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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Mobile & Accessories | TuneMatic Help

Reviews Summary for TuneMatic
TuneMatic Reviews: 28 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $$289.95
Description: Auto tuner for screwdriver type antennas
Product is in production.
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W7IAM Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2018 22:20 Send this review to a friend
Perfect!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this on the recommendation of Ron NI7J, designer and builder of the Scorpion line of HF antennas. I was ready to get the TurboTuner, but Ron recommended the TuneMatic based solely on the responsive and excellent customer service offered by JT Communication’s founder, Jim KA2MBE. I Am so glad I listened to Ron! He was right about Jim, but besides that, this product just can't be beat. I ordered it from HRO rather than the manufacturer’s site only because I had a store credit I needed to use with them, and the unit I received didn't have the latest firmware. No worries, Jim sent me out the chip with the most recent upgrades (v5.43) that best supported my Scorpion SA-680. It was a simple swap, and I sent Jim back the old firmware module so he could reflash and recycle. Jim also sent me a pigtail which made the connection to my Scorpion a breeze.

When I first hooked this up between my Yaesu FT-857D and the Scorpion antenna, I was having some challenges in consistently tuning frequencies on the 80m band. The TuneMatic would often ask me to reinitialize the antenna. It wouldn't require me to re-enter the tuning for the frequencies I had already stored, but it seemed somehow to lose count of the pulses as the bands--and the antenna--got higher. This didn't take me entirely by surprise, as I remembered reading that the Scorpion employed an 18v motor. A quick phone call to Jim confirmed that the TuneMatic was designed to be safely driven with up to 24v, so I spent another $15 on a DC-DC voltage converter and used that to drive the TuneMatic and Scorpion. Voila! Problem solved!

I couldn't be happier with this tuner. I usually can find something I would improve in a product, but honestly, I believe that Jim has perfected this one. I did read one review here on eHam where the reviewer was unhappy with the form, fit and function of the TuneMatic, but all it did was left me suspicious that it may have been written by a dishonest competitor. This device is very well-made and performs flawlessly. It couldn't be any easier to use. I Am proud to have this in my mobile shack.
K7KO Rating: 5/5 Jun 27, 2018 00:25 Send this review to a friend
Love my TuneMatic tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been using a Scorpion SA-680 and TuneMatic tuner with an ICOM IC-7000 for several months and I am very pleased with the entire setup. I believe the TuneMatic is particularly desirable because once the low SWR tuning points have been manually programmed, all one has to do is dial in the frequency of choice on the mobile rig, hit a button on the TuneMatic controller and the antenna moves to the memorized position using pulse counts. The TuneMatic finishes up with a quick low-power SWR tune and coil tweak, and you are ready to talk. The Scorpion SA-680 weighs 18 pounds which is quite heavy. I use a buck-boost converter to feed the TuneMatic and through a process of trial and error and many calls to Jim at TuneMatic and Ron at Scorpion I determined I need 18 volts input to the TuneMatic for the TuneMatic to provide sufficient output dc to adequately handle the heavy weight of the coil. Both Jim and Ron assured me that it was no problem to boost the 13.8 dc battery voltage to 18 volts and no harm would come to any of the electronics. After some discussion with Jim, I realized I needed to adjust an internal vertical trim pot which controls the TuneMatic pulse width of the pulses. The optimal trim pot setting for my setup was the extreme clockwise position, i.e. maximum pulse width. This setting virtually eliminated myTuneMatic pulse errors. I do not know if this tweak is needed for non-Scorpion screw driver antennas, but I believe it is definitely needed for the Scorpion. In summary, I highly recommend the TuneMatic tuner to use with the Scorpion 6A-680 and Jim's technical support is excellent.
VK2EIR Rating: 5/5 Jun 14, 2018 00:04 Send this review to a friend
Great Product   Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased the controller to use with my Hi Q pirahna 5/160 in my Hilux 4WD. The radio is a Kenwood 480H, and the controller has no problem handling the 200 watts the radio puts out.I use this controller to replace the semi auto controller supplied by Hi Q. It makes such a difference to my mobile radio experiences, and safety while driving.
The controller arrived with the correct pigtails to connect to the motor of the antenna. It worked first go, and setup was easy even for me a 'Mechanical Guy"
Joe (VK2EIR)
ZS6YI Rating: 5/5 Mar 18, 2018 11:31 Send this review to a friend
Brilliant Unit  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently built an HF Motorized Mobile Antenna with a 3-inch coil and motor sitting outside the hot mast below the mounting bracket.

