[amsat-bb] Basic TV-type AZ-only rotator for Orbitron?

Daniel Cussen dan at post.com
Tue Oct 6 10:39:18 UTC 2015

> Wondering if anyone could recommend a basic AZ-only rotator that is
> compatible with Orbitron?
> I was hoping to find perhaps a low-cost television antenna rotator (or
> similar) to give me some automation in the AZ direction without the expense
> of a full AZ-EL system.
> Something that works on 12vDC for portable operation would be a nice bonus,
> but is certainly not mandatory.

Orbitron outputs azimuth and elevation normally to a serial port or a
USB to serial. Any device/controller would need to accept the
commands, and then control the rotator.

Most low cost TV rotators do not have position feedback POT, meaning
they are not readily compatible with controllers. They are also
generally low voltage AC so not suitable for portable use.

There is no portable rotator system designed for arrow type antennas.
Some people make counter weights and tripod based manual adjustments.

In terms of 12VDC light duty rotators SPID's light duty azimuth only
rotator may suffice:

However there are some drawbacks. It is not exactly light. You would
need a heavy duty possibly TV camera rather than photo camera tripod.
You would need to manufacture a custom mount. The LED display is
impossible to see in strong sunlight. It would need to be oriented
North or South using a compass each time. It can run from 12VDC to
18VDC. I am not certain it would work with Orbitron, but you could
check directly with SPID in Poland, as it is designed for azimuth
only. In terms of Orbitron, I would recommend moving to SATPC32 as it
is better supported. Orbitrons TLE download is not working well and no
longer seems to be supported. There are work arounds, ask if you need
more info. Finally using a laptop and rotator portable normally needs
a car to protect the laptop from rain and the cars battery to power
the rotator. I power my laptop from a 13.8V to AC inverter.

Any other rotator option would probably need to be home made, as
nothing is really available off the shelf.

More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list