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Old 22-02-2012, 18:06   #1
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Testing an SG-230 SSB Tuner - How ?

I have an Icom 802 SSB and am having difficulty with it - I'm not getting good reception. I have an SG-230 Smartuner, connected via a coax and then a GTO-15 to the backstay. I am thinking the tuner may not be working.

My question is how can I test the SG-230 tuner? Is there a way for me to do it, or should I send it back to SGC.

I am hoping btrayfors or one of the other experts will help me get on the right path.
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Old 23-02-2012, 01:45   #2
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Re: Testing an SG-230 SSB Tuner - How?

You will need about 10 watts of signal (SSB or CW or whatever but I guess on the Icom 802 you will only have SSB) to make the SG-230 start a tuning cycle.
That means a whistle or a "hum" into the mike.

Tru to find out if you hear the relays inside the tuner "rattle" which it does when it starts a tuning cycle.

If it seems to do so, measure SWR at the transceiver (insert SWR meter bewteen transceiver and the coax leading to the tuner.
Also, after reaching a tune, reception should improve markedly.

Those Icom's have a tuning circuit to be used with icom antenna tuners but that is not possible with the SG-230 tuner.

I wonder if a mod exists to make the Icom 802 send out a tuning signal (low power) when the "tune" cycle is initiated, as is possible on some HAM transceivers.

Bill?

Jan
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Old 23-02-2012, 04:50   #3
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Re: Testing an SG-230 SSB Tuner - How ?

PamlicoTraveler,

Jan's advice is right on the mark. If you don't have a separate power/swr meter, it's a very good idea to get one -- borrow or steal it if you have to -- because it makes testing ANY radio much easier. Amongst the current crop I like the Daiwa CN-101L -- about $99 online and well worth it.

Be sure all connections are clean and tight. Be sure you are getting 12VDC to the tuner. Unlike the Icom tuners which draw their power from the radio via the control cable, the SG-230 has no control cable and gets it's power from a separate dedicated line.

Change bands several times and see if the SG-230 will tune them properly, using the whistle technique. Be sure not to do that on an occupied frequency as you will cause interference.

Caveat: if you have one of the older 802's which doesn't have the "clipping mod", the radio might not be putting out enough power long enough for the SG-230 to tune. These radios were extremely sensitive to SWR and would repeatedly clip (cut off) their output. Again, a cross-needle SWR meter would tell you if this is happening.

If the SG-230 fails to tune properly, the only recourse, sadly, is to send it to SGC. They have a flat $250 repair fee which, to my mind, is excessive. But, I know of no good alternative -- unless you have a knowledgeable ham friend or electronics technician who could help you with further testing.

Good luck,

Bill
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Old 23-02-2012, 07:24   #4
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Re: Testing an SG-230 SSB Tuner - How ?

The 230 has a control cable that has provision for indicating when the coupler is tuned. The black/white wire is "pulled" to ground when the coupler is tuned. This can be used to turn on an LED at the radio operator position that gives indication to the user that the coupler has successfully tuned. There is a way to use the 802 tune function to operate this coupler but it is a bit more involved than just installing an LED.

Eric
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Old 23-02-2012, 08:26   #5
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Re: Testing an SG-230 SSB Tuner - How ?

Thanks guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
the SG-230 has no control cable and gets it's power from a separate dedicated line.
I just have one coax going from the radio to the tuner. I guess there is power in the coax, right?

Quote:
Change bands several times and see if the SG-230 will tune them properly
How do I tell if it has tuned them? Other than talking to someone, how do I know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goudurix
measure SWR at the transceiver (insert SWR meter bewteen transceiver and the coax leading to the tuner.
Also, after reaching a tune, reception should improve markedly.
Sounds good
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Old 23-02-2012, 08:28   #6
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Re: Testing an SG-230 SSB Tuner - How ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
If the SG-230 fails to tune properly, the only recourse, sadly, is to send it to SGC. They have a flat $250 repair fee which, to my mind, is excessive.
Yes...1/2 the price of the unit seems excessive. I'll have to see what a used SG-230 or AT-140 will cost. Like you say though, what are the alternatives.
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Old 23-02-2012, 08:35   #7
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Re: Testing an SG-230 SSB Tuner - How ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PamlicoTraveler View Post
Thanks guys!

I just have one coax going from the radio to the tuner. I guess there is power in the coax, right?........

NO.....that's your problem! The SG-230 has to have a separate, dedicated 12V supply. The original wire which came with the tuner has four wires bundled with the coax. Two of these...the red and black....are for 12VDC positive and negative, respectively. The other two are a control circuit which Eric described, needing a separate little panel. You don't need this, though. Just be sure the tuner is getting 12VDC when you need to use it.

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Old 23-02-2012, 09:39   #8
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Re: Testing an SG-230 SSB Tuner - How ?

Bill,
I think that's probably what I have. It was installed a long time ago. When I say 1 coax, I mean 1 single wire. It looks like a coax to me..with a PL 259 plug. According to the SG 230 Manual
Quote:
Black: DC Ground
Red: +12 VDC coupler power
Red/ White: Optional SmartLock lock/ reset line. (+12 VDC locks,
momentary ground resets)
Black/ White: Optional remote tuned indicator. Goes low when coupler is tuned
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Old 23-02-2012, 13:25   #9
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Re: Testing an SG-230 SSB Tuner - How ?

SGC some time ago took to the idea of having just a single "wire" exit the SG-230 tuner. That "wire" consists of:

1 - thin coax...smaller than RG-58...with a PL-259 (male UHF) connector OR, sometimes, a SO-239 female UHF connector.

2. Four thin wires, wrapped around the coax and inside the outside rubber coating. These wires are as described in the manual.

I don't particularly like this setup, but that's what you have to deal with.

The coax, obviously is to carry the RF signal from the radio to the tuner.

The four wires are intended to:

(a) carry the 12VDC current needed for the tuner....a small amount, about 1A I believe; and

(b) provide for an external small panel which allows remote indication of when the tuner is actually tuned (a la Erik's post above) and to reset the tuner instead of having to turn it off.

You need to be sure that:

(1) the coax is properly connected to the radio; and

(2) the red and black wires exiting the tuner are supplied with 12VDC current when you are using the tuner.

You can ignore the other two wires.

Note that the Tune button on the 802 does nothing with this tuner. It works only with the Icom AT-140, AT-130, etc.

You need to whistle into the mic to create some output for tuning. You should then hear the tuner clicking clearly. If you don't hear the clicking, either the tuner isn't working right or there's no 12VDC connection to the tuner.

Bill
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