Rotator

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[edit] TH7 Rotator

This rotator malfunctioned inside the rotator head. Mike replaced the rotator controller with a rebuilt rotator from Fred Cady. This new controller worked for approximately one month, before it ceased to function. The click of the brake releasing could be heard, but the rotator would not move nor would the needle. Trying the old rotator controller had the same result.

[edit] M2 Orion Rotator

This rotator failed due to an E1 error. Upon following the diagnostic manual, the rotator controller was deemed to be fine, and the diagnostic manual suggested an issue in the wiring to the rotator or an issue with the rotator itself. Upon climbing the tower, it was determined that the issue was that the three mounting bolts for the rotator had backed off and were loose. This caused the rotator to twist against itself, jamming itself when it tried to turn. Upon re-anchoring the bolts and creating a plate to prevent them from backing off in the future, the M2 controller still determined that there was an issue with the rotator, giving a E1 error again.

[edit] Control Software

To control the rotators remotely, PSTRotator was determined to be the best software available. PSTRotator has several features useful to the UVic station:

  • Auto park
    • Antenna smoothly parks itself facing into the wind
  • Unnecessary movement prevention
    • The rotator does not allow adjustments until the station is 3dB outside the antennas beam width
  • Interface with N1MM
    • PSTRotator allows N1MM to control any rotator compatible with PSTRotator
    • Does not rotate until the new heading is 3dB outside the antennas beam with
  • Slow movements
    • The software graceful accelerates and decelerates the antennas. It varies the speed according to windspeed obtained through internet weather data.

[edit] Future Recommendations

When replacing the rotators, it is recommended to replace the rotator cable as well. The wire inside the cable appears to be brittle with age, and could cause problems in the future. With Bruce retiring, we should replace as much as possible while we can.

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