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Reviews For: Heathkit SA-2060A

Category: Antenna Tuners/Matching Networks

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Review Summary For : Heathkit SA-2060A
Reviews: 44MSRP: (1991 Kit) 279.95
HeathKit SA-2060A Antenna tuner
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KC8HXO Rating: 2023-02-26
BEAST. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Tunes a wet noodle without a grunt. Even when being pushed by my Alpha. Anything downstream better be up to snuff, because this pair is sending it.
KI7AQJ Rating: 2021-02-10
I wanted the best tuner I could get, and I think this is it! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I built tuners that were better, but they cost 10X more. I wanted something robust, and functional, and when I saw one of these on eBay, I remembered fixing one of these that arced from the cap to the balun, and spit some fire at me. I also remember we were running way above the legal limit and in AM too, so I decided this was my best choice. I think I made a wise decision, and a good purchase. I have yet to regret it, and I doubt I ever will. I paid about $300 with shipping, but an MFJ 3000 watt tuner is about the same price, and those feel like cheap junk in comparison. I had the MFJs legal limit tuners arc barefoot using an old Yeasu that put out about 200 watts using sweep tubes. If the MFJ can fail at 200 watts, why would I ever want another one? The only mods I made to mine, was lighting the dials, and replacing some caps, & cleaning up some of the wiring. GREAT TUNERS! ONE OF THE BEST HEATHKIT PRODUCTS EVER, and ONE OF THE BEST MANUAL TUNERS OUT THERE. It will probably tune a coat hanger to resonance in the 160 meter band. Mine arrived in good condition, but I spent a couple hours polishing up contacts & cleaning it up. I also taped up the strap busing using 3M silicone splicing tape, rubber 190C splicing tape, with vinyl and cloth over the high voltage tape, just in case it wants to try to arc to the toroid balun. It ain't a gonna happen now! I also added a small toroid inside the RF switching box and put a BNC connector into that box. I ran it to an old half dead HP student grade 2 channel O Scope, which works as a station monitor scope now. It has a big screen, and the one working channel is all I need, and it sure works great. This keeps just soldiering on, and is never going to leave my radio shack. These will handle 2000 Watts+ no problem. I took the whole unit apart, cleaned the inductor coil again, put some dielectric grease on it, checked it for hot spots and leakage around the silicon tape and everything still looks great. Are there better tuners? Yes. For a kit, this one was well executed with nice solder work and careful lead dress, so it's a keeper! Dial in what the manual suggests and then fine tune it from there. I am stuck on a postage stamp sized lot, so this thing is a really essential piece of gear. I picked up a smaller E.F. Johnson Antenna Tuner with a ton of RF switching relays, but the old Viking was restricted to 300 Watts and 600 Watts by all the relays, and whomever wired that E.F. Johnson did a really sketchy job of everything from sloppy lead dress to questionable soldering. The workmanship in my Heathkit was so much better than that poor old Viking mess.
K5YY Rating: 2015-04-03
Excellent all around Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Have had about 4 of these over the years and they all work well. One thing I look for is the overall soldering job the "builder" did, build quality, as they say.. I have had several tuners over the years, including the rare Viewstar 1500, the Palstar and Drake tuners and the Nye Viking MB-V etc. This tuner will do everything the others do. The roller inductor could benefit from a faster tuning knob, but the manual has approximate setting for each band range, so just set that quickly and then fine tweak if needed. Overall, I would think anything in the $300-350 range for a used unit is a good bargain. Anything less is a steal unless major arcing or component failure has occurred. These units are just superbly laid out, top quality materials used and should last for years. I have one now and am keeping it for sure.
KI4ECU Rating: 2014-11-04
a keeper Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Im going to write a review not to help the reputation of this unit but to hit on something I have not seen anyone talk about yet.First off I have the sb-1000 and picked this up to have the set,wow what a tunner.I thought the best tunner I have ever owned was the dentron mt3000 until I have used this one.I bought the unit with the band switch out from a local ham.The band switch needs some attention in this unit.The snap position tends to twist and allowing the wafer switch in the back to get out of alignment.I had put a band switch in the sb-1000 a few months ago and didn't use the new shaft only pulled the wafers and put on my unit to simplify the installation.This ameritron band switch ring is ideal for the 2060a.the housing around this bandswitch has 2 bolt rings that will work perfect to bolt to the meter mount.You will have to saw off the back of shaft to same length as factory unit and turn the wafer ring to set how many positions you need the stops.This has a very firm and heavy snap to the band switch now and will never lose its alignment.Also looks factory and you wont no it unless your very knowledgable on these units.Just be carefull pulling the fiber shaft and don't lose your alignment on bands during the mod.Hope this helps someone and I can honestly say the same for this as I said on my sb-1000,your not getting mine.LOL really a good unit guys as the reviews show.
KC8VWM Rating: 2013-03-10
High End Tuner - Low End Price Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own a Palstar 1500 CV, MFJ 989 3 KW Versa Tuner, and of course the Heathkit SA-2060.

I picked up this used Heathkit tuner at a hamfest for $125, and it was in excellent condition. I like the modern styling and appearance of this tuner (SA-2060 non A) It seems to fit right in with all the modern gear in my shack.

On the other hand the Palstar 1500 CV is very modern in appearance too however, it cost me well over $400, but it too was in excellent condition.

I decided to give the Heathkit SA 2060 a good going over before operating it and found the build quality to be very good. Basically all roller inductors, regardless of tuner brand, require periodic maintenance. Swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol cleans any black, carbon like dirt off roller inductor coils quite well.

