Lower Cost Alternatives to an Antenna Tuner at the Base?

Q. Can you suggest any Lower Cost Alternatives to an Auto-tuner at the Base?

A. As we urge you to consider for best results, a matchbox or tuner located at the base of your DX Flagpole or Vertical-Dipole Antenna is not a luxury, it is essential.

Many users choose a commercial outdoor remote antenna tuner for the convenience of operation however, a purpose-built, relay-switched matching assembly is also suitable.

Other solutions are:

- A fixed L and C matching network for single-frequency use. 

- A manual tuner enclosed in a weather-tight box.

Here are some less-efficient but workable substitutes for a base-mounted remote auto-tuner. (note: nothing beats a quality antenna tuner at the base)

1.) Use a short run of 450 Ohm slotted window line from the antenna

all the way into the shack. It will require a 1:1 current balun in the shack. (note: not recommended for stealth operation) - Burying a short run is an acceptable practice. Some Ham circles cringe at this thought but it's true! Always consider the source, right?

2.) Use the DX Flagpole on only one band at a time with a discreet L/C matching network in an outdoor enclosure at the base. A parallel coil, series capacitor L-match will match the OCF antenna on all bands. Several remote fixed networks, relay switched, is also feasible.

3.) Use a manual tuner in an outdoor enclosure. Tune it up once on all bands and mark the scales for subsequent band changes. A second tuner in the shack or built into the rig will now safely bring the antenna to match.

4.) NOTE: A 4:1 or 9:1 current balun at the base is NOT an option. These will help the SWR on some bands but make it worse on others. The back and forth might be good for your health though!

5.) Refer to the originally recommended Remote Antenna Tuners.

We've heard folks try these various techniques with favorable results.

What's your method? We'd enjoy hearing your story.

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