Outside antenna rotator question...

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OK, the big ice event took the TV antenna and turned it into an inverted "V" so it's now time for a new one. Fortunately, other than limbs, that's my only real problem unlike the poor folks north and west who are still w/o power and will be for two weeks or more. Plus, have water for the livestock and feed and didn't lose 450 head to freezing/suffocation as fella' one county north...
Anyway, not had a rotator before but considering it as is a new repeater that could probably pick up in other direction of traditionals so looking for some info --
Is there a way to control a rotator from inside w/o running hard cable from the set location all the way? Problem is antenna entry is from under eaves at attic level of two-story and the TV location is on first floor and there's no way easy enough to get a cable pulled that I'm going to the effort for something as superfluous as a TV signal. Dad used the old flat cable instead of coax, unfortunately, so that's all I've got to work with.
Anybody have any input? I DA(very quick)GS and didn't find much of help, but don't have any experience on this subject....
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I don't think so. Try the ham radio group
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You may be out of luck. While it's easy to mentally envision a wireless roator control, searches yield no fruit, and technically, you would be trading the fun of running the control wire against the new need then to have some sort of power source available to the receiver of any wireless control signal we might envision.
The last house I had with a roof antenna anda rotator had the rotator cable run up the side of the house. It wasn't hard to get that routed since the control location was in a room with an exterior wall.
I wonder if we'll see a return to external antennae in the wake of hdtv and people realizing how much per year they might save by ditching cable.
Best Regards, -- Todd H. http://www.toddh.net /
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Todd H. wrote:

Thanks, Todd. Actually, there is power in the attic and a 110V outlet right at the location where the antenna lead comes in. Dad had planned on and tried one of the amplifiers at one time and had run the power for it when doing the remodel. Too bad he didn't think about additional updates like coax for network access and/or running an extra conduit between floors to allow something else to be pulled easily. :) It's not being used now, but is live as I used it for a drop cord when doing some work up there a while back.
I suppose I could do the outside, up the house thingy, but I have a pretty strong aversion to hanging stuff on the house if it's at all avoidable, and TV isn't enough of a priority to likely cause a retraction on that score.
If you were to have an idea given that there is power up there, I'd certainly be interested in it. As you say, certainly a quick search didn't find anything. The other respondent suggesting the ham folks ain't a bad idea, either. Haven't done so yet, but will try it.
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have you considered satellite TV? most local citys are up, guide data for future and best of allm DIGITAL VIDEO RECORDER, record what you want watch when YOU want!
No antenna or rotor needed:)
hundreds of channels at very good prices too
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Have I considered it? Well, yes, in brief passing...the clauses of "outs" for the provider and possible "gotcha's" for the user in any of the contracts I've seen I wouldn't even consider signing is Strike 1.
Where it would have to be to have the southern exposure required would either require mounting on house or far enough away to require amplifiers, etc. Dad got a dish tossed in to the last TV he bought and we considered how to hook it up some years ago when I was home. Decided wasn't worth the trouble. Srike 2.
100's of channels and still basically nothing to watch! :( While Mom was in the assisted living in town and on cable, saw it again and again. While there are a few stations that would be nice (I got used to watching the Braves while in TN and kinda' miss them altho unless they do better than last year, not so much :( ) and a few other odds 'n ends, but in general just don't miss it. Also, last time the guy called at supper time and I tried to find out the deal on the locals, turns out they only have the main Wichita stations and not the satellite repeaters/localized stations. So, to get the actual "local" weather and news channels would still have to have the antenna. Srike 3.
But, it's an idea others who are more interested in programming and less interested in the one item of near local weather and storm weather that is my primary interest would probably find the way to go.
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Have I considered it? Well, yes, in brief passing...the clauses of

