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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks | Palstar HF-AUTO Help

Reviews Summary for Palstar HF-AUTO
Palstar HF-AUTO Reviews: 80 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $1495.00
Description: * 1 Watt to 2500 watts....average, peak, and peak- hold
* Load into a 10:1 SWR from 1.8 to 54 Mhz
* NO CI-V cables required
* Tunes on SSB
* Digital analog metering
* Remotable... up to 400'!
Product is in production.
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AK9S Rating: 5/5 Nov 23, 2017 07:06 Send this review to a friend
Better Than Expected  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
After using the HF-AUTO, I found myself questioning why I had not purchased this fine piece of equipment years earlier. The answer, of course, involves the cost. What I can say is, one usually pays a premium for quality and reliability. The return for spending big money must result in the equipment exceeding performance expectations given the investment.

I love this tuner. I can click on the PTT on my transceiver for a fraction of a second and the tuner will remember the best settings for the frequency I am on and tune. Also, the sound from the tuner is delightful, unlike the loud clanking sound of other tuners such as LDG (which require continuous RF until the tuning cycle is completed.)

In terms of power output, I have run 1.2 KW SSB and 700 W RTTY into the tuner without issue. The only problem experienced is the tuner arcs on 160M when using my short 45-foot vertical antenna, so I am limited to just 375 W on that band. Obviously, the voltage inside the tuner reaches several thousands of volts due to the relatively short antenna length. The manual should discuss cases involving high voltage which can result in potential arcing to minimize surprises.

All in all, I am extremely happy with my purchase.
W2IRT Rating: 2/5 Nov 1, 2017 11:22 Send this review to a friend
Well-built but some critical flaws  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
First the GOOD. This is an exceptionally well-built tuner that easily handles legal limit.

The BAD, which may not be bad for everybody: Be aware, this tuner will *NOT* read band or frequency data from your transceiver. If you need that function, look elsewhere; I discovered this the hard way. As a contester and DXer, changing tuning solutions on the fly as I QSY up and down a band is mission critical. This unit won't do it without a 3rd party app called HF AUTO APP, which at the time this review is being written, has some problems. Nothing insurmountable, I suspect, but it's got a few glitches that need to be worked out.

The way this tuner works is you have to apply a constant RF carrier, wait about 30 seconds for it to chug its way through L/C solutions until it finds the best one, and memorizes it. Not a problem if you're a casual operator or ragchewer, net operator, etc. You're ready to roll in a minute or less. If you're a contester with a non-resonant antenna, however, this will frustrate the hell out of you, and you may find a manual tuner far better in the heat of battle. But as someone who needs to remote my own station, that's not an option.

I don't care what it costs, If I ever find a tuner that handles legal limit (with headroom), can tune a 10:1 mismatch, and reads frequency data CORRECTLY I will buy it in a heartbeat.
KD0ZV Rating: 4/5 Aug 22, 2017 06:35 Send this review to a friend
Almost perfect  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am a big fan of Palstar products owning at least 5 tuners over the years. I currently have the HF-AUTO, BT1500a and the original AT-AUTO, not to mention speakers, dummy loads, analyzers, etc.

Having the AT-AUTO for well over 10 years and using it on several antennas at two different QTH gives me a pretty good base to judge the HF-AUTO.

The HF-AUTO is an improved version of the AT-AUTO in almost all areas. The display is much improved and the internal balun has been eliminated giving you three coax outputs. In my opinion the interface works better than the original and the larger display gives you more usable information.

What I don't like:

1) The setup menu is located on the mode switch sequence. The mode switch is used to switch between AUTO,MANUAL and BYPASS. But you have to toggle through setup to switch between modes which makes no sense to me. You should have to press and hold the button to go into setup.

2) The tuner takes off and tries to re-tune during phone QSO's after achieving a 1.2:1 match or less. The only way to get it to stop is put it in manual once it achieves tune. Course as mentioned in complaint #1 you have to scroll through the setup menu to change modes.

The AT-AUTO does not do this. I talked to Paul and the only thing he had to offer was that it was probably RF in the shack. I really don't think that is the case as I can run CW at 550 watts and it will never re-tunes. But switch to phone running 50 watts and within seconds I hear the tuner take off again trying to retune which will continue randomly until you put it in manual. I tried adding balun designs CMC on the input and output with no success.

I know its not just me because two local hams I talk to on 160 (WW0Z and W0VOX)have had the same issue with the HF-AUTO and their only fix was put it in manual.

Hoping Palstar comes up with a firmware fix to address both of my complaints.
NG7M Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2017 08:38 Send this review to a friend
Top Tier / Quality / Support  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I worked through an upgrade on an earlier version of the HF-AUTO from a purchase from a good fiend of mine. The personal support from Palstar was nothing more than stellar. I actually had a couple of hiccups along the way in returning the tuner for the upgrades to allow for remote operation via software. However here in is the beauty of Palstar. I knew I could work through anything based on the quality of the product and service.

