Beware of counterfeit imitations that look like the Dominator and have been sold under several different names. There is more than one imitation of our antennas being made however, the worst counterfeiter is Marko Seruga at * PCS Electronics in Slovenia. This counterfeit is being sold as the Exterminator FM antenna and * Exterminator II antennas. Marko has also implicated Peter van der Kolk of * Dream Machine Radio / * DMR Electronics, as a PCS distributor in the Netherlands. Both have falsely advertised the original antenna while selling the counterfeit Exterminator antenna. Without understanding the technical characteristics behind the Dominators performance, PCS Electronics has plowed right into one mistake after another while claiming the changes have resulted in advantages that are non existent.
Hidden Costs with Cheap Exterminator Antenna Counterfeits.
While PCS Electronics lures customers in with their overrated Exterminator counterfeits, recent customer complaints have forced them to disclose the hidden shipping charges faced when they have to ship outside of Slovenia and to reduce their advertised power ratings on four occasions. The huge cardboard tube used to ship the assembled counterfeit (shown below) is not accepted for shipping to locations outside of Slovenia and is placed inside a wooden crate. This custom wooden crate will add an extra 100 Euro or well over $100 to their shipping cost and advertised price of the Exterminator antenna. The Dominator NWE-34 is quickly Air Shipped worldwide for between $34.99 and $74.99 total with no wooden crating required. Be cautious about buying the Exterminator without the telescopic sections and do some research first. Understand you cannot use any 3 sections of tubing. The largest tube has to exactly match the inside diameter of the supplied mounting head and gamma bracket. Precision telescopic tubing is required to maintain secure mechanical and electrical RF connections.
Note that PCS Electronics offers to tune the counterfeit free of charge, similar to the original product. Then read the tuning instructions they post online and you’ll see why even with their “free tuning” they warn that you’ll have to check the reflected power again to make adjustments yourself. Their manufacturing tolerances and inability to copy the original product accurately have left much to be desired. The construction and materials used are different enough that none of our comprehensive frequency tuning charts or precise measurements can be used to tune these counterfeits that are subsequently sold with none. When the counterfeit antenna tunes with vastly different settings than the genuine product, this is an indication it will perform differently too. PCS now suggests you purchase their $300 antenna analyzer to assist you with their frustrating tuning process. That is not similar to the original products offer of using that analyzer to perfectly tune your antenna prior to shipment. An additional $50 service that’s free of charge and frees you from unnecessary complications during the installation.
When the best tuning information any of the counterfeiters can provide is “extend this part about 25% and push another in about a third of the way” it becomes clear that each tuning procedure is a hit or miss thing. No consideration has been given to keeping any of the radiators set at a resonant length for the frequency in use. PCS vaguely instructs the buyer to keep adjusting the lengths of all the parts until you stumble into any match you can find. The problem is you might have the radiator lengths off by more than a foot but the gamma match can still be adjusted to compensate for the reactance this introduces so that a low reflected power could be displayed. This low reflected power is no confirmation of the radiator elements being set at the correct length to provide peak gain at your frequency. Any mismatch in radiator length has simply been hidden in the matching network while valuable gain and efficiency have been lost in the process. PCS would have learned this if they conducted a few gain tests in the field as opposed to just attaching our results to their counterfeit. This general lack of accurate specifications and quality control is probably why you’ll never see an example of a counterfeit version listed as being used on any stations Construction Permit or license.
It has come to our attention that a VHF television version of our FM antenna is now being sold by PCS Electronics. We opted not to modify the Dominator FM broadcast antenna for TV use because this vertical antenna design is not compatible for TV transmission which almost always uses horizontal reception antennas. This is the complete opposite of the situation we have in the FM band. That mistake alone causes a -20db drop in signal to all horizontal TV receiving antennas. In order to compensate for the loss in signal due to this cross polarization, it would require increasing the transmitter power output by a factor of 100 times! That disadvantage is so severe, it’s nearly impossible to overcome. Therefore it is inappropriate to market vertical antennas for TV broadcast. It is also very dishonest for PCS to inflate the gain of the VHF TV version to 6.3db over a dipole. What they are claiming here is that simply retuning the antenna into the VHF TV band will somehow produce more than double the gain seen in the VHF FM band. That is impossible, plus it ignores the -20db loss resulting from cross polarization in TV applications. Use horizontally polarized antennas in TV broadcast and avoid the Exterminator TV antenna trap.
