New Tuner for the Home Station

Earlier this week I took delivery of a new antenna tuner for the home HF station, an LDG AT-100ProII.  I have taken the Yaesu FC-30 off of the FT-897 and put the AT-100ProII in line and so far have been very happy.  I wouldn’t have had the FC-30 in the first place, but it came with the radio when I bought it (the FT-897D in the car has an LDG AT-897).

The Home HF station with LDG FT Meter, AT-100ProII and FT-897

What do I like about the AT-100ProII compared to the FC-30?  The simplest answer is everything:

  1. It is much more capable, the FC-30 can’t handle anything that confronts it with more than a 3:1 SWR, it’s more or less an internal tuner that hangs off of the side of the radio.
  2. No Fan Noise.  For some reason, the FC-30 fan stays on ALL THE TIME rather than using a thermoswitch to come on when needed or just coming on during transmit.  The fan noise can get extremely distracting and irritating after awhile.  No doubt the AT-100ProII would also use much less battery during portable or field ops than the FC-30 without a constantly running fan.
  3. It doesn’t tie up the CAT port on the FT-897.  Unlike the AT-897, the FC-30 doesn’t have a spare CAT port, so you can’t use Ham Radio Deluxe or other software with the 897 if you’re using the FC-30.  Likewise, you don’t have tie up your menu on the tuner page to have easy access to the “tune” button.
  4. 2 Antenna Ports.  The AT-100ProII has 2 switchable antenna ports which allows me to easily switch back and forth between the G5RV for HF and the JTB-4 for 6 Meters.

If I could come up with any complaint about the AT-100ProII, it’s that it is easy to get mesmerized by the LED power and SWR scales.  Then again, that comes from someone who was mesmerized by the big LEDs on the old Regency scanners back in the day; maybe that’s where the moving LED fascination came from…

I have also ordered a West Mountain Radio Rigblaster Plug and Play with the idea of trying out some digital modes; it should arrive this weekend.  I’ll be writing some posts as I learn about it and various digital modes. Stay Tuned!

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