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TUNING OF THE ATU500 with Vector LP

Note: Before working in the ATU turn the transmitter OFF.

Step 1: Determine Carrier Frequency: Should be predetermined i.e. 300kHz

Step 2: Determine the antenna capacitance:

- If known use your figure. If unknown approximate the antenna capacitance.


For a helipad antenna or wire antenna: Estimate the antenna capacitance by multiplying the
length of antenna wire X 2-3 pF per foot. Example: 100 feet of wire X 3 = 300pF which is
used as the capacitance.

Typical Antenna Capacitance

Height 35ft 70ft 100ft


Fiberglass Whip with no coil loading 130pF 270pF ------
Insulated Tower without top loading 190pF 370pF 500pF
guys
Insulated Tower with top loading 250pF 480pF 650pF
guys
T Antenna (note: span is twice 470pF 700pF 900pF
height)
Helipad Antenna 450pF to 600pF

Step 3: Determine the required ATU inductance:


Using Table 3-1 on page 3-4 cross reference the two figures (carrier frequency and antenna
capacitance), i.e. 300kHz and 300pF = 939 uH.

Go to the next page for table 3-1.

TUNING OF THE ATU500 with Vector LP 1


TUNING OF THE ATU500 with Vector LP 2
Step 4: Determine Coil Tap settings:
NOTE: The installed loading coils are selected from one of two options: a high inductance set
or a low inductance set. The high inductance coils cover the inductance range of 87 to 3454 uH,
while the low inductance coils cover the inductance range of 27 to 848 uH. The low inductance
set is installed, in lieu of the high inductance set, only when specifically requested by the
customer at time of purchase or if engineering analysis of customer provided antenna
information dictates the use of low inductance coils. Low inductance coils will be used for high-
end carrier frequency applications (above 1600 kHz).

The Nautel part number for the ATU determines if low or high inductance: NAT39/01 =
High Inductance
NAT39/02 = Low Inductance.
To verify high or low inductance check the serial number on the ATU (usually located
inside on the front near the bottom) or check the part number marked on each tuning coil
to determine whether the high inductance coils (Nautel Part # 158-9028-01) or the low
inductance coils (Nautel Part # 158-9028).

Using figure 3-3, page 3-8 determine the correct coil tap settings.
Example: Assuming high inductance, for 939uH coil tap settings are: I/P L1 2, L1 1
to L2 2, output L2 1.

Figure 3-3 Tuning Coil Tap Configurations

TUNING OF THE ATU500 with Vector LP 3


TUNING OF THE ATU500 with Vector LP 4
Step 5:
Set up matching transformer for some resistance factor (choose a number from table 3-3 page 3-
6, i.e. 10 ohms.
For this example: connect input wire A at 6 and output wire B at 9 on the board.

Step 6:
Note: Use current meter to determine if Inductance is getting close to tuned; current will start to
increase.

Turn Transmitter on with modulation off and Bypass set to bypass. Set power to 10 watts. At this
point the tuning coils will do one of three things: move up (increase) move down (decrease) or
not move at all.

Coils Move Up:


If the coils start to move up, let them go until they eventually stop. If they stop part of the way up
verify they are tuned by manually increasing and decreasing the coils and verify they auto tune
back to the original position; loading coils are tuned. If they go all the way up you have to
increase inductance. To do this you use the next tap settings. I/P 2, L1 1 to L2 3 and O/P L2 1.
Make sure you turn off the transmitter again before doing this.
Turn transmitter back on and see what happens. If coils dont move, manually move then by
pressing the decrease switch until they move down a bit. Continue doing this intermittently until
servo probe takes over.
If they move back up all the way, you need to go to the next higher setting. If they move part
way, youre tuned.

Coils Move Down:


If the coils start to move down, let them go until they eventually stop. If they stop part of the way
down verify they are tuned by manually increasing and decreasing the coils and verify they auto
tune back to the original position; loading coils are tuned. If they go all the way down you have
to decrease inductance. To do this use the next tap setting. Turn transmitter back on and see what
happens. If coils dont move, manually move then by pressing the increase switch until they
move up a bit. Continue doing this intermittently until servo probe takes over.
If they move back down all the way, you need to go to the next lower setting. If they move part
way, youre tuned.

TUNING OF THE ATU500 with Vector LP 5


Coils dont move at all:
Manually move the coils by pressing either the increase or decrease switch until they start to
move. If the coils dont start to auto tune, and you have reached both maximum and minimum
limits, turn transmitter off, re-tap the coils and start again at the beginning of step 6.
Note: If operating at low frequency, it may be necessary to re-tap several times and manually
slew coils from maximum to minimum before auto tuning coils take over.

Step 7:
Increase the power until forward power of transmitter is at 50w or until reflected power causes
the output network alarm to begin to flash (whichever occurs first).
Note the forward and reflected power levels.
Turn transmitter OFF.
Change the tap settings of Input wire A and Output wire B (see table 3-3 page 3-6). Select the tap
settings that yield the lowest reflected power. Ensure forward power remains at the same level
when changing taps.
If the ATU 500 has the serial interface board you can use the R increase/decrease leds to
determine the tap setting direction in table 3-3. If it indicates decrease R go to the next highest
resistance or for increasing R go to the next lowest setting.

Step 8:
Set the mod keying pot to less than 50, turn modulation ON, keying OFF.
Measure modulation on both the current and voltage setting by switching between the two
settings using mod % threshold screen. Determine which setting provides the highest modulation
and use that setting.

Step 9: Complete the tuning of the ATU:


Slowly increase the modulation and monitor reflected power. If the desired modulation level i.e.
95% modulation, cannot be reached prior to reflected power increasing above 5 watts, one of 3
choices must be made:

Options are:
1: Modulate at a level that keeps the reflected power at 5 watts or less.
2: Decrease forward power until reflected power lowers to 5 watts or less.
3. Add resistance to the ATU to increase bandwidth. See 5.4.8 page 5-8.

Step 10: Determine the spark gap setting.


Using Table 5-1 page 5-6, and carrier frequency and capacity values determine the value of Xa.

To calculate antenna capacitance Re-enter table 3-1 with the nominal inductance and the transmitter
carrier frequency and determine the nominal antenna capacitance.

Then use the equation on page 5-7 to find the Vpeak for the spark gap setting. Using the Vpeak
value, enter into figure 5-2 page 5-7 to get the gap length.

TUNING OF THE ATU500 with Vector LP 6


Formula:
Vpeak = 2 2 Xa Ia
Vpeak = Peak antenna voltage
Xa = Antenna reactance
Ia = Antenna current
Enter graph shown in figure 5-2 page 5-7 with peak antenna voltage and determine the spark gap
setting in inches.
Set the spark gap (see figure 5-1, page 5-7), between the spark ball and the spark bar attached to
the feedthrough / insulator, for the gap determined in step

TUNING OF THE ATU500 with Vector LP 7


TUNING OF THE ATU500 with Vector LP 8