Customer and distributor comments with responses regarding clones.
Q) We have experienced serious problems with the initial installation of our RF antenna. It would seem that a Clone of the Dominator was the unit initially purchased…. Since replaced by the real Dominator. There has been an apparent but unusual pattern of damage to the coax close to the connector that would suggest a lightning strike.. however I question this prognosis and invite comment or viewpoint as to the likelihood of faulty equipment being a likely cause. I would appreciate your urgent comment. The two original Dominator antenna units we purchased have performed trouble free since installation and to date we are most pleased with them. Best Regards, Peter Bradnock.
A) Peter, from examining your pictures I can determine the antenna is a counterfeit using substandard connectors that are not waterproof. Unfortunately I cannot replace any of the parts on the clone because the tolerances do not match our product and will not fit. Although, I’m pleased to hear the two original antennas are performing as advertised. Regards, Donald.
Q) Ok, we bought the clone and it’s a piece of junk! The connector broke and we had to make a new L-Bracket. Then after adjusting the Gamma Rod we put it at the top of the tower only to find the wind makes the SWR fluctuate too much. At the time we wanted to buy yours but they were out of stock. Now I see that it is back? Rod Moses.
A) Rod, I’m sorry you got stuck buying that clone. We are aware of many issues in the matching network used on that antenna. The parts for the gamma match have a rather loose fit and that makes the adjustment move in the wind. It’s rare that we are out of stock however, a large order was placed by a distributor that depleted our remaining stock. We are now fully stocked and can fill your order. Best regards, Donald.
Q) Hello Donald, Many thanks for your info. I saw the clone of your dominator antenna and my customer purchased one at the same price as your antenna to test at their site. While operated at an RF power level more than 400 watts cw, the result caused the transmitter to fail and the antenna connector is burnt up! However, the customer said he will now order your antenna after they repair their transmitter and try again. Regards, Sirichai Singkaew
A) Hello Sirichai, The problem you describe has become quite prevalent with users of this clone. Marko use to be an authorized distributor for the original Dominator NWE-34 however, he became greedy and deceived us while attempting to make a cheap imitation of our antennas. The results you see are an indication of his expertise in this area. On the other hand, we will be happy to fill your customers needs by supplying the “real McCoy”. Regards, Donald.
Q) Hi there Can you clear up some confusion for me please? I am thinking of buying a high gain vertical antenna with a power handling capacity of 500W (VHF FM Band). I am based in Spain and have therefore been looking at the PCS Electronics website, but there seems to be at least 3 antennas that look similar. I understand there is an original and subsequent clones. Can you please clarify what is the actual situation and whether PCS Electronics sells the original product? Sorry to be a pain. Mike Wood.
A) Mike, Marko Seruga from PCS Electronics is absolutely selling a counterfeit product made to look similar to ours. We recently discovered he has been lying in his website keyword list for many years. That is a list of words hidden in his sites HTML code that internet search engines use to direct customers to relevant sites. Here, Marko falsely advertises the words “Real Dominator, Not a Copy”. Then when you click on the link to the PCS website, you’ll find the real Dominator has been replaced with only the option to purchase the substandard counterfeit. That is a clear case of illegal “Bait and Switch” advertising. The safest bet is to avoid doing business with companies that don’t stand behind the sale. Please consider ordering directly from our www.fmbroadcastantenna.com website. We ship Internationally by Express Air Service for a low flat rate fee. Regards, Donald.
Q) Dear Donald, I removed the Exterminator antenna from our web site. This antenna was indeed a clone from PCS Electronics and some Dutch manufacturer. Now that we are in contact and can do business, I don’t have to buy the clone from this dealer. Regards, Gerrit Kramer.
