Ameritron RCS-8V interface with Ham Radio Deluxe

I bought a Ameritron RCS-8V 5 way antenna switcher from Ham Radio Outlet, this uses a rotary switch in the shack to select a remote relay to energize, this allows up to 5 antennas to use a single coax.

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I use Ham Radio Deluxe as my program of choice, this software has a feature to allow automated switched depending on the Band in use via the computers Parallel Port (Auxiliary Switching).

8 relay

I bought an 8 relay interface off eBay for £18 and mounted it inside an enclosure, the Parallel lead from the PC to the interface was also from eBay and cost £2.

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The inside of the RCS-8V is a simple two pole rotary switch, one pole switches 12v to the panel LED, the other pole switches 12v to the output connections for the relay.

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The above picture is of the opened external relay unit, the first thing I noticed was that the relay armature had jumped out of position in transit and was on the wrong side of the contact, this fortunately was easily sorted.

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The On/Off switch on the RCS-8V is a single pole double throw, I decided that for normal operation,  when the RCS-8V  was in the ON position, control was only via the rotary switch, with the switch in the OFF position, control of the RCS-8V  will be from the relay interface, power for the interface will also be switched from the RCS-8V.

The connection from the interface to the RCS-8V  is via an 8 pin connector which needs a16mm hole.

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Diodes were soldered across the rear of the rotary switch, this allows independence of switching, so if the rotary switch is left on antenna relay 3 for example, when the front RCS-8V switch is set to OFF, power is applied to the interface and whatever relay switches becomes the master (example below).

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RCS-8V switched ON, no power to relay interface, rotary switch selected antenna 3.

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RCS-8V switched OFF, power to relay interface ON, relay 4 switches antenna 4.

Cambeam 2016 the Cambridge & District amateur Radio Club newsletter has a great article on using an Arduino for automating antenna relay controls and is worth checking out. Article by Bob Cowdery G3UKB.

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