600W Plus Auto-Tuners For Flex-6XXX Series

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What 600W+ tuners integrate with the Flex-6XXX series? I love my Palstart AT-AUTO but I need a tuner that tunes faster for ALE work. The AT-AUTO can take up to 30 seconds to tune. This is fine for everything esle for me but not ALE. So with that I'm looking for a 600W+ tuner that integrates well 6XXX radios.

I've used an MFJ-998 and I may go back to that. Any other options?

73 Chris AK4SK
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Moose

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Posted 1 year ago

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Dick B

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I use an AT-Auto with my 6300 just fine ... are you not using its memories?  It shouldn't have to tune often at all if you're using the memories.  
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Mark Thomas

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Chris,

Are you talking about a Palstar "HF-Auto" or a "Palstar-AT2K" model ? There is no model "AT-Auto".  Please clarify.

Is the problem how long it takes to actually tune to a memorized match, or how long it takes seeking around trying different combinations to determine best tuning for frequencies it might not have memorized?

If your unit is an HF-Auto, then my understanding is you can use W1ITR PC software so your tuner auto-follows the tuning of the radio real-time as you change frequencies, once you have followed the procedure so the software learns your antenna matches. This should keep your tuner tuned before you even transmit on a changed frequency.

Also, again if this is the HF-Auto, even without any PC software, if you have an old firmware version loaded or don't have the settings right so it memorizes your tuning, it may take much longer to re-determine your tuning each time you change frequencies, rather than simply immediately going to the memorized values.

I hope this information is helpful. I have no connection to HF-Auto other than that I am a satisfied user. I have not tried the W1ITR software because once my tuner found and memorized settings, I have found it plenty quick at tuning to wherever I go.

Mark Thomas KC3DRE
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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There was. I have two.

Short version is Palstar and the programmer of th AT-Auto had a legal despute. The AT-Auto design now belongs to Kessler Engineering who have released firmware updates and accessories. They may have new units - you'd need to ask them if interested.

Palstar had no auto-tune unit until the HF-Auto was released.

AT-Auto, Kessler updated AT-Auto and HF-Auto are all different in varying degrees. I've operated behind all three.

And that's the rest of the story, as they say.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Mark Thomas

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I stand corrected. Thanks for the full story.
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Moose

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Mark,
It's not an issue of trying to find a match. Through the USB feature in SmartSDR it will follow the frequency of the TX slice. The tuner in not like other auto tuners. It has a roller inductor and capacitor like a manual tuner except they are driven by stepper motors. It takes  bit fro the motors to reposition L and C when the frequency changes. I use a 275' off center fed dipole. The L and C needed at 20m is much different from that needed at 80m. 

I hope that helps.

Chris
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Moose

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It's a wonderful tuner, just not suited to my needs.
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Gary Sheridan

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I use the Elecraft KAT500 with my Flex 6500, its plug and play. The tuner detects when I change bands on the 6500 and automatically selects the antenna I have preset for that band. The tuner memorizes previously tuned frequencies so QSYing is real fast.It has three antenna ports and will handle 1500 watts. I use DDUtil with the tuner and my KPA500 amp. All three play real nice with each other. 
Hope this helps,
Gary N1RNJ
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Norm - W7CK

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I believe you mean 500 watts and not 1500 watts.   I was told by the folks at Elecraft that the KAT500 will handle 1000 watts as long as the amount of swr that needs to be corrected is kept to 3:1 or less.

I have the KAT500 and KPA500 combination and it works very well with the 6000.
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Al K0VM, Elmer

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I'll second Gary's observation that the KAT500 integates very well with Flex. (the KPA 500 too ).
Almost like thaty were made for each other.