A) Dear Gerrit, I’m sure your customers will appreciate the time you’ve taken to consider the advantages the original product has over these counterfeits. Everything from the quality construction of our antennas to the technical service offered by us with the sale will be to their benefit. You’ll also enjoy much fewer headaches dealing with customer complaints after the sale as a distributor. Regards, Donald.
Q) I bought a Exterminator antenna at PCS Electronics but they tuned the antenna at 95.1 and I needed 96.1. They also sent me the antenna without a manual so I don’t know how to assemble or retune the antenna. Can you assist? Thank you. Ricardo Valdiviezo.
A) Ricardo, I wish I could assist you however, the Exterminator antenna we inspected from PCS Electronics showed its specifications including the tuning measurements were not the same as ours and also arrived without instructions. Marko does not offer our same money back satisfaction guarantee however, if you ask he should at least be able to provide you with the tuning measurements for 96.1Mhz. Regards, Donald.
Q) Mr. Donald, The clone antenna in these photos is being sold in Peru. Have a look yourself, it is of very poor quality. I make this comment because people are realizing this clone only has low reflected power under 200 watts. Above 200 watts the reflected power increases more than normal and that is an indicator of poor quality. Those who are selling these antennas in Peru have no website and sell it personally. Mirko Linares.
A) Dear Mr. Linares, Thank you very much for sending the photos and updated information. This is useful to our customers in preventing purchases of counterfeit antennas. This model is just as bad as the ones I’ve seen sold from China. The matching network appears to have been designed for receive only applications and I see they are sold under our “Dominator” name too. Please keep me posted if you can identify or locate this counterfeiter. Best regards, Donald.
Q) How do I detect a clone from the real Dominator? I have one but would like to purchase another due to the fact that I got it from someone and don’t know how much power it handles and if its real. Can someone please contact me so I can purchase and ask some simple questions about your antenna? Thank you, Richard Clouden.
A) Richard, On the white shipping box you will see a large green label. The lower portion of this label shows the serial number of our antennas. The number is also written in your instructions. Simply email me the number and I’ll check the data base. Since we supply all authorized distributors with stock, if the antenna is authentic I’ll have the number recorded. If both numbers are missing, send a digital picture of the antenna for identification. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me directly. Regards, Donald.
Q) Hello, I’m writing from Finland and recently purchased a clone antenna. I was looking for hi-gain antenna since I have permit for 50 watt station and I would love to reach as far is possible. So I found this seller in Europe, but they don’t say where they ship from (Slovenia). Ok the antenna came with two black circles, so I set these and tightened the screws. I got 15 watts of reflected power (indicating 30% of the RF power is not being radiated by the antenna and is reflected back to the power amplifier causing it to overheat!) I sent an email to explain to the seller and they “kindly” replied inviting me to “have fun with the antenna”
I don’t know if I would try to feed 1KW into it. Looks so fragile and made with thin material that you can buy in every hardware store. Another problem I found was the bolts that hold the four sticks to the bottom of the antenna. The fact is that they are impolite and don’t help if the customer needs help. I didn’t know about your company before I found your website today, When I was looking for some information about my antenna, I found that I bought a clone. I sent you this message just to inform you and give to you evidence. Kind regards, Fabio Putrino.
As Fabio points out, the important power handling components look very fragile and he correctly doubts the 1000 watt Exterminator from Slovenia could safely handle its rated 1KW power limit. The Exterminator has consistently proven its specifications to be overrated, causing numerous antennas and other transmitter equipment to fail. Archived copies of the PCS Electronics website show their Exterminator antennas have had the advertised power ratings reduced at least four separate times since 2007. Today they still have problems building a counterfeit that can handle 1000 watts and recently revised the specifications down to 900 ~ 1000 watts. PCS has not considered that humidity, rain and wet snow causes antennas with no headroom to fail under adverse weather conditions.
PCS Electronics had so many equipment failures related to overrating their counterfeits, they completely discontinued three models sold with power ratings from 500 to 10,000 watts! Their first counterfeit was rated at 1000 watts but used the low power 27 megahertz gamma matching network they claimed others used. When that cheap part fried, they de-rated the same antenna to 500 watts before realizing a low power HF gamma match is unsuitable for use at any power level in continuous VHF FM broadcast applications due to increased losses and RF heating at higher frequencies.
