[CQ-Contest] Antenna switch summary
RHealy at mdsroc.com
Thu Nov 13 10:20:33 EST 1997
Thanks to all for the input. Here's the summary. Some of it was
surprising to me. You be the judge:
The best switches I have are both 5 position. I have a HOFI with N
connectors and a Singer MIl Spec Model (also N) that I got from Don,
N4IN. You might check with Jack, K4MZW at Electronic Switch (ESCO) if
he knows where the remaining HOFI switches are and if ESCO continued
to make their own (to HOFI specs). These will be $200 plus so be
prepared, but the loss and isolation is worth a DB at 6 meters asnd
nearly that at 160 meters. ESCO might be willing to make 6 position,
8491 Hospital Drive
Douglasville, GA 30134
sales at eswitch.com
Keep looking at the hamfests for Bird switches.
I am using a Top Ten Devices 6 way relay box to switch my antennas
with their computer control box but you can just buy the relay box and
switch with 12 volts with a simple rotary switch in the shack. Even if
you have 6 feedlines in the shack you can just mount the relay box
behind the table and use a short control cable. Of course you can just
run a 7 wire control cable out to the antennas and just use 1 feedline
to the shack. If you need more info contact them or me here and I'll
give you more info.
DuneStar has a nice switch, but it's expensive. Look at
http://www.dunestar.com/dunestar/ Ron the owner puts out a nice product.
I just bought the B&W 6 position switch in the rectangular box but it
has not arrived yet. When it does I am going to put it on the network
analyzer to check the isolation. If it performs as well as the B&W
lowpass TVI filter I will be very happy. A friend gave me one to
measure and it had excellent matches in and out as well as the filter
shape. The box feels like there is nothing in it but it is an
excellent filter. Hopefully the guy that designed the filter also did
their switch. I should have results this week.
<Note from NJ2L: No word yet on the results.>
I have tried all of the referenced switches. The B/W, although
feeling light-weight seems to have the best reliability as I've been
using the same switch with 6 positions for 15 years. It has been
stored in outdoor sheds during times of neglect (off the air) and
still performs well.
The Diawa CS-201, 2 position switch seems to have the best isolation
and I use it for selecting rigs.
The Alpha Delta Delta-4 gets Cheers and Jeers. My first one suffered
a direct-hit and the surge protector fused to the inside - No charge
for repairs hence = CHEERS!
Functionally this same switch shorts ANT 1 and ANT 4 together although
it's not supposed to. This reduces the switch to a two position
switch (ANT 2 & ANT 3). I felt that considering the damage sustained
that I should give then another chance and I bought another.
Alpha-Delta Delta-4 #2 is also dispointing. The knob had to be
tightened before I could install it and when I connected to antenna #4
I found that the positin was open! I decided to open up the first
switch, although Alpha Delta advises against it and was somewhat
shocked to see what I had paid for. I am very disappointed in the
design and quality of this product at this time.
I would like to hear if others have had similar problems with these
switches or if it's just me!
I am facing this same issue. Have just about decided it is cheaper to
buy an RCS-8V or a Top Ten relay box instead.
I use Transco relays that switch up to 6 antennas. They are easily
found at hamfests and Joel , at the RF connection in Gaithersburg, Md.
Usually has used ones in stock. They'll handle gobs of power and you
can switch them with a surplus Ameritron 24vdc switch box or any 28vdc
power supply/switch unit. It's much easier to switch by pushing a
button than to manually turn a switch and it eliminates all the ugly
coax cables inside the shack.
The B&W are just normal wafer switches that ground the unused
inputs. I found that the swr was worse on the end inputs than on the
ones closer in. The isolation is also not so good. The Alpha delta
and daiwas use a better switch arrangement that gives much more
I like the B&W inline ones. I have owned one for years and used to
use it all the time - when I had a station.
We also use them at 6D2X.
It depends on what you want to do. And yes - MFJ is not an option!!!
If you want something which will see light duty (ie not a lot of back
& forth action) the Daiwa's are fine (I've never used an Alpha
Delta!!), However, the contacts seem to begin "not making" if they are
switched a great deal. Even though the isolation isn't as good, I
still like my good old B&W - I've never seen one go bad, and you can
switch them around all day long!!
I'd consider the Top Ten decoder/relay box combination if you're stuck
considering a new purchase.
I know you said manually operated switches....but maybe I'm just a
real lazy type..but what I've done is to use the DX Engineering Coax
switch box that usually goes out on the tower and set it over in the
corner and use it. Just flip the switch on the control box and I can
hear the switches move and it changes fast & easy.
Burned up the MFJ's and the Daiwa's and others seemed to always fail
during a test or some rare DX that I was lusting after.
Using a remote coax switch inside the shack seems silly..but it
very well and is very reliable.
> I'll include your info in the summary. By the way, what does DX
> Engineering get for the boxes?
NOt sure of the current prices. Haven't needed to buy one for while.
Are they still available? DX Engineering has scaled back and now
rarely makes any antennas, but makes the coax switch boxes,
phasing/matching boxes and the Quadrature boxes for 4-squares.
Do you know whether they have a Web site? No Web site. In fact DX
Engineering is Bill, N0XX/7 who produces the boxes during spare time
he might scare up from his regular, full time job. His phone # is
541-466-3138 and E-mail is billsat at proaxis.com.
Yes, I still make 5 port coax switches with indoor control unit for
$195. They're a bit higher than the "competition" but last a lot
longer and better built. I make a 6 port remote only for use with the
computerized drivers, but don't make the automatic switching devices.
Wish that DX Solutions still did,they were the best at a fair price.
ETO bought the product, but never got around to making it. If you can
find one used, they're real nice. Delivery depends on backlog, right
now I'm a week to two behind, hoping to get caught up soon. Thanks
for the inquiry, please let me know if you have any other questions.
That's it for now. Please chime in if you have other thoughts.
--73, Rus, NJ2L
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