I have now what is basically a new HF-AUTO with all the latest and greatest features. When you open a Palstar product you can see that this is one of those products that exudes commercial quality and beyond. You almost want a window into the internal workings of the tuner with lighting so you can watch it work. Someone cares about the assembly and construction. The tiny details are evident. Palstar is not a 'bottom feeder' in the Amateur Radio market. With this being the case, you need to expect that there will be a price premium that comes along with it. Equipment like this can't be produced and supported for pennies on the dollar. If you complain about the price of an HF-AUTO, then I would suggest that you look elsewhere to one of the lower tier bottom feeding vendors.

After the upgrades and getting the tuner returned, my first real test was actually a portable two county line setup in the 2017 7QP. I operated with K7UT in a multi 2 running QRO as K7UM and on the low bands we used the HF-AUTO. It was flawless and as we ran 1KW plus for the duration of low band operating, it never skipped a beat and we never needed to worry about tuning. We used it with an 80 meter dipole horizontal at 50 feet fed with ladder line and then used a 4:1 balun to unbalanced coax into our operating trailer. At the end of the day, we broke the all time record as K7UM in a county line expedition as a multi 2 and took 1st place in this category.

If you want a quality product with quality support, dig into your pockets and pony up... or save your pennies and get something special like an HF-AUTO from Palstar. And if you have any problems, know that you will get quality support and attention to detail in the end.

Max NG7M
VE3VV Rating: 3/5 May 2, 2017 07:49 Send this review to a friend
Circuit board Problem  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Does what its supposed to do but not Indestructible
After using it successfully on 20,40 & 80 in a cw contest I switched to 1.8 mhz on an antenna I normally use the AT5K in bypass as the swr is low enough> It fried a board almost immediately, I believe I was using the appropriate 15 watts power and the HF Auto read swr =1.7. It was under Warranty by the way.!
Fast repair & shipping, Parts not covered, shipping not covered, no insurance on return box.
Just heard another Ham had same problem and he was sent a free board . Sent mine back and got an Icom 7300, staying away from Palstar
WO7I Rating: 5/5 Mar 17, 2017 23:40 Send this review to a friend
GREAT AUTO TUNER  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is simply a great HF Auto Tuner.
Good quality construction with good quality components. A joy to operate. Meets all of my operating requirements. If your thinking of buying one of these tuners I doubt that you will be disappointed.
The folks at Palstar have been very good to work with.
I am a very happy customer, WO7I
K9GS Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2017 12:56 Send this review to a friend
A Weatherized Remote Version should be next  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I sure wish Palstar would come out with an outside weatherized version. It is mentioned in the owners manual but e-mails regarding this to Palstar have gone unanswered.

There is a real need for a reliable high-power remote tuner.
AE5GG Rating: 5/5 Jan 25, 2017 12:06 Send this review to a friend
Still a GREAT Tuner!  Time owned: more than 12 months
On Jul 22, 2015 I wrote a rave review on this auto tuner. Well it's January of 2017 and I feel just as good about it now as I did then. I hop around on the HF bands frequently and this tuner is able to keep up with me very efficiently! Great job Palstar!

BTW: I also wrote that I purchased this tuner after waiting for Alpha to come out with their 4040 automatic tuner...well folks that promise continues to be a wait and see. According to their latest website listing it's still coming! For those of you that have been tracking's been coming since at least November of 2014!

All I can say is that I am thrilled with the Alpha 9500. It's served me well over the years, but thank God that I didn't wait for the Alpha 4040!
N4EEB Rating: 5/5 Dec 25, 2016 13:54 Send this review to a friend
The Best Antenna Tuner I've Ever Owned  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've been using the HF AUTO for 6 months. I use a non-resonant 110 ft. dipole up 40 ft. to cover 80-10 meters. I run 10 feet of LMR600 coax to a 1:1 balun, and 97 ft. of 300-ohm line to the dipole. All I have to do is give the HF Auto a few watts of power for a moment or two, and it presets itself pretty darn close. Another few watts for another few moments and I have under 1.5:1 SWR on all bands with 1.5KW output. To watch this thing work is truly amazing. Well built, easy to use, and darn sexy to look at if I do say myself. Not one hint of a problem since I turned it on. I am so pleased with my purchase.
NJ0F Rating: 5/5 Nov 20, 2016 12:24 Send this review to a friend
Great auto tuner.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am not a big fan of using antenna tuners as I believe antennas should be resonant where you want to use them, however, there are times where a tuner is needed, so I decided to buy the HF-Auto. I did some tests yesterday and after putting the tuner through some challenging loads to tune, I was amazed how well this unit really works. Quality and workmanship looks great too. I am happy with my purchase.
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