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Reviews Categories | Antenna Switching, Phasing, Controllers | Ameritron RCS-8V Help


Reviews Summary for Ameritron RCS-8V
Ameritron RCS-8V Reviews: 56 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $145
Description: Remote coax switch
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.ameritron.com/ameritron/products.php?prodid=RCS-8V
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KM4NYI Rating: 4/5 Dec 30, 2018 02:13 Send this review to a friend
Works as advertised  Time owned: more than 12 months
Picked this up at an estate sale, and installed it to switch my wire HF antennas. It works flawlessly, was easy to install, had no effect on SWR, and makes switching between my antennas easy.
 
K1VCT Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2018 11:39 Send this review to a friend
Does the job well  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Maybe not too typical, but I'm sure other folks have their own similar situation. I'm not a powerhouse station by any means. I have two antennas, a Hustler vertical, and a "random" wire, only 72 feet long. I can work 75/80m through 10m. I'm sure I'll cobble something else up one day.

The feed wire runs from the shack which adjoins a large flat roof garage. But, to keep things both neat and out of sight to most (complaining) folks, the wire runs through the garage, over the back eve, and then onto the top of the flat roof.

The RCS-8V relay box is mounted inside, at the spot where the wires run out to their respective antennas, and of course the "control" box is on the desk in the shack.

The RCS-8V works as it should, and as they advertise. It has not changed the SWR that I can tell with the instruments that I have (RigExpert AA 54, and other various SWR meters). It has not changed the tuning of either antenna, nor the settings of the transmatch or amplifier.

A few notes of interest:
1. The relay box is made to mount on a pole. The design is not the very best, but workable. Ameritron (MFJ) was trying to make a decent cover that was more or less resistant to rain of the non-blowing, fairly vertical type of precipitation. Problem is, the "lip" on the cover will interfere with any flat mounting, or mounting at any spot except the very top of a pole. Washers can space things for pole mounting (you'll need six 1/4 inch fender washers). For flat mounting, in my case, I just used a piece of scrap wood behind the mounting surface to allow space for the lip. Not a deal breaker, but... you'll need to be at least a little creative in respect to mounting.

2. The coaxial connectors are riveted to the plate of the relay box and soldered to the circuit board. If you ever need to repair the board, say repair a blown trace, or just remove it to clean any infestation or corrosion... you'll have to desolder all six relays. That shouldn't be too hard, but will be a little bit of time consunming work.

3. Mine didn't have any drain hole for condensation or errant ingress of water. You might want to put one in, maybe mount the relay box at an angle so the drain will be effective. If the control box floods, you're pretty much SOL for the whole shack... so don't worry about that unit :)

4. You can usually get the relay box by itself, for just over half price if you shop around. The creative sort of person could, wire up their own control box very easily, just 12vDC through a rotary switch, easy to do. And, the very clever could wire two relay boxes from one control unit, if you really had some mega antenna farm

5. The LED lamps on the control box could be replaced easily with colored and/or flashing units for quick id in a darkened shack.

So, why the 5 rating, and not less? Because the unit is simple, and it works. Ameritron did mount things in the relay box to withstand at least a little bit of weather. As a whole, my unit was built perfectly, no cold joints, no solder splatter or globs. The items of interest I pointed out are some of what make Amateur Radio a hobby, a hands on hobby at that. I don't mind a little tinkering, getting an understanding of how and why things work, and adding my own finishing touches. If you want out of the box "perfect for any and all uses" products, this ain't it. But, the unit is solid, and can be very easily made to work in a whole lot of situations.

And that's that!

 
LA4UOA Rating: 2/5 Jun 7, 2018 21:47 Send this review to a friend
not the best   Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine lasted 8 years, but than switch in the controller stopped working, put in a Russian high quality switch, and now working again.

