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Reviews Categories | Antenna Switching, Phasing, Controllers | Ameritron RCS-10 Help

Reviews Summary for Ameritron RCS-10
Ameritron RCS-10 Reviews: 24 Average rating: 3.3/5 MSRP: $159.00 - 199.00
Description: 8 Antenna Remote Coax Switch w/ SO-239 connectors on 120V
Product is in production.
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N4ZR Rating: 4/5 Dec 19, 2011 05:36 Send this review to a friend
Not bad, but mediocre isolation  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought this one at Dayton 2010, and it has worked fine, including being thrashed in contest service with 1300 watts. I was tempted by the opportunity to use only 4 wires between the shack and the tower (over 200 feet), and being able to use automatic control without a band decoder - see my October 2011 QST article.

The only downside I have seen is poor isolation between the antenna ports. Just now I was listening to a station on 20M that was running S5 on my dummy load, out at the tower base. I switched to my stacked tri-banders and he went up to S9+20, so only maybe 40 dB isolation.

Others have raised the risk of increased noise levels because of this, but I have not noticed anything. I probably wouldn't use this switch for VHF.

Considering the way the remote switch-box is wired, with up to 4 relays involved in some selections, I think it would be almost impossible to improve on 35-40 dB port-to-port. A trade-off for the 4-wire control.

I suspect they made some running changes to address the quality issues others reported earlier, and that release of the enhanced lightning-protected model (at additional cost) was their response to consumer complaints in that respect. Mine has weathered some pretty fierce lightning storms, and the control box rotary switch seems fine.
K4SJ Rating: 5/5 Aug 14, 2011 21:01 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Report  Time owned: months
I've been using my Ameritron RCS-10 for years with out a single problem. I run 6 antennas off of it and still have 2 spare ports.

Works great and I get good reports too.
K6HOM Rating: 0/5 Jun 22, 2011 10:10 Send this review to a friend
Very Poor Isolation Between Ports  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
When I connected my transceiver to the Input port and a single antenna to any of the 8 antenna ports, the radio could "hear" the antenna on most of 8 switched positions. The 4 switch positions on the same bank of ports that the antenna was connected to (there are essentially two banks of 4 ports in the relay schematic) heard the antenna almost equally well, w/minimal attentuation at the unused port switch positions vs. the connected port position. Isolation was better when switching to the unused ports on the other bank, but still heard the antenna in most switch settings. What was coming from the unused ports was not a weak signal, either!

Wouldn't want to see what might happen if this switch was used in reverse mode, hooking multiple radios to a single antenna (MFJ said that it could be used this way). On the way back to my ham radio dealer. Very disappointing as I wanted to buy Made In The USA.
SM4EMO Rating: 0/5 May 12, 2011 01:22 Send this review to a friend
A total waste of money.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The switch in the control-box was broken upon arrival. Several e-mails to Ameritron later, I got an anonymous reply to the effect that they should send me a new switch. It never arrived. I managed to repair the switch: a minute steel-ball and a spring needed to be put back in place, but the switch was still damaged, but it works if I am careful. A few weeks later one of the relays went dead. Never, ever will I buy anything from that firm again.
WV1K Rating: 2/5 Oct 24, 2010 16:11 Send this review to a friend
Dead after two years. Again.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I haven't had to critique MFJ / Ameritron before and don't have any current amplifier issues although I'm reading plenty. Is this some sort of game to MFJ / Ameritron now ? Do they realize these products are in fact electrical and you're playing with lives and property ? This is the third RCS-10 that's died here and with no offense to those hams who tried to help me by email, it was on a sunny day in a string of sunny days BEFORE any lightning. Same story with the other two in the last ten years. I was also told about $100 bucks estimated to fix it. Well, ponder that at $179.95 new. When it worked it was fine but I sold my last two for 50 bucks to YCCC Fix Its just to move it along. I can't solder with respiratory damage and neuropathy and didn't want to be a burden. I'm running 100 to 800w here. There's no excuse for this now and it's making me nervous about their other items.
ON4BHQ Rating: 2/5 Oct 24, 2010 12:19 Send this review to a friend
D.O.A  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Ordered one at Difona Germany, they brought it with on the Rosmalen Hamfair.
Controlbox did not work at all. The rotary switch was broken, while there was no packing damage.
Send email to Difona, and had a very quick reply (on sunday). They proposed me to send it back to Germany, and they would sent me a new unit immediately.
But first, I went to our local electronics store, and a new rotary switch would cost less then return the switchbox to Germany. So, I replaced the rotary switch. It worked, but 2 LED's didn't light up, so I had to resolder those circuits too. Oh boy?!
I would like to meet the guy from Ameritron who put the QC label on this unit!
For now, the switch is working very fine.
Next time, I will design my own antennaswitch.

