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Reviews Categories | Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks | Palstar BT1500A Balanced L Tuner Help

Reviews Summary for Palstar BT1500A Balanced L Tuner
Palstar BT1500A Balanced L Tuner Reviews: 35 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $795
Description: Dual inline roller balanced L network antenna tuner with Hi/Lo Z and Hi/Lo C relay operated push buttons. Incorporates illuminated cross needle power/SWR/reflected meter with active peak, peak hold, average readings, 300/3000 watt selection. Covers 1.8 - 29.5MHz. 1000 watt single tone, 1500 watts PEP.
Product is in production.
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K4YAB Rating: 5/5 Nov 7, 2011 09:17 Send this review to a friend
Operation  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I installed a 140 ft double zepp dipole,fed with about 35ft of 450 ladder line. The tuner works great. I did have a problem at first,I couldn,t get it too tune the antenna.
I called Palstar and talked to Paul. He told me to check the setscrew for being loose on the Variable Capacitor. She enough it was loose.
Tightened the set screw and the tuner works great.
In the instruction manual it says the Variable Capacitor is for fine tuning...I understand that,
but when I got the tuner to work the Variable Capacitor changed the Swr alot.
So I would advise when first getting use to a new one, that you make sure and rotate the cap 360 degrees just in case while tuning with it and the Roller inductor.
AD5VM Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2011 08:54 Send this review to a friend
The ONLY way to tune...  Time owned: more than 12 months
Maybe I'm missing something but, I don't understand why the vast majority of hams with multi-band antennas are feeding them with coax to a transmatch. Just look at the reviews for the high power antenna tuners! I can't imagine running a KW on 20 meters through a feedline tuner and a hundred foot of RG-8 to some random length doublet!! Gasp!!! I'm no RF engineer but it seems the only time it's good to use a tuner is to use a coupler at the feedpoint (like an AH-4 or SDG product) or to use a balanced tuner between your rig and a balanced feedline. I'm not trying to start a debate, if you're reading the BT-1500A's reviews, you have seen the light and know all this. You are on the right track here, go ahead and call Palstar and place your order O wise one. The thing is built like a brick S%#t house inside a battleship and the customer service couldn't be better. Ladder line is NOT hard to work with, all the bad things you ever heard about it was probably just propaganda created by Big Coax!:D keep your runs a couple inches from gutters and window frames and put a twist in it every few feet and you'll be fine. I run mine with a 160 meter loop through the trees @ 50 foot in the shape of a jacked up rectangle with 600 watts and the signal reports I get on ALL bands 10-160 are comical and sometimes make me feel guilty. I don't know how many of these antenna tuners I've 'sold' over the air for Palstar but I think they need to start giving me a commission or finders fee lol.. Buy It!! just Buy it! I know the XYL will freak but just remind her of all the crap she buys, hell at least with a Palstar product, no matter what happens to it you could get about a hundred dollars for it at a scrap metal dealer!! 73.
NA0AA Rating: 5/5 Oct 12, 2010 21:50 Send this review to a friend
Works well for my loop  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
OK, I have had this now for a couple of months tuning a 160 meter loop fed with homebrew open line. It matches my loop well on 160 up to 15 meters but runs out of range for the very highest bands. To be honest, this neither surprises nor disappoints me - the antenna pattern is not that good anyway there.

The setting indicators are reasonably repeatable once checked, although I double check frequency with an analyzer that I switch into the line. Usually if I use my cheat-sheet, I can get to 1.3:1 without needing the analyzer, which is good enough for my radio to be happy.

I have not tested this above 100 watts yet, but I bought it with the intention of using it with an amplifier in the future - it's certainly built for the job.

I've long been an autotuner fan, but I'm impressed with the quality and easy of use of this tuner - certainly if you have a need for a dedicated balanced line tuner, this merits consideration.
G3TXQ Rating: 3/5 Jun 8, 2010 03:49 Send this review to a friend
By no means perfect!  Time owned: more than 12 months
"Built like a tank" etc etc, but this is why it gets a 3 from me:
* Limited matching range at low frequencies as a result of the 960pF max capacitance
* Poor balance at low frequencies as a result of the low choking impedance of the input balun
* Low tension on a jockey wheel makes one of the roller-coasters intermittent at one end of its travel.

