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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Mobile & Accessories | SGC QMS-2 Mobile Antenna System Help

Reviews Summary for SGC QMS-2 Mobile Antenna System
SGC QMS-2 Mobile Antenna System Reviews: 2 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $995.95
Description: The Battleship of Mobile HF Tuners. A Quick Mount system for the serious amateur.
Product is in production.
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N2CTZ Rating: 5/5 Apr 13, 2004 23:05 Send this review to a friend
unbreakable  Time owned: more than 12 months
have had this since 1995 aND IT TUNES AND IS USA MADE. try buying american instead of buying everything oversedas help yiur fellow americans!

and this tuning system is sexy and macho on my truck and i also use it home
K2ANE Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2001 15:11 Send this review to a friend
Learn To Love To Hate The Look..  Time owned: more than 12 months
..or something to that effect in the ads featured in QST. The QMS-2, or, Quick Mount System, is a full featured antenna system for serious mobile amateur or marine communications.

It comes complete with an SCG 230 Smartuner in a very heavy duty aluminum housing, a super heavy duty ratcheted rubberized spring mount and the SCG 303 helically wound antenna. It would be an understatement to just call this another mobile HF antenna product.

At the core of this system is the SGC 230 Smartuner. It is capable of handling up to 200 watts p.e.p. input, with a 500 memory capacity to remember previous matches that allows it to retune in less than a millisecond. If 500 memories are used up, new matches only bump out the oldest settings first thereby preserving the most recent matches. Thats a lot of memories.

When tuning a particular frequency for the first time, the unit can take up to 20 seconds to find a match. I have found that this only occurs rarely on the 160 meter band. Once a match is found, it is memorized and returning to that same operating parameter down the road only takes less than a second, in fact about a millisecond to restore, the time it takes the relays to set. On 75 meters and higher, I found the tuner to come to a match in less than 5 seconds the first time around.

The heavy duty aluminum housing comes with 4 nylon straps and 4 very large rubber suction cups for attaching the unit to sheet metal surfaces. It is advisable to use Vaseline to coat the edges of the suction cups to form a positive seal. There are little rubber tabs coming off the suction cups allowing one to lift the cup to break the seal when removing the unit from where it was mounted. Believe me, these suction cups are very powerful grippers. The nylon straps are used to further fasten the unit to a given surface for added stability. At the termination of each strap is a "J" shaped metal fitting for catching onto edges of fenders or wheel wells etc. The straps are then tensioned by pulling them tight through a slip/lock piece, not unlike a seat belt clamp.

The SCG 303 antenna is a two piece helically wound affair that bolts together for an approximate length of nine feet. It is heavily coated with a rubberized material upon a fibreglass core. The tape wound wire is equivalent to a #4, thereby giving it excellent current distribution properties. The SGC 303 screws into the heavy duty spring/ratchet mount and seals itself when the two rubberized surfaces meet. The ratchet mount itself is extremely strong and is bolted to the main housing. To change the angle of the spring, all you have to do is push a lever that frees the ratchet and you can orient the spring as you wish for 180 degrees. Flip the lever back and it is locked into place. A very positive action I might add. You won't believe how tough this setup is. I keep seeing images of the Contras bouncing around in the back country with one of these on the side of their jeep.

Operating this unit is quite simple. But I would suggest that one either make or purchase the Smartlock option. I have both made and purchased these units. My advice would be to build it yourself. The reason being is that the purchased Smartlock unit does not have a power on/off switch for the QMS-2 unit, which would necessitate another accessory for powering the unit on and off (it consumes about .8 amps).

Further, one would want a Smartlock or its equivalent to control the tuner for several reasons. Because the QMS system is remote, you need the feedback to know if it is tuned or not. The Smartlock feature has an LED that lets you know when the match has been completed. And due to varying SWR conditions while being mobile, the Smartlock allows you to freeze that setting thereby preventing the tuner from automatically retuning itself when passing under a bridge while transmitting. When using the factory Smartlock, it will light another LED to let you know that the lock is set. A toggle switch allows you to turn this function on or off. A green LED lets you know you are tuned and a red one lets you know when the tuner is locked down.

Another feature of the Smartlock is the reset button. I have found with every SGC 230 Smartuner I have owned, times where it will not retune while looking into a high SWR, upon QSYing (in an unlocked state) or it can't find a match (it will just keep cycling). This situation seems to occur after numerous QSY's. By hitting the reset button, the tuner can start afresh and work like it should. I don't know why this latter condition occurs, but the reset button is the solution SGC came up with. I have found at times that I can QSY and come back to another band I was on several minutes before, to the same frequency and the tuner will not match. By hitting the reset button and then the tune button on the 706 or just a word into the microphone, will enable an instant rematch. Whats good about the reset function is that you don't have to turn the unit on and off to reboot it. For this reason alone, the Smartock option is a necessity.

As far as performance goes I have found the QMS-2 combination capable of making a match from 160 through to 10 meters. I have had contacts on 160 with it, albeit under the most desirable conditions out to 250 miles during the "gray" zone times of day or for local chit chat. On 75 it gets better but it really begins to shine from 40 on up. On 17 meters it really is a champ. I have worked great DX from the car with this unit.

I have found though, that it does not like to tune to 6 meters so that really isn't an option with the SGC 303 antenna attached. However, I have been able to use a simple 108" CB whip and tune to 6 on occasion but I would not recommend this practice as a rule.

All in all, the QMS-2 system is plug and play once set up. With the Smartlock option at one's finger tips, matching operating frequencies becomes a transparent process and allows one to play ham radio with a minimum of inconvenience when it comes to swapping antenna elements or putting up with mismatches and limited SWR windows in a given band common to stick antennas. It'll just go where you want it to.

Afterall, its the Cadillac of mobile antennas.

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