TuneMatic FAQ

TuneMatic

What do I need to make TuneMatic work?
TuneMatic operates with a motorized antenna (with pulse counting capability), in conjunction with an HF radio (modern or legacy). As a minimum, the legacy rig should contain a keyline, and switched DC power. Modern rigs are supported by TuneMatic interfaces, which are rig specific. This allows TuneMatic to operate as a universal tuning device for motorized antennas.
 
How does TuneMatic operate?
TuneMatic operates on several parameters; antenna position, antenna stall current, frequency, and VSWR. TuneMatic stores antenna positions based on frequency and pulsecount. TuneMatic stores the information in an electrically erasable memory.
 
What’s ‘under the hood’ that makes TuneMatic get the job done?
TuneMatic contains computer technology that has the ability to measure the frequency, SWR, current limit, and pulse count, as well as store parameters in electrically erasable memory.
 
What makes TuneMatic a “universal” device?
The fact that TuneMatic only requires a keyline and switched power. TuneMatic utilizes a variety of interfaces which are rig specific. The interface connects between the rig and TuneMatic so that it can properly communicate between TuneMatic and the specific rig.
 
How easy is it to make TuneMatic operate?
Once the antenna current limit switches are set, and antenna is
‘initialized’, simply manually store a series of favorite frequencies, then TuneMatic will manually or automatically store other frequencies as it continues to operate.
 
How easy is it to install TuneMatic?
Simply install TuneMatic between your rig and your antenna. It can be located anywhere in line, however it is recommended that TuneMatic be located near the rig main unit, so that cabling can reach the necessary connections.
 
How does the user control TuneMatic?
TuneMatic contains a remote control button unit, which provides the necessary functions to move, store, initialize, and tune the antenna
system, power indicator LED’s, and a pulse LED, which indicates antenna movement. The remote button unit uses standard RJ45 connections, and is supplied with a 12′ RJ-45 standard extension for remote installations. The user can use a longer CAT-5/6 RJ-45 extension(up to 50′) for extended length remote operation.
 
Which rigs are currently supported by TuneMatic?*
Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu and Electaft, and others. Click on THIS LINK to see a complete list of both standard and legacy rigs TuneMatic can also support most legacy rigs that contain a keyline and switched power. The factory can custom manufacture interfaces for legacy rigs at a reasonable price.
 
If I am using a TuneMatic factory interface that supports modern rigs, how do I set the power and mode on my rig to operate TuneMatic?
The factory interface automatically sets the necessary power and mode to allow TuneMatic to operate, typically between 10-20w output.
 
If I am using a legacy radio, what do I have to do to make TuneMatic operate properly?
Since TuneMatic requires a constant RF signal while tuning, set the rig to AM, RTTY, or FM mode, within the range of 5-35 watts RF output, then return the rig back to the normal desired operating mode when TuneMatic is complete. The Kenwood TS-2000 utilizes this techniqie, since there is no TXTune function.
 
What happens if my power from my legacy rig is too high or low?
If the power is out of range,TuneMatic will send out a specific cw error message when attempting to store or tune. Simply adjust the power until it is between 5-35 watts unmodulated. Factory-supplied interfaces automatically set the correct power range.
 
Why doesn’t TuneMatic use the TUNE controls from the rig?
Two reasons: 1) Because each rig behaves differently when the rig TUNE button is pressed, which may cause undesirable effects in the tune process. 2) So that legacy rigs can operate with TuneMatic.
 
How does TuneMatic store antenna data?
It utilizes memory locations to store pulsecounts.
 
How does TuneMatic determine how to store the memories?
It is based on memory frequency ‘windows’. Lower frequencies have ore memories than higher ones, based on the fact that antennas operate with a broader “Q” as the frequency increases. For example, between 1-4MHz, Tunematic contains one-thousand 2 kHz ‘windows’ to store memories to, while between 28-30MHz, there are twenty 100 kHz ‘windows’ to store memories to. Overall, between 1-60 MHz, there are almost 3000 memories to store frequencies to.
 
