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Reviews Categories | Contesting Hardware | DX Doubler SO2R Controller by Top Ten Devices Help


Reviews Summary for DX Doubler SO2R Controller by Top Ten Devices
DX Doubler SO2R Controller by Top Ten Devices Reviews: 19 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $195
Description: Many operators have chosen to install a second radio (maybe just a receiver, but typically a transceiver) in their station. Normally, this would require a second set of "operator interfaces," such as headphones, mike, keyer, footswitch, etc. Although this approach has worked in the past, it is far from optimal. The DXD provides a simple solution: A single set of operator interfaces is switched, either manually or automatically, between the two transceivers.

Features

A single enclosure handles all switching in both Manual and Automatic mode for the following inputs and outputs:

Inputs:
Radio 1 and 2 Audio (Main and Sub)
Microphone
CW keyer
Footswitch

Outputs:
Headphones
Microphone audio out to Radios 1 and 2
CW keyer output to Radios 1 and 2
PTT line output to Radios 1 and 2

No programming required. Hook up the inputs and outputs you want, and operate immediately.
High RFI immunity due to lack of microprocessors and analog amplifiers.
Interfaces to CT, NA, TRLog, and WriteLog for automatic Single Op 2 Radio (SO2R) operations. All functions are available in Manual mode if no computer is available for Automatic control.
Supports four audio streams: Main and Sub from both Radio 1 and Radio 2.
Mix control to vary the blend of right and left headphone audio.
Accepts keyer paddle for use by NA's and TR's computer CW keyer.
Red and green LEDs graphically display which radio is active for receive and transmit.
Auxiliary outputs available for special setups.
CT's "early PTT" implemented to avoid key clicks.
Passes through Kenwood transceiver band data on the LPT port to a Top Ten Devices band decoder.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.qth.com/topten/dxd.htm
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K2UA Rating: 5/5 Oct 8, 2002 21:38 Send this review to a friend
Great product!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been doing SO2R hard-core for about 10 years now. For most of that time I've used my own hardware for the interfacing and switching functions. My box lacks stereo receive audio and mike audio support, and doesn't have enough rear-panel connector real estate to upgrade without a total rework--so I opted for the DX Doubler.

One of the reasons I chose this box is because I was able to read and digest the manual and the schematics on-line before buying. That is a huge plus for me. I got quite familiar with the functionality before I made my choice.

I like the DX Doubler's form factor and its construction. It was easy to integrate into my station and has easy-to-interpret indicators and switches (green = RX, red = TX). It offers manual and automatic modes for TX and RX switching, independently.

Rough edges (all minor): (1) I had to work around a limitation with the PTT interface, since my AL-1500 "looks like" it's keyed when it's powered off. This makes the box switch RX audio when I don't want it to. The mod is very simple; adding two wires inside. (The box is easy to modify, too--the layout and internal construction are very good.) (2) I found the Auto mode of RX switching wanting, since I prefer to always listen to the other receiver when I'm transmitting. (However, the PTT mode works great and is just right for split-audio listening--and I like the ability to mix the audio from the two receivers to create a feeling of spatial relevance.) A single CMOS IC, with one resistor and two diodes, made this possible. (3) The foot switch input is wired to always activate the PTT line to the selected radio. Since I use TR Log software and it supports several other functions for the foot switch, rather than strictly PTT, I elected to not interface the foot switch to the DX Doubler. Rather, it goes through my home-brew Automatic Antenna Controller and allows TR to do its thing instead.

I really like the fact that the DX Doubler is so easy to interface--and I recommend the "Generic" cable from Top Ten for radio interfacing as a time-saver that's also a good value. The DIN connectors wouldn't have been my first choice for radio-interface connectors (I'd prefer DB-9s), but they work fine. The only connections on the back of the box that I use are the DB-25 and DB-9 connectors (LPT in and band data out to a band decoder, respectively); the Radio 1 and Radio 2 DIN plugs; and the power connector. So rearranging things in the shack is a breeze compared to my old SO2R box, which uses what seems like three dozen phono jacks.

Order fulfillment, email support and question-answering from Top Ten has been outstanding, consistent with my previous experience with W2VJN and N3RD.

My only regret about the DX Doubler is that I didn't get one sooner! This thing is the greatest investment I've made in my station in some time, to be sure. I look forward to the coming contest season with great anticipation!

--73, Rus, K2UA

 
KM3T Rating: 5/5 Mar 18, 2002 11:07 Send this review to a friend
Excellent product...makes SOAB painless  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently decided to get back into single op after a long hiatus. I've dabbled in SO2R operation, but nothing intensive. It's difficult to be competitive without SO2R capability so I decided to look at the available products and settled on the DX Doubler from Top Ten Devices.

I used the box in the 2002 ARRL DX Phone contest from K5ZD's fine station. Integration was painless...the box is very well labelled and the documentation leaves nothing to the imagination. I set up about a week before the contest but in retrospect could have done this Friday afternoon without much risk. It's always better to set up as early as you can, though. Murphy has a habit of screwing up the best of plans!

I used the DX Doubler in automatic switching mode with CT and it worked just as advertised. Everyone has different ergonomic tastes, but I chose to mount the unit under my FT-1000MP. During the contest I didn't have to touch the box much at all, since all the band switching happened with keyboard strokes. I played with the audio mixing level a bit, but didn't really need to. Once I set it I could get all the dynamic range I needed by adjusting the volume level coming out of each radio.

