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signals unlimited 24-Apr-2012 12:41 PM

To rotate, or not to rotate.
When reading the threads in the Help with reception area of this blog, one can't help but notice the "push back" and and bias against the use of a rotor. While there are some work arounds, such as multipul antennas, and tuners that will work, I can't possibly imagine why, when most askers have multipul locations for reception and are advised to use directional antennas that the rotor is not, or un-recomended in favor of these work arounds. The rotor offers better reception with precise tuning and the flexability to sweep and search for all stations from all directions. I feel that the askers deserve simple solutions that maxiumize there viewing experence and that in most cases the work arounds are more complicated, more expensive, and much less effective than adding the rotor.

Dave Loudin 24-Apr-2012 1:56 PM

There are three operational issues with rotor setups:

1) multiple TVs - someone will be unhappy with the aim at some point
2) recording - incorporating rotor control is tricky with DVRs
3) channel entry - some TVs don't let you enter channels directly, so scanning for channels all the time becomes a hassle.

We aim to provide the simplest, set and forget systems in most cases because that's what people want. There are cases, like in SW Virginia, where rotors are virtually required to catch all the major stations. It all depends.

signals unlimited 24-Apr-2012 3:02 PM

I agree 100% There are cases for both. I am in an area where a rotor is required and I see many similar situations in many of the askers reports.

I overcome the concerns mentioned as follows:

1. Scaning...A static setting in the direction of most of the stations will result in the loading of stations that require precise aiming for viewing.

2. Viewing...In most cases a static setting that they can locate and store with the use of a rotor can in most cases deliver enough varity to avoid viewing disputes in multipul set viewing.

3. Not sure what you mean about DVR conflict, in hundreds of my installs I have seen two or three DVR's.

In any case the rotor if aimed magnetic North and a 360 degree display offers choices not available with any of the non-rotor work arounds.

Electron 24-Apr-2012 3:57 PM

Tv antennas and Tv reception
Unlike analog , Digital is Very Tolerent of reception of transmissions through the back and back angle and even the side of a antenna. So no rotor is required to turn the antenna to different locations. This has been Proven many times with reports back from the question askers saying they are receiving the channels. And also the antennas I install. The question askers are not likely to jump through hoop after hoop to make a antenna rotor work. A antenna rotor makes for conflict in the house about where the antena is pointed. A rotor Is Not friendly for channel surfing , must wait for antenna to rotate. I Do Not and Will Not recommend a rotor unless a there is a -> real and actual requirement. Before I recommend a rotor I look and see what is on all the receivable channels , duplicate programing in an other direction means those channels are out. For reception of more then one direction I recommend a 2 antenna set up with a remote control A/B antenna switch that Is channel surfing friendly , and I explain how to connect it all up so that is easy to understand and do. More then two antennas installed is Very Rare. And all most always there is a way to work around more then two antennas by actually looking up what programing is on the Tv stations channels. Some times I do recommend 1 fixed antenna and a 2nd antenna on a rotor. I Will Go To ANY Lengths to explain the advantages of two antennas and a A/B switch. And I will Go To Any Lengths to explain the disadvantages of a rotor. I do not recommend a antenna rotor just because I can.

signals unlimited 24-Apr-2012 4:26 PM

Sorry...there is no dis-advantage to installing a rotor. It is the best tool in the system, even if it is only used to locate the sweet spots in the system then parked. That is unless the viewer enjoys climbing up to the antenna with a monitor to aim or re-aim one two or more antennas.

Dave Loudin 24-Apr-2012 4:40 PM

The issue with DVRs and rotors is what happens when it is scheduled to record a station the antenna is not pointed at. I don't know the state of art here is.

I agree that having a rotor helps with aim and is warrented in some fixed aim situations.

The bottom line is, we are helping mostly people who have no experience from a distance. Just finding out enough particulars about a situation to be effective can be tricky. All the more reason to keep things as simple as possible.

GroundUrMast 25-Apr-2012 5:22 AM

Is there a real solution?

Originally Posted by signals unlimited (Post 23532)
Sorry...there is no dis-advantage to installing a rotor. It is the best tool in the system, even if it is only used to locate the sweet spots in the system then parked. That is unless the viewer enjoys climbing up to the antenna with a monitor to aim or re-aim one two or more antennas.

I have to consider the cost of a rotator a potential disadvantage, especially if one problem is addressed only to create two more.

But, I don't blame a rotator for the lack of effort and ingenuity on the part of designers and manufactures. Besides the frequent lack of 'direct entry real-channel tuning', manual-add and/or add-scan, many TV's lack a signal meter suitable for use with a rotator.

In my opinion, every ATSC capable TV should have:
1. The ability to accept direct manual entry of any real channel.
2. Manual channel add function.
3. The intelligence to detect the presence of ATSC and NTSC automatically and then if appropriate, 'learn' the available virtual channel information for future direct entry of the channel number in VC format.
4.A signal meter function that's easy to access.

