My wife and I planned an extensive motorhome holiday to Canada a few years ago and, after postponement due to covid measures, this took place in May 2022.
It will come as no surprise to my fellow radio amateurs that I planned to bring an HF set with me to try and make some QSO’s on a few HF bands during this holiday. (and of course that happened..)
Air travel has the problem that the weight of your luggage is limited, if you do not want to spend a fortune on additional luggage. So I had to find a lightweight HF set.
Now I know there is this thing called QRP and that these sets do not weigh a lot, but I want to be sure I am being heard somewhere outside the country of destination.
And It’s always a punishment for a HAM radio operator to search for a new piece of equipment…. 🙂
After a thorough search a new HF set entered my shack!!
The YAESU FT-891
Very pleased with it of course, and it “only” weighs 1.9 kg
Next thing was to find a lightweight automatic antenna tuner for this set….
In the next lines you will read information about my personal findings, with or without testing. If you read this and decide to reproduce my findings in your own surroundings, I am in no way responsible for any damage caused by your own actions!!
Well, there is not a lot of information available on the internet about a automatic antenna tuner for the FT-891.
Most of what I found was the option that Yeasu is building itself, the FC-50.
The FC-50 is too expensive in my opinion, and it weighs 1.35 kg!!
Or I found the one made by LDG, the YT-100, but I didn’t find information about the use of this tuner in combination with the FT-891.
Now, I already own a LDG IT-100 which I use with my ICOM IC-7200.
Of course I have tested the IT-100 in combination with the FT-891 and that works just fine.
Down side is that you can’t use the “tuner button” on the FT-891.
If you have looked on the PD0PWZ page on this site, you may have noticed that I own a YAESU FT-897.
With its 3.9 kg I consider this set to heavy to take with me on our vacation, but… I also have the FC-30 tuner, which is attached to its side.
So, with its weight of 1 kg, the FC-30 might do the trick… but is it compatible with the FT-891?
I looked it up on the internet but I found nothing on FC-30 in use with the FT-891.
So… there is only one way to find out…….
I hooked the FC-30 up to my FT-891 with the same cable I use with the FT-897.
And it works…. you can use the “tuner button” and it will tune, no problem.
So this is a good option for me, the FT-891 in combination with the FC-30.
The combined weight is 2.9kg…
Downside is that the fan inside the FC-30 is always running.
But then I found out that there is a automatic tuner with a weight of about 0.8kg and is completely compatible with the FT-891……..
And this automatic antenna tuner is… The MAT-TUNER mAT-30
If you don’t like Chinese products, you can skip this part of the story, because this antenna tuner is made in China.
And if you want to use more than the 100W the FT-891 has in store for you, don’t use this tuner because the maximum power it can handle is 120W.
But now the testing: that went great, no problems at all.
Like every HAM operator I followed the instructions in the Yaesu FT-891 owners manual…….NOT!
(But for those who do; it’s all there, just follow the instructions for installing the FC-40/FC-50 antenna tuner and it will work)
I plugged the provided control cable in to the mini-DIN 8-pin jack at the back of the tuner and the TUN/LIN jack at the back of the FT-891 and when I pressed the power button on the FT-891, the power LED on the mAT-30 emitted his green light.
I activated the tuner option in the FT-891 and the mAT-30 came online immediately. (green “online” LED lights up)
I configurated the tuner button to the “B” position on the FT-891 screen and it worked perfectly.
As soon as you push the tune button, you now that’s it’s working because the mAT-30 likes to let you know that it is doing it’s thing…….It is a bit noisy, I must admit.
But, the goal was to go light weight as possible and this thing only weighs 0.8kg.
So the FT-891 combined with the mAT-30 comes at 2.7kg…
In the meantime, as mentioned before, we have been on holyday in Canada with a motorhome.
The set and the antenna tuner have done their job well.
During this holiday I used an EndFed antenna for 10, 20 and 40 meters, in combination with a 10 meter fiber optic mast.
A nice combination with which I made some great QSO’s during this holiday.