I recently purchased a few pieces of radio equipment to try to help my fledgling setup. As it stands right now, I can’t reach anybody, and I was starting to doubt my old equipment. I figured if I got some test, measuring, and adjusting equipment, maybe I could see why I can’t talk to anyone. If you read last weeks article, you’ll know that it was really handy to measure my power output and see that I wasn’t even making any!
I am a little cheap. I have a hard time justifying spending money on my hobbies, since they don’t make any money. I understand a few dollars here and there, I just have a hard time making big purchases. But, I realized that if I didn’t spend some money on my HAM radio hobby, I was about to give it up out of frustration. So I spent $115 on this antenna auto-tuner. You can find them on Amazon, which is where I got mine: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B08MTQK3LF?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details
(Not an affiliate link, I make no money if you click it or buy it.)
So, with my new TecMad ATU-100 EXT 1.8-55MHz Automatic Antenna Tuner, I was hoping to fix my SWR woes and have better transmissions. Of course, I can adjust the wire lengths for that too, but I was starting to wonder if I was doing it right, since no one could ever hear me. Turns out my TS-520 final tubes were fried, so no one could hear me because I was barely transmitting (less than a watt).
That said I really like the tuner, since I can adjust it for different bands on the fly. Only time will tell if it makes a difference in my communications. I think the limiting factor for me right now is bands. As a Technician, I can only transmit on the 10 meter band (SSB – voice, I can use other bands with CW – Morse code) which is not working well right now due to the sun cycle. In about 5 years it will be the best band for transmitting, but for now it’s not doing so well. But it is still important to see if my equipment is working right, which the tuner did settle that question for me right out of the box.
Linux – keep it simple.