Atfer slinging up a slightly messy 80 meter wire dipole over the weekend (made it fit in the space available, just!) and not getting a SWR that I’d be comfortable using my radio with for long, I decided it was about time to invest in an auto ATU.

As nearly everything I do is arouund the 5 watt range anyway, it made sense to plump for the dinky LDG Z817 QRP ATU. With a FT817 on the cards (hopefully before xmas if the finances hold up) the new ATU will fit nicely to make a lightweight all mode field day kit.

LDG Z817 Making Itself at Home

LDG Z817 Making Itself at Home

The 2hr train ride back from the nearest ham radio dealer to me seemed to take forever and I just wanted to get home with my new toy. The Z817 runs only from 4 AA batteries and with an ultra low power consumption (when its not tuning) means the fresh set installed should see me through the next 6 months (at least).

It does seem a little odd opening up a brand new piece of radio gear but its the only way you get the batteries inside. The one bonus of this is I love that new circuit board smell!

Z817 Battery Installation

Z817 Battery Installation

In Use

The unit needs some sort of RF to tune (CW wasn’t an option) and my IC725 sparks up with a 25 watt carrier on AM. With the tuner only rated at 20 watt max, I resorted to feeding it some 5 watt PSK RF and it tuned up no problem.

The 80 meter dipole is now looking nice enough to my 725 that its keeping happy and cool. There does seem to be a little power loss with the tuner in play (to be expected), but its only a small percentage of the QRP power im using (hence almost nothing at all).

The next step is to get together an efficient set of switches for my growing collection of antennas, as I’m getting a little weary of undoing the PL259’s all the time 🙂

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