The next step was to install an automatic motorized antenna controller to make tuning the antenna far easier and automated while keeping your eyes on the road and not on a SWR meter.

After reading up on the different types of motorized antenna controllers on the market I decided to purchase the TuneMatic from Jim, owner of JT Communications LLC as it had many advantages over any of the others I researched.

Despite Jim taking part in a Ham convention he made quick work dispatching the new software version 5.43 TuneMatic and Icom IC7000 interface to me. The longest part of the wait was for the parcel to be delivered from Johannesburg to my QTH in Three Rivers (about 35 miles South of Johannesburg).

The packaging was first class and the unit arrived half way around the globe in perfect condition.

I installed the unit on Friday and sent Jim a few emails to clarify certain things on Saturday. He responded very quickly, and I completed the installation early on Sunday as I installed the unit in the trunk of the vehicle so had to remove the rear seats to lay the controller cable and extension cable for the CW buzzer (which I removed from the unit to place inside the vehicle by extending the wires to the buzzer). JIM assured me that this modification would not invalidate my warranty.

The unit works brilliantly, tuning the antenna from 80m - 10m to a near perfect SWR (1.02:1) as read on a Power Master installed into the centre armrest with the IC 7000 remote head installed in the front centre console. I am running a SG 500 cube so had Jim install the optional amplifier relay which prevents the linear from keying while you are busy tuning the antenna. Once the antenna is tuned the linear amplifier is ready to go without having to switch on anything.

The actual installation of the unit took less than 5 minutes (excluding the routing of the cables into the vehicle). The initializing of the antenna and storing 3 frequencies per band took about 15 minutes. It is truly a plug and play set-up, BUT you MUST CAREFULLY READ the instructions so that you can initialize and match the controller to the antenna.

Some very carefully thought out and clever programming has gone into this unit and having the frequencies stored in memory then getting the antenna to move to the exact pulse count to where the antenna last resonated, shooting a small bit of RF through to the antenna to check SWR and to quickly re-tune to lowest SWR if necessary without blasting long RF overs into the ether make the TuneMatic just that more special.

I am extremely satisfied with the purchase and in particular with the service received and will most definitely recommend this unit to anyone wanting a state of the art automatic motorized antenna controller to complement their motorized antenna set-up.
Gary ZS6YI
KC7YRA Rating: 5/5 Nov 27, 2017 07:58 Send this review to a friend
Awesome product made by hams, for hams  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've been working with this antenna controller for a few weeks now. It is interfaced with an FT-857D and a Scorpion SA-680 antenna.

Opening the box you get the main control unit which is a large aluminum enclosure. A 3ish foot RG-8X coax jumper, radio specific interface, and the instructions.

Everything has the fit and finish I would expect of an amateur market item with a <$300 price tag. After many years working for commercial radio manufacturers, I am accustomed to perfect fit and finish on a robust product. I'm also accustomed to the multi thousand dollar cost per unit. The Tunematic setup is the right balance of robust design and function, with the correct price point.

Open the aluminum enclosure and there is a nicely done PCB and cleanly soldered components. There are adjustments which need to be made inside, so don't install it in an inaccessible location THEN try it for the first time. Follow the instructions and you are good to go.

I did have a problem with memory recall on certain bands. After I worked through, being sure my connections were good and RF was mitigated, I fired off an email to Jim. After a couple exchanges he had diagnosed my problem and had me up and running. FYI, the Scorpion antenna group uses a slightly higher voltage motor. When the Tunematic was attempting to return to a pre-programmed position, the low (slow) voltages used for final tuning were not causing the antenna to move. Since the controller knew it was sending commands it thought it was not receiving pulse counts (because the antenna was not moving) so it would throw out a pulse error and need initialized again. The fix was just adjusting one of the internal pots. Jim responded to these emails on a holiday weekend BTW.

