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Reviews Categories | Antenna Switching, Phasing, Controllers | Array Solutions SixPack Help


Reviews Summary for Array Solutions SixPack
Array Solutions SixPack Reviews: 50 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $250 to $400 depending on configu
Description: Antenna remote switch 6,12,18,...etc antennas to 1 or 2 radios
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.arraysolutions.com
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K2YWE Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2014 11:40 Send this review to a friend
Solid Product and Support  Time owned: more than 12 months
I borrowed a friend's Array Solutions SixPack for a contest and kept it for another month (thanks, Rich). Not only was great to have in the contest, but it made life so easy in day-to-day operation that I bought my own. I've had it over a year and it has operated flawlessly. I'm sorry I didn't buy one of these years ago. Both pieces are well made and intelligently laid out. I had a lightening-induced failure that actually melted the back of one of the SO-239 connectors. The unit was repaired and back in a week.

I've noticed no SWR issues from 160m-10m. I haven't tried it on VHF.

I have seen complaints about the relays "hanging." The instructions explain that the relays are shipped with keepers to prevent damage during shipping. The keepers must be removed for the relays to pull in and release properly. The SixPack that I borrowed had that problem. It worked fine after I removed the keepers.

I found that the AS SixPack provides a solid combo of hardware and support.
 
W7VI Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2013 14:56 Send this review to a friend
Great Product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just purcased the 6 pak for my radios. Just in the process of configuring the 6 pak to the antennas. Array Solutions has redefined quality in Amateur Radio. The product was a little pricey but grat Quality. Will give you an update when it put the 6 pak into operation.
 
K6XT Rating: 4/5 Oct 18, 2012 11:35 Send this review to a friend
Good Switch!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had a 6 Pack in service since sometime in the 1990's. Been very happy with its performance. Perfect? No, its been repaired once due to failure, ergo the 4 instead of 5. Recently the station was subject to a lightning event, requiring some repairs - not just to the 6 Pack. A DXE switch suffered more than the 6 Pack, and DXE has nowhere near the support quality of Array Solutions. My original 6 Pack remains under its lifetime support warranty altho I've been able to fix it myself in both repair cases.

One thing I'd like to see is connectors on the two units so its easy to unplug wiring when weather threatens. Might limit some damage. Boring connector holes myself looks messy.

I like this product well enough that I recently bought another one to support additional towers.

Others have posted unfavorable reviews. Re SWR on the higher HF bands, don't know what their problem is. Operating into a Sierra Electronics Operation (Philco-Ford) 160B-300 dummy load the SWR is essentially flat 1:1 at 28MHz as measured by MN2700 meter. "Flat" is good enough for who its for. I don't use 6M but rig goes there - MN2700 reports 1.4:1 but I don't know if the meter is supposed to be accurate on 6. K3's meter, same setup with a little more coax, reports 1:1 on 6. It would take work to drag in my VNA for measurements so will save that for a cold winter day.
 
AD5X Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2012 08:22 Send this review to a friend
Well-designed & well-built  Time owned: more than 12 months
After seeing a recent poor review on the 6Pak, I decided to make some measurements on mine. Iíve been using this 6PAK without any issues on 160-10 meters, though not yet on 6-meters. The 6PAK was designed for HF contesters and 6m was not originally considered (note the box silkscreen of 10-160m), though it does work well on 6-meters.

Internally the 6PAK uses microstrip transmission lines for all interconnections. The groundplane is on the visible side of the pc board, and the microstrip lines are on the under-side of the pc board. Each UHF connector has its grounds tied directly into the pc board groundplane. There is no reliance on the chassis for RF return. Finally, all relays utilize silver contacts with a gold-flash. These are US-made relays (Relay Service Company in Chicago) custom built specifically for Array Solutions and this application.

Next I made a series of SWR, isolation and loss measurements with my VNA2180. For the VSWR measurements, I terminated the 6PAK in a precision (>40dB return loss) 50 ohm load. I found my worst-case SWR to be 1.3:1 on 6-meters. The SWR was less than 1.2:1 on 10 meters, and less than 1.1:1 on 20 meters and below. For the isolation measurements, I found that both radio-to-radio isolation and radio-to-off-line-antenna port isolation were the same. The worst-case isolation of 54dB was on 6-meters. Isolation was 57dB on 10 meters and better than 60dB on 15 meters and below. Finally, I looked at insertion loss. The worst-case loss of 0.16dB occurred on 6-meters. On 10 meters and below, the loss was less than 0.06dB.

Bottom line: This is an excellent RF switch that performs very well from 160-6-meters.
 
