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Reviews For: Heathkit SA-2500 auto antenna tuner

Category: Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks

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Review Summary For : Heathkit SA-2500 auto antenna tuner
Reviews: 4MSRP: 794.99
2kw 1.8-30 Mhz automatic antenna tuner
Product is not in production
More Info: http://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K9FE Rating: 2017-07-20
See what Brown can do for you! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Picked up the SA-2500 from a SK shack. Heathkit brown, and definitely not for a small shack. WOW! It is BIG, bigger than my amps, bigger than my radios, but it is capable of amazing matching. As a test I attached an 8 foot wire at 6 feet, OK for 10m, but it was able to tune on 80m without a complaint. It is slow as previous comments, I think slower than the Palstar Auto. It is not a full auto-tuner, it does need to have the band selected. The internals are interesting. Huge roller inductor and capacitors. I thought my MFJ989 was wide ranged, but now I have a new definition of wide range. If you see one, think about picking it up. I have seen prices from $200 to $500, so prices are all over. Build quality is important, but the components are pretty bullet-proof.
AF4RF Rating: 2008-11-09
BIG, but gives BIG results! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
OK. First, let me explain that I would give this tuner a 4.5. I purchased my SA-2500 off eBAY. I like to experiment with all sorts of "antennas", and I really wanted a tuner that could handel some really outrageous mismatches.
I own other tuners, including a wonderful Ten Tec 238B. Well, I can tell you that NOTHING can achieve a match like the Heathkit!
Here is what I can tell you about this tuner. Firstly, the tuner is HUGE! It is actually so big that the size can be a detractor, especially if you are trying to conserve space on the desk! However, the tuning caps and roller inductor are also huge, which obviously gives this thing a huge range of impeadences it can match.
It also has an AC power supply built-in, adding to the size. Surprisingly, the weight is much lighter than you would expect for such a large package.
Now, you must understand that the SA-2500 is NOT a full autotuner in the conventional sense. It is more accurate to call it a "semi-automatic" or an "auto-ranging" tuner. You must select the band on a rotory knob (and there is a High/Low switch for the section of each band). This will set the inductor to a pre-set (eprom programed) location on the coil for the particular band. The capacitors then will reset to a fully-open position. Once this procedure is complete, then you can switch (via pushbutton) to "manual" tune. This gives you the control to trim the caps & inductor to achieve the best match. These are controled by three toggle switches. After a short time, using these toggles is so easy that you do not think about it.
The down side is that the motors are slow for the caps and coil. But they have to be, since the matching is EXTREMELY sensitve (ie, a small movement of cap or coil can change SWR drastically). The slower movements actually makes achieving a good match much easier with this unit.
The SA-2500 (at least mine has this) has a 4:1 balun for balaced feedline or a single wire antenna. Everything about this unit is heavy-duty and nearly mil-spec. Also, since it was sold in kit form, everything is easy to get to and easy to repair (pin-through-hole components).
How well does it work? Well, just for kicks, I hammered a long nail into an 80 foot maple tree just outside the shack window and connected a single wire to the nail, and to the tuner. The wire was less than 4 feet long & tried the tuner on the wire without connecting it to the nail first, just to make sure...
I not only achieved a match on all bands to the maple tree, I talked to a couple of guys in Indiana on 160m using this organic antenna. I didn't say the tree made a great antenna, but I could match it with this tuner and make contacts with 100 watts!
It's a BIG, brown, RF machine!
WD8AAM Rating: 2006-12-13
GREAT INVESTMENT Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought one of these after owning many MFJs and others as well. THIS IS THE ONE that will load up the proverbial 'bedsprings'......My other favorite is the Johnson Matchbox. The SA2500 is a wonderful automatic tuner. I manually control mine with the switches on the front panel. I agree with the other review above that the 'auto' feature has some negatives, but for a tuner that will take KWs of power, and that is so easy to tune up, INTO ANYTHING !!!!!, it's great! I now own three, and compare any others with this one before I judge 'how good THEY are' !! Heathkit had a winner here, and they really could have tweaked the design a little, it would be 'el supremo' in the marketplace with a few enhancements and mods. One of the finest pieces of equipment I own. (I use it to load up my gutter on the back of the house for my sat/sun nets. GREAT STUFF)
wd8aam, minneapolis, minnesota
(grab one IF you can find one) The last one I bought was over $500+ dollars on Ebay.
NJ7X Rating: 2005-02-27
Good tuner to use Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought the kit for 349.95 (close out price) MSRP 795.00) and paid $40.00 for the 4:1 balun, which was an option. This was 4/18/87 = we finished the assembly by 5/4/87. Within the last month a switching transistor ($0.27) has failed prohibiting the roller inductor to move in both directions.
The tuner is "semi-automatic" in that you have a high/low postion on the band switch which includes all the WARC bands. This position is controlled by trim pots, once they are set the capacitors adjust themselves.
I overide the "auto - tune" feature and have excellent results over all bands, and at what ever output the station has. The meters automatically switch from 200 to 2000 watts and are very accurate. There has been no other "problems with the tuner since it has been isn service almost continously for 25 years. There are connectons on the back to allow for remote switching etc., and power our for 12 vdc. I'm certain that the roller inductor and capacitors are identical to manually operated version. The only drawback noticed is that the "preset" turns controls do not repeat exactly and i usally switch off the "automatic feature" for a final adjustment. It has been an excellent addtion, since we can switch bands and set and forget any adjustments 90% of the time. Hope other tuner manufacturers are building equipment to match this one's quality and reliability..