MAT-TUNER mAT-30: Automatic antenna tuner for Yaesu
This automatic antenna tuner is very well built and works similarly to a Yaesu FC-30, FC-40 or FC-50, with the wider tuning range of the latter two. Tuning is started from the transceiver menu and, once tuned on one frequency, it keeps the tuning on memory for a 10-kHz interval. This means that later it will be able to recall the tuning memories based on the frequency on your transceiver without the need to transmit. This is very handy for reception when you are using always the same antenna. The memories are not so helpful though when you operate portable or experiment with different antennas, and the fact that you need to navigate the transceiver menus to initiate a new tuning is cumbersome. The memories based on a different antenna setup can be a hindrance in this case. Therefore, I think this automatic antenna tuner is thought with base operation in mind.
The original version of the tuner was made out of an aluminium alloy and looked very well built. Probably because of its metal construction, you can hear the very loud sound of the relays inside, especially when it first tunes. This annoyance is mitigated when the memory is already in tune, because the tuning is so short and fast then. The case is black and it acquired a golden tone to it when it was left in the sunshine for a prolongued period. The tuner is very well built and works as expected, with a very good price and a wide tuning range. Overall, I recommend this tuner for indoor base station use with a stable antenna setup.
I opened up the tuner to try to install it inside the battery compartment of an FT-897D. It wouldn't fit because one of the toroids was too high. I also noticed that the relays were much bigger than the LDG ones, which may contribute to the louder noise. The literature on the website says it uses latching relays for ultra low power operation, but the reference on the relays is not consistent with that. I also noticed that the case is built like a tank, literally, with front and backplates of very thick milled alumnium alloy, and the case itself is also very thick, which explains its higher weight. All in all, to be built like a tank has its pros (in terms of ruggedness or durability) and cons (in terms of weight and portability). The PCB and workmanship look top notch. I would really like to be able to adapt this tuner for the 897D, for which I was ready to cut off a portion of the PCB that only holds the two front leds in place, but the toroid height was a show stopper...
I went ahead with the mod to install this inside the battery compartment of the 897, for which I cut a piece of the board, lowered the toroid height, removed the 8-pin mini-DIN socket and replaced it with a regular 4x2 Dupont header. If this works out, I plan to use the case for another build in which its sturdiness will be a big plus.
Note on Version 2.1
I just bought this tuner again, and it is completely different from my previous one. It is marked V2.1 and it is a completely different design. The case is no longer made of machined metal but of folded plate. The relays are the same (non-latching), but most of the coils now lack a ferrite core. The resistors have been replaced with SMD ones. The footprint of the board is also different. Overall it is much lighter and much less sturdy, and the appearance is that of a cheaped-out version of the original. I was deeply disappointed, although it may have some advantages if you care about weight. I haven't tested it yet. Will update this review in due course.