IMO, rotators fail to solve the underlying problem of, "How to conveniently receive stations from multiple directions, as judged by the television viewer."

A real solution is not that complicated -- For about $10 extra per unit, a TV could be designed to allow addition of one or more optional 'expansion' tuner modules, which can retail for roughly $50 to $100 each. A TV could be designed to control many plugin tuners, each with a separate antenna, satellite or cable signal source. The software requirements would be almost identical to existing designs, only needing to create a table entry to track the appropriate tuner best able to receive a given channel. By default the TV would be equipped with a built-in tuner with ATSC and QAM functionality but could include cable card support with no new rocket science required.

Another possible solution might be to integrate rotator control into the tuner control software. Sadly, an open standard would be the obvious political hurdle that would prevent such an idea from ever gaining a foothold in the market place. This solution also is limited to one TV per antenna just as current rotator installation are.

Personally, I have five active antennas, connected to four SiliconDust HDHR-dual tuners. Multiple PC's have access to the tuners. I have fun making it all go. But as others have already observed, the typical new TVF member asking for help is not going to build an antenna farm or HTPC.

I can't expect my 'Rube Goldberg' solution to compete with a single fixed aim antenna in more than a few rare cases. Likewise I don't see how a rotator solution can compete with a single fixed aim solution if such is available. ('Single fixed aim' includes combinations built with the aid of a UVSJ, and / or HLSJ)

(Thanks to everyone for the polite and professional discussion.)

signals unlimited 25-Apr-2012 12:19 PM

I appears to me that the askers in this forum are typical of my customers. Most are not engineers and hobiest They dont even want one antenna yet alone two or more antennas. They just want to take advantage of free OTA.

When up against the scan problem a CM 7001 for around $100 can be installed. That work around makes sense for the average viewer.

If the asker enjoys playing with antennas, gadgets, and mini-headends they have come to the right forum. If they just want a simple antenna system with full reception capability, consider using an antenna that fits there reception (nothing more, nothing less) and a rotor. KISS

GroundUrMast 2-May-2012 5:36 PM

As I recall the history of advise offered in 'Help With Reception" and as I read the responses to this thread, I don't see a universal 'hatred' of rotators. Rather, I see a frustration with them.

As I look through the reviews of consumer grade products at Amazon and similar online sources, the quality and reliability of rotators seems to be consistently worse than other related products.

On those occasions that I conclude a rotator would be worth considering, I cringe a bit when I recommend any brand, expecting to be asked to buy a failed unit from a frustrated pensioner. The HyGain AR-40 seems to be the next step up in quality. But at four to six times the cost of the nearest consumer grade rotator I have a hard time suggesting it, especially to anyone mentioning cost as a factor.

signals unlimited 3-May-2012 11:30 AM

If using a rotor I highly recommend testing thoroughly before installing, by connecting and running end to end several times. I have installed many and most of the reported rotor failures are out of the box. The most rugged rotor is the Channel Master. It has the best track record for reliability and should be used when mount any antenna with a boom length over 72 inches in length.

When mounting any compact or bay style antenna, Aspen Eagel Roto 100 can be used. It has had some reliabilty issues reported, but is a greatly improved product. If you use this product PRE TEST before installing. follow the instructions for cabling to a "T".

I use the one cable hook-up. This allows you to use the signal coax to operate. A real work saver! If using this hook-up with a pre-amplifier, you need to choose an amplifier that has a compatability. The best match is Winegard 8700. I have used the Channel Master 7778, but the 7777 WILL NOT WORK.

No static at all 5-May-2012 4:03 PM

Sometimes a rotor is helpful even with signals coming from the exact same direction. Tried many antennas, different heights & broadband attenuation to no avail here.

WMAR-2 (RF 38) is only reliable with the antenna aimed 30 off axis to the east. Thinking it is mostly due to multipath reflections as analog reception was always very ghosty here.

Electron 6-May-2012 6:42 PM

Tv Antennas and Tv Reception
There is no good reason to install a antenna rotor because there Might Be or Could Be ( or who knows!! you can be that one unlucky person that has a situation that requires a antenna rotor ) , this situation or that situation or some other situation. You don't want to be unlucky do Yea?? . So let's install a rotor. This type and kind of thinking of lets install a rotor just in case is not right.

ghz24 7-May-2012 5:20 AM

Rotors are great for DX hobbyists and the types that like to fiddle with hardware.
But most of the people that ask for help here just want the most choice for the least fuss and most convenience/utility.
Rotors are very useful and sometimes necessary but usually are not very convenient to the channel surfer.
I'll have one to play with but I want a system the the wife can have that just works.
So I'll have fixed aim antennas for all the dependable/desirable stations to be available for instant tuning.

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