After getting into data, I started running into antenna issues. All of my HF antennas were homebrew dipoles resonant in the phone portion of the bands. At that point I had a decision to make, either make more dipoles tuned for data or buy an antenna tuner. I decided to go with an antenna tuner. After some searching, I found the MFJ-929.
The MFJ-929 Antenna tuner is capable of tuning 1.8 -30 MHz at full 200W SSB and CW. According to documentation, it is capable of tuning SWR up to 32:1. This unit has 131,072 matching solutions. There is 4 antenna memory banks for each antenna connector. Each bank is capable of holding 2500 memories.
This tuner is capable of 2 different antenna inputs. There is a separate input for a random wire antenna. If a random wire is being used, you can not connect an antenna to Antenna port 1. The radio interface port makes it easy to integrate this tuner with most major brand radios.
The Digital SWR, power and frequency meter are very nice. By pressing the mode button, your are able to display these readings several ways. The capacitance and inductance values can be displayed on the LCD screen. With this information, you can build antennas and find the values of the components to build a matching network.
Out of the box, this tuner is ready to go. Installation is easy. All that is required is a jumper to go from the tuner to the radio and plugging in the power. Once powered up, you can start using the tuner. Set your transmitter power between 2 – 20W and select the frequency you want to operate. Make sure the proper antenna is selected by pressing the ANT key. Key your transmitter and press the tune button for 1 second. Once the unit starts tuning, you will hear a lot of clicks coming from unit. This is normal, do not be alarmed. Once done, if the unit has found a match, it will display 1.5 or less SWR on the meter.
For my installation, I installed a radio interface cable. This makes tuning very convenient. Setup is specific to each type of radio but is explained well in the manual. Once interfaced with the radio, Pressing the tune button on the radio activates the transmitter and tuner.
Over all I am very pleased with this tuner. Since installed, this tuner has worked with no issue. The only downfall is that I have this connected to a Yaesu FT-891 and this tuner is not capable of 50MHz. When buying this unit, I was aware of this. Since I am not very active on that band, it is not really an issue.
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