I'd love to have the time to build my own box but with so many other things going on it's difficult to get the time to do it right. Top Ten Devices really knows how to build great products that contesters need.
 
K4RO Rating: 5/5 Feb 24, 2002 15:13 Send this review to a friend
No more SO2R rats nest!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased one of the very first DX Doublers at the 2001 Dayton Hamvention.
As is often the case with a first production run, there were a few problems found.
W2VJN and N3RD worked with me patiently on each issue. I am confident that
the current production run of the DX Doubler is very solid. I recently used the DX
Doubler in the January 2002 NAQP contests, both SSB and CW. Thousands of
radio-band-changes were executed without a single problem.

While simple in concept, getting everything working smoothly with 2 radios
on both CW and SSB can present several challenges in a typical contest
station. One of the reasons I bought the DX Doubler was due to my
limited success getting SO2R phone operation to work properly with
my old homebrew attempts. I now have very smooth CW and phone SO2R
capability, without the rats nest of cables which comprosed my homebrew
CW-only lash-up. I also now have automatic computer-switching of receiver audio,
a feature that my homemade setup lacked. This feature alone has helped to
improve my contest scores.

Another benefit is that I now run two radios every time I sit down at the
opertating position. No more re-wiring the entire shack for each contest.
I get a lot more practice learning to use two radios simultaneously outside
of contest operating. The practice really helps when I am actually in a
contest.

The products are not the only thing Top Ten about this company. George
and Dave are active contesters and DXers, and will do whatever it takes to
keep the serious operator QRV. That's why I was confident to add the DX
Doubler to my contest station. I'm sure I'll enjoy many contests and thousands
of QSO and QSY's -- just like like my Top Ten band-decoders and relay boxes
keep on delivering year after year.
 
DU3NXE Rating: 5/5 Dec 21, 2001 19:47 Send this review to a friend
The DXD Audio PTT feature makes S&P much better  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Before installing the DXD I had been using Top Ten band decoders and relay boxes to automatically switch to the correct antenna whenever I changed bands. The DXD now completes my SO2R setup.
 
W1EM Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2001 20:26 Send this review to a friend
Well made, works as advertised  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The box works well, is compact and well constructed. Seems to work just as advertised. Customer service is great. I had a ground problem that was my fault and with the help of the folks at Top-Ten I had it up and running like a champ in no time. Im using it with Writelog without any problems. I had a problem with RF causing some garbage characters to show up in Writelog and sending extra CW characters but I found out it was my cordless RF computer keyboard. With a regular keyboard plugged in, all now works perfectly. Im very happy with the DX Doubler
 
K2ONP Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2001 10:27 Send this review to a friend
Excellent product which makes SO2R interfacing painless.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Although not a big gun by any means (tribander and wires from a geographically challenged location), I enjoy HF contesting. I have dabbled with SO2R over the past several years using various homebrew switching devices. With the advent of commercially available SO2R switching devices, I decided to take a more serious look at this mode of operating. Having now learned to use TRLog, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the DX Doubler from Top Ten Devices. This decision was based both on positive comments from satisfied users posted on several reflectors, and my own good experiences with Top Ten's automatic antenna switches. I finally got it all together and had the pleasure of running a limited SO2R during the recent CQWW DX CW contest. As it comes from the box, the gadget contains the logic circuitry to switch the RX and TX audio lines as well as keying and PTT lines. It is internally configurable to work with most of the major contesting software, including CT, TR, NA, and Writelog. The box worked flawlessly under TR software and I was able to utilize many of the features which TR makes available for the SO2R operator. I was running high power and never experienced any RFI problems with the device. What I especially found useful was the ability to easily interface my beloved outboard LogiKeyer, and provision for use of a footswitch. This is my preferred means for PTT activating in phone operating. One limitation with the interfaced footswitch is that it can be used only control the PTT line. Those TRLog users who want to utilize the footswitch to control other aspects of the TR program will need to use a second LPT port. I have not tried operating the box in a phone contest, and I can not comment on any hum problems (or lack thereof). As is true for all of Top Ten's devices, it is beautifully and professionally constructed, and the responsiveness of their service is hard to beat.
 
K5KA Rating: 5/5 Nov 11, 2001 14:10 Send this review to a friend
Good product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a well made SO2R switching device and the workmanship is professional. I had built my own homebrew switcher a couple of years ago but it was classic amateur construction and I wanted a long term unit. My only snarl is that I hate those DIN connectors ... they should be outlawed.
Save yourself some misery and buy cables from Top Ten.

I must applaud the excellent customer service you receive from Dave and George. They helped me find a well hidden ground loop problem I had with the second radio.

This product makes for a very clean, tidy installation and works as advertised.
 
W2JJC Rating: 5/5 Aug 17, 2001 13:11 Send this review to a friend
Works as advertised  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Very pleased with the working of this unit.Dave N2RD is very easy to work with and will answer all your questions.I would suggest this unit to any one that is looking to go so2r.
 
N2GA Rating: 5/5 May 25, 2001 13:40 Send this review to a friend
SO2R now within reach of the average contester  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The DXD works as advertised. It really simplifies switching of audio, key and mic lines. The red and green RX and TX lights visually indicate the RX and TX radio.

Most important, customer support and service are excellent! Dave N3RD and George W2VJN answered all my questions and were there to help when I had a minor installation problem (which I created).

I recommend the DX Doubler and applaud the first class customer service that Top Ten Devices provides!

73, George
--
George Tranos N2GA
 
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