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Reviews Categories | Receive Pre-amps | Advanced Receiver Research (Ar2) MSP432VDG-160 Help

Reviews Summary for Advanced Receiver Research (Ar2) MSP432VDG-160
Advanced Receiver Research (Ar2) MSP432VDG-160 Reviews: 6 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $229.95
Description: High Performance 160 Watt Mast Mounted Amateur GaAsFET Preamplifier for 420-430 MHz.

This series of preamplifiers are specifically designed for mast mounting. Locating the preamplifier close to the antenna reduces feedline losses ahead of the preamplifier lowering system noise figure. Each preamplifier is housed in a rugged, weatherproof custom aluminum enclosure. An aluminum and stainless steel clamp assembly facilitates mounting of the preamplifier to masts of 1-1/4” through 3-1/4” diameter. This clamp assembly may be removed for in station mounting. Female N coaxial fittings are provided for the input and output rf connections. DC and control functions are made through an MS military type connector. A mating connector for the control line is supplied.

Gallium-arsenide FET (GaAsFET) preamplifiers (part numbers with the suffix VDG) provide the lowest noise figures and highest immunity to overload of any preamplifier types. These preamplifiers would be well suited for very low signal level work, either terrestrial or earth-moon-earth (EME) communications, or in areas where strong signal levels are normally a problem.

This preamplifiers use rf sensing to detect the presence of transmitter power and immediately switch the preamplifier out of line. The relays used in the preamplifier will handle 160 watts of rf power. In systems where higher power amplifiers are used, the preamplifier may be installed between the driver and final power amplifier. MSP series preamplifiers may also be hard keyed with a GND to transmit command.

All preamplifiers are designed to be powered by a 10 - 16 volt dc source with a current consumption of 200 mA. Low power consumption along with the small size make these preamplifiers ideal for installation within existing equipment or systems, or for remote mounting at the antenna. Mounting the preamplifier at the antenna will provide the best system noise figure.
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W2JAZ Rating: 4/5 Sep 29, 2015 18:51 Send this review to a friend
2nd review and 2nd opinion  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In all fairness I need to post this second review as a follow up to my earlier somewhat harsh criticism. I did get better service from the company who did find that their relay was not pulling as it should. But when they returned it after making an adjustment and it still didn't work we were both puzzled and suspicious. With their guidance I did some further diagnostics and found that while my Mirage injector handled Mirage preamps and an icom preamp just fine, the ARR pulled down the voltage just enough that it fell to the low end of the minimum voltage required to operate the ARR relay. I found a 15v wall wart that works just fine to power the Mirage injector. Strange problem but finally resolved and the preamp works very well and far superior to the Mirage.
K0JEG Rating: 5/5 Apr 5, 2015 19:14 Send this review to a friend
Works well  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm using one with the M˛ 70CM eggbeater antenna. I'm able to work SO-50 easily now, was barely able to hear it before. The optional RF choke works well with the Icom IC-9100. Icom radios shut down the DC feed when transmitting but after checking with AR˛ They said it would work, and I verified I could hear the bypass relays click when I keyed up the transmitter.

Remember, this preamp has two functions. First is to help overcome coax loss, which is why you mount it at the antenna. Second is to amplify signals picked up by the antenna. Because it is doing the heavy lifting for your receiver's front end, it makes sense that the noise floor will rise compared to running your normal RF gain level. I've found that I can crank down the RF gain by 50% or more when using the preamp and still get more signal into the radio compared to the antenna only. Just as a test, I connected to a dummy load and switched the preamp in and out, and could not hear any change in noise level, or see any change on the S-meter, unless I cranked up the RF gain. It is a very quiet unit.

Only minor nit is that the mounting bracket isn't very useful. On my mast the ends of the u-bolt stuck out far enough to block the N connectors. It also assumes you're going to mount it on a vertical support. However, my M˛ antennas come with a cross-buck mounting piece, and the preamp would mount much better on the horizontal support. Not a big deal as I was able to make one, but for this price I'd like a better design. The other issue is that I wanted the 25 Watt version, which is still listed on their web site, but I was told that it is no longer being manufactured. Since it is $70 cheaper for the 25 W version I ended up paying more than I anticipated.
W5PFG Rating: 5/5 Mar 5, 2014 17:11 Send this review to a friend
Great station upgrade!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been very pleased with all my ARR preamps, especially on UHF. I would recommend them to anyone looking for an affordable solution. There are more expensive preamps, but ARR fits the bill very well and at a price I could fit in the shack budget. I predominantly use mine for satellite work.
WA4SCA Rating: 3/5 Dec 21, 2008 15:52 Send this review to a friend
Leaks  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased one last year, and found that as a preamp it worked well. It did introduce a modest but easily detectable SWR "bump" when transmitting. More importantly, I ordered the version with a choke to allow for feeding the DC power up the coax for future use. Much to my amazement I found that it lacked steering diodes, so that if you applied power via an external power cable, the DC power was also applied to the coax. Only by chance did I catch this before damage was done.

The final straw came this week when after several days of heavy rain, the unit went deaf, and the SWR bump jumped to 8:1. After taking it down, I opened it up and a couple of teaspoons of water ran out! While the unit seemed tight, it in fact allows water to enter through the 4 screws which secure the cover. Fortunately, the internal "catch basin" only covered the input, output, and DC power connector with water, leaving the actual circuitry and particularly the relays high and dry. After cleaning and drying, it is back to full operation, and with additional waterproofing is now my backup unit.

I have switched to a unit from another source, matching my 2 meter unit. It has steering diodes, no detectable SWR "bump," and a truly waterproof housing, plus adjustable gain. With caution the ARR unit will give years of service, but it is definitely lacking in the "fit and finish" category.
WD4ELG Rating: 5/5 Dec 21, 2008 14:42 Send this review to a friend
Holy smokes!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I wanted to get better LEO sat reception with my indoor attic antennas (Elk, Arrow). I tried Mirage in-shack for 2M and 440, but returned them...maybe because I needed mast mount design.

Anyway, did some research and got some outstanding pre-sales support from Ar2. Decided to buy the 440 MHz unit and see how it performed.

Installation was simple in my attic. Once I discovered that my 12V supply was not working and I swapped it out, this little baby fired up nicely. WOW what a difference. I was hearing signals S7 on AO51 (YV5AFE) at 3 degrees elevation that I could not hear without the preamp! Suddenly I realized that I could hear signals that would be challenging to work with my 5 watts! Up until now, I could work what I could hear, but I could not hear very much.

And I was hearing CW beacons like CO55/CUTE-1 that I COULD NOT HEAR without the preamp.

The thing is built like a tank. I am ordering the 144 MHz version on Monday. AWESOME!
KS1I Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2006 12:32 Send this review to a friend
Great preamplifier.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This preamplifier is nothing short than great! I use it for weak signal satellite communications and this thing operates flawlessly. Since it is used in conjunction with my IC-910H, I ordered mine with the optional “choke” due to the fact that I am feeding the dc power via the output coaxial cable. Build solidly, arrived super protected in perfect condition. I am so pleased with the MSP432VDG-160, that I may be purchasing the MSP144VDG-160 for 2 meters. Joe – KS1I

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