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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Mobile & Accessories | Ameritron SDC 102 Help

Reviews Summary for Ameritron SDC 102
Ameritron SDC 102 Reviews: 10 Average rating: 3.0/5 MSRP: $129.00
Description: Screwdriver Controller
Product is in production.
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AD0AR Rating: 5/5 Feb 11, 2016 21:12 Send this review to a friend
Hardware works as it should  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hello All! AD0AR here writing another review.
Well, I'm kinda not using this to tune an antenna, but to actually replace a fried controller board in a electronic weight machine. It works just like a screwdriver antenna with a 12 volt motor and turns counter, but instead of changing the inductance, it changes the physical resistance of a pneumatic weight stack.
It has worked flawlessly at this task for over 18 months. Because of this excellent track record I will be buying another for my screwdriver antenna. I got a Diamond SD-330 Screwdriver antenna.
It does not come with a turns sensor But me and my trusty screwdriver fixed that. I should get a t-shirt that says I Void warranties.
Needless to say about the other reviews that gave this a poor rating, I don't see that on my setup.
I did notice when setting up my screwdriver antenna that I had to use an inordinate amount of ferrites to decouple the tuning motor. I ended up using some advice dished out by Alan K0BG in how to wrap the wires around the ferrites to be more isolating. It worked!
for the life of me I don't know why most of the screwdriver antenna manufacturers only stick one or two clip on ferrites in the box when you need a 12 pack to truly decouple the tuning leads. If you got an antenna analyzer you can stick on the antenna, put it on there, If you see the SWR shift/ jump around when touching the tuning leads, you are far from being decoupled. No wonder why so many of the autotuning controllers hunt so much they get bad reviews. Good luck and see you on the ether!
In God we trust, all others we monitor AD0AR
WA9PIE Rating: 5/5 Jul 6, 2015 09:02 Send this review to a friend
For me, better than a TurboTuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was always resistant about buying a memory controller. For some reason, I liked the idea of sending RF into the antenna from the radio and letting it go through some gyrations to locate the spot of best resonance. Over the years, Iíve purchased two TurboTuners (different rigs) and they work fine. But I always wished I had an up/down switch to ďfine tuneĒ the result sometimesÖ particularly on 80m. the other problem Iíve had to work around is the fact that I do control the rig in my vehicle from a laptop and itís hard to share the CAT port between the PC (for rig control) and the antenna controller.

Now that Iíve bought the SDC-102, Iíve come to the conclusion that Iíve been WRONG all along. When configured properly, the memory tuner (more of a controller, than a tuner) is a far better choice for me. Now, I no longer put a burden on the radio to pump RF into the antenna to tune it (likely extending the life of the radio) to a spot on the antenna that the tuner should be smart enough to know I go to all the time. ANDÖ Iím now able to ďfine tuneĒ the result a bitÖ and I only need one connection to the CAT port on the radio. Wonderful. I should have done this years ago.

As for a review of the tuner (purchased from HRO in June 2015), I have the following to say about it:

It took me less than five minutes to swap out the TurboTuner with the SDC-102. I spent about 20 minutes finding the points-of-resonance using an antenna analyzer. (Write them down. At some point, these things will lose their programming and itís no big deal, as long as youíve got them written down.)

Bought from HRO... came with the connector that fit my Tarheel Model 100A. It was completely plug-n-play. I looked at the stall current, but decided to leave it where it was and it works fine there.

"Fine-tuning" while watching the SWR meter works perfectly.

If you take the antenna to the parked position and try to "grind it down" further, you're going to get the "EEEEE" message. I did this one time. Learned from it. I ended up getting the original up/down switch out to get the antenna out of that grinded position... then let the SDC-102 put it in park and never saw the "EEEEE" again. Learned a lesson. But it's not the fault of the controller. It was a "defective user."

Manual was okay. Everything is in there. It just feels like it was translated to English and it's hard to follow sometimes.

I probably gave the TurboTuner a 5 rating. And while the SDC-102 could probably do well with an improvement on the manual, the controller is much better for me than the TurboTuner. So I have to give it a better ratingÖ putting it at a 5.

