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.
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 .
To use the tuner remotely you need to understand the limitations
-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.
73 de K1ESE
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
I DO NOT use RS-232 or anything special to the tuner. I did modify my tuner so I could control it remotely and I did some work to decode the RS-232 packets but never really used them.
I simply leave my HF auto in "Auto mode", Ant 1. I have another remote controlled switch to switch antennas.
I just take the SPE offline which I can do remotely. Then I hit tune. The HF auto just does its thing and in 5 s or less I'm tuned on that spot. Then the amp comes back online.
My coax run from the HF Auto to my loop is about 40 feet. I just need to be careful if the SWR is say over about 3:1 then I cannot run full power. So I mapped my antenna out and I know where my SWR is very low and in the warning level.
So I set my SPE to set the drive level accordingly. So far its been a great combination. I am able to tune my 80m loop on 160. I don't op there hardly at all but I did make a couple contacts so I know it works. It certainly is not optimal.
The big surprise for me was tuning my 80m on 6m and getting great signal reports one day. Again I figure it is not optimal but it works well!
This tuner can tune many very off antenna/feedline combinations. What you get is a low SWR to your radio or amp, but keep in mind your SWR along your feedline might be crazy. So know your antenna and feedline and deal with power accordingly even if the tuner says you are good to go!
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