AL, K0VM
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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New KAT500 owner... so far it is seamless. But 600+ watts could approach the limits of the tuner in certain conditions. From the KAT500 specs:

Frequency               Typical Matching Range and Power Limit
3 — 30 MHz            600W into 5 to 500 Ohms (10:1 SWR)
                                 1000W into 16 to 150 Ohms (3:1 SWR )

1.8 — 2MHz            600W into 10 to 500 Ohms (5:1 Low Impedance, 10:1 High Impedance SWR)
                                 1000W into 16 to 150 Ohms (3:1 SWR )

30 — 60MHz           500W into 5:1 SWR (10 to 250 Ohms)

Matching specified to a 1.0:1 to 1.6:1 resultant SWR. Power rating is ICAS (Intermittent Commercial and Amateur Service).

73,
Kev K4VD
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Another vote for the KAT500, as long as you're not trying to match something outside its range. After it's trained, and with a USB CAT cable from the Flex to the KAT, bandswitching is about as instantaneous as you can get.
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Hi George... even without the USB CAT cable bandswitching and tuning seems to be near instantaneous after training. I wonder if the USB CAT cable offers some other advantage?
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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No need to press "tune" - ready from the first dit.
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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In AUTO mode, no DDUtil, no USB band data from the Flex the KAT500 will tune to the band and proper SWR if trained after it receives a signal. It takes a moment but no button pushing on my part. When going from 40 to 80 for example I can see the SWR in the red for a moment, a loud relay click, maybe a couple of light clicks, and SWR is low. Less than a second it seems.

In AUTO mode, with CAT control from DDUtil and no USB band data from the Flex, the KAT500 switches band apparently under DDUtil control whenever I change the band on ssdr. I think DDUtil is also sending the KAT500 the frequency because as I tune around on the SSDR I can hear the KAT500's relay click sometimes. When I key up, there are no relay clicks at all, just low SWR. This assumes again that it is trained. Another advantage is that the preferred antenna selected so even before the first key down the preferred antenna is already selected and tuned.

I can't see what band data over the USB cable would buy. I'm not a big fan of DDUtil but I'm kind of changing my mind about it. I have the KAT500/KPA500/W2 and DDUtil uses or controls all of them pretty nicely. Little glitches here and there.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Kevin, I'm on a Mac, so can't use DDUtil. The USB cable to the tuner accomplishes pretty much the same thing - sends band/frequency data so that the tuner is automatically adjusted without the need to transmit. Nice when I just want to listen, or when my DXCluster software sends me to a spot - no need to QRM the pileup. 

Bonus - once the tuner is trained, no noisy relay chatter to wake up the XYL when I switch bands. Just one clunk. Definitely worth the price of the cable! Stitches from rolling pin injuries get expensive...
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Moose

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Great, thank you all for the info. I'll take a look at the Elecraft Tuner.

73 Chris AK4SK
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Ross - K9COX

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Contrary to popular opinion if you have one that works the MFJ-998 is a fine tuner and very fast. It has more memories that most would ever need.
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Michael - AA5SH

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I had one that worked great and a good friend is on his second soon to be third replacarment from them.
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Norm - W7CK

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I have the 998 as well.  Even though its not the RT (remote) version, I still run it as a remote tuner.  I just put it under a small plastic tote at the base of my Inverted-L and it works great on 160-40.  I feed it with 12v across the coax.  Since the 998 doesn't have a built in Bias T, (the ability to extract 12v off of the coax), you have to place one at the tuner as well as in the shack.

The 998 works fairly well but I have to admit there are times when it just gets stuck and will flat out not respond.   As an example, if I'm on 160m and then switch to 80m. The 998 occasionally refuses to tune or select the appropriate memory data.  In those cases, I switch to 40m let it tune, then go to 80m and it usually works fine.

Anyone else experience this issue with the 998?

Other than that, the 998  works well and I've been running a Kenwood TL-922A through it for a while now.  Mostly on 160m
(Edited)
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Manfred HB9FLU

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I have the same "issue" with 160m. But that's not a problem for me. The 998 and the 998RT are just fine. I own both models and a 994BRT and a 929, all of them works without problems..
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Mark

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FWIW - I have an LDG AT-1000ProII that I use in the shack.  It will handle up to 1KW. It tunes a memorized frequency nearly instantly on initial  transmit. 73, Mark
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Moose

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I'm going to take a look at the LDG 600 and 1000 models. Thanks.

73 Chris