I find doing this maintenance to any tuner can reduce friction and serves to achieve smoother roller inductor operation. However, you should never lubricate the roller wheel or any other part of the inductor coild except perhaps the shaft, because the roller requires good electrical contact and oils will electrically insulate the connection, and of course we don't want that.

After doing this maintenance, the roller on the Heathkit was very smooth and had a high quality feel. I compared it to my Palstar 1500 CV tuner and in fact, the Heathkit felt a little smoother.

I quickly compared the MFJ 989 and it felt very stiff and it isn't even in the same class of tuner for that matter.

The Palstar 1500 CV is more expensive than all my other tuners, but yet it lacks a dual meter display as seen on the Heathkit. The cross hair "MFJ style" meter is not to my liking and the smaller numbers can sometimes appear confusing and harder to read. However, the dual meters on the Heathkit are very clear and easy to see. The meters are quite accurate. These internal meters are just as good as the readings taken on an external Bird meter.

The Heathkit meters lacks any internal backlighting. It almost seems this was an oversight in the Heathkit build manual. But then again, this is a Heathkit and therefore it is extremely easy to add a simple phono plug on the back of this tuner, a few wires inside for 12v lighting and your done. Lighting could be installed above both meters, and to provide inductor counter lighting. I suspect after the lighting mod is done, the tuner will appear to look like another rig or amplifier sitting in the shack.

The Heathkit tuner resembles amplifier equipment in terms of physical size. The tuning caps in the Heathkit are beefy and well made. They don't stick in any spots or bind and turn quite smoothly.

The Heathkit has copper metal work where the Palstar is constructed using aluminum sheet metal.

The round push buttons on the Palstar has an MFJ look and feel to them. The black square push buttons on the Heathkit seem heavy duty. Also the antenna switch on the Heathkit feels and sounds like an industrial grade clunk, but the clicker on the Palstar feels tight and works fine.

Although I do prefer the crank knob on the Palstar roller inductor compared to plain old round knob on the Heathkit, perhaps the Heathkit could be easily modified to include a crank knob too. But after using the round Heathkit knob, I find it actually provides for a very smooth precision feel and operation similar to a VFO knob. The crank knob on the Palstar does get you there faster though.

The Palstar has "electronics" inside, where the Heathkit doesn't. I prefer not to have any electronic circuit boards inside a manual tuner as these are just another series of components to potentially burn out in the event high output power is run, when something isn't tuned quite right. Therefore, the lack of any electronic circuit boards inside makes the Heathkit more bullet proof in my estimation.

The Heathkit SA-2060 is the clear winner. It's probably the last antenna tuner you will ever own.
N2DM Rating: 2012-07-09
Heavy Duty Time Owned: more than 12 months.
A battleship example of a tuner. Never interfaced with an antenna it couldn't handle. Never an arc or spark.* Bought used, for $200 in year 2000. As with any good piece of gear, maint. is necessary, cleaning of roller col and switches.
*Note: tune up using 10 to 20 watts. Higher power will pit the roller coil, same as "hot switching". WHen properly adjusted, then it will handle a KW no problem! Dale, N2DM.
KE5AKG Rating: 2011-11-22
best tuner I ever bought Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This is close to being the ultimate tuner. I use it for 40-160m, and it will load up everything on these bands for me. I can load up my 43ft vertical on 160m and tune it to a SWR of 1.2 or better anywhere throughout the band. Using 900-1000w PEP with an AL-80B, it has never arced even once( my Palstar AT2K did). There is no need to switch in extra inductance as on the Palstar. I love both those tuners, but in my opinion the 2060A is the clear winner. Best 300$ I ever spent on a tuner. Heathkit should bring it back...maybe with lighted, peak-reading meters and a larger coax switch...this would be the last tuner anyone ever needed to buy!
KA4KOE Rating: 2011-06-22
Nice tuner Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought mine from the estate of a friend who recently passed. The only issue I had was the hex screws would not stay tight on the various cap/inductor shafts. I replaced the hardware with standard computer case screws and torqued them down with a Philips---careful though, or the brass couplings may strip out.

I have the non - "A" version.
W0EAJ Rating: 2011-02-26
Outstanding Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Understand that there IS a difference between the 2060 & 2060A - you must leave 1 output open with the 2060-no biggie. Important also, is no matter how tight you think it is, go inside and tighten up ALL the hardware, and that includes the hand-built capacitors. (also verify the output posts in the power/SWR "box" are tight - they usually aren't) Set the torques right and pay attention to the little adjustments that make a difference. This thing is based on the original "Ultimate Matchbox", and the description is spot on - sucker will load up a coathanger. One of only TWO impedance-matchers (they are NOT antenna tuners, if you get right down to it) that Heath ever made.
K3ROJ Rating: 2010-03-19
What a Tuner Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Over the past 10 years I have tried 4 different auto tuners even the high power MFJ994b but always had little quirks with them, either not tuning right or just too noisy and knew there was no problem with RF in the shack. Then I received an offer from the XYL of a friend that passed away. She had sold his main rig, power supply, antenna, key etc. and only the tuner remained. I had no idea as to it's worth and gave her $150 for it since when taking the cover off, could not believe the solid look and nice large roller inductor. Since I do not jump from one band to another, this tuner is now used everyday and tunes my horizontal skyloop antenna perfectly from 160 to 6 meters. I made up a chart to keep nearby and can quickly tune it on another band if I want. In a matter of 6 months, have worked many countries and all states. It feels so solid and built like a brick outbuilding. By the way, my rig is a Flex Radio 5000A and an Ameritron 611.