We present the fabrication and high frequency characterization of a capacitive nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) switch using a dense array of horizontally aligned single-wall carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The nanotubes are directly grown onto metal layers with prepatterned catalysts with horizontal alignment in the gas flow direction. Subsequent wetting-induced compaction by isopropanol increases the nanotube density by one order of magnitude. The actuation voltage of 6 V is low for a NEMS device, and corresponds to CNT arrays with an equivalent Young's modulus of 4.5-8.5 GPa, and resistivity of under 0.0077 Omega.cm. The high frequency characterization shows an isolation of -10 dB at 5 GHz. (C) 2010 American Institute of Physics. [doi:10.1063/1.3525165]