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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Mobile & Accessories | Am-Com Automatic Screwdriver Antenna Controller Help

Reviews Summary for Am-Com Automatic Screwdriver Antenna Controller
Am-Com Automatic Screwdriver Antenna Controller Reviews: 22 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $210.00
Description: An Automatic Controller for Screwdriver Antennas
Product is in production.
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AA6QN Rating: 4/5 Jun 1, 2011 11:40 Send this review to a friend
Works  Time owned: more than 12 months
Worked out the ferrite core challenge and the antenna controller does indeed work on the fly. The only challenge now and then is that it forgets its memory location. I just bring is manually all the way down and then do a tune function which works for me.
AA6QN Rating: 4/5 Jun 14, 2010 05:43 Send this review to a friend
IC-706DSP HS-1500MKII Working  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased one of these used and followed the recommendations (e.g. Choke, Grounding, M1 resistor [used 2ea. RadioShack 8ohm 20watt in parallel]...) and got it working from 15m - 40m. Did some extra testing with ferrite donuts on the incoming power and it quit working. So the installation must be as the manual states. No extra's...
The XCVR will not key up in the 10m band even though the VSWR is 1.2:1 (verified with analyzer). Maybe an interaction with other components...
Tunes the HS-1500 on the fly.
WA8EBM Rating: 4/5 Jul 12, 2008 10:19 Send this review to a friend
Mine is still working too  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have also had mine for over 6 years. Didn't work right when I first got it but called their tech support and 2 wires were switched in their controller cable. Never had much luck using it with my original NU4W screwdriver but after getting a High Sierra no problems. It works per their specs and I am still satisfied. If it breaks you are mostly out of luck, no more company, support or schematic for it.

N2KI Rating: 5/5 Jul 12, 2008 05:10 Send this review to a friend
6+ Years and Still Going  Time owned: more than 12 months
My controller is still working fine controlling my original Model 100 Tarheel antenna. I know there are two types of reviews regarding the controller. Great or terrible. The bottom line is this. If you got a unit that worked from the start, it never failed. If you got one the didn't, it still doesn't. I guess I was one of the lucky ones.
N0FPE Rating: 0/5 Oct 6, 2007 15:01 Send this review to a friend
POS  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought one of these POS controllers New/old unused. Never did get it to work right. had it abt 6 months and then cut my losses and bought a AH-4. I can no longer find them on the web so I guess they are gone...this is a good thing so they can no longer infilct their junk on others.
VE7RE Rating: 0/5 Oct 6, 2007 13:14 Send this review to a friend
Absolute Garbage  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased one of these about 4 years ago when I purchased my KJ7U Screwdriver antenna.

Right out of the box it failed to work. Just so happens the manufacturer of my screwdriver antenna had one in his truck that was working so he swapped me for mine (which he sold me) and said he would fix it himself and put it in his truck.

I talked to him a couple of weeks later and found that something wasn't properly soldered.

In any event the one that was now in my 4Runner which was the second one,stopped working about 2 weeks after that.

This controller is poorly constructed and is way over priced even if it did work.

All in all I haven't seen this company around anymore (gee I wonder why?) so hopefully their not available anymore.
KG7DX Rating: 5/5 Jan 19, 2004 19:00 Send this review to a friend
Great Results !  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Using this with an Icom 706MkG and a new High-Sierra 1800PRO -- works just as advertised! Like magic, it tunes to a resonant point every time for me with just a push of the Icom's tuning button.

If you're having problems with one, check for GOOD chassis grounds for the rig and the antenna, then try a torroid on the control wire if you have a little stray RF sneaking back down the line. Remember, anything shooting RF that close to everything that supports it needs good grounding to prevent problems of all kinds.

Instructions were a little obtuse... take time and read and follow them carefully to get a good low SWR point on one band, and all the others follow automatically.