What is the limit to how many times can I store memories in TuneMatic?
There are over one million (1,000,000) read/write cycles to the storage memory used in TuneMatic. That would be equivalent to operating TuneMatic every day for ten years at least 274 read/write cycles per day.
 
How long can TuneMatic store the antenna parameters?
At least fifty (50) years, or until the user performs a factory reset.
 
What is the operating frequency range of the TuneMatic controller?
1-60MHz. If you attempt to operate outside this range, TuneMatic will send a cw error message.
 
How much power can TuneMatic operate to?
Up to 200 watts PEP or CW.
 
How precise is the TuneMatic automatic tuning feature?
The auto-tune feature of TuneMatic is only as precise as the antenna’s operating characteristics, and can vary depending on several parameters; condensation, vehicle movement, grounding, antenna mechanics, oxidation, proper installation, etc. TuneMatic can not magically correct for these variable conditions, and the user should be aware that these variations can cause TuneMatic to tune falsely. Any reactive components in the tuning process can also have an effect on tuning, so follow good installation techniques with the antenna.
 
Why do I have to first manually store memories of TuneMatic if it is an ‘autotuner’?
TuneMatic uses pulsecount memories to tune with. The autotune portion hast to start somewhere as a ‘reference’ start point. If no reference points are stored, here’s what happens:

1) the rig would have to key for a long period of time to get from one band to the other. This would be especially noticeable if moving from 10 to 80.
2) Some rigs will ‘time out’ if left keyed for long periods of time, which would prohibit tuning.
3) keying the rig for long periods of time is taxing on the rig, as well as annoying to others hearing a long key time on the band. The FCC does not like unidentified transmissions, especially for long periods of time!

By placing one manually stored memory in each band does several things:

(it is recommended to manually store 2 memories in 40 and 3 in 80)

1) eliminates the need for long key times, as the unit will move to the closest memory stored, then auto-tune from there, reducing key times significantly,

2) speeds up the auto-tune process,

3) if you have favorite memories, they will already be stored, and you won’t have to worry about them being auto-tuned

4) the more it auto-tunes, the less time it has to spend auto-tuning. The more you store, the smarter it gets, because it won’t spend so much time auto-tuning.
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What happens if TuneMatic is unable to get a satisfactory auto-tune on the antenna?
TuneMatic attempts to tune to the lowest possible VSWR at a given frequency. TuneMatic looks for the lowest possible null, then moves the antenna as close to the null as possible. If the null is below 1.5 VSWR, TuneMatic will store the memory at the found “null”. If the VSWR is between 1.5:1 and 2:1, TuneMatic will stop at the “null”, but will NOT store the memory. If the TuneMatic is unable to find an acceptable SWR at or below 2:1, TuneMatic will attempt to tune the entire antenna range, until it reaches the soft limit, then will warn the user of the inability to tune the selected frequency.
 
What If I want to find a lower tune point than what TuneMatic automatically found?
You always have the ability to manually tune to the lowest SWR(measring the SWR using an external meter, or the rig’s built-in SWR meter), by manually setting the rig to AM mode, keying the rig, and moving the antenna UP or DOWN, pressing STORE, and TuneMatic will overwrite the memory that TuneMatic stored previously.
 
Would I use an external tuner in conjunction with TuneMatic?
NO this is NOT recommended, and will drastically affect how TuneMatic interacts with the antenna.
 
What is meant by antenna ‘initialization’?
This is a process that sets the maximum pulse count of the antenna, as well as setting soft limits on the antenna, so that it operates within the maximum and minimum travel without reaching the antenna stall positions.
 
Does re-initialization upset the stored memories?
No, the memories of TuneMatic remain intact until a factory reset is
performed.
 
What if I change antennas?
First, you will have to make sure your current limit setting is set properly for your antenna. Then you simply perform a factory reset on TuneMatic, and start from the beginning.
 
How can I assure that TuneMatic can accurately keep track of the position of the antenna?
TuneMatic utilizes mathematical equations to determine what is a valid pulse and what is not, particularly when the antenna stops between pulse counts, and moves in either direction. This ensures accrate tuning and memory recall.
 
