Issue with Tarheel and TurboTuner2

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by WA6ILT, May 20, 2019.

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  1. WA6ILT

    WA6ILT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm trying to set the antenna up in my attic with a 4'x8' rabbit wire ground plane (per Tarheel), but I figure people reading the mobile forum might be the place to find people with more experience.

    The setup is a Yaesu 991A. The first thing I found out is that Menu item 28 must be set to 28 (232C), not the default of GPS1.

    I can tune the antenna manually with the help of an antenna analyzer even though it is extremely finicky. But when I try and use the tuner (all other menu options per the manual) all it does is start the tune cycle then signal P and go into park mode.

    All the cables are choked per Tarheel or the tuner instructions. I'm just out of ideas and if anybody has any to offer I will gladly entertain them.


  2. WQ6N

    WQ6N XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    From my experience, bonding and grounding are equally as important to RF Choking. In fact, I use 2 ea. 1 inch copper straps from the screwdriver mount to the car body. I would guess that would apply to any ground plane. How about near by metal such as pipes or even electrical/alarm/speaker wiring? Do you have a earth ground running up to your ground plane? I believe the standard is 6 AWG solid conductor.
    I was thinking of putting chicken wire under the roofing felt and a screwdriver on top of the roof due to a short attic height and a long whip. I would run a 2/0 earth ground welding lead up to the nearest center point.
    I do wind my own chokes using the method that Alan K0BG has on his info pages
    Please keep sharing your info. Other than a flag pole antenna a screwdriver antenna might be good for HOA/CCNR restrictions.
    NH7RO likes this.
  3. N4MU

    N4MU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Dave.
    I use a Tarheel on the roof of a metal shed behind our RV here in FL. The shed is a typical about 7X7 square with slightly beveled roof. I have the TH on a "leveling square" of aluminum sheet sitting right on the roof via beveled 2X4s so the antenna is plumb. Yes, it took quite some trial and error to work right but now I have fantastic matching 80 to 10. The trick was to run ground braid from antenna base to ground rod next to shed. Other wiring didn't cut it...the braid is MUCH more RF suitable and helped tremendously. I do not have any other connections with the shed or roof...just the braid (1/2" BTW, 3/4 might be even better. I have used this config with a TF-450D, FT-991A and now with a FTdx-3000. All liked the set-up.
    With regard to a controller: I have also recently been through ALL of them with the FTdx-3000...Turbo-Tuner, TuneMatic, the West Mtn tuner (forgot the name), Ameritron 104, etc. I think I even tried a "Tuner My Ass"...LOL - NONE of them worked as they were supposed to for one reason or another. The SDC-104 got closest to actually tuning the antenna and providing "receive" tuning but was not stable (it MAY have been a defective unit...not sure). I was looking for "hands-off" tuning, receive if possible (i.e. no carrier required), but again, none of them were compatible with the 3000. I suspect the 991 would have been similar as they both use similar protocols (different than other so-called mobile xcvrs). I currently use a SDC-102 (4 years now) and while not perfect it does the job). I would say that your most immediate issue would be getting the antenna to properly match no matter how it is tuned. That will be most important...then auto tune etc., can be selected. BTW, I use a snap-on toroid choke (2" X 1 1/2") with 6 turns of "8X" at the base and a similar choke with four conductor wire (12 turns) for the DC/control like a champ and per Alan Applegate's ( comments...I can remove the choke line with NO change in "X" (analyzer at antenna base) I know it's effective! Hope this diatribe on the antenna ground field/counterpoise and add a wide (short as possible) strap for RF ground. Even though yours is presumably more than 7 feet above ground it may do the same things mine just have to find the "happy place". Good luck. Let me know your progress. Believe me, I've been through a LOT of trial and error...but am now quite...actually VERY happy with the Tarheel...ain't much DX I can't snag with the ALS-600 at about 400-500 watts and the TH! 73. BTW, if you have other Qs email me (see QRZ). Bill, N4MU
  4. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

  5. N4MU

    N4MU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yup. That's it! Target, Turbo, Trump Tuner...I tried them all. While every one probably worked as described, none worked with the 3000 properly. The SDC-104 came close but, as I said, I think it may have been defective. It did talk to the radio properly. But by that time I was controller fried. Also, it should be noted that WMR did offer to work with me on the TargetT but I ended up declining. I didn't feel like doing their R&D at the time. Otherwise, I wish that one (TargetT) woulda worked as they said it should. If, and when I proceed, unless someone comes out with a "sure-fire, tested" tuner I'll probably go with the 104 due to real receive tuning capabilities...8 memories per band be damned...LOL. Thanks for the name reminder!
  6. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm confused. Isn't the whole point of the Tarheel that the motorized coil tap provides a good match to the rig? Why would you use a tuner with one?
  7. N4MU