Bottom line -- works great for me! Highly recommended!
WA0JGT Rating: 4/5 Dec 3, 2003 01:58 Send this review to a friend
I like my am-Com controller  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I'm using my Am-Com controller to control a HS 1500. My first experience was disapointing because I kept blowing 5 amp fuses in the Am-Com power line. Tech support told me to instal a 3 - 4 ohm 20 watt resistor in series with the antenna drive motor and that would take care of the fuse blowing. I bought 2ea 8 ohm 20 watt resistors from Radio Shack and wired them in parallel to get 4 ohms. Fuse problem solvd. This solved another problem the voltage dropped across the resistors was enough to slow down the motor so that my HS 1500 doesn't coast very much. The coasting I have now is only slightly problem matic on 80 meters. I had another provlem with my Icom 706 MK2G shutting down while tuning certian bands. I called tech support and Carlos was very helpfull. He asked if I had installed the screw for the radio end of the remote head cable. I had not. The screw fixed this problem. It had nothing to do with the AM-Com controller. I was warned that my antenna needed a very good RF ground to the car.
That accomplished an the installation of a 20 ft piece of coax with a 6 turn 6 inch RF choke formed near the antenna end. My controller and antenna work great. I just made a trip from MN to TX and changed bands many times while driving. it worked perfect everytime. ( the 706's tune cycle times out if the antenna isn't tuned in 20 seconds. With the resistor in series with the motor I need to push tune twice to move from 40 to 80 meters) I'm very happy with my controller and the tech support I received. The little push button switches could be of higher quality.
K6AQH Rating: 2/5 Oct 8, 2003 12:05 Send this review to a friend
Back in the box.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After attempting to get it to work with the HS-1800 screwdriver antenna and IC-706 Mk 2G it is back in the box and I am using the manual tune feature of the HS-1800. I trust that the trouble of blowing fuses is due to less than clear instructions for hook up. I will amend these comments if I get it to work. Right now I feel ripped off.
AA4MF Rating: 1/5 Jul 8, 2003 22:10 Send this review to a friend
Low Performance High Cost  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I installed this with my HS 1800/Pro. After a while of fiddling with it, I found it worked sometimes. It frequently stops on an SWR value that isn't at the resonant point forcing me to perform some 'tweeking' to get it there. I bought this so I could have automatic tuning while I drive so I could concentrate on the road, but I don't think this product achieves that. The help from AMCOM is really poor. When I asked about why the controller stops on an SWR value which isn't the resonant point, they emailed me that my antenna has, 'reactance'. Wow, how profound! Of course it has reactance, that's what the tuner is supposed to get rid of.

Anyway, manually, I can always tune my 1800 to very near 1:1 on any band - the antenna is fantastic. I would expect the controller to do the same, but it only works maybe 70% of the time. Sometimes, it just whizzes right past the resonant point and doesn't even stop. I really wish I wouldn't have spent so much on it with this level of performance. I would recommend to any prospective buyer to try tuning their antenna by the sound of the static in the receiver - you'd be surprised how close you can get it the right setting. Take your $200 + and buy something else . . .

Suggestions for this product, in case anyone from AMCOM actually reads these things:

* Use a faster processor. I think my antenna moves faster than the controller can detect the SWR setting, especially on the lower bands. OK, so the antenna has a sharp tuning point - so what, it's a matter of physics - make your product deal with it . . .
* Program the controller to provide for more of an intelligent iterative searching technique. The controller seems to be able to zip right by the resonant point and just keep going on it's dumb and merry way until the antenna reaches the extreme of its extension or retraction. With today's microcontroller technology, this should be much better. I'd suggest controlling the voltage to the antenna and slow the thing down as it approaches the resonant point. If it misses the point, it should reverse and approach the resonant point again, but slower.

Sorry, but this product just doesn't cut the mustard for the money. When I think about what I actually got, I can't help but think AMCOM made a lot of $$ from me for a product that doesn't really work. If someone out there with a good background in microcontrollers came up with a better, more reliable product with better hardware (connectors, etc), I'm sure there would be many hams waiting to buy it . . . . its really a matter of safety while driving!
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