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Reviews For: Astron RS-20A

Category: Power Supplies

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Review Summary For : Astron RS-20A
Reviews: 57MSRP: 99.99
20A 13.8 volts power supply
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KK6FX Rating: 2019-05-11
Good - but Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Radiation and our health.
Studies are beginning to show how the excessive radiation (EMFs) that we are bombarding ourselves with daily is beginning to make a difference – and not a positive one – on our health. To be sure, just like with sunburn, some people are more susceptible to EMFs than others, none-the-less, the World Health Organization and others, recommends awareness and caution.

So, cell-phones, wireless routers and such aside; let’s talk about ham radio power supplies.

I have two that I use. An old reliable Astron RS-20A which has been performing flawlessly for YEARS and a newly acquired Powerwerx SS-30DV. The Astron is (of course) a “LINEAR” power supply and the SS-30DV a “SWITCHING” power supply. Most hams (esp OTs) would say the Linear is the best, more reliable and the cleanest PS you could choose.

Today – I received a new piece of test gear, and a bit unusual for the ham shack: the GQ-EMF-390 which measures EMF and more in a variety of ranges. My station operating position is about 3 feet away from the power supplies which are under my desk. Today I connected each PS to my Icom 7300 at 50 watts (into a dummy load) and while holding the EMF meter about 1 foot away from the front of each, measured the EMF on receive and transmit.

RS-20A – (average for 1 minute. And mG = milligauss.)
TX and RX (same readings): EMF = 350 mG (HIGH danger – RED light flashing) “Power Line” type.

SS-30DV – (average for 1 minute)
TX -- EMF = 40 mG (“HIGH” danger – Green light flashing) “Power Line”
RX – EMF = 8.4 mG (“MEDIUM” danger)

Hams – we are all aware of our SWR readings, perhaps we should start to be aware of our EMF readings – which can impact our heath - and take steps to mitigate it in our stations and homes. Just a thought.
KD6NXI Rating: 2017-05-17
Blows fuses Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The fuse is undersized and repeatedly blows. Put in one amp higher and no problems after several years.
N8FVJ Rating: 2014-11-04
Well Built Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Rated 20amps ICAS, it does perform. Some say the 20 series power supplies is a 16 amp power supply and for CSS duty they are correct. However, the ICOM IC-15 power supply is rated at 20 amps ICAS like the Astron and is not any better built with more heavy duty parts. Plus, no over-voltage protection in the ICOM PS-15.
KJ4WS Rating: 2014-03-11
Not Good ! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
My Astron RS-35M has been a Work Horse since the early 1980's ... The RS-35M which we own Is Not For Sale! I was recently Given this RS-20A. Sixteen Amps Continuous is a Big Fat Lie in my case. We used 2 Halogen Fog Lamps at 9.18 Total Amps as a Test Load. Within 5 minutes, the Heat Sinks were Too Hot to touch. I will Not be using it to power my 100 Watt HF Rig. The price was right though... Free ... At 16 Amps as rated, we would have come back to a Smoked Up metal box. We are now going to the Repeater Builder Site to see if, anything can be done to help this Poor Little and Over-Rated PSU. It is now a challenge to see if, it can be made to work as advertised. This RS-20A is less than a year old.
KK4AH Rating: 2013-01-19
Great Supply Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Why Astron doesn't call this a RS-16A I don't know but it does what the specs say. It is continuous at 16 amps and 20a ICS, for those who want 20 amps continuous buy a bigger supply! I have always had terrific service from Astron and this power supply is no different. I have a VS35M power supply and have had no problems with it for over 30 years! For me Astron is one of the best there is period! If you like the newer switching supplies that's ok but for me I'll stay with the linear ones.
N3GGT Rating: 2012-03-08
Better than expected ! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought one from the well known web auction site, seller represented it as perfect working condition. A 20 amp power supply should power a 50 watt radio with no problem. I used it to power an Icom IC-745 running 50 watts in CW. The power supply was barely keeping up. I couldn't resist running 100 watts and the power supply quit. Careful investigation revealed one of the diodes in the bridge rectifier was shorted. After replacing it, and the LM723 regulator IC ( for good measure ) no problems whatsoever. I know I'm taxing it to the limit running 100 watts CW but it works flawlessly. I have been using it daily for about 7 years now, the only time its turned off is during power outages ( I get a lot of them where I live ). Easy to troubleshoot. I was going to put a voltmeter in it but since its on the floor and out of sight, I figured why bother. A well built supply !
KJ6MSG Rating: 2011-11-06
Solid as a rock. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I've used the Astron RS-20A to power both a FT-7900R and a FT-450D. I have not turned up the FT-450D to full 100W, but otherwise it is a solid power supply.
W1EL Rating: 2011-10-11
Excellent linear supply Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Used it for years! Rock solid when used within the specifications. In spite of the model number, this is about a 17 amp supply. Most 100 watt radios need a 22 amp (or so) supply. Need to keep the Astron on the floor, away from the RF, and it stays happy.
K4FX Rating: 2011-10-11
Junk Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This one is junk just like all the rest of the Astrons.

It is not stout enough to run a 100w radio. A 25w rig is about the top of it's limit.

See this web page for useful information on fixing your Astron and removing some of the problems built into them at the factory.

Earlier 2-star review posted by K4FX on 2009-04-11

Well this one died on me just before the WPX SSB contest last month. I had already rebuilt my 35M Astron and have been delighted with the performance of that unit. So I had planned on changing the 20A's pass transistors eventually. I ordered a pair from Mouser and popped them in, turned it on and the 2 meter rig it runs would not come on, hmm, checking the output I saw only 2.5 volts, the LM-723 regulator! I remembered that I had purchased a regulator for the 35M that I had not used, so after diggin in the junk box I located it and the old 20A was purring again with her new LM723 and pair of 2N5302 pass transistors (50 watts more dissipation each than the stock 3771's).

Like a lot of hams I had used Astrons for years with no issues and "thought" they were bullet-proof, WRONG! When I got into RTTY and contesting, that all changed. Everyone should bookmark this page I assure you that when the problems hit your Astron, you will find all the info you need to rebuild your power supply in short order!

WD5NOT Rating: 2011-01-09
My first Astron Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I got this power supply dirt cheap and it has fufilled my expectations only as a linear power supply will do. Most but not all switching power supply have some sort of RF hash. It is quiet hopefully I will have it for a long time. I highly recommend the RS-20A. I will revisit this review in a few months for an update.