well in the last few years BIG changes have occured to satellite TV.
long cable runs use new technology elminating amplifiers. if antenna and rotor is ok on your home then whats the big problem with a 2 foot diamneter dish?
many more local stations are up
new lease deals basically mirroring cable, try it if you dont like it just call and cancel and return the box, which now can output 2 different feeds to seperate tvs without a extra fee.
the receivers when plugged into a phone line provide 100% local weather and forecasts all the time at no extra cost. just clkick and its there.
mysel;f I just look out the window, snow storms are of interest beyond that little matters
Dish installs the equiptement either free or 50 bucks depending on what package you choose with no long term commitments.
for rural subs the PI public interest channels our of interest to many and come with the most basic packages
You have NO IDEA what a DVR does it changes how you watch TV FOREVER!
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The antenna is _NOT_ on the house, it's on its own tower. Where that is, however, is not open to the southern exposure a dish needs. (As for the not wanting it on the house, think of it as my pecadillo akin to your penchant for changing out fuse panels... :) )
I believe you're used to an area of pretty high population density. The "local" stations here aren't local in the sense of being here at all, they're repeaters of Wichita stations that "only" are 45 - 80 miles away as opposed to 250. As noted previously, these are _not_ available on dish, only the main ones and the localized weather is the prime difference. Their network programming is the same, but they run localized news and weather instead of the city stories for those portions of the broadcasts. Missing those makes them almost totally useless.
You're not farming for a living such that weather and your livelihood are intimately and directly related. Nor (I think) are you in an area of frequent severe weather such as here, so your interest in the weather and mine are totally different. I'd imagine your interest is more in whether the weekend is to be nice, mine is basic data as one input for decision-making. So, it combined w/ the ability to get radar and other direct-access info from the NWS online are two important pieces of information. Unfortunately, the network connection isn't always as reliable as the TV, particularly in really threatening weather.
I don't expect I would ever watch much routine TV programming whatever the technology -- it's just not something I find of any interest; I'd rather read when not otherwise occupied (and a farmer's life is never lacking in something to do). As also previously noted, we had about everything available on local cable at Mom's apartment and there was very little other than some additional sports that was even watchable at all most of the time. (I did kinda' miss the Monday Night Football for the first few weeks, though, but now find even that isn't _really_ much of a miss after only the one season. So, it basically is a case of you can't miss what you don't have and it's easy enough to find other things to do.)
Anyway, again, it's a thought, just probably not one I'll followup on any time soon...
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How could someone have no idea what a DVR is unless he had never had a VCR?
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On 4 Jan 2007 15:02:42 -0800, dpb wrote:

If local weather and storm info is your primary concern, I'd suggest that you purchase a weather radio that you can program for your local area. Just got one from Radio Shack for about $60 and it's much better than the old one it replaced - no codes to enter, you just choose your state and county from menus and it'll provide you with a list of surrounding counties to choose from. You can, of course, manually enter the county codes if you like. The radio I have in the storm shelter is not as old as the one I just replaced and it has a USB port to program the codes (similar menu choices but on the computer) - I like that option just as much as the new radio.
The radio is nice since it will provide warning without you having to turn it on - a signal from the NWS activates it. Since the NWS activates the radio, I highly recommend the programmable ones as opposed to those that come on whenever they receive the activation signal - programmable means that they only activate when the code for the particular county(ies) in the list you set up is received.
If reception is not good, you can tap into the antenna wire for the TV and rig it to the radio - takes a RCA jack on mine, which I rigged from coax to an old piece of speaker wire that has a jack on it. Of course, that means that if the weather's bad and the antenna is torn down, you may not be able to get a good signal, but you'll have been warned of the bad weather.
Although reception on the new radio is good, I have both it and the one in the storm cellar (which gets very poor reception in there) hooked into my TV antenna (which has an amplifier) and they get excellent reception. Just make a point to pay attention from time to time on Wednesdays at about 11:30AM for the test to insure that you're getting proper reception - the radio should activate and, if you have the voice option turned on, you'll hear the test message.
I don't know how good NWS coverage is in KS (I'm in GA and coverage is very good), but considering how common severe weather is in that part of the country, I'd think it would be good.
Anyway, you have another option to look at...
Later, Mike (substitute strickland in the obvious location to reply directly) ----------------------------------- snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net
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Michael Strickland wrote:

...
Yes, good and valid point and we have that, too. Is of most use for spring/summer weather (the tornado threat), of course. The tv weather is a different kind of information -- it's more long range and planning as opposed to the instantaneous rapid response. They do break in much more readily and follow severe weather outbreaks for regions under severe t-storm/tornado warnings much more than in areas that aren't so prone, though. That is an advantage of the repeaters, actually--Wichita itself can go on regular programming while Dodge and/or Garden can make their decision.

We're in an area still reasonably populated (by farther west standards, anyway) and so NWS coverage is pretty good. Owing to the severe weather threat in spring and summer, that portion is really quite good (we're roughly equidistant from Wichita as we are to Norman, OK, the center of the Severe Weather operations). And, given that the area is so heavily agricultural in nature, when you get away from the city-casts targeted to Wichita itself, they're really pretty good in providing the kind of information farmers and ranchers