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RE: G 5400 vs. G 5500 rotators

Gary "Joe" Mayfield[SMTP:ka0yos@AMSAT.Org] asked:

> Greetings!

>       It looks like I may be purchasing an Az/El rotator soon, and I was
> wondering about the merits / differences between the 5400 (If I can
> find one) and the 5500.  I know the 5500 has 450 degrees of rotation
> and the 5400 has only 360.

I bought a 5500 last November so I guess I can help here.

> 1.  Are there any other differences I should be aware of?

Only that the 5500 is available and the 5400 may not.  If I recall it has to
be the 5400b to have the computer interface - see below.

> 2.  Is 90 degrees worth the extra $100?

It's handy once in a while, but when using a computer interface, it may
depend on the software you are using.  I use Nova and it does not know what
to do with the extra 90 degrees.  I use the same antennas for terrestrial 2M
and 430 and normally manually control the rotor for that use and the overlap
does occasionally come in handy.

> 3.  Does one really need to spend another $300 - $400 on the computer
> interface for computer intefacing?

This is my opinion.  I HIGHLY recommend computer control of the rotors.
This is especially true if you are running high directional antennas - I run
the long boom KLM CP yagis and it does not take long before a pass goes well
out of the beamwidth at times.  Having the computer control relieves one of
having to deal with that task.  Since I log all my satellite QSOs, it can
get quite busy on some passes (especially the FM birds) and having the
computer automate one of the tasks keeps me a little less busy.  I have a
Kansas City Tracker / Tuner in my PC.  If you can't afford the rotor and
computer interface, buy the rotor and save up your pennies for the
interface.  That basicly what I did.  I let the computer tell me where to
point the antennas, but I pushed the buttons to actually move them.

4.  Are they made to sit on a tower shelf (ie do I need to buy a clamp for
mast mounting)?

Yes, they can be mounted on a tower mounting plate.  Mine came with a mast
clamp too (a little annoying since I bought a mast clamp as I thought did
not come with one and at the moment mine is mast mounted).

5.  Anything else I should know?

I've been very happy with mine.

Jim Walls - K6CCC
Ofc:  626-302-8515   FAX:  626-302-9999
Res:  626-914-4641
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