How to choose a Remote Tuner?

How to Choose a Remote Tuner

This is a common question, and yes, we do strongly urge you to consider using a remote tuner at the base of your Greyline DX antenna. It's true, some guys don't subscribe to this method and are reporting they are happily working DX too. Typically these guys operate with really short feedline runs between the radio shack and the antenna or are literally on the saltwater and do not notice any losses. The rest of us will see an improvement in doing it correctly.

See our blog post on How to Correctly Configure the Greyline Flagpole Antenna, here:

"That's 10-25% of the PEP rating on FT8"

FT8 and full duty-cycle operation found in the digital modes puts more pressure on the components of the equipment these days, more than ever. Higher quality components that handle heat and power are quickly becoming obvious as a need in the market.

Older transceiver and amplifier airflow and power supply components may not be rated for FT8 transmission duration and duty cycles, especially amplifiers using old glass tubes like 3-500Zs and even worse 811As and 572Bs. The best FT8 amplifiers are specifically designed for EME use. The Alpha 8406 and Lunarlink LA series amplifiers handle 1500 watt EME with ease, so FT8 is a breeze.

We've heard folks describe the damage to solid-state gear using digital modes such as FT8 or RTTY. For example, a 600-watt solid state amp quickly burned out operating at up to 300 watts FT8. Some manufacturers would say, "do not run it over 100 watts on FT8 and then let it cool down." That's 10-25% of the PEP rating on FT8 for their amps. Some of the antenna manufacturers are specifying 20-30% of PEP rating for FT8, especially when there is a toroid. (Greyline does NOT use coils, traps, toroids, and other easy-to-burn-out elements. Many manufacturers are vague about FT8 power ratings on their various products as well.

Amateur Radio Grade Remote Tuners: $200-750

At Greyline Performance, we recommend the MFJ and LDG line of Remote Tuners. These are all powered over coax with a 12VDC ~100ma power-over-coax which makes both attractive and simple to include in the Greyline DX antenna system. Both are affordable and frankly, the only option if you are considering a reasonable budget for your antenna system. Sure, we get guys who say things like, "I'm dying in 6 months, I don't care how much it costs!" Again, for the rest of us, we'll want to consider these two options.

Choosing your Remote Tuner:

1. Consider the bands you are wanting to operate.
2. Next, you'll want to consider your output power desired.

Each tuner has a power range and an impedance range. Regarding the impedance, the MFJ 993BRT (300W) and MFJ 998RT (1500W) both have a wider impedance range than the rest of the tuners in the field. This could lend themselves to access 160M with more reliability, for example. Note that MFJ does not operate on 6M, where LDG does include 50 MHz.

LDG RT-100 (100W) and RT 600 (600W) are both highly regarded by our customers. Rarely do we hear a complaint. The quality is higher than the MFJ models in regards to efficiency and quality of materials, yet both are just fine for most Amateur uses. You have two simple choices, 100W and 600W. Note the digital mode power limits if you are an FT4, FT8 guy.

With both LDG and MFJ, you get what you pay for. These are budget tuners and have failure rates that are acceptable to most. Just watch your power. Some have no trouble year after year and others experience failures.

High-end Tuners $2500-3000

We also offer a high-power model that will tune a toothpick on 160M at 1500W all day long. Well, maybe not that extreme, but maybe. These tuners are $2500-3000 vs. the $250-750 listed above. They also come with no headaches where you can install it and forget it. It's not going to meltdown. We have folks who want to install the antenna system one time, seal it from the weather, and let it live there for years to come. If this makes sense to you, consider the brands we carry or refer to, here.


Whatever Antenna or Tuner you choose, if you need a little help deciding, give us a call or write an email. We really enjoy helping folks make the right decision to get on the air with real DX confidence with a real DX antenna.

What DX will you work this year?


  • "Real DX 160-6M at my HOA"
  • "4 Band DXCC in 3-months at my HOA."
  • "So pretty my XYL approves!"
  • "If I can hear it, I can work it."

+ See customer install pics and Real DX stories

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