A few things worth pointing out after reading some of the reviews here. This controller can only function to the capability of your antenna install. If the install is plagued with RF problems or matching issues, the controller cannot magically change that. You MUST have a fully functional system before the controller can do what it is designed for. Get your install choked, whip placed, and shunt coil set BEFORE going at the Tunematic.

Also, the commands are given in CW. I'm kind of a CW nut, so it is easy for me to catch the data. I do keep the instructions nearby in the car in case an odd one pops up and I don't know what it means. If you aren't proficient at code I could see it being a bit daunting. Fortunately all of the commands are only two letters, so it isn't bad at all.

Once setup I can cruise down the interstate and QSY with the push of a button. The unit will reliably tune to my desired frequency and away I go. Don't even have to take my eyes off the road.
KI4EKN Rating: 5/5 Apr 18, 2017 14:55 Send this review to a friend
Great Product -- Great Customer Service  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
JT's Tunematic fully met my expectations. Once programmed, it quickly finds the nearest stored frequency and fine tunes to the lowest SWR. I have an older FT-857 that required some quality phone time with Jim to get it up and running. In the end, Jim sent me a modified interface box, along with the latest firmware update, V 5.31. It's the perfect compliment to my Scorpion 680 antenna. Thanks Jim for developing this first rate product and being readily available to provide expert customer assistance.
W4AKF Rating: 5/5 Mar 4, 2017 05:32 Send this review to a friend
Great support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Purchased a Tunematic at Hamvention. Jim was there showing it using an Icom 706, the same rig I just got. Also purchased a Tarheal with it. Installed it, and had a couple of issues . I emailed him and he got right back to me. He makes them in Ocala, just a ways up the road from me so I went up to see him. He diagnosed my problem immediately. I have an F-350 with the 7.3 motor. Seems EVERYTHING needs to be grounded as the RF fly's around in these trucks. THIS TUNER IS AWESOME...if you have a screwdriver antenna, Tunematic is a MUST!! 73 W4AKF
K9UAV Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2016 18:37 Send this review to a friend
Product 5/5 but Customer Service 10/5!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
As a new Ham, I have a lot to learn about antennas. I did a lot of research to find something to make tuning my new Scorpion easy.

It took me a little while to figure some things out and while I was doing that Jim at Tunematic was incredible at Elmering me.

The product does what it is supposed to and the small ergonomic keypad tucks right in under my rig.

For those buying, I had Jim give me a keypad with the cable coming out the top not the bottom. That way it sits under my radio at my desk and slides right out.

Just a thought.

KA8DJN Rating: 5/5 Nov 11, 2016 12:44 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Auto Tuner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Had purchased a Tarheel HP antenna and needed something to make it easier to tune while driving.

Looked at several units and decided to go with the JT Communications Tunematic TM-1. I contacted them regarding the unit and the need to have one of the control cables to my TS480 lengthened and they were more than obliging.

Although higher in cost then some I looked at the features and decided that this was worth a try.

Installing it in a Jeep Wrangler the space was limited. The remote control head was able to be placed in a small area and very readable while driving.

After installing the unit I had an issue (found not to be fault of Tunematic) and had to contact them again. They helped me get through the issue and had me up and running in no time.

Their customer service is second to none!

The ease of use is amazing although READ the instructions very thoroughly.

I strongly recommend this screw driver antenna tuner. You will not be disappointed and if an issue comes up they are only a phone call away.
KL7EZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 2, 2016 23:18 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Repeatability and Works Great  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased my first HF mobile station in April of 2016. The equipment consists of a Yaesu FT-857D, Little Tarheel II Antenna, Tunematic TM-1 Antenna Controller, Rig Expert AA-170 Antenna Analyzer, MLS-100 External Speaker and LDG External FTL-Meter. I installed this system into a 2005, 2500 Dodge Ram Quad-Cab Diesel Pickup Truck. I took plenty of time to carefully read the operation/installation manual of each component to understand detailed manufacturer’s guidelines and suggestions. Although I did my homework, I didn’t get the chance to install this equipment until late summer 2016 due to many other family priorities/obligations.

