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

Reviews Summary for Ameritron SDC 102
Ameritron SDC 102 Reviews: 13 Average rating: 2.6/5 MSRP: $129.00
Description: Screwdriver Controller
Product is in production.
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VE3EQP Rating: 2/5 Aug 18, 2018 02:56 Send this review to a friend
Good, only when working!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This works well when working, but is made with crap and poorly designed. Just after starting to use it the push-on push-off switch failed and I replaced it. Then the actual UP relay failed in the contacts. I bypassed it with another small relay and ordered a few spares from MFJ. Backordered - I wonder why?
Now the counting has become intermittent, UP and DOWN.
Perhaps this is my connection problem as we have had heavy rain and my connections were exposed. However, I needed to put an resistor in series, even though I used a 12V motor. I also needed an electrolytic capacitor to keep the back EMF from resetting the counter when the motor stopped.
This was from the current detect resistors to ground.
All in all, unless you are able to play, fix, solder, etc., I wouldn't recommend this item.
N1UW Rating: 0/5 Jan 24, 2017 16:54 Send this review to a friend
Finally an Alternative!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I clicked "More than 12 Months" since I have owned three of these. I would have given the product a "2" rating except the most recent one I bought failed after one day. I bought a new Tarheel 100HP and the controller failed after I pressed the UP and DOWN buttons simultaneously to bottom out and re-zero the counter. The counter went dark and the antenna would no longer respond.

I connected the Tarheel to the manual switch provided and the antenna works fine. (Thank goodness!)

Stuff happens and you have to give the manufacturer the benefit of the doubt, but this is the second Ameritron (aka MFJ) new out-of-the-box product to fail in a matter of hours or days.

If you are lucky to have a working SDC-102, you will quickly learn that the memory buttons will bring you to within one or two turns of your previously memorized setting for a given memory position. This means you must jog back and forth until you find the sweet spot you are seeking. What makes this difficult is the SDC-102 has only one motor speed...full speed ahead. Thus, finally hitting the sweet spot is like a dart game...throw enough darts and you will finally hit the bulls eye.

Fortunately, I discovered the TUNEMATIC LITE. Google it and you find the screwdriver antenna controller of your dreams. Big benefits are: 1) 20 memories instead of just 10, and 2) the motor has two speeds...slow and fast.

When you press the UP or DOWN the motor runs as slow speed so your control is very precise. Hold the button for more than 4 seconds and the motor goes to normal speed. For this reason the automatic positioning of the memory settings is dead-on accurate when using the memory recall. It is always accurate and eliminates the need to fine tune the memory recall that the SDC-102 requires.

MFJ never gets it. All power to JT Communications!

N8KIM Rating: 2/5 Jan 8, 2017 11:21 Send this review to a friend
broken again!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am on my 4th sdc-102.
Like a bulldog i keep hanging onto this model hoping the next one will work. The first 3 had IC chip problems. they would work for a while the display errors. installing the latest replacement the power button has turned into a momentary switch. sent it back. With me paying all shipping, i could have bought something better.
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!
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