And a few "niggles" I don't expect when I spend 580 on a tuner:
* Supplied with the two roller-coasters "out of sync"
* One case screw missing
* Not supplied with a 12v power adaptor in UK

A shame - I like Palstar kit, but the BT1500A doesn't live up to the high quality I expected. It has given way to a Ten Tec 238 with a good 1:1 current balun at the output which has better balance and a wider matching range.
KJ5XF Rating: 5/5 Apr 23, 2010 14:25 Send this review to a friend
Great balanced line tuner!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this tuner for over 2 years and it works like a champ!. I am using it with a 40m doublet
fed with 600 ohm open-wire feeders. I can tune it on all bands from 40m up to 10m (including the WARC bands). Great product!
WA3A Rating: 5/5 Dec 25, 2009 08:45 Send this review to a friend
FB  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have used only open-wire fed balanced antennas for nearly 30 years. Dipoles, Vees, Rhombics, Loops, Lazy-H, etc. I have built several tuners similar to the BT1500A and knew that this balanced L design was a good. I first saw the design from AG6K in QST. My homebrew units suffered from lack of capacitor range and switching capacitors was cumbersome. The BT1500A solves this problem. As others have said, it wont match everything but usually feedline length adjustments will solve that. Ive noticed that adjusting the length of coax between the tuner and the rig also is useful. After having some match problems on 10 (too much capacitance) I looked at the schematic and found that by removing two screws and lifting two leads from the hi/lo pass relay ( I NEVER need to match anything less than 50 ohms) I can now reduce the minimum capacitance even more when using the hi/lo pass switch. It even allows me to match on six meters on some antennas. My only complaints are backlash on the capacitor vernier (not all that bad) and the crank on the inductor is too small. For such a beefy tuner the tiny crank is marginal but useable. As others have said, the quality of the BT1500A is excellent. Dont bother with the other popular brands for a balanced tuner.
KI4BUN Rating: 5/5 Jul 24, 2009 18:06 Send this review to a friend
Buy once, cry once!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This tuner isn't cheap. Neither in price or in quality. Palstar builds 'bullet-proof' gear. I'm running a 137' dipole fed with about 50 ft of true ladder line. It'll tune about anything I throw at it. I had various tuners over time but nothing like the quality, capability, fit, and finish of the BT 1500A! Not even close.

Most of my operating is on MARS frequencies so being able to tune outside the ham bands is required. Of course there are no issues, but the repeatability of the settings for a given frequency are superb.

Just a note on Palstar's customer service. After many, many hours of use, the meter bulb burned out. I emailed them asking if I could purchase a new one...I got one in the mail a couple of days I'm a fan.

Buy once, cry once. You won't be sorry.
K9SQG Rating: 5/5 Jun 19, 2009 14:01 Send this review to a friend
A real keeper, excellent quality, excellent staff.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The BT-1500A continues the Palstar tradition of an excellent product. You don't see people selling theirs and for good reason. Note that my experiences are with 40 and 80 meter horizontal loop antennas for swap net operations.

The overall design is rugged, has a clean appearance, and matches my Drake gear perfectly. It gives no hint of being strained even at legal limit power levels. Resetability is right on. Never thought much about "peak and hold" on a wattmeter but now I wonder how I got along without it. Customer support is A1 and Paul and Don care about the people that use their products. Mine is a keeper and if it gets sold, it will be by my survivors.

On the slight downside, the labels took a little getting used to but a lot of things do. A chart of settings gets you back to where you want to be in seconds. The price is not entry level but the quality and capability is second to none. You get what you pay for and this tuner should be considered a lifetime investment, you won't have to put any money into maintenance or repairs.

Thanks Palstar for an excellent tuner and excellent customer support!
KG6I Rating: 4/5 May 26, 2009 14:29 Send this review to a friend
Good Tuner For My Big Loop  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After 20+ years of using my HB link-coupled tuner to feed my FW 160 meter loop in the vertical plane, after doing much Web research on tuners and tuner circuits, I elected to upgrade to the Palstar BT1500A. The main reason was I could get my HB tuner to tune my loop to a 1:1 match on 160, 80, 60 and 40 meters, but it would either do 80 or 40 but not both well, with a given length of 450 ohm window line. The Palstar gives me a good match on all bands, 160-40. Two minor complaints: first, the cross-needle SWR/Power meter's illumination is weak. I may install a couple high-ouput LEDs to remedy that. Second, there is just a bit of backlash in the vernier drive for the variable capacitor. Since the tuning is quite sharp anyway, the backlash complicates obtaining a perfect 1:1 SWR a bit. My old HB tuner was sharp as well, so I can live with it. The construction and look of the unit is first-rate. A bit pricey, but I found mine used, in excellent condition, so that helped somewhat. The ability to use my FW loop (546 feet around, hanging from 100 ft+ tall Redwood trees) on four bands, without having to monkey around changing feedline lenghts is a real plus.
K0EX Rating: 5/5 Feb 17, 2009 11:01 Send this review to a friend
BT1500A  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Wanting to work the WARC bands and 160m, I retired my Johnson kW MatchBox (no, it's not for sale!) in favor of trying a BT1500A. I have two inv-vees co-fed with 450-ohm line -- one cut for 40m and one for 80m. The BT1500A tunes "sharper" than the MatchBox and it doesn't seem to match as well in some instances. However, it is a well-designed (physically and electrically), built-like-a-tank tuner! Expensive? Yes. Worth the investment? I certainly think so. Am I happy with it? Absolutely. For a balanced-line-only tuner, it's the way to go.

-Mark K0EX
since 1974
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