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 Rotator on a budget

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PostSubject: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeMon Jan 04, 2021 10:35 pm

Has anyone used one of these Hy-Gain-AR500X rotator.
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PostSubject: Re: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeTue Jan 05, 2021 7:43 am

Hi Michael,

I'd not looked at the price of rotators in recent years and nearly choked on my gnashers when I saw the price of them! Very Happy

I've no personal experience of the rotator you mention but it is a little thin on specifications. For me personally I'd rather save me pennies up for something like the Yaesu G-450 which comes with some fairly decent specs for the money. Better the extra dosh on something that can cope than money wasted on something that might break first go or screw up with a heavy wind!

It also looks a little thin on the ground for second hand rotators which is a pity. I suppose people hang onto them or they're less commonly used than in the past?

I've seen some 'homebrew' rotator affairs where people take the load off the rotator through a cage and even some ingenious contraptions, (bearings, car wheels, bicycle chains etc.), with a geared drive from a small rotator. A lot of faff unless you're tooled up for that sort of thing.

I presume you got that Yagi from that mate you mentioned in another post?
In which case as it's a lighter weight three element it might be worth looking at solutions Ham radio operators use for "HF Tribanders" as they are of a similar weight/size, (the Tribanders may be just a little bigger).


Another option available to you is maybe use the beam in a fixed position. If you are ultimately using it for DX then just mount/point it in the direction you're interested in? Just remember to point it in the right direction than at first seems.....

I wrote an article a while back concerning azimuthal projection maps :-

Azimuthal Projection Map

So for example, you'd point your beam to the North West to aim for the USA.

With that example you'd hear stateside DX, (as propogation conditions allow), without hearing all the continental nonsense going on the other side, (we're on the same 'path' as all that "Hola-Hola-Coca-Cola" European rubbish!) Unfortunately you'd also not know if those big Italian stations are transmitting all over you(!) but it's always worth a DX call away from the 'triple-5' anyway.


Not a perfect answer for your question, but maybe food for thought Smile

I'm sure some other members here maybe have better experience with rotators than I.


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeTue Jan 05, 2021 11:24 am

Just to add further, (and not to disagree with what has already been said), there are many DXer's who happily utilise a fixed beam. It might be unusual in the CB world but Radio Amateurs use it all the time.

Luckily the three element Yagi you have has a wide enough beam and somewhere like the USA is far enough away for a fixed beam to be useful. (See link below)

3 - Elelemt Yagi

However a four element Yagi does have a much narrower beam width. (Again, link below)

4 - Element Yagi

So would therefore require more accurate alignment than the three element especially with nearer stations.


If you take a look at the following link it exemplifies such usage especially with DX competitions.
(See the second section that notes, "To rotate or not to rotate")

HF Contesting on a budget

This is just one of the many examples out there.

So as you can see it is perfectly possible and utilised all the time. (Some American Radio Amateurs have homebase beams permanently pointing towards the UK/Europe for such reasons.)


This is still going to rely on decent propagation conditions to achieve States side contacts, but equally you can point your three element Yagi South East towards Europe and ride the local 'skip' we tend to see at the equinoxes, (especially the summer).


For many years Radio Amateurs have often utilised the "Armstrong" method. This has nothing to do with Edwin Howard Armstrong's fame, (the guy that developed FM or Frequency Modulation and the modern Superheterodyne receiver amongst other things), but that this method requires 'Strong Arms'! Very Happy

As already mentioned it is where you rotate the antenna by hand. With a magnetic compass and a copy of an azimuthal map it is relatively easy to point the antenna to your area of interest. (Such as rotating away from central Europe and towards the Scandinavian countries.)

It is however, (again as mentioned), much harder to utilise this method to 'pinpoint' a particular received station, especially if it is nearer.


So anyway, it goes to show you can use a Yagi antenna without a rotator or simply rotating by hand.

As for your original rotator question, I would still be of the opinion of saving more money for a much better rotator that has a proven track record. Then your beam will become much more useful and you can point it anywhere that takes your fancy. Wink


Never let a 'budget' diminish the fun you can have with radio.


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeTue Jan 05, 2021 6:15 pm

A very interesting thread and apologise for going slightly off topic, I could talk all day about the pros and cons of using a beam but below is a very short video I shot this afternoon around 5:30 pm, 20m was just about closed but came across this signal coming from Canada , the clip starts when the beam is absolutely spot on for Canada  , he is clearly 5/5 as I move the beam round away from him you can see and hear the signal drop 

My yogi has a front to back of around 20db  some yogis have nearer 30db 

Hope you can see the effect of pointing a yogi beam in the correct direction 



Craig

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PostSubject: Re: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeTue Jan 05, 2021 7:01 pm

Great video showing the effect of a beam antenna Craig. Very demonstrative. 👍
(Nice contact BTW!)

Would you also say that it's worth getting the best rotator you can afford? I know some run to over a £1000 Shocked but thought the Yaesu G450 was pretty good value for money considering today's costs. (Plus talk of beams has pricked my interests again Very Happy)

You'll have to babble about the pros & cons of beams one day, I for one would be interested!


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeTue Jan 05, 2021 7:14 pm

Nice one Victor and Oh yes better get back on topic 😂 everything in radio involves some sort of compromise but I can say the Yaesu 450g is a excellent entry level rotator and performs well with my Mosley  mp 33 n tri bander which weighs around 13kg and has a 5.4m boom, I’ve also had a vortex 4 element 6m boom yogi up there and again the 450g performed faultlessly 

As Victor says I would defo  save up the extra Wonga and get the better more robust rotator 

I know for sure the rotator mention in the OP wouldn’t last long here @ my QTH it may be ok for a lightweight 2 ele yogi ( 11m) weighing in at 5 or 6 kg 


Craig

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PostSubject: Re: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeTue Jan 05, 2021 8:01 pm

Great stuff Craig.
(We never go far off topic and it's nearly always radio related Very Happy)

Hearing your own experience with the Yaesu unit has given me the confidence anyway.

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PostSubject: Re: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeWed Jan 27, 2021 3:16 pm

I have one of these rotators with a 11m moxon which is not a particularly heavy antenna. It has been working now for 2/3 months and does the job very well except that the controller is really meant for TV antennas and only shows degrees x 10, so 90 deg is 09, 270 is 027 etc. Not really important when you get used to it.
Ok for the price.

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PostSubject: Re: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeTue Feb 16, 2021 10:31 am

Got one of those cheap rotators with a 3 ele 11m beam plus a 16 ele dual band 2m/70cm beam handles it all ok
Bare in mind i use it on a scam 12 which is lowered when not in use

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PostSubject: Re: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeTue Feb 16, 2021 12:31 pm

I have a Hy-Gain ham lV for my tri bander, and a channel master tv rotor for my 2m cubical quad. Both old, but do the job. Just don't overload them. That one you mention is just fine for the puporse it is meant for, just follow the instructions.

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PostSubject: Re: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeTue Mar 02, 2021 10:15 am

Can those yaesu rotators when mounted on a pole using the 038 pole attachment be used without a rotator cage as they look a bit weak
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PostSubject: Re: Rotator on a budget   Rotator on a budget Icon_minitimeTue Mar 02, 2021 12:58 pm

A yaesu 450c with mast clamp GC038B will take something like a hexbeam on a 30cm stub or a 28MHz 3 ele yagi type antenna on an 80cm stub but it all depends on weight and wind loading of antenna (s) , the chart of examples and formula are on page 8 of the rotator manual .
or page 4 in this pdf file:///C:/Users/User/AppData/Local/Temp/G-450A%20Operating%20Manual.pdf
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