Then they tried a 10,000 watt Exterminator using a larger gamma match and EIA connector, making the assumption that these were the only limiting factors. Examining this CST Computer Model reveals that phase inversion inside the cone will cause the increased RF voltage between the cone and central monopole to produce corona arcing at these ridiculously overrated power levels. This is the reason the genuine product has always been safely rated for a maximum of 3000 watts applied to the antenna. PCS assumed they could get away with simply cutting the rating of their high power model in half to 5000 watts and sold their customers another discontinued failure. Now they sell the 5000 watt Exterminator as a 4000 watt model with dangerously little headroom.
We had also never heard of so many cases where a malfunctioning antenna alone could cause a solid state broadcast FPA to destroy its RF output transistors. Doing some online research uncovers PCS has a long history of selling low end exciters and amplifiers with these Exterminator antennas that do not include simple features like VSWR fold-back to protect output transistors from failing due to antenna issues. In an effort to sell PCS transmission equipment to the Untied States market, Marko employed the use of his local distributor in the USA. When questioned by the FCC about the non compliant equipment being sold, they falsified information by submitting documents belonging to a different piece of equipment that was Type Certified and were subsequently fined by the FCC. Another example of continued deception long after “the hand has been caught in the cookie jar.”
Interestingly enough, our new 250 watt Dominator uses a custom designed VHF gamma match with larger diameter surface areas and lower loss insulators than ones that have been sold on discontinued 1KW and 500 watt models of the Exterminator antenna. We’ve posted a video of the overrated part failing below. The most costly parts used in genuine Dominator NWE-34 FM broadcast antennas are the well designed RF handling components. This provides the headroom and reliability demanded in the broadcast field.
The most expensive part on the Exterminator appears to be their new aluminum CNC “mounting head”. The CNC manufacturing process can produce a quality part but is very uneconomical in large volume due to most of the material being wasted as cuttings. Since PCS Electronics was at one time an authorized distributor of the Dominator antenna, they were aware of a weakness in the mounting head used on our first production run. They were also aware of the fact the old hub was promptly redesigned and that free replacements were offered to customers who purchased from the first batch.
Our hub is precision bored, drilled and tapped in a CNC machine with the raw part formed in a high grade Zamak alloy molding process that is well suited for its machining and anti-corrosion properties. Not cut and tapped from soft aluminum with short threads that pull out when the four bolts are tightened. Our RF connector is threaded in, then brazed in place to insure a permanent RF and mechanical connection as one piece of metal. PCS advertising continues to mislead customers by suggesting this part is somehow deficient rather than being superior in terms of both strength and cost effectiveness.
Pictured below is the reinforced mounting head or hub used on genuine antennas.
Counterfeit hub cut from soft aluminum with connector hanging from unsupported tab.
Images below are expandable by clicking on the picture.
Clicking on this photo will open a short video. PCS tried to get away with using this gamma match on 1000 watt Exterminator antennas. Here we can watch the part failing under the stress of voltages created at the 1KW power level. The bottom of the tube has been cut away to show the inside insulator failure. This gamma is smaller than the part we sell on 250 watt antennas.
Norwalk Electronics guarantees the lowest price on the Dominator. If you see a lower total price advertised, email us the link to the ad and we will match any competitors price. This guarantee includes all FM clones.
Pictured below is the worlds first 3/4 wave FM broadcast antenna built by Norwalk Electronics in 1996. This prototype was build by hand in copper long before mass production in aircraft alloy aluminum began. PCS Electronics use to falsely advertise they had “the first and only 3/4 wave FM antenna” even though their counterfeits came out more than a decade later. Extensive field testing conducted by Norwalk Electronics has shown our .82 wavelength design provided more gain on the distant horizon than our first .75 wave design. To maintain our lead with the highest gain FM antenna, we updated the design to .82 wavelength in 2006.
First test version of this FM design by Norwalk Electronics built in August 1996.