Palstar auto tuner & Flex 6000 series

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  • Updated 4 years ago
Hi All

I was going to purchase the Palstar HF Auto Tuner in the quest to fully remote on a non resonant antenna.  I wondered if anyone on here as been doing this?

It looks to me like DDUTIL can track the Flex 6000 from Passive listener and couple the Palstar HF Auto via a 232 connection.

It would be easier for a Resonant antenna and no tuner but here in the Lighting and Hurricane areas I have to wait another two months before my Hex Beam goes up.

Any Comments from remote operators or Palstar HF users welcome.
Ian
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KM4CQG

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Posted 4 years ago

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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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For performance sake, have you considered a remote tuner at the feedpoint? MFJ makes a surprisingly good one that is RF sensing, so doesn't need a control line.
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np2g

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I think you should also consider the wattage you intend to load into the antenna.

Remote antenna tuners work very good . RF sensing , fast reliable .  most  have been designed with no intended operator intervention .

I think one big issue  of RF sampled units is that for a " short time"  you see a short . Before it resolves the frequency , band , vswr issue . 
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Cedric HB9HFN

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I have been using a MFJ-998 at the feed point of my 43' vertical and it worked quite good with automatic tuning. I have replaced it with a Harris RF-382A now.
The MFJ could not tune on 160m but I placed a coil at the base and switched it from my shack...
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K1ESE

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The HF Auto does not track frequency via RS232.  The RS232 on the back is only for loading firmware and not for any type of control.  No need to connect via DDUTIL. 

To use the tuner remotely you need to understand the limitations
Remotely
-You can initiate tune by sending a carrier. 
-You can have already configured the tuner to change antenna based on the frequency of the carrier. 
-You cannot read the tuner's status (I used a web cam pointed at the tuner). 
-You cannot change from Auto to Manual. 
-You cannot change tuner parameters.

I used a web power switch to power the tuner off and on.

Questions?

73 de K1ESE
John
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Steve W6SDM

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Ian,  I don't know about the Palstar but I am using an Elecraft KPA500.  Not sure how much power you're running, but if it's a half gallon or less, that seems like it would make a good remote tuner.  Elecraft even has a remote app, which I use to monitor my tuner on screen.
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Ned K1NJ

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    All that John, K1ESE has said is good info.   I would add that Palstar has made a remote
interface:  http://www.palstar.com/en/hf-auto-r/

   I would also caution that the HF-Auto enclosure is not weather-proof, so you may have to
consider building an enclosure for it, perhaps with a small heater to help against moisture.
On the other hand, the advice the other gentlemen have offered is also good, particularly
concerning units that were designed with outdoor use in mind.  When Palstar announced
the HF-Auto, they said that a remote enclosure would be forthcoming.  However this has
not yet materialized.  I use mine in the shack to make a solid state linear happy with a 160m
inverted "L" that I use from 160m to 17m with a bottom mounted balun from DX-Engineering.
Whatever you get belongs at the antenna if you can manage it.

Ned,  K11NJ
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KM4CQG

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My Problem is the Flex 6500  and or Expert 1KA built in Antenna Tuner can't tune this G5RV I use in Hurricane season.

Presently I use a Palstar AT2K which is a excellent manual tuner. What I would like to be able to do is use a remote Log in program and use the equipment.

Since the Palstar should tune with just RF I think I can just use the Tune function on SDR with low output. Question is can the Palstar HF Auto remotely turn on via the 232 port?

There have been a few threads with operators using the 232 port with DDUTIL.

Ian
(Edited)
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K1ESE

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> Question is can the Palstar HF Auto remotely turn on via the 232?

No.  The RS232 port on the HF Auto doesn't do any commands.  The work around is a web controlled power strip like this - http://www.digital-loggers.com/lpc.html  There are several to choose from in the $150 range.  You turn the power on and off to the tuner.

You also can use the switch to turn the power on and off to your computer, rig power supply, antenna disconnect relay and such.

73 de K1ESE
John
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WX7Y

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If you can find the original Palstar AT-Auto and NOT the redesigned one they have been forced to sell because of patent issues it will run GREAT using DDUTIL and follow the Flex Radio's where ever it goes in the Tuners range with out any power out onece the memory is set. 

Here at my QTH I use the Radio shack #20-546  USB serial cable that has the 1/8" plug on the end which is labeled as a Radio Shack Scanner programming cable also works as a ICOM programming cable.

Cost of the cable I think was about $30.00 or so if I remember right because I bought it back in 2008 when I bought my first Flex 5K and still use it today with the 6700.

Another note:
I also use the MFJ998 Remote Auto Tuner out on the tower along with my Flex6700 and Ameritron AL82 with full legal output that works VERY well so far after about a month of operating it out on the tower.

For those who DO NOT KNOW, DO NOT use two tuners at the same time on the same Antenna this is a real problem.

73's Bret
WX7Y
(Edited)
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KM4CQG

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Thanks John nice product

Ian
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Reg

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I have both an MFJ-998rt and a Palstar HF-AUTO tuner. 

The MFJ-998rt works well on a (43') vertical with a lot of radials BUT it will not tune 160 meters, only 80 and up.  I also fed an 80 meter wire full length dipole with the MFJ-998rt and it would tune any frequency from 80 meters up through 10 meters.  By attaching the 80 meter dipole bridged as a top hat to the single wire output of the MFJ-998rt, it will tune 160 meters.  (The MFJ-998rt has both an unbalanced and a single wire output but you can only use one at a time.)

The Palstar HF-AUTO shares some of the characteristics of the MFJ-998rt.  It will not tune to a band below the frequency of the lowest band for which the antenna was designed.  (It won't tune 160 meters on an 80 meter dipole.)  The HF-AUTO will tune anything I have connected it to on any frequency above the design frequency of the antenna.  To use it remotely (remote rig not remote tuner) you would have to watch the SWR reported by the FLEX-6000 or amp, if one follows the FLEX-6000, in order to be sure that a tuning solution was reached.  To tune the HF-AUTO you tune with a very short burst of low power and the tuner rolls (literally) to the solution.  While transmitting again with a few watts on one of my transceivers I can observe that the SWR has converged toward 1:1 before transmitting with higher power.  The HF-AUTO will tune into a short on 160, 10 & 6 meters.  In such a failure mode all of the power would be dissipated inside the tuner.  Not good when running high power.

Reg

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np2g

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I think your solution would be a antenna that works . First 
Add the palstar to enhance the operation 
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KM4CQG

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Reg

Thanks I can use DDutil to see the SWR I set it up last night and successfully watched it all night work. How  many watts will it Tune with Reg?

NP2G

There is a Hex beam waiting to go up in 2 months after Hurricane season see original Post.

Ian
(Edited)
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Reg

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The Palstar HF-AUTO is rated by Palstar at 1800 watts. 

I should have added the following in my original post above about the MFJ-998rt and Palstar HF-AUTO.  My 6 meter and HF antennas from 40 meters on up are beams with extremely low SWR's.  The only tuner I use for those antennas is the automatic antenna tuner in my Alpha 9500.  On 80 and 160 my wire antennas, although full sized, are not broadband and are only useable across part of the bands without a tuner.  The MFJ-998rt works well on 160 when driving a center fed top hat.  The Palsar HF-AUTO does a nice job on 80 meters of giving me a nice low SWR across the entire band, making all modes accessible.