Monday, 8 February 2021

ELECRAFT T1A REVIEW

SUPER PORTABLE ATU

I've always been fairly happy with my LDG Z100PLUS and have never seen it as a great hardship lugging it around with me when working outdoors. It is, after all, quite compact and runs off internal batteries. But it does have a steel case and those batteries do add to the weight when you're walking up hill.

So when I bought an IC-705 I started to see more and more posts about the MAT Tuner and the ICOM AH-705 Tuner. Neither of these appealed to me because the MAT-705 had some quality issues and the AH-705 is just too focused on the IC-705 (and it's too big). I prefer a tuner that I can use with a variety of QRP radios.

So then I recalled just how amazing the ATU was in my Elecraft KX3 and so I decided to investigate the Elecraft T1A tuner. The unit is about the same price as the KX3's internal ATU so although I wasn't exactly thrilled with the cost, neither was I surprised.


The thing that did surprise me however, was the quality of the T1A's case. It looks rather cheap. The battery cover is one of those slide-on/off affairs and the interface socket on the side looks misaligned. It's really not what you'd expect at this price point 😲


Having said that, everything else is pretty much perfect! This tiny (the world's smallest actually), lightweight marvel runs on a single PP3 battery and is just superb at finding a match on everything you connect it with. It's every bit as good as the KX3 tuner and they don't come much better than that.

Using the device in manual mode is pretty simple - just a case of pressing the TUNE button and then keying up your radio in AM/CW/RTTY mode until the T1A finds a match, then switching back to your desired operating mode.

I believe Elecraft are making an interface lead to connect the T1A to the IC-705 for automatic operation, but if it's like any of their other stuff, it'll probably be about £75 😂 I've dropped them a few emails asking WHEN the interface cable will be released but they keep saying they have no release date - pffft!



I tried the T1A with my G5RV, EFHW, Random Wire and with my AT1 Telescopic. It worked quickly and flawlessly - which is exactly what I expected from Elecraft. 

The LDG Z100PLUS is a fabulous ATU and can handle much more power than the T1, so if you have the licence for extra power, you may opt for the LDG instead of the ELECRAFT.

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OVERVIEW 

Use with any Low-Power Transceiver 
The T1 can be used with any 0.5-W to 20-W transceiver covering bands in the 160-6 m range. This includes kits, home-built rigs, and commercial transceivers such as the FT-818, XIEGU G90, IC-705, etc. 

Quick, Convenient, and Accurate
The T1's 7-inductor, 7-capacitor L-network provides a wide matching range, and its re-tune time from memory is just 1 to 2 seconds. Equally important, the T1 always tries to achieve a 1.0:1 SWR-it doesn't stop at 1.5:1 or 2.0:1 like some tuners. You won't even need to change modes to tune. You can use SSB voice or a keyer as well as a constant carrier (AM, FM, CW, etc.). 

FT-817/8 Remote-Control Option
For even greater convenience, we offer a "smart" remote control adapter for use with the Yaesu FT-817 . On any band change, the adapter's micro-controller sends band data to the T1, which quickly recalls the appropriate network settings. Imagine instant QSY without the need to transmit-less QRM, less hassle! 

Factory-Assembled or Complete Kit
You can purchase the T1 assembled and tested, or as an easy-to-build kit. Our professionally written, fully illustrated assembly manual provides step-by-step instructions, and no alignment is required. 

Unsurpassed Technical Support
If you have any difficulty, our technical support via telephone and the Internet will get your T1 up and running quickly. You can also get answers to nearly any question day or night from the helpful, tech-savvy hams on our e-mail user group.

SPECS

Inductance range: 0-7.5 μH in 128 steps
  • Capacitance range: 0-1300 pF in 128 steps
  • Network: Series L, shunt C (switchable)
  • * Tuning times (typical): 2 to 8 seconds for initial tuning; 1 to 2 second re-tune
  • Frequency range: 1.8 to 54 MHz
  • Max power: 20 W peak, 10 W continuous (10 W peak on 6 meters)
  • SWR/power display: 1:1 to 3:1 and 0.5 to 10 watts on three LEDs
  • Supply voltage: 8 to 10 VDC; 9-volt PP3
  • Current drain: 20 mA average during TUNE; 0 mA when off
  • Size: 4.4 x 2.5 x 0.9" (11.2 x 6.3 x 2.3 cm)
  • Weight: 5 oz. (0.14 kg)


Additional Features

  • Small size, ideal for home, mobile, camping, and HF Pack use
  • Stand-alone; works with any low-power rig
  • 160 through 6 meter coverage
  • Handles up to 20 watts (10 W continuous)
  • Finds lowest SWR; doesn't stop at 1.5:1 or 2:1
  • Tunes in any constant-carrier mode
  • Many tune-ups are saved for fast re-tuning

Thanks for visiting - please take a minute to leave a comment below 

73, Tom, M7MCQ.

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