Manager


Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Array Solutions SixPack

Category: Antenna Switching, Phasing, Controllers

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
Review Summary For : Array Solutions SixPack
Reviews: 48MSRP: 250 to $400 depending on configu
Description:
Antenna remote switch 6,12,18,...etc antennas to 1 or 2 radios
Product is in production
More Info: http://www.arraysolutions.com
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
00484.9
K4MO Rating: 2019-02-13
A must have option Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have two SixPacks. One out in the yard and one under the house. They let me connect any two antennas to any two radios/operating positions at a time. I am completely spoiled by that level of versatility now ... couldn't live without it.

Plus they deal with my DX-4 without complaint.
G7UTB Rating: 2019-02-12
Very happy Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had my SixPack for just over a year. I mounted the relay box in a weather proof box with door access. It is mounted at shoulder height. It has never been so easy to change antennas between two radio's. I can add new or experimental antennas whenever I need to without running new cables back to the shack. I have not noticed any problems with vswr. I have a 1K dummy load mounted in the same box and currently have, Inverted L, Cobweb, A3S and 80m Inverted V antennas connected. It has made station operating so much easier. The interlock prevents connection by both radio's to the same antenna. Very happy with my choice. Jim G7UTB
K2YWE Rating: 2014-07-30
Solid Product and Support Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I borrowed a friend's Array Solutions SixPack for a contest and kept it for another month (thanks, Rich). Not only was great to have in the contest, but it made life so easy in day-to-day operation that I bought my own. I've had it over a year and it has operated flawlessly. I'm sorry I didn't buy one of these years ago. Both pieces are well made and intelligently laid out. I had a lightening-induced failure that actually melted the back of one of the SO-239 connectors. The unit was repaired and back in a week.

I've noticed no SWR issues from 160m-10m. I haven't tried it on VHF.

I have seen complaints about the relays "hanging." The instructions explain that the relays are shipped with keepers to prevent damage during shipping. The keepers must be removed for the relays to pull in and release properly. The SixPack that I borrowed had that problem. It worked fine after I removed the keepers.

I found that the AS SixPack provides a solid combo of hardware and support.
W7VI Rating: 2013-03-01
Great Product Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Just purcased the 6 pak for my radios. Just in the process of configuring the 6 pak to the antennas. Array Solutions has redefined quality in Amateur Radio. The product was a little pricey but grat Quality. Will give you an update when it put the 6 pak into operation.
K6XT Rating: 2012-10-18
Good Switch! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had a 6 Pack in service since sometime in the 1990's. Been very happy with its performance. Perfect? No, its been repaired once due to failure, ergo the 4 instead of 5. Recently the station was subject to a lightning event, requiring some repairs - not just to the 6 Pack. A DXE switch suffered more than the 6 Pack, and DXE has nowhere near the support quality of Array Solutions. My original 6 Pack remains under its lifetime support warranty altho I've been able to fix it myself in both repair cases.

One thing I'd like to see is connectors on the two units so its easy to unplug wiring when weather threatens. Might limit some damage. Boring connector holes myself looks messy.

I like this product well enough that I recently bought another one to support additional towers.

Others have posted unfavorable reviews. Re SWR on the higher HF bands, don't know what their problem is. Operating into a Sierra Electronics Operation (Philco-Ford) 160B-300 dummy load the SWR is essentially flat 1:1 at 28MHz as measured by MN2700 meter. "Flat" is good enough for who its for. I don't use 6M but rig goes there - MN2700 reports 1.4:1 but I don't know if the meter is supposed to be accurate on 6. K3's meter, same setup with a little more coax, reports 1:1 on 6. It would take work to drag in my VNA for measurements so will save that for a cold winter day.
AD5X Rating: 2012-09-12
Well-designed & well-built Time Owned: more than 12 months.
After seeing a recent poor review on the 6Pak, I decided to make some measurements on mine. I’ve been using this 6PAK without any issues on 160-10 meters, though not yet on 6-meters. The 6PAK was designed for HF contesters and 6m was not originally considered (note the box silkscreen of 10-160m), though it does work well on 6-meters.

Internally the 6PAK uses microstrip transmission lines for all interconnections. The groundplane is on the visible side of the pc board, and the microstrip lines are on the under-side of the pc board. Each UHF connector has its grounds tied directly into the pc board groundplane. There is no reliance on the chassis for RF return. Finally, all relays utilize silver contacts with a gold-flash. These are US-made relays (Relay Service Company in Chicago) custom built specifically for Array Solutions and this application.

Next I made a series of SWR, isolation and loss measurements with my VNA2180. For the VSWR measurements, I terminated the 6PAK in a precision (>40dB return loss) 50 ohm load. I found my worst-case SWR to be 1.3:1 on 6-meters. The SWR was less than 1.2:1 on 10 meters, and less than 1.1:1 on 20 meters and below. For the isolation measurements, I found that both radio-to-radio isolation and radio-to-off-line-antenna port isolation were the same. The worst-case isolation of 54dB was on 6-meters. Isolation was 57dB on 10 meters and better than 60dB on 15 meters and below. Finally, I looked at insertion loss. The worst-case loss of 0.16dB occurred on 6-meters. On 10 meters and below, the loss was less than 0.06dB.

Bottom line: This is an excellent RF switch that performs very well from 160-6-meters.
K5RT Rating: 2012-09-06
Excellent Product! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've owned a Six Pack for many years. Mine was one of the very first units off the assembly line. Never a problem!!! Mine is installed indoors, but has essentially no contribution to SWR.
This is a vey well designed and reliable product indeed and Array stands behind it as they do all of their very FB products! Further proof of the quality of this product is proven by the hundreds (thousands?) that can be found in use in contest stations around the world.
K9YC Rating: 2012-08-30
Poorly Engineered, Mediocre Performance Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Once again the manufacturer has demonstrated a complete ignorance of the fundamentals of transmission lines by ignoring the return path for current. A proper circuit would carry the shield from the PL259 to the "ground" layer of two-sided circuit board, making sure that the ground layer is not interrupted under the signal traces. Instead, the unit depends upon the chassis for a signal return. This, combined with cheap relays, adds enough stray inductance to the signal path to degrade both return loss (high SWR) and crosstalk performance.

I bought mine as "new old stock" at a hamfest, and until a few months ago never had enough antennas to justify installing it. I installed it last month, and while the functionality is nice, the high SWR on the higher bands has caused me to look for something better. Not only that, but running my SteppIR through it yielded 1.6:1 on 6M, so I've had to switch it separately.

I've heard lots of complaints about the relays, and about their problems with corrosion. Mine is inside, so I haven't seen that problem.
K4FX Rating: 2011-07-11
Excellent Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Although most people think of the Six Pack as something for contest use, this is not entirely true. Anyone who has 2 HF rigs could benefit from this excellent switch. Although it is not cheap, it is very high quality. It can be tower mounted to help offset some of the cost in savings from less coax. It is impossible to put 2 radios on the same antenna. The unit will also work with about all of the band decoders making for fully automatic control. This is the Cadillac of antenna switches.
N1TX Rating: 2011-04-09
Super for the antenna farm Time Owned: more than 12 months.
We've had the SixPak in service at the KL2R shack for almost five years. We have fix-mounted antennas on a 140' tower for multi-two and SO2R operation. The switch is mounted at the base of the tower about 150' away from the shack, and the manual controller sits next to the "master" operating position. It has performed very well from -50F to +90F.

I would rate it a 5 except for the following. The switch is not exactly weatherproof. There are some small gaps at corners, which can be daubed with silicone or other sealant to keep out water. I chose to put a plastic lid on it and secure with cable ties to permit the interior of the box to breathe and avoid condensation inside. Also, the relays, when not exercised for a long period of time can become sticky. It's also a good idea to keep the controller switch contacts from oxidizing by changing positions once in a while.