. Driver power was set at 10w for initial tune ups, then 50w for final tuning. Amp Load cap was set at 7 or less. It was obvious that little was gained above 7, s owhy run the amp so hard for little additional dB output?

Hundreds of adjustments went by without hitch in the tuner. I probably will need to add the outboard disc capacitor for 160M, but it tuned without it, though the Cap setting is on 10 across most of Top Band. ( My 160m antenna is an quarter wave all-wire inverted L, 40 ft vertical, and 90 ft horizontal to a 24 ft mast at the far end, plus 22 x 65 ft radials and one ground rod., with 275 ft of RG213 coax to the shack.)

Final Summary: worked smoothly. No arcing, looks good, easy to use, good instructions. The shack is now complete ( save for a KW dummy load) and I can compete with the Big Boys once again.

The cross needle power meter is a nice luxury.
LA8KHA Rating: 5/5 Jan 17, 2014 12:34 Send this review to a friend
Does what you ask for!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Superb tuner for those who runs QRO and should be in every ones shack.A lot of greenstamps yes,but worth every dime.I,m using Icom IC-7700 and Acom 1000 with Cushcraft MA5B and wires from 1,8-10200 Mhz.Before I had a Heathkit SA2060A but thats yesterdays News.Go for it and save your amp-tubes and make twoways qso.
KQ0C Rating: 5/5 Nov 27, 2012 11:24 Send this review to a friend
A Superior QRO Tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently switched amps to a 1500 watt model (Aplha) from a 1 KW amp setup previously. The Palstar AT2K which handled the 1 KW AMP began arcing on 160 even though my inverted L antenna is resonant on 1.840 with a 1.3 SWR. A call to Palstar confirmed that even though their tuner is rated to 2000 watts it won't handle legal limit very well on 160, even when just fine tuning a resonant antenna. My new TenTec however handles the power with total ease... you can shift frequency up and down by quite a bit to need even the slightest retuning. The "dip" is nice and shallow making this a very contest friendly tuner when you are constantly on the move. I have 3 TenTec amps, an Omni VI-plus and even an old 253 autotuner. Every one of these products is superior to the contemporary products I have used from other manufacturers. If you are running more than a KW and plan to use 160 meters this is the tuner for you.
K1FPV Rating: 5/5 May 16, 2011 14:12 Send this review to a friend
Top Of The Line Tuner!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After doing some antenna experimentation, I was in need of a second tuner. I already owned a Ten-Tec 238B and liked it so I bought the new 238C.

What an improvement over the 238B! First of all, I like the ability to read peak and average power with it. Also, the drive mechanism for the inductor and capacitor are a big improvement over the 238B. Just like the 238B, I was able to match just about any antenna with the 238C. For grins and giggles, I checked the accuracy of the peak and average power readings. Using my LP-100A Digital Vector RF Wattmeter, I saw that the calibration on the Peak and Average power readings were right on the button! The reading compared favorably also compared to my Autek WM-1 in the peak and average power settings.

This tuner is physically larger than the 238B and has a more solid feel to it. As always, Ten-Tec did their homework when designing and building this antenna tuner. Great job Ten-Tec!
W6XR Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2011 10:21 Send this review to a friend
Improved  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After smoking my three year old 238B when a +70 mph. wind gust put my 1/4 wave 80 meter vertical in contact with a tree and the subsequent arc, flame and frying noise destroyed the main PCB, I replaced the 238B with a 238C. The 238b failure was my fault since I was running 1.5 KW and the contact with the tree was to blame, not Ten Tec. The real news is the 238C replaced the one large PCB with three or four smaller boards per Ten Tec. This engineering change means the repair bill after having a catastrophic failure (like I did) won't cost you the $400.00 quoted by TT to repair, in fact the repair cost will be quite less! The new board layout, using several smaller boards, will reduce the replacement or repair cost significntly again per Ten Tec.

Of course the 238C has a real VSWR/wattmeter in it now replacing the joke previously used in the 238B and prior models. With the low loss/high efficiency, antenna switching capabilities and new improvements, the "L" network 238C is now a superb product. it's good to see a manufacturer making a better product by engineering more value into a mature product.


Natan W6XR
Freeville, NY
KT0DD Rating: 4/5 Nov 25, 2009 17:27 Send this review to a friend
Good but a little pricey.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just received mine and it is a step up over the 238B it replaces. The cross needle meter is a big improvement (should have been on the 238B series as Palstar ran away with the tuner market with theirs). The L network on the TT is far superior IMHO than the Z & T matches of the Palstars(more efficient / less lossy). The 2 reasons I don't give it a 5 are that for the price, it could have been an AUTO tuner, and I do miss the crank knob on the roller inductor. The finger dimple just doesn't quite do it. Otherwise, I'm happy & plan on keeping mine. 73.
NC2F Rating: 5/5 Jul 12, 2009 14:54 Send this review to a friend
Top Shelf tuner!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned various TT tuners over the years, each have done exactly what they are intended for and what I expected. The latest 238C in my opinion continues this tradition of solid performance while providing useful changes. It does take much to entice me to buy a piece a of gear that I can justify for use in the shack, and when Ten Tec announced the 238C as the '238B' replacement, I knew this was something I would interested in pursuing.

In this age of automatic this and automatic that it's nice to be able to acquire gear that is user intuitive and just downright works well. The 238C is just that, a solution that works very well in a broad range of antenna matching scenarios.
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