“In the last 45 days, we’ve made a lot of progress on the Alpha 4040 DreamTuner. As you know, when we tested the tuner under full power, we discovered that the switches weren’t delivering the performance we needed. Dissatisfied with the test results, and knowing it would push the delivery out, we undertook a massive redesign including a new, commercial pad cap, custom antenna switches, and a new layout. The fruit of our labors is a very efficient tuner that is an industry leader in both matching range and power handling.
We ARE shipping beta units this month. Our first unit already shipped to the owner of RF Concepts, Michael Seedman, AA6DY and he was pleased with the changes and overall design of the tuner. This is a different tuner than we showed at Dayton last May. Here’s a picture of the insides. We’re planning on posting a new section in the website with lots of photos and details.
Thanks for sticking with us over this insanely long period of time. We’re almost there…
President and CEO
Here’s the unit with redesigned exterior sheet metal, up and running. The Alpha 4040’s enclosure is designed to support the weight of an 80 pound plus amplifier. There are no protruding screw heads, this allows for easy stacking and placement of a whole variety of gear atop the tuner.
- Capacitor mounts and shaft couplers redesigned to limit stray capacitance. Inductor design changed and resonance breaker added to reduce stay inductance.
- Coupler design changed to improve overall Vector Network Analyzer performance.
- Antenna and bypass switch changed to handle the voltage and current they will be subject to at high VSWR. Another benefit of the new switch design is that the bypass VSWR, even at 6m, is excellent. This design will also allow you to combine two of the antenna ports.
- Capacitors were moved towards the back to decrease stay inductance and reduce overall length.
- The new design allows for easier assembly and repair along with a much lower weight.
- New mounting of stepper motors designed to simplify sheet metal and improve electrical shielding.
- Computer upgraded to newer higher performance 1GHz model. All software was ported to utilize the new PC.
- Printed circuit board assemblies were changed to fit into new metal design.
- The reduction in minimum capacitance and inductance has dramatically improved the matching range of the tuner, especially at higher frequencies.
- The back panel redesign was driven by the new switch design. It accommodates Bird type QC connectors. If the A4040 is used to transform high SWR at high power different connectors will be required, e.g. 7/16 DIN. You can easily destroy SO239, PL259 connectors with the voltages that could be present at the connector location with this tuner.
- The repositioned LAN port allows for convenient wired connectivity. The Alpha 4040 is fully network enabled for remote control and online software updates.
The October Digital QST – our annual DX edition – is now available at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/arrl/qst_201610/. ● Giant tortoises and DX from... Read more