Not a bad word for Difona, they did a good job, as always! They can't help this fault.


Wim - ON4BHQ
N4NDQ Rating: 2/5 May 24, 2010 06:57 Send this review to a friend
Disapointed  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used for 2 years and looking for a replacment. While it has not failed and has held up to numurious lightning storms well it has one bad shortcomeing pre port isolation. I can be on my dummy load and sill easly copy signals from any of the antenna ports. Grounding makes no difference on the isolation however is as expected critical for the built in surge protectors. MFJ makes a lot of good products however they need to readdresses this. It is currently labeled under there Amertron sub company.
W0JG Rating: 5/5 Feb 24, 2008 13:55 Send this review to a friend
Great Switch  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got my RCS-10 used off E-bay and have four different antennas on it. I run an 80B to 1000 watts and never had any problems with the switch. I use a tuner for the 80 meter Vee and load it on all bands via the switch. Works great and no problems. The switch is grounded. I don't have any isolation problems, I don't rotate the switch very fast,I never rotate the switch while RF is passing throught it. I've never been hit by lightening or had a near miss, but then all bets would be off while using any antenna attached gear.
MI0LLL Rating: 2/5 Feb 24, 2008 11:30 Send this review to a friend
Poor  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have blew up two of the relays twice, they are meant to be rated at 5k looking at no SWR, have replaced it with a microham 10x2 switch, a lot more money but a better product.

K1KO Rating: 1/5 Aug 15, 2007 04:46 Send this review to a friend
Poor Reliability/Quality  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned three RCS-10 coax switches. Currently, none of the three works.

Others have referred to poor isolation of antenna ports -- I agree. One person indicated that nearby lightning has caused trouble -- I agree. I would add that the control unit is very light, which makes it difficult to keep it on the shelf, although that could be remedied by the owner if he/she decided to do so.

Two of the three control units I have required a changing of fuses if the selector switch was moved quickly, as you might reasonably expect to do during a contest or a DXpedition. I put the same rating fuse, but made it a "slow-blow" and that seemed to overcome the problem. Incidentally, I'm not talking about grabbing the switch and turning it as fast as it could be turned; in fact, I found that if there is not a 2-3 second delay between switch positions, the fuse would blow (before the "slow-blow" fuse was installed).

I have also had problems with all three of the actual switch boxes. Part of that may result from my proximity (2.5 miles) from the ocean and the attendant salt air. I have tried using both the "BCD" control and regular 8-wire positions on both the control and the switch. Same result -- very short life -- measured in a few weeks. I bought two to replace older RCS-8V switches which were damaged in a hurricane. I bought the third thinking that I had done something wrong with the switches. When I contacted Ameritron about the problems, they quickly said, "Send 'em back," which I did. They came back very shortly, with a note from the technician that "there is nothing wrong with the switch." I'm not a hot-shot technician, but I can tell when a piece of gear is working or not.

Bottom line: DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY!!!!!! I will NOT EVER buy another switch from Ameritron. If anyone would like to buy the remnants of these to salvage a few parts, just let me know -- I'll make you a good deal.

The only other piece of Ameritron equipment I own is the MFJ-259 antenna analyzer, which seems to work quite well, but I'll spend the money to get either COMTEK or another quality coax switch. If I can't find one that works, I'll go back to the coax runs. I could have bought two 500 foot rolls of RG-8 cable with the money I wasted on the Ameritron switches.
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