    N4MU Ham Member QRZ Page

    YUZ: You're not confused...maybe I wasn't clear... I don't use the tarheel with a tuner...just other antennas (wire, hamsticks, etc)
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  8. WA6ILT

    WA6ILT Ham Member QRZ Page

    The "tuners" for these antennas actually drive the coil until a match is found, or that's the idea anyway. I can now get my antenna to match with the manual up/down switch using an antenna analyzer, but it's a very time consuming and finicky proposition, especially the higher you go in frequency
  9. WA6ILT

    WA6ILT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Bill,

    Per Robert at Tarheel I added ferrites to the coax where it exits the ground plane and covered both the coax and control cable with a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil (held down by wood battens on each side, screwed into the substrate for good connection to the ground plane) between the base of the antenna to where it the edge of the ground plane. I can now tune the antenna manually using my analyzer, but it's very finicky and time consuming. I have a lot of aluminized ducting up there (see picture) that I'm sure is doing me no good. The antenna is in the spot most removed from the ducting.

    You can also see from the picture how the antenna is mounted to the ground plane. The legs of that omega shaped aluminum mount are screwed down to the rabbit wire with conductive grease between to encourage contact and prevent corrosion. The base of the antenna is 4-5 inches above the wire. 0416190858a[1].jpg

    The tuner will work for *very* small changes in frequency, but changes from one band to another, or even from the cw to phone portion of the same band, still result in the tuner going into "Park" mode. The tuner people provided the following suggestion:

    Touch [TONE] on the LCD repeatedly to choose
    “T.SQL” from the available choices of
    “OFF” -> “ENC (Tone Encoder)”-> “T.SQL (Tone Squelch)” -> “OFF”

    The problem is there's nothing like that I can find in the 991A menu structure. They seem to think the problem is being caused by the squelch opening (the tuner puts the radio in FM mode), but everything I find to do, including setting the squelch by hand or as a menu option, to 100 doesn't seem to help. I told them I can't find what they describe but I haven't heard back. At Dayton?

    I've sent an email to WMR asking if they have any experience yet with the 991A

    Rats. I had a whole post done and lost it. Let me try again.

    I can now tune the antenna manually using the analyzer and the manual switch, but it's a slow and finicky process. Per Robert at Tarheel, I added ferrites on the coax where it exits the ground plane and a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil over the control cable and coax between the antenna mount and the edge of the ground plane. It's held down by wood battens on either side of the cables that are screwed to the substrate so it's in good contact with the wire along its whole length. This picture is pre-foil.

    The antenna mount is grounded to the wire by the outward legs of the mount (see picture) being screwed down tight on top of the wire with conductive grease between to help the connection and prevent corrosion. The mount is about 4-5 inches high.

    The tuner will only work for *very* small changes in frequency. When changing bands, or from the cw to phone portion of the same band, it still goes into Park. The tuner company thinks this has to do with the squelch being opened during the tuning process (the tuner puts the radio in FM mode to tune). Everything I can find to set the squelch to its highest level, in the menu or manually, doesn't seem to help. They sent me this:

    Touch [TONE] on the LCD repeatedly to choose
    “T.SQL” from the available choices of
    “OFF” -> “ENC (Tone Encoder)”-> “T.SQL (Tone Squelch)” -> “OFF”

    But there's nothing I can find in the 991A menu structure that looks like that. I've so informed them but haven't heard back. Maybe they were at Dayton and haven't caught up yet.

    I've emailed WMR and asked if they have any experience with the 991A and the TargeTuner but I don't expect to hear back until next week.

    As you can see, I have a lot of aluminized duct work up there. The antenna is as far away from it all as I can get it, but I'm sure it's not helping.

    Thanks for the info.

    Dave, WA6ILT
  10. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used to have a TargeTuner which I tried to use with my High-Q screwdriver before I sold both; it was problematic at best. I found it far simpler to use the DPDT up/down switch and roughly tune by ear and then tune for the sweet spot with 2 watts and my Elecraft's built in SWR meter. I now do the same with my Scorpion replacement. One thing I should mention is that the automatic tuners are better suited for the usual mobile installations as I was primarily using both screwdrivers at my home QTH after trying them out mobile.

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