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Reviews Categories | Antenna Switching, Phasing, Controllers | Ameritron RCS-12 Help


Reviews Summary for Ameritron RCS-12
Ameritron RCS-12 Reviews: 4 Average rating: 3.0/5 MSRP: $309.95
Description: 8 position antenna switch with automatic capabilities
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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ON4VP Rating: 4/5 Jan 21, 2012 22:23 Send this review to a friend
Good concept, finish could be better  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
As with all MFJ products it is a well known fact that quality control and product finish are not top notch. But the other side of the story is that you can buy a lot of MFJ products for a very competitive price compared to other similar stuff. A piece of good advise to take into account.

In my opinion the previous reviewer overreacted rating the RCS-12 "0". If stuff worked flawlessly for over 6 years it is wrong to rate it 0 even it failed after that period. Also it was not the hardware that failed on him but the connection or cable.

Same happened to me after the first week. While rearranging some stuff in my shack when I lifted the RCS-12 controller, I heard one of the relays clicking. So I inspected the cabling and came to the conclusion that the 8-pins din connector is sensitive to a bad connection. This can lead to one of the conductors not passing trough the 4-bit signal to the antenna switch outdoors resulting in misinformation. The led on the RCS-12 will tell you that you are on the right antenna but another antenna is selected. Be aware this can happen and therefor always double check your cabling!

This is my only complaint and therefor I rate the RCS-12 "4" and not more.

The RCS-12 is larger than I expected. The metal box houses 8 switches to select one of the 8 remote antennas connected to a box that you can mount inside a tower. You need a 4-wire conductor to send the information to the outdoor box in order to switch the antennas. In manual mode if you push one of the 8 knobs, that antenna is switched for operation.

However the power of this RCS-12 comes when switched to auto mode. Band data from most manufactured radios can be used to switch the antennas automatically. To do this you need to connect the band data output (depends on the type of radio) to the RCS-12 using a 9-pins serial port connector. When powered on for the first time all you need to do is go over all the bands of your radio and program the correct antenna for that band using one of the 8 knobs. Once set you now can switch frequencies or bands and the RCS-12 will follow and select the correct antenna for that band. Yo can even program more than one antenna for a specific band. When selected the RCS-12 will tell you another antenna is available by a blinking led.

The RCS-12 provides data output for additional switching like for example Step-IR or Ultrabeam antennas. I also like the RCA in and output for linear amplifiers. A green led will light when you key the radio. This helps preventing hot switching any antennas or relays and prohibits switching any antenna while transmitting.

The RCS-12 is a nice product that can either manually or fully automatically switch or select up to 8 antennas. Maximum output power on HF bands to 6 meters is legal limit. Delay can be set from 1 millisecond up to one second. All brands of radios can be connected. After using this product for a few months I think I'm spoiled. I don't have to think about setting the right antenna for a specific band, the RCS-12 takes care off that. When the radio is controlled by logging software all you have to do is spotting the dx, log the callsign and the radio is set to that channel, the antenna is selected by the RCS-12.

All in all a very good product but as with all MFJ products finish and QC could be a little better. And beware of your cabling and connections. I rate it "4". I guess there are better solutions on the market but the RCS-12 is well priced offering a decent automatic solution.

 
N4JA Rating: 0/5 Jan 7, 2012 19:04 Send this review to a friend
BAD BAD BAD!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had this switch about 6 years. At first no trouble. But a year and a half ago, I stated blowing up Ameritron linears. I could not understand why this was happening until it broke completely. This switch switches by BCD logic- three wires and a ground wire. Pin number three on the 8-pin DIN SOCKET was intermittent and IT would change antennas because of that flaw.Most times it switched to an open SO239. But the light on the controller said I was on the right antenna. I blew up an AL-82 four times and a couple of times I blew up an AL-80B before I found out the socket was intermittent. It quit working completely one night when I was in qso. I know Rob at Ameritron thought I was overdriving the amps, but I wasn't. I don't want another RCS-12VL any where in my house. I am running another remote antenna switch which uses 5 control wires and a ground wire using a 6 wire cable. And it doesn't switch antennas until I tell it to. I have this switch to switch antennas automatically with logger 32 from the LPT port on the computer and I can control it manually. I am never knowingly ever own a piece of Ameritron eqipment because their linears blow up with no load. Other amps don't do this. I never blew up an SB-220 when it was on the wrong antenna. When you dipped the plate the plate current would fall to a low reading if there was no antenna connected. I owned one of them for over 30 years. In the 60's I homebrewed at least 10 amps and they never blew. I never blew up an AL-80A when they were made before MFJ bought them out. Most MFJ equipment, in my opion, has shoddy workmanship, design flaws, and poor quality control. Remember I put a qualifier in this review: In my opinion.NUFF SAID?
N4JA
 
N2TU Rating: 4/5 Sep 18, 2007 14:33 Send this review to a friend
Nice! but with minor Quality Problems  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This switch interfaces nicely with my Yaesu rigs. Change bands on your rig and this unit switches your antenna to your pre-programmed settings. Extremely easy to use. If you use rig control software, point and click and your rig and antenna choice are in sync.

Neat!

As for quality...the antenna relay control cable had two open leads... so antenna 4 and 8 wouldn't function. This defect was stumbled across because the manual doesn't contain a color code description of the cable. In order to determine color to antenna identification, I performed Voltmeter checks and saw that antenna 4 and 8 didn't get the required 12 volts. On the other hand, Ameritron was very responsive in replacing the cable...
Buy one...you'll like it! No more powering the rig into the wrong antenna!
 
N8WRL Rating: 4/5 Aug 26, 2007 12:27 Send this review to a friend
Pleasantly Surprised!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I get used to station automation, and when a different switch I was using failed I began shopping for a replacement. This unit has just about everything I needed - 8 positions, reads band from the radio, and not too expensive.
 


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