 
W9HH Rating: 4/5 Feb 21, 2018 18:50 Send this review to a friend
OK - Remote Coax Switch  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought one of these after my home brew remote switch was obliterated by a direct hit. Anyway, I purchased the RCS-8V as a replacement and it and seems to function as you would expect it to. On the other hand, it's not exactly perfect. I need to mention the fact that the mounting clamp supplied with my unit was way to big for for a Rohn 25 tower leg. Isn't that where most of us would put it? so, I ended up using parts from my junk box to mount it. One last thing - The price is a little high for what this thing is and as usual the workmanship and QC leave a bit to be desired.

W9HH
Steve
 
W0BKR Rating: 0/5 Nov 26, 2016 18:38 Send this review to a friend
Poor Quality - No QC/QA  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought a new one, and the wall wart (mine was DC powered) and wall wart is dead as a door nail. Once I located another wall wart, 1 position on the relay box didn't work. Doesn't MFJ check any of this crap before the box it up????

 
W5KVA Rating: 2/5 May 12, 2016 16:43 Send this review to a friend
Time owned: more than 12 months
In summary, Ameritron is willing to repair (not replace) the control unit IF I send it in to them, to be fair this a nice gesture seeing that the unit is out of warranty after sitting NIB on the shelf at my QTH for the last three years. Bottom line...MFJ has always lived up to their policy of repairing their poor quality control in-warranty products, but who in their right mind wants to be a continuous QC beta tester for them without being compensated? I personally have experienced 85% of their equipment to be bad out of the box. See some of my Cushcraft R8 reviews where two new antennas were bad out of the box, two MFJ-1124 DC power strips both bad out of the box (which I repaired myself) and some other NIB MFJ stuff. Back to this RCS-8V controller, I'm undecided whether I'll send it in or just repair it myself, either way, it takes time and time is money and so I remain gun-shy on purchasing any more equipment from under the roof of MFJ.
 
N7ZM Rating: 5/5 May 7, 2016 08:18 Send this review to a friend
20 years and still working  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought mine in 1996 and it still performs great. Only maintenace I have done in these 20 years is open it and use some detox to clean inside. I set mine up when off to short to ground.
 
KX2S Rating: 5/5 May 7, 2016 04:33 Send this review to a friend
Ten Years and Still Working  Time owned: more than 12 months
Not sure what went wrong with the previous post.
I have had mine on the tower for over 10 years.
Never had one problem with it. Feeds a 15 Meter and a 20 Meter monobander.
Also feeds my inverted vee plus 10 meter rotatable dipole.
Allows me to run one coax from the shack to the tower plus the 6 wire control line.
Just select my antenna and i'm off and running. Handles a KW all day long and into the evening!
 
WC3O Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2016 10:51 Send this review to a friend
Great  Time owned: more than 12 months
We have two of these at our club. One was bought used and one new. Never had a problem. They both see high-power RTTY contesting duty (@1200 watts) regularly. Can't say anything bad about them.
 
W1BR Rating: 5/5 Feb 29, 2016 21:11 Send this review to a friend
Works as intended..  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the version with the N connectors from DX Engineering. When it arrived I did an inspection, and found one relay had it's armature knocked from the frame. Easy fix, and a common problem due to rough handling in transit. I also questioned the contact spacing on one of two poles on one of the internal relays in the remote antenna switch box... a call to the factory resulted in them building a new box, and they shipped it to me with a return label for the questionable unit.

I have this unit at my tower, which is 80 feet from my home. I have two runs of buried hardline and conduit that goes between the shop and tower location. The RCS-8 selects my HF Log Periodic, R7, a 40/30 meter dipole, and a combined inverted L and 80 meter vertical wire for 160/80 meters. I usually chase DX, and run about 1000 watts to the antennas. There have been no failures thus far, except the initial problems noted when the items were received. I did find one bad solder joint in the control box, which affected one of the LED indicators.

Some hams have complained about the poor isolation between antenna ports, but this has not been a problem for my needs. I probably should rate this a 4 due to the issues I had, but in fairness the rapid and courteous response from the MFJ folks was refreshing.

All in all, it does what it should... nothing fancy, but it works. I'd buy another one. As info, this replaced a vintage Transco military indexing antenna relay unit, which self destructed after 10 years of use--I suspect I exceeded its power ratings!
 
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