Iíll report back, if it craps-out in the future.
KB3GJP Rating: 1/5 Jun 13, 2015 20:19 Send this review to a friend
Trash. Not much more to say  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I could not decide between 1 or 0. I decided to be nice and give it a a 1. The day I installed it, it worked 3 or 4 times then would work half the time and by the next day it stopped working all together. The antenna would not go up or down. One time I turned it on and the displayed read -245 and without me knowing my antenna went to max hight. I called Ameritron when the antenna would not go up or down and told them about the so many negative reviews on eham and they told me they were supprised because so few were sent back for repair. I could not agree more with the negative reviews.
WB5KCA Rating: 0/5 Apr 16, 2015 11:26 Send this review to a friend
Not accurate  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought an SDC102 from R&L to replace the single up/down with display so I could change my Tarheel from 40 to 80 when driving. Right out of the box it gave all EEEEE in the display. I finally figured out it was the current setting was too low. Nothing in the instructions tell you this. Finally got it to go up and down!!! I programmed in the settings for 75/40/18 and 10 meters. Problem is when it goes back to the numeric value for a frequency antenna is no where resonant. Even if you go from saved memory 3870 to 3900 and back. I have to go to AM on the radio, key up and scroll to the another number to be resonant. It is no where close as it is 10-15 different than what originally was programmed. IT IS NOT THE ANTENNA as the old manual unit worked GREAT and was always within 1 or 2 of the number I had written down. Another issue don't start the vehicle when the thing is moving as it crashes the programmed memories Called AMERITRON and they are sending a replacement. Will reply if the new one works any better. Dennis WR5DC
VE2CYJ Rating: 2/5 Feb 7, 2015 06:50 Send this review to a friend
Not good enough  Time owned: months
I bought mine in june 24 2014,it work until december 2014 then it stop counting the tour. I send it for repair they told me that it was fine and send it back to me in feb 4 2015. It has the same problem it freeze and dont work properly. I have to send it back again to the company. The one i bought is real scrapt.
N7TEE Rating: 0/5 Feb 1, 2015 09:39 Send this review to a friend
antenna motor gone  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After having to send the antenna back to the manufacturer and having them tell me the tuner that I was using caused the problem. I checked it myself, as it was easy to do. Just pluged a vom into the output and it was giving a 12 (13.8) volt to the antenna all the time. Then I would unplug it and then finally it just quit. All within three to four mounths.
N9GUU Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2014 20:32 Send this review to a friend
Works Great  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought my SDC-102 from AES in Milwaukee to go with my new Little Tarheal II. Like most MFJ products I've owned, the red faceplate cover (that covers the LED number bar) was loose and just clunking around. Called AES and they replaced it - the 2nd one was fine. The Review - I works very well and is certainly plug-n-play. Just apply 12vdc (I put powerpoles on it) and plug it into the antenna and you're connected. I programmed it using an antenna analyzer which took about 10 minutes. Works great - can't imaging using the antenna without it!
W6IWW Rating: 5/5 Jan 20, 2012 23:40 Send this review to a friend
Excellent!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a an excellent product, don't let the Ameritron brand scare you off. This is truly plug and play if you have a Tarheel as I do. After spending 3 minutes wiring up the 12vdc, it connected with the motor cables immediately now that Ameritron ships this item with the Molex adapter wired in. It took exactly zero time to calibrate the switch. I was immediately able to tune to any freq I wanted with the up/down buttons and then set the memories as I wanted them. Ive been using this for a couple of months and it has NEVER made a mistake. SWR of course shifts with terrain, weather, slips in the antenna mount. movement of cables etc. So when I hit a memory button it always tunes to an acceptable SWR... somewhere between 1.2 and 2.0. If u are an SWR freak (I am not) you merely tap the up or down button for a 1/4 second and u will get a flat match. This is a far superior product to the more expensive Turbo Tuner owned by friends of mine. With the TT you have NO manual over ride control and if the memory in the unit slips up ur SOL. I highly recommend this unit. Works like a charm.
KQ4KK Rating: 5/5 Sep 5, 2010 14:43 Send this review to a friend
Spot on. Works as Advertised  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have installed 2. The first one was in our County EOC HAM trailer with a large Tar Heel. The County bought the whole package from the TarHeel Dealer, so the right 4 pin connector was on the end of the controller. Plug and play. Used a MFJ 259 analyzer to get the correct turn readings before keying up the radio. Just make sure you "zeroize" after use. Then the next time the counting is correct. Sometimes you might have to hit the up or down button for a less than one turn correction, while watching the SWR meter on the HF.
Liked the controller so much, I bought one for my own Little Tarheel 2 on my van. Replacing a trouble prown TurboTuner(which I've had for years). I bought the SDC102 from a dealer OTHER than the TarHeel dealer, so I had to add the 4 wire connector to the controller. Not quite plug and play(solder and play). The TarHeel Manual gave the correct Trip Current setting to use for the SDC-102, and the SDC manual gave a warning to make sure you set it correctly. Again, used a MFJ 259 to get the turn counts for the freqs I use. Second one works as well as the first. I like the ability to "fine tune" the screwdriver setting, watching the SWR meter on the HF. With the Turbo Tuner, you you are SOL if it is having issues.
WB9SFM Rating: 2/5 Oct 1, 2009 08:33 Send this review to a friend
Needs better Manual  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Ameritron SDC 102 is a antenna controller for screwdriver based antenna (s) with some limitations. The manual does not define exactly what Ameritron recommends (voltage settings)for any particular screwdriver antenna. Ameritron does not give you the connector (for example) for molex wire configurations (tarheel antennas). Purchase the controller from WB0W and they will give you the connector. Ameritron needs to give better instructions on Menu configurations (i.e. Trip current, The unit I purchased would send 12v but would not trigger the counter to advance, thus trying to make memory settings of frequency adjustments a no will situation. The unit will raise and lower the antenna but I found the controller with faults. A over-priced switch.

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