"Antenna Tuner?" -- TenTec -- Palstar -- Ameritron -- MFJ ?? Appreciate suggestions.

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KM5YE, Aug 31, 2012.

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  1. AA9DD

    AA9DD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have an LDG 1000Pro, I’ve never had any problems with it and it does a good job. The only downside is its noisy when tuning a frequency not in memory but that’s not a show stopper.

    At all costs go with the AL-80B I’m sure you will never regret it. The 811 series was designed to be the cheapest possible amplifier and that’s no secret. I’ve never had any issues with my 811 however I only run it at about 400 watts. Running it at the rated output is pushing it to the absolute maximum for both the tubes and power supply, at the first opportunity I’m selling or trading in my 811 for an AL-80B.
     
  2. KA5ROW

    KA5ROW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have the Ten-Tec 238-A and it is by far the best tuner money can buy.

    My story:

    I had a MFJ 989-C worked fine at 1300 watts everywhere, except on 160 meters. It would arch at 300 watts.
    Then I got a Dentron MT-3000 same thing worked fine 10-80 meters and then would arch at 300 to 400 watts on 160.

    Got a Ten-Tec 238 slide rule dial, no arch on 160. Did not care for the slide rule dial so I got the Ten-Tec 238-A, exact same on the inside just no slide rule dial. No arch I can’t even make it arch. So in my book there is none better than the Ten-Tec 238 series whether it is the 238, 238-A, 238-B, or the 238-C
     
  3. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    AL80B and Palstar AT2K is a great combo.
     
  4. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Kudos! The palstar is superior quality. The 80b is far better than the 811.
     
  5. KM5YE

    KM5YE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I stumbled upon this: AMERITRON ATR-20 -- and it appears to be -as they call it: "...the little brother of the Ameritron ATR-30 True Legal Limit antenna tuner". Only $414.00 at GigaParts http://www.gigaparts.com/store.php?action=profile&sku=ZAM-ATR-20

    "It's Ameritron Tough -- handles a full 1.2 kW SSB and 600 Watts CW. It's designed to safely handle the full SSB power of Ameritron's AL-811, AL-811H, AL-80B, ALS-500M, ALS-600 and other 1.2 kW SSB amplifiers. Compact all metal cabinet measures 13W x 4 3/4H x 17D inches."

    It seems to be all the tuner the AL-80B would need (???) and still have a 20+% overhead to spare. To me it looks like the best of both worlds ..... and this is with the hope that the 'Ameritron' tuners are not clones of the MFJ tuners as far as the quality of internal parts.

    Any thoughts on the 'Ameritron AT-20' rather than the 'AT-30'? Perhaps I am missing the obvious or the not-so-obvious??

    THANKS VERY MUCH for all the input thus far guys and/or gals --- VERY good info and I have far more to go on than a couple days ago! It helps a LOT!

    John / KM5YE

     
  6. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    You need to do what I did yesterday. I picked up a palstar at 1500 dt mint condition for $300. The tuner is awesome, like a fine tuned machine. You can't really appreciate a palstar until you put your hands on one and pop the hood and take a look at the inside. I was going to get an ameritron atr 30. But
    I can't shake the idea that its a renamed mfj product. A ham friend that knows all says the way the roller inductor is designed, it is prone to failure and will not be good in the long run.

    One thing I have learned in ham radio. Go ahead and buy the best. If you have the idea that you will buy based on price and up grade later, will cost you in the long run. I now have a mfj I hope I can sell:(
     
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The ATR-20's likely good, although I don't have one. I do have an ATR-30 and it's the best tuner I've ever owned with respect to matching range and reliability (so far, and it's been 12 years now).

    My Palstar failed on 160m at about a kilowatt and burned up components. They wouldn't take it back, so I fixed it and sold it.

    My Nye-Viking MB-VA, which was very expensive when new, also failed -- although by observation you'd almost wonder how that's possible, since it's built like a tank.