After careful consideration, I decided to install the FT-857D on the plastic sub-dash panel located just under the steering wheel. I decided to place the Tunematic TM-1 Antenna Controller under the driver’s seat. There was plenty of control cable supplied by Tunematic to support this installation. I provided direct transceiver & antenna controller grounding to the truck’s negative battery terminal. There was also enough room under the steering wheel to install a Yaesu MLS-100 external speaker adjacent to the transceiver. Note that this external speaker is loud and sounds great. The speaker provides the proper male mono plug to work out-of-the-box with the FT-857D. All coax and control cables were routed under front and rear floor mats to provide a clean installation. I also utilized “MountGuys” 22” extra-long, floor seat, bolt-mount stand to support the transceiver’s LED display. This installation option provides a sturdy support that conveniently locates the FT-857D LED display within a comfortable hand’s reach of VFO operation while ergonomically resting my forearm on the truck’s center console. The FT-857D LED display is now very visible and out of the way during 6-speed manual shifting. Installation also included placing many 1” wide x 8” long tinned copper ground straps to bond the truck’s frame, muffler, hood, tool-box, side panels, doors and tail gate to help create a common RF node.

I installed the Little Tarheel II Antenna on top of a permanently mounted aluminum tool box located in the back of the truck’s bed. The passenger’s side location provided a tall and rigid profile. I also utilized a Tarheel supplied MT-5S manual lift and lay mount. This attractive mounting system works well when parking the truck into locations where the antenna system is too tall for a low profile shop/garage. I had a few questions on the antenna installation and Tarheel provided excellent and immediate assistance. Prior to installing the Tunematic TM-1 Antenna Controller, I tested the antenna operation with the supplied Tarheel control switch. I used a Rig Expert AA-170 Antenna Analyzer to check VSWR across all antenna bands. All bands checked out very well with a low VSWR as advertised. When I determined that the antenna functioned properly, with low VSWR, I installed the TuneMatic TM-1 Antenna Controller.

I manually stored 20 frequencies (equally spaced) into the TuneMatic TM-1 Antenna Controller across each HF phone band (excluding 160 meter). Using a Rig Expert AA-170 Antenna Analyzer, all stored frequencies tested below 1.40:1.00 VSWR. The 10 & 20 meter bands tested almost flat across the entire 20 meter phone band.

I had a small issue with the auto-tune function of the Tunematic TM-1. JT provided excellent and immediate technical support to mitigate the issue. JT mailed me the latest chip (software version 5.2). Two days later I swapped out the old chip (v 4.x) with the new chip in less than ten minutes. The 5.2 chip solved all of the auto-tune issues. The Tunematic TM-1 Controller auto-tunes all HF bands (excluding 160 meter) to a VSWR less than 1.40:1.00 with excellent repeatability. The auto-tune function works great either scrolling up or down separate HF bands. The Morse-code commands generated by the Tunematic TM-1 are more than loud enough to hear over a Cummins diesel engine cruising at 2K RPM.

In general, this HF mobile station works and looks great. The FT-857D and Little Tarheel II Antenna work extremely well together. The Tunematic TM-1 Antenna Controller provides excellent repeatability on all stored frequencies with a very low and/or reasonable VSWR. It’s a real treat to switch bands on the fly while driving down the interstate within Nashville traffic. I must say that the addition of the Yaesu MLS-100 external speaker works well competing with the noise generated from the diesel engine. I also purchased the LDG External FTL-Meter for the FT-857D. The meter is simply a convenient compliment to the mobile station.

If you’re considering this kind of installation, take your time to read and follow the instructions. Provide proper RF grounding. Consider shrink wrapping exterior control & coax connections. Locate your vehicle away from metal buildings/structures while checking and manually storing frequency low null points. The equipment has worked very well for me. HF SSB contacts are made with ease with 50W or less. I am also extremely pleased in the professional and kind customer support provided by Tarheel and Tunematic. I would definitely purchase these products again. The installation and operation of this equipment is a pleasure.

Scott (KL7EZ)
Nashville, TN
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