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Reviews Categories | Antenna Switching, Phasing, Controllers | FAR Circuits Antenna Switch Board Help


Reviews Summary for FAR Circuits Antenna Switch Board
FAR Circuits Antenna Switch Board Reviews: 4 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $$12.00
Description: Six Position Antenna Switch Board utilizing PCB Relays
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.farcircuits.net/
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AC0LP Rating: 4/5 Oct 26, 2008 08:34 Send this review to a friend
Good product with a few minor issues  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
OK - This might be nitpicking - but it still keeps me from giving this a 5 - maybe 4.5 is a better rating.

The boards are good, the parts are easy to come by and inexpensive (I was building a two board set that met the minimum order qty for the relays). The issues I had are with the details of the implementation.

The printed circuit board holes are NOT plated through - therefore, Far provides small eyelets to connect the top and bottom planes where necessary. In this case, 24 eyelets are necessary for each board. While the eyelets are supplied (as well as a tool to expand the eyelets and tighten them in place), the pre-drilled holes in the board were too small to install the supplied eyelets. I emailed Far and received a prompt response - we discussed options and drilling out the board slightly was the only thing that worked for me.

Another problem was that one of the boards was not etched properly and had a dead short between the tip and ground plane for one of the antenna output ports. Some quick work with a dremel fixed that issue.

Reading the original QST article carefully also points out the requirement to solder the top and bottom points on the capacitors and diodes at the ground plane - another impact of not having through plated holes.

All in all - a fine product and a great way to get a nice custom antenna switch without spending an arm and a leg - but not quite up to a 5 in my book.

One somewhat unrelated point is in the control cables necessary to wire this - my decision was to use underground sprinkler control cable available at local hardware stores in 50 or 100 foot sections as well as by the foot. I selected 7 conductor #16 gauge solid conductor wire that was easy to run between the shack and the switch - of course two parallel control wires were necessary (one to each switch board) , but the cost for this wire is minimal.
 
K6HYA Rating: 5/5 Dec 19, 2005 07:24 Send this review to a friend
Looking good - so far  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I contacted Fred at Far Circuits about using this switch for 600 ohm openwire feedline. We discussed the options and settled on using two boards in parallel spaced about 4 inches apart in a weatherproof enclosure. I've collected the relays, PC boards, and ceramic stand-offs to assemble into a plastic box used for cellphone switching. I'm delaying actually wiring everything up until I have the antennas up in the remote location I've planned. I'd like to be able to switch between two rhombics, a quad, and my current Sterba Curtains. I need to find where to mount this switch after all of this wire is up there. I know I'll be making adjustments and will be needing to move the switch into the most central location. I'm guessing that I'll have the switch about 1200 feet from the shack. It will help a lot if I can use one 600 ohm feedline instead of five. I walk up there every day and make various plans. I'll keep you all advised of the progress. Comments are most welcome. I check into the YL system on 14.332Mhz. fairly regularly if anyone wishes to discuss this further.
tnx es 73,
iggy K6HYA
 
VE3CWO Rating: 5/5 Dec 19, 2005 05:55 Send this review to a friend
Satisfied customer  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I picked up the board in Dayton last spring. In Canada, I had a small problem sourcing the relays, but the price was very good, so ordered quite a few extras for later projects. I have run 1 Kw through the board on many occasions, from 80 metres through 10 metres - so far no problems. The PC board is high quality, the circuitry is straightforward. Caution needs to be taken when mounting the connectors, to keep them aligned. A simple jig worked for me. I am hoping someone will design a similar board to feed two radios to any of the antennas ( SO2R switch ) that are attached. Building the control box was a snap. I used a multi-position, self-cancelling push-button DPDT switch, and added LED indicators for the selected antenna. My switch, although indoors, is remote from the shack, making for easy connection to the several feedlines.
 
K7MBL Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2005 20:47 Send this review to a friend
Great Project!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I needed a remote switch for my farm and a good friend told me about Bill's design. I bought the parts, built it and couldn't be happier - and at a fraction of the price of commercial units. The Far Circuits board is of great quality and priced to sell. I built a little controller box from RS parts, installed some snazzy little green lights and fed the thing with Cat5 network cable. The Zettler relays aren't very expensive, but seems most places require a minimum purchase. Hey, get some extras for a future project!

This is a classy way of switching ants. It's fast and puts unselected antennas to ground. I regularly run 100 watts through it without any issues.

If you're looking for a switch you really need to consider this project! Good job Bill!

73, Mike
 


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