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Reviews Categories | Ham Repeater Controllers | Arcom RC210 Help

Reviews Summary for Arcom RC210
Reviews: 35 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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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.
KC5TDG Rating: 5/5 Mar 6, 2010 19:36 Send this review to a friend
Excellent product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a great product. The support is over the top when compared to everyday support, such as cable tv, computer, etc. Any quirks Ive encountered were of my own doing, and after a little patients Ive got it lined out 100%. Works as advertised and is a great product for the price.
N5PTV Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2010 23:00 Send this review to a friend
Works just fine  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am not sure what everybody is doing to have so many problems with the 210. I have had a good experience with it. I did have a darlington array go south on me, but that can be attributed to a lightning strike I had just a few feet behind the hamshack. It was only a buck from Mouser anyway. For the money, you cannot beat the features of the 210.

For the guys that don't like to use DTFM over the air, or travel to the site to plug the serial port in, here's an idea. Get a serial to ethernet adapter and plug that into the 210's RS232. Get a couple of Ubiquity Bullet 5 transceivers and some cheap 5.8 grid antennas. You know where this is going, so I will stop. When it's all said and done, you can program the 210 via serial remotely. If you add a router at the site, and a little bandwidth from the house, now you have an internet drop at the site. Now you can have IRLP, or even a port to plug your laptop in when you are at the site. Just an idea some buddies and I were tossing around while bench racing/hamming. One guy actually uses a similar setup to assign ID's to a 800 mhz trunking system remotely. Figure I will give it a try.
N7FM Rating: 4/5 Jan 25, 2010 21:50 Send this review to a friend
Untruths in some postings  Time owned: more than 12 months
I do not personally own the RC210's used on the local repeaters here. I have helped program and change setting on occasion. The statement that any firmware upgrade requires you to "reprogram the whole controller" is false. Perhaps the update instructions were not followed properly in their case. Every firmware upgrade done here worked perfectly. So far the RC210 has done everything it is supposed to do if programmed properly.
VE3KVD Rating: 5/5 Dec 31, 2009 13:45 Send this review to a friend
Love this controller  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have been using about 5 years, control's one main repeater and two half duplex link radios controlling two more repeaters. Automatic weather warnings with Hamtronics modified weather radio, out all ports. The features of this controller is impressive.Using RPC programming software saves a lot of problems rather than DTMF programming, there is a learning curve like most thing in life.
Hooking up the battery backup will also save resetting. We plan to get a second one to give us control of four ARES/ CANWARN repeaters.
KG6MDW Rating: 4/5 Aug 28, 2009 15:44 Send this review to a friend
Good mid-level controller  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got this controller over a year ago, initially I didn't get the programming software as I had some experience with the RLC-3. After trying to learn the programming; I gave up and got the software. Although the software has a lot of quirks, Once you learn around them it's fine.

The controller itself is a mid-level controller, it is not as powerful as the RLC-3 or other extremely expensive controllers but it gets the job done. It's vocabulary is not extensive; but they are actual .wav files on a IC; not computer-generated. I do wish it had some words like online, to, canceled, and restored; but you can upload your own .wav files to the DVR and use them as messages. (NOTE: The DVR can only hold 63 seconds and 20 different messages)

This controller does feature 3 auxiliary audio inputs; but they can not be used for control as they do not have a DTMF decoder, and it can only be patched to one port (IE Aux1 cant go to ports 1&2 but AUX 1 can go to port 1 and then you can link ports 1 & 2); However -- it can be used for a S.A.M.E radio or for patching audio from a different controller (ATV etc).

This controller's output ports can be expanded; but you will need to make the interface board.

One important note is that this controller is _CONSTANTLY_ under development and R&D. It is a REALLY good idea to join the yahoo group; as a lot of the users have fixes for small annoyances that Ken hasn't been able to fix yet.
KH8AF Rating: 5/5 Jul 27, 2009 14:26 Send this review to a friend
Great programming software  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Absolutely the best on the market. The Windows GUI software is user friendly, easy and intuitive. The support is way above average.

We built out 247B's in the 60's, used RC-850's in the 80's and struggled thru the RLC's. They just don't compare to Arcom's RC-210 and we should know, we've been there done that.

Highly recommend
AG4TI Rating: 0/5 Mar 11, 2009 21:21 Send this review to a friend
Didn't work from the beginning  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Bought Kenwood repeater and rc-210 from Arcom. They wired the cables. The repeater won't key up everytime while your talking. Sent it back and they kept it for 2 months and told wanted to know why I was using tone only. If you want to know if there are any problems with the controller check out their Yahoo Group RC-210 before you buy. Told me if it was in resellabe shape he would refund my money. Complete joke to deal with.
KD7CAO Rating: 4/5 Jan 31, 2007 08:34 Send this review to a friend
Good Hardware / Poor Documentation  Time owned: more than 12 months
Although this is the first controller I have had extensive access to I find the hardware to be top rate. Documentation on the other hand seems to be lacking. Ken has been very helpful and timely on answering questions but, I think it would be wise to enlist the services of some experienced technical manual writers. Then have a person that knows nothing about repeater controllers try and configure the system. Now, I have experience operating technical gadgets but, this was a learning curve. Otherwise a great unit.
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