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Reviews Categories | Ham Repeater Controllers | Arcom RC210 Help

Reviews Summary for Arcom RC210
Reviews: 33 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $349
Description: 3 port repeater controller with natural speech and very reasonably priced
Product is in production.
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AB3PJ Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2014 05:24 Send this review to a friend
Great Controller!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Only in service a month, but by far the easiest to work with. Setting it up, getting cable made up, no question it is easy to do. Programming via laptop the best. We also set up a PC with remote desktop function to make changes from the comfort of home. Ken and the Yahoo Group the best to work with. As far as the price, very competitive.
VE3GRW Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2014 19:13 Send this review to a friend
GO ARCOM RC-210  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just a few words to say I have had many controllers over the years, but the RC-210 is the Ultimate controller for serious repeater owners.

This controller is quality built and I love all the features it presently has.
Previous comments made here have all been addressed. This controller is Rock Solid.

This controller can be bought in kit form or already assembled and tested. Some of the true hams enjoy building the kit and also learn about their controller at the same time. The price for the RC-210 are the most reasonable there is.

What makes this controller stand out is the real human speech for the word list. None of that synthesized speech like old controllers use. This is a modern and up to date controller for the discerning repeater owner and user.

No more sending in long strings of dtmf to program the controller. All programming is done from the comfort of a laptop that I use. The computer software to program this is great. There is no better. Even though this controller has everything you could possibly want, Arcom is always working on something new to add to their controller for the repeater owner. I would think that they will come out with new goodies in 2014 for this controller.

The RC-210 has a dvr that can be used for custom IDís or courtesy tones etc. Programming the dvr with audio tracks is very simple and the audio tracks sound perfect. The dvr can also be set up to use like a echo to record yourself going in and then it will play you back. Great for checking your signal both in and out.

If you have a Doug Hall RBI-1, then this is the controller for you. Lots of flexibility. I like the memory channels that can be setup. Other controllers do not have this feature.
The audio going through this controller is perfect. The audio that goes in is what comes out. The tail on the 210 is quiet and perfect. I mention this as other controller builders audio does not sound as good and they have noisy tails. The Rc-210 excels at the best audio in the business.

The support with the RC-210 is the Best there is. Ken provides a Yahoo Group forum where he answers any questions quickly. He is also just a phone call away and will provide any assistance with a Smile. Ken is a great guy who is always willing to help. I say that Arcom provides the Best customer service in this industry.

If youíre looking for a Rock Solid controller with the Best support then Go Arcom.
K7DAA Rating: 5/5 Nov 1, 2013 16:14 Send this review to a friend
Very Powerful Controller That's Easy to Work With  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been very pleased with this controller. Based on my experiences, I believe that all of N5UWY's comments from more than two years ago have been addressed. This controller has lots of flexibility, and a good set of defaults, including a nice set of courtesy tones that are already there.

We get very good support via a very active Yahoo Group, and Ken at Arcom is super at dealing with any questions people have. He is very upbeat and positive, and very easy to work with. There are regular firmware updates with improvements and bug fixes. On my last site visit, I updated my controller to version 6.01 in about 3 minutes with my laptop computer plugged in to the built-in serial port. Nothing to it!

I have my Arcom 210 set up with the following configuration at a site with no commercial power, so it is running as a full-time solar-charged battery system:

Port 1: 40 watt UHF repeater
Port 2: Full-duplex 2 watt RF link to my VHF repeater and IRLP computer 4 miles away
Port 3: 5 or 25 watt VHF remote base using a Kenwood TM-271A transceiver (yes, I dialed the power down a bit)

Support for all of this stuff is built in. The controller does a great job of handling a number of VHF/UHF/HF transceivers for remote base operation. My users love our frequency-agile 2 meter remote operation.

I decided to have some Halloween fun this year, so using the RC-210's DVR, I recorded a witch's cackle and a ghost howl. It was easy to program the controller to randomly insert these sounds. The witch did her thing as part of every third time the repeater ID'ed (about every 30 minutes), and the ghost made his appearance every 11 times the repeater transmitter dropped out. To most users, it appeared pretty random, not overly intrusive, and sparked a number of laughs during the evening commute!

I'm planning to buy another one soon so that I can have all of this flexibility on my 2 meter repeater as well. There is just no competition for this controller in the same price range. I own four other controllers, and none of them come close.

Reliability has been great, with no problems whatsoever. My RC-210 is running my full-time solar-powered UHF system, and just keeps on ticking. What more can I say?


Dave - K7DAA
WA3GIN Rating: 5/5 Feb 24, 2013 05:44 Send this review to a friend
Robust Audio / Reliable  Time owned: more than 12 months
If you can understand what you read you can easily set-up the RC-210 for most applications. The option selections are relatively easy to understand and easy to verify. We got four of these units. They've been on-line for over 6 years w/o any faults or failures.