What then assures that TuneMatic can maintain accuracy if there is any motor creepage?
Each time the antenna is ‘parked’, TuneMatic automatically re-calibrates the pulsecount. This assures that the stored memories maintain their accurate positions on the antenna.
 
How much DC current does TuneMatic require from the rig to operate?
Only enough current to ‘wake-up’ the processor and illuminate the backlit display. Typically less than 0.1A of current is needed from the rig to operate TuneMatic. The remaining power TuneMatic requires for the electronics and motor control is from the main power DC leads of the TuneMatic control unit.
 
I have a Kenwood TS-480HX, and am concerned that operating TuneMatic will limit my output power to 100w, as some controllers connect to the tuner port. Does operating with the TuneMatic cause this issue?
NO, since TuneMatic does not connect to the control signals of the Kenwood tuner port; it only connects to DC power. Therefore, operating TuneMatic will NOT limit the TS-480HX output power to 100w.
 
How much current can the TuneMatic keyline operate at?
TuneMatic can sink up to 0.5A, and is internally current limited in the case of overload.
 
What happens if my antenna pulse counter fails during operation?
TuneMatic will sense the loss of pulses, and revert back to an
de-initialized state, which allows TuneMatic to work as a simple up/down controller. You won’t loose the use of your antenna with TuneMatic with a malfunctioning pulse count circuitry, but only in fast speed.
 
Can I use TuneMatic on multiple antennas?
Not at the same time. Because TuneMatic is dependent on the parameters of a specific antenna.
 
What connections are needed for TuneMatic to operate?
A 12v NEGATIVE GROUND power source, RF connections between the rig and antenna, the motor control leads to the antenna, and the remote control cable. For legacy rigs, the necessary signals from the rig are 12v switched power, and a ground-enabled keyline.
 
What keeps high powered RF from interfering with TuneMatic?
A metal enclosure keeps RF out of the TuneMatic control box. In addition, all connections to both the remote control unit and rig are optically isolated. This provides the greatest protection against high RF fields and outside noise interference to TuneMatic. The antenna motor connections also contain RF low-pass filtering for additional protection against RF energy.
 
What if I want to use an external RF amplifier with TuneMatic?
A option can be added or ordered for such use. Once installed, this option allows the operator to connect the amplifier keyline in series with the TuneMatic controller. This is a normally closed connection, and assures that the amplifier keyline is opened each time TuneMatic keys the rig. There is a built-in delay that assures the relay opens the connection before TuneMatic keys the rig, and unkeys the rig before the relay closes. The amplifier would be connected AFTER the TuneMatic main unit. You can, of course, turn off the amp manually when tuning with TuneMatic if this option is not installed. NOTE: Your TuneMatic CAN be easily upgraded for this option.
 
Can I use TuneMatic in a fixed location?
Yes
 
What about upgrades and improvements to TuneMatic?
The firmware is on a socketed connector, so that upgrades can be made in the field. Updrading the firmware will not lose any of the user settings or memories. We will be providing a link for those interested, as well as a list of the changes and improvements to TuneMatic products.
 

What are the dimensions of the TuneMatic?
The main unit measures 6.625″H x 4.75″W x 1.5″H, and the remote measures 3.75″L x 1.75″w x 0.625″H.


TuneMatic LITE

What is the TuneMatic LITE?
TuneMatic LITE is a 20 memory controller, which operates any screwdriver antenna with a pulse counter. It operates independently from the rig, so no rig connections are necessary.
 
How would I install TuneMatic LITE?
Simply connect the power leads to a 12v power source, and the motor control cable to the pre-wired molex jack.


OTHER

Since the TuneMatic product line is pre-wired to connect directly to a TarHeel antenna, how would I connect a non-TarHeel antenna to the TuneMatic products?
We can supply a ‘dongle’ cable with pigtail leads. You can then plug the dongle cable into the TuneMatic antenna control connector, and wire your antenna to the pigtail leads. Just request this dongle cable when ordering.
 
What does the warranty cover?
The warranty covers defects in workmanship and materials for a period of one (1) year after purchase.
 
last updated 11/21/16