    Ameritron, like Mirage, Cushcraft and lots of companies have common parentage with MFJ but it's a separate factory with separate personnel and assembly lines. If you read the QST review I referenced earlier, they show all the tuners "covers off" and describe them all, with documented test results for matching range and insertion loss. It's pretty obvious the MFJ and Ameritron have nothing in common; the components are all different as are the designs and even the enclosures. And the lab test results were quite different, also.
     
  8. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Steve , my lack of knowledge and the numbers on the QST review do not seem to add up ?
    You mention more range on the ATR-30 [ 35 - 500 ohm ] and the others are 20 - 1500 ohm , 5 - 3000 ohm , could you help me understand ?
    I traded for a Palstar AT2K , one of the reasons was , it was one of tuners that had good spec.s and no balun inside , so that I have the option of using a verity of baluns to suit each antenna system I may use , in one case a Butternut HV-9 with a home-brew CPK kit [ a counter poise mounted at the base of the Butternut when elevated ] , the balun [ Balun Designs 1:1 3k ] mounted with the counter-poise .
     
  9. W8MLD

    W8MLD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use an AL-811H and an MFJ-962D manual tuner. I've never had an issue with the 811H and the 811A tubes are better than the folks here are giving them credit. There are however matched Taylor 572B tubes with are plug and play heavy duty replacements for the 811A tubes that you can get from RF Parts as matched quads at a decent price. Just make sure you follow the directions to discharge the capictor and jumpering it with proper grounding before changing the tubes out; that is unless you like being zapped. Plus also doing the tube burn in procedure before attempting to transmitt. It's a little time consuming but worth the trouble. You'll end up not having to worry if you got a solid set of 811As or not.

    The reason I prefer a manual tuner over an automatic is I like having more control and being able to fine tune my SWR in as close as I can. Automatics tend to grab anything between 1.1-1.3 and call it good to go sometimes. I'm sure the more expensive models do a much better job, but I still like having that extra control.

    At the moment I'm running a Kenwood TS2000X as my rig. Not the greatest rig there is, but I like having everything in a nice little package; 160m-23cm. It is more a jack of all trades and master of none. Plus Skycommand II is very cool with the new Kenwood HT; you can sit out on the porch and work HF from the HT remotely controling the rig in the house. Now that is where an autotuner would be helpful. It also has built in FSK and satellite options if you like working those. There are better rigs out there and some prefer having everything in seperate boxes, but I was limited on space and went this route. I also use an inverted L for 160-10 meters, a vertical dipole for 6 meters, comet tribander vertical for 2m-23cm, and I have a 2 meter 17 element Yagi and 23 cm 13 element yagi. For the multiband vertical I have a triplexer to run all the band without having to switch coax out. Most of my coax is 9913; since I had to run some distance to the antennas. If you use 9913 make sure it is good and weather proofed, water can be a pain if not. And, I say this about the inverted L. It is a damn good antenna. Takes a little work sometimes getting the proper capacitance at the tuner box at the base of the antenna, but the MFJ-259 analyzer makes that work a snap. Also, the more ground radials you can get put down the better; I find myself adding more and more as I get time. I'm up to 30 now, and tied into the cold water pipes under the house; which act like radials for you. Just my 5 cents I guess since I went so long on the post.
     
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sure. I'd forget about "ratings" and read the review to see what the ARRL lab was actually able to match. With the Palstar, you'll see "NO MATCH" listed in some places, under some test conditions. That means, regardless of its ratings, it just couldn't match the applied load. You won't see any "NO MATCH" listings anywhere for the ATR-30.

    Another thing to look for is loss, or dissipation in the tuner, under mismatch conditions.

    The lab test report lists all that as a "percentage" loss in power transferred from source to load.

    If you balance both the abilility to match bad loads and the percentage power lost while doing so, in the review the ATR-30 beat everything else. It's just a matter of reading the data.
     
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