I've read some reviews of this product that were less than glowing. Not sure what the issues were but we've found ARCOM to be very helpful with questions. The product is rock solid! We operate the units in dense RF environments with a mix of VHF, UHF, Public Safety 800 and Cell transmitters w/o issue. If you are having an issue you did something wrong -- read the manual again ;-) and apply common sense installation best practices for intense RF environments.
W4MAA Rating: 5/5 Apr 22, 2012 14:37 Send this review to a friend
Great controller for price  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
We purchased the controller to replace a blown up CAT-400 controller that is no longer supported, thank goodness. We have had the new controller supporting 2 repeaters and 1 frequency agile remote base and have had no problems. Programming is somewhat simple and if you read the manuals or use the RCP software its a snap. Lots of powerful tools and features are used in the RC-210 controller. When ordered we got all three delay boards and the 19 inch rack mount. Lots of support is available online and makes it a win win.
N5UWY Rating: 2/5 Jul 19, 2011 19:11 Send this review to a friend
Very complicated, uneven support  Time owned: more than 12 months
People seems to either think this controller is the greatest thing *evah* or that it sucks and we don't think it's the former.

Documentation was written by the designer. He has all the details straight in his head, but he seems unable to get it down on paper in an understandable manner. Way short on theory of operation and very few examples.

The controller has many, many features, but almost no reasonable defaults. Example: you can make 10 courtesy tones per port each with up to 4 segments of 1 or 2 tones each with variable delays between segments. But there are no default tones - every tone has to be programmed from scratch.

The optional programming software is getting better and doesn't seem as fragile as it did a few versions back (not nearly as many crashes, for example). Sadly, there is no way to map the DTMF commands listed in the manual with equivalent options in the software. This makes it difficult to keep your config file in sync with commands you may have sent OTA between site visits.

Our 20+ year old RC85 may not have as many features, but it's not a struggle to program and tweak.
KJ7YL Rating: 3/5 Nov 21, 2010 08:12 Send this review to a friend
Audio routing issue  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Ham Radio club I belong purchased a RC-210 to replace the RLC-3 controller that was in use for the past fifteen years. After we installed the new controller we discovered that is/was a loss of functionality with our simulcast system with the Autopatch Board installed.

When an over the user dials an Autopatch on a specific port (port 1) for example the Telco audio will be routed back to the same port. This would not be a problem if the ports are always used in a stand alone configuration. The problem is that when the ports a linked and Autopatch call is made the controller will continue to route the caller audio (over the air audio) to the other linked port, but the Telco audio will not be. In other words, a person listening to the Autopatch call on port that is linked to the port that made call will only hear half of the conversation (the over the air audio) but not the Telco Audio.

I also found that if a call is in progress on port 1 and a user tries to make call from port 2, the controller will try to dial a second call. When this happens the controller will possibly go into a feedback loop depending on which second port is used.

K0JSC Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2010 12:17 Send this review to a friend
Great affordable controller  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I Bought the RC-210 as a kit with the goal of setting up a linking system. If you're good with a soldering iron the assembly is a snap and great assembly instructions come along with the kit. I've had no trouble connecting almost any transmitter/reciever/transciever to this controller. While "playing" with it I've already connected an old EFJ Challenger, Motorola PM400, Aerotron MPAC8 Repeater and a Motorola CDM1250 to name a few! No modifications to the radios were necessary and no special circuits were required. Too many other features to list but it does what it's advertised to do.
K0JSC Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2010 12:14 Send this review to a friend
Great controller with flexibility  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I Bought the RC-210 as a kit with the goal of setting up a linking system. If you're good with a soldering iron the assembly is a snap and great assembly instructions come along with the kit. I've had no trouble connecting almost any transmitter/reciever/transciever to this controller. While "playing" with it I've already connected an old EFJ Challenger, Motorola PM400, Aerotron MPAC8 and Motorola CDM1250 to name a few! No modifications to the radios were necessary and no special circuits were required. Too many other features to list but it does what it's advertised to do.
WA7ABU Rating: 2/5 Mar 17, 2010 11:51 Send this review to a friend
Making progress  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is an update of a previous review:
Ken has been working at getting the controller into usable status. It is now functional for most users except those with needs as described in the list of features.

My comment that all features are not available is still relevant. The remote base is only partly functional and needs lots of attention to use on HF.

Ken has improved the design, but I have not seen the latest changes. It turned out that many of us with need to use all features had problems with the grounding design. All controllers are expected to operate in RF environments - so all leads in and out of any controller must be bypassed with about 100 to 300 uuf caps and all wires should be allowed to be shielded. Before buying, check this and let him know if the product is not properly shielded, grounded, bypassed and fused with a known good fuse that will not allow more than a few hundred ma. Mine burnt a trace while the fuse device was in use-an IC went out and took out traces.

Our recent problem was traced to lack of grounds, lack of bypasses and some issue with the I/O port to be resolved yet.

As a 2 port controller, with no clock and no I/O uses, this is a fine controller and worth the cost. I am severely upset at the way this controller was sold before it was completed and before it meets any standard safety tests. Controllers don't have to be UL approved, but this would fail.

I find the product support adequate, the price good for the features that work, the quality of the parts and board are OK. The construction is easy. The programming would be easy if all commands and procedures were in the book in such a way we could interpret them. The manual is a weak point and needs a complete rewrite. As an example, compare the pages about setpoints before and after ver. 5.28.

I suggest you install this controller only on repeaters you can access easily, as you will have to until it is complete.

My other repeaters and controllers have taken less than 1% the effort this one has. It is a time consumer, but fun to play with.
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