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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 

Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:59 am
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Post Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
Good evening all.
This is my first post!

I'm looking for recommendations for good quality Antenna switches. (I will need a few)

I want a minimum of 3 ways and at least 70dB (preferably more) of isolation between switch positions -- and up to 1Kw power handling.
Unused antennas sockets need to be automatically grounded.

I've tried a number of the 2- port 'CX-201' type switches and am quite appalled by their poor manufactured quality and consistency. Opening them up its easy to see why they are so poor!

I'm only looking to use these up to 30MHz and I mostly operate QRP -- so signal loss is also a concern for me.
I would really like to set up my QRP gear together with my 100 watt equipment and mix my SPE 1K-FA amp into the system.
At present this involves lots of PL259 connections and disconnections -- so there has to be a better way?

Many thanks
Bruce G4ABX


Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:03 pm
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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 
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Post Re: Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
It depends on how much you are willing to spend Bruce.
Like you, I tried some of the cheaper manual switches, but was not impressed by the quality.
A few years ago I decided to bite the bullet and buy a DX Engineering remote switch, and it has performed absolutely faultlessly.
It is an 8-way switch with the console at the operating position and a single control cable leads out to the switch box which is mounted in my garage. I have one coax run of LMR-400 into the shack. It will handle well over the power limit you are looking for and has over 70db isolation below 30MHz, and the insertion loss is 0.1db. Unused antenna ports are open by design but you have the option that they may be internally jumpered to be grounded when not selected.

It ticks all the boxes you are looking for, but is quite expensive.
https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/dxe-rr8b-hp-p1


Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:18 pm
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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 
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Post Re: Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
How many antenna sockets has the amp got?

Would be easier to do the rig switching before the amp, let the amp do the antenna switching, then it can be in or out on any rig.


Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:49 pm
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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 

Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:59 am
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Post Re: Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
Many thanks for the recommendations received.
The DX Engineering product certainly looks good from a quality perspective -- but as you say, a tad expensive.

Perhaps I didn't explain my situation quite well enough.
Its amazing that I spend my working life telling people that if they don't specify the Requirements accurately, then they won't get the result they are after.

Ho-Hum!

I have a K3 and a K3s coupled to the inputs 1 and 2 of the iK-FA.
Antenna 1 connection of the 1K-FA is coupled to my HF antennas,and the SO2R connector is coupled to an HF Vertical -- which I use for General reception on the 'other rig' in an SO2R situation.

I want to share my 1 main HF antenna with my other rigs. These include:
K2 (100 watts)
K1 (QRP)
FDM-DUO (QRP)
IC-7300 (100 watts)
FT-747 (100 watts)
Wilderness Sierra (QRP)
My Collins 51s-1 (RX only)
My Drake 2-NT (50 watts TX)

So I need a 'shack mounted' antenna switch solution, rather than a remote one -- and ideally it doesn't want to be too large (at least the control unit)

As I said previously, I presently use a number of 2- way coax switches -- but they are variously poor in performance and quality.
I've also -- for RX and QRP switching only, used some LDG-DTS-4 and 6 switches -- but their isolation between switch ports is little better than 20dB, so just about OK for QRP but hopeless for 100 watts.

So now you've got more of the picture, any further suggestions?

73
Bruce G4ABX


Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:47 am
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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 
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Post Re: Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
Use one relay to switch the antenna between the linear and the low power side, and something like this viewtopic.php?f=59&t=52816&hilit=antenna+switch on the low power side, where the connection to the antenna would go into one of the four antenna ports, and the rigs into the top.

You may not choose to have dummy loads, the first one I made just connected the antennas of the unused rigs to ground.

The QRP rigs, you could connect to one of the rig ports through a rotary switch, or add more rig ports.


Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:40 am
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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 

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Post Re: Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
Now that is a nice antenna switch!

I wonder if he sells the PCB?
I would be prepared to have a go a building one.
I'm guessing it the standard 5"x7"x2" die-cast box.
I could even remote switch them using my MicroHam Station Masters.

Interesting ideas.

Many thanks
73
Bruce G4ABX


Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:25 am
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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 
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Post Re: Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
G4ABX wrote:
Now that is a nice antenna switch!

I wonder if he sells the PCB?
I would be prepared to have a go a building one.
I'm guessing it the standard 5"x7"x2" die-cast box.
I could even remote switch them using my MicroHam Station Masters.

Interesting ideas.

Many thanks
73
Bruce G4ABX


There are no PCBs for sale unfortunately, and there are no Gerber files for it, as I etched it, didn't use the CNC router.

It is a standard box, and the two 9 pin D types you can see on the bottom left are for remote switching.

You don't need a PCB, Vero board and RG316 for the RF path will work as well, if not as pretty.

For the high power changeover, a small die cast box with three sockets and one two pole two way 16A relay epoxied to the box will do the job.


Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:01 pm
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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 

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Post Re: Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
Ahh. Thats a pity that the PCB isn't available.

No matter, its given me the clue needed.
I'll roll my own.

An thanks for the comments I've received. All very helpful.

73
Bruce G4ABX


Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:53 pm
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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 
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Post Re: Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
Go to Mickeys shop and buy one of his PCB's. Super quality very attraticve pricing. Using his 2x6 switch for 1 kW as is our legal limit and isolation is superb.

http://sj2w.se/shop/?post_type=product

/Johan


Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:21 am
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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 
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Post Re: Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
SE3X wrote:
Go to Mickeys shop and buy one of his PCB's. Super quality very attraticve pricing. Using his 2x6 switch for 1 kW as is our legal limit and isolation is superb.

http://sj2w.se/shop/?post_type=product

/Johan


That looks very good value, if that is what you need.

Because of the size of my "garden" and the proximity of antennas to each other, I only want one rig connected to an antenna at a time.

I am building a triplexer and band pass filters so that I can use three rigs on three bands at the same time on the same antenna.

It looks as if he might be using 2 pole 2 way relays with the two poles in parallel, I'm not certain I understand the symbol on the PCB,
if that is so, single pole 2 way relays could be used for lower power without any changes.

The interlock relays are just over £1 each, as are the others if they are the ones often used. Would make a very worthwhile project.


Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:06 am
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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 
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Post Re: Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
I'm very happy with my Elad AMS-33 3x3 Matrix Switch. Pricy but allows me to switch three in and three out. I wish they had a larger option. I could really do with more sockets!!

David G4NRT

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Rochester, Kent / JO01fj
http://www.g4nrt.com


Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:54 pm
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 Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch? 

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Post Re: Anyone recommend a decent antenna switch?
Good evening all

Well I think I have found the perfect solution from a company in Bulgaria: A 6 into 1 switch box -- designed for mast mounting (but I will be using it in the shack.)
Isolation looks excellent and VSWR likewise. Power handling: more than I will ever need!

around £175 including shipping.

A really helpful company to deal with so I have high hopes!

I'll let you all know when I receive it.

73
Bruce G4ABX


Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:46 pm
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