Barrett 4017 Automatic Tuning Horizontal Dipole

This month (November 2020), I complemented my Barrett 4050 HF SDR with the Barrett 4017 Automatic Tuning Horizontal Dipole. My house (built in 1898) is uptown from a small city where space is a premium, and obstructions--including trees, powerlines, fences, and so on--seem endless.

The 4017 replaced my first HF antenna, the Comet CHA-250B with an inline LDG AT-200Pro II tuner. Both worked well, however, I was seeking the super-fast tuning capabilities of the included Barrett 4011 Automatic Antenna Tuner. Instead of seconds with the LDG, the 4011 tunes in milliseconds, setting the stage for technologies, such as Automatic Link Establishment (ALE).

Barrett details the 4017 as an antenna that "is designed for base station applications where space is at a premium but high performance is still required." And, indeed, it is an antenna that has a minimum height requirement of 6 meters (just under 20 feet), and receives as expected. The 4017 was easily installed on an existing 20-foot 2.5" rigid conduit. Here's more info on the 4017:

While the 4017 is the high-quality product you would expect from Barrett Communications, there were a few extra considerations for me to share that may help others in their setup.

Installed Barrett 4017 Automatic Tuning Horizontal Dipole

Included Control Cable

The 4017 includes a 30-meter (100-foot) integrated RF and control cable with molded connectors--male-to-male UHF for RF and male-to-female multi-pin for ATU control. According to the Barrett Commercial Catalog, there are also 20-meter (60-foot) and 6-meter (18-foot) versions. My installation used much of the 30-meter version, due to the cable routing through the basement and up to my second floor office.

The cable is well-made, and while it may seem easier to use an existing RF line and simply add the ATU control cable, there actually in't a separate control cable available and the connectors are specialized. Not to worry, it's just easier to run both in one integrated cable and hide a loop with any extra length.

Lightning Protection

Of course, the integrated cable that directly connects the 4050 to the 4011 poses the thought--where should a PolyPhaser be placed for proper lightning protection. In typical Motorola-certified R56 implementations, the PolyPhaser is located just inside from where the RF cable enters the structure, and is mounted to a bulkhead or connected to a grounding block.

Thanks to the sharp thinking of Doug Anderson, N9TAL--rather than having no lightning protection, he suggested the PolyPhaser be located outside directly below the 4011 before connection to the cable. There are some additional considerations--the "Y" molded ends on the cable make it necessary to add a 1-foot male-to-female UHF jumper to create a loop, and all connections, including the PolyPhaser, need adaquate waterproofing.

Barrett 4011 Automatic Antenna Tuner
4011 with PolyPhaser and Jumper before Waterproofing
4011 Ready to Install with Waterproofing

Other Considerations

Depending on your installation, you may want to include stainless steel washers and lock washers on the U-bolts--they aren't included with the 4017 for some reason, but a minor detail.


While at the time of this writing, it's only been a week since the 4017 was installed, initial tuning speed and results are impressive. Moving quickly between bands, tuning a frequency in each band is split second and results in VSWR 1.1:1 or better. Check out my initial tuning video, recorded in actual speed to show the responsiveness of the 4017.

More Information

For more information about the Barrett 4050 HF SDR or accompanying software and accessories, contact Tom Haggerty, Chief Technology Officer at Royal Communications International. Their website address is: