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Reviews For: Array Solutions RATPak

Category: Antenna Switching, Phasing, Controllers

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Review Summary For : Array Solutions RATPak
Reviews: 39MSRP: 299.00
6 way remote antenna switch QRO++ rated DC to 6 meters
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W3UTD Rating: 2022-10-04
Excellent long serving switch Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have used this with 5 HF antennas since about 2006. Recently an addition to the back of my house forced me to remove all of my connections to outside antennas, so I took the intervening time to revisit my setup. The remote switch is at the rear of my property on a small pole, under a tree and protected very unattractively by an upturned bucket! Dissembling it, I was surprised as how clean it was. No signs of corrosion, just a few spiders nests and dead bugs. The indoor switch was dissembled when I had to remove the control lines but it was easily re-assembled with no problems at all.

It all came back together and is working as good as the day I set it up back in 2006. I'm expecting it to last another 15 trouble free years. Best shack accessory I ever bought!

One more quick comment: Using it from 160 to 6 meters with an Elecraft KPA500 amp and have had absolutely no problems. Important to note that my previous remote antenna switch (Ameritron) would not cover 6m.
K0ZN Rating: 2022-09-28
Excellent switch operationally. Two minor shortcomings. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Fundamentally, it is a very good antenna switch. Isolation is excellent. I really like the fact the outdoor unit has a metal enclosure; good for physical protection, long term durability and some shielding.
Typically, Array Solutions makes excellent, high quality products... I own several of them. I gave the RATpak 6 a four because of two items. (1.) On the basic, rotary switch controller, the switch has a Plastic body. It doesn't appear very robust. Possibly, that is all that AR could get in this day and age, but it is a mechanical weak point. Time will tell how well it holds up. (2.) There is no grounding lug on the chassis of the rotary switch controller. I think this is a significant omission. Every piece of equipment in a shack should be bonded to a ground bus. It was easy to drill a hole and install a grounding lug, but that really should have been included, especially for something that is wired to multiple transmission lines and therefore subject to higher lightning risk. Obviously, if there is a direct hit, the switch is toast, but solid grounding of the case might prevent/reduce damage to the other equipment.
Again, operationally, the switch is great. It does what it is supposed to do effectively.
K0SF Rating: 2021-12-20
Great Remote Switch Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I installed the RATpak switch on my tower this fall. So far, so good; I'll update in a few years but I don't expect problems. It appears to be a high quality switch.

The design seems quite solid; there doesn't seem to be any impact on return or thru loss at least up to 6 meters. I have 5 positions in use.

I only have a few very minor gripes about the switch; otherwise, note my Great rating. Here are a few possible improvements:

1.) In addtion to the rotary switch, it would be nice to have an On/Off switch. I added one to my controller. Also, I drilled a second hole on the back for the DC power feed.

2.) When I installed the switch in my Rohn 55g tower, it was very difficult to access and tighten the feedline connectors without removing the cover. I was able to remove the cover, Phillip's head screws and washers (# 6 ?) but it was a challenge in 30° F weather with bare hands. Using T bolts or bigger hex head stainless screws with a nut driver would make things much easier.

3.) Be careful not to over-tighten the rotary switch nut; this is the only fastener holding the control printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) to the controller inside face. Likewise, you'll want to strain relief the control cable as it exits the rear panel so that a tug on same doesn't apply undue force on the PCBA.

4.) I added 2 each flat 4 conductor vehicle to trailer connectors (3 Female/1 Male and Inverse) to my switch to facilitate installation (purchased at local home store). Array Solutions doesn't provide these which probably makes sense given hams' connection preferences.

Otherwise, I agree with Jay's claim that the switch is simple to service. The relays are available from Digi-Key and Mouser. I expect to get very long life from the switch; I'll report back in a few years !
ON4MHO Rating: 2021-05-20
Excellent Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this remote switch about 3 years ago. Good isolation, robust. I had a small issue (my fault) and the guys at Array replied nearly instantly to my e-mail with the solution to my problem. Excellent service!
W3DIY Rating: 2020-05-11
Antenna ports failed Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I no longer required more than 2 antenna ports. One by one the spare ports became intermittent, which eventually took out my SPE 1.5K amplifier. Fortunately the relay box is at the bottom of the tower. When opened the box was full of real bugs. Array Solutions makes good equipment and Jay offered to repair the switch.
K9HZ Rating: 2020-02-15
Lemon Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I bought this switch because of the Array Solutions reputation. I've always had good luck with their products. What I can tell you is that after installation... for whatever reason, position #1 does not work. It's on the J68HZ tower at 58 feet and is used to switch the big DB48 SteppIR, the 160, and 80 meter dipoles. We had to move the antennas such that we only used 2, 3, and 4. Yes, we rewired the switch on the tower several times thinking one conductor was dead... not true. We also cut loose the "kick back" diodes on the relays as they tend to short if there is a lightening strike (and who wants to climb the tower just to replace a crummy diode in a switch. It was a dumb idea to put those in the switch box anyway... should have been at the shack end). I have not had a chance to discuss this with Jay yet but this is a bit uncharacteristic of one of his products. DE J68HZ

UPDATE: Someone must have tipped off Jay Terleski about this review. He wanted the switch back to fix the problem and I fully agree with that except the switch 1) is 2500 miles away and 2) in service on a property in the Caribbean that I rent out to hams... so it can't just be removed from service and replaced in any reasonable timeframe. Therefore, unknown to him, I ordered a second identical switch recently and will take it to this location and replace the faulty switch. He will then get his wish... the lemon switch will come back to him for repair (right after it goes through my RF shop for evaluation... I own an Engineering company).

Again, I've always had good results with Array Solution products. I own several of them. Once in a while we do get lemons and at that point its about customer service.
WW4DX Rating: 2018-03-27
Super Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Like previous review stated, built like a tank. Excellent workmanship, with heavy duty relays. Exterior finish appears to be very durable. No regrets of spending a few more $$$ to get this one, over other brands.
KY6R Rating: 2014-08-26
Home Run Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The relays in this switch will give you all the full power confidence you will need. The switch is built like a tank, and both the power handling ability and the port isolation is much better than some "lesser brands".

Sold and serviced by some of the nicest guys you could want to do business with.

Top notch all the way around.
VE4AMN Rating: 2014-07-28
Smooth as silk Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I use the 6 pole version to switch among the rigs in my shack. It operates flawlessly and cleaned up a rats nest (no pun intended) of switches and lines. Good isolation and quite easy to set up. I plan to order another unit to replace my aging Heathkit external electronic switch.
K6RIM Rating: 2013-06-07
The Best! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Owned for around 12 years.

Top quality product and absolute top-drawer company. Best of the best on both counts!