K5RT Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2012 19:46 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Product!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned a Six Pack for many years. Mine was one of the very first units off the assembly line. Never a problem!!! Mine is installed indoors, but has essentially no contribution to SWR.
This is a vey well designed and reliable product indeed and Array stands behind it as they do all of their very FB products! Further proof of the quality of this product is proven by the hundreds (thousands?) that can be found in use in contest stations around the world.
 
K9YC Rating: 2/5 Aug 30, 2012 13:58 Send this review to a friend
Poorly Engineered, Mediocre Performance  Time owned: more than 12 months
Once again the manufacturer has demonstrated a complete ignorance of the fundamentals of transmission lines by ignoring the return path for current. A proper circuit would carry the shield from the PL259 to the "ground" layer of two-sided circuit board, making sure that the ground layer is not interrupted under the signal traces. Instead, the unit depends upon the chassis for a signal return. This, combined with cheap relays, adds enough stray inductance to the signal path to degrade both return loss (high SWR) and crosstalk performance.

I bought mine as "new old stock" at a hamfest, and until a few months ago never had enough antennas to justify installing it. I installed it last month, and while the functionality is nice, the high SWR on the higher bands has caused me to look for something better. Not only that, but running my SteppIR through it yielded 1.6:1 on 6M, so I've had to switch it separately.

I've heard lots of complaints about the relays, and about their problems with corrosion. Mine is inside, so I haven't seen that problem.
 
K4FX Rating: 5/5 Jul 11, 2011 08:16 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Although most people think of the Six Pack as something for contest use, this is not entirely true. Anyone who has 2 HF rigs could benefit from this excellent switch. Although it is not cheap, it is very high quality. It can be tower mounted to help offset some of the cost in savings from less coax. It is impossible to put 2 radios on the same antenna. The unit will also work with about all of the band decoders making for fully automatic control. This is the Cadillac of antenna switches.
 
N1TX Rating: 4/5 Apr 9, 2011 19:44 Send this review to a friend
Super for the antenna farm  Time owned: more than 12 months
We've had the SixPak in service at the KL2R shack for almost five years. We have fix-mounted antennas on a 140' tower for multi-two and SO2R operation. The switch is mounted at the base of the tower about 150' away from the shack, and the manual controller sits next to the "master" operating position. It has performed very well from -50F to +90F.

I would rate it a 5 except for the following. The switch is not exactly weatherproof. There are some small gaps at corners, which can be daubed with silicone or other sealant to keep out water. I chose to put a plastic lid on it and secure with cable ties to permit the interior of the box to breathe and avoid condensation inside. Also, the relays, when not exercised for a long period of time can become sticky. It's also a good idea to keep the controller switch contacts from oxidizing by changing positions once in a while.
 
WI2E Rating: 5/5 Aug 6, 2009 09:44 Send this review to a friend
Excellent in all dimensions  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have the 6x2 SixPak and have now used it extensively during two 24 hour contests. Especially for SO2R operators, this switch is a joy to use.

From a user perspective, I almost cannot believe how easy it is to connect either of my radios to any of my antennas. Furthermore, the SixPak offers extremely high isolation between the radios and among the antennas, and its lock out feature (whichever rig is on the selected antenna first keeps it if the second rig is put on the same antenna) really gives me peace of mind that I'm not going to make a bad mistake when I get tired late in an event.

In terms of assembly, it took me less than an hour to go from taking it out the box to having it installed in the shack. The SixPak has high quality parts and construction, which makes the small amount of work required to wire the switch a breeze.

Obviously, I can't comment on the product's long-term reliability as it's a relatively recent arrival here, but I think the other reviews on this site speak to that issue quite well. There is also a copy of K5ZD's NCJ review of the SixPak available on the Array Solutions website. It's a must read for anyone considering this product, and the experience described there completely reflects what I've had so far.

Overall, this is a great product. I really couldn't be happier with the purchase.
 
DL8OBF Rating: 4/5 Mar 23, 2009 06:36 Send this review to a friend
Electrical performance as described  Time owned: more than 12 months
First of all: This box works and shows the electrical performance levels as described ... also confirmed by others here in the forum.

I have not done any measurements, but never had problems with attenuation or isolation levels. Also I have not experienced any problems with typical "legal limit" power levels.

Now, why am I giving only a "4"? This is because at this pricetag I would have expected:
- A scratch- and water resistant housing. (I am not living in southern california and it sometimes rains in this geo :-()
- A housing, which you do not need to dismantle to get to the PCB.
- Proper brackets to easy mount and remove from tower.
- Connectors/sockets to easily connect to the control unit

So overall, mechanically there are a few things which can be improved. Electrically I have nothing to moan about. If you can live with these "mechanical weakpoints", then it is definitely a "strong buy". If you can not live with that, then you are anyway in bad shape as I think there is nothing compareable on the market :-(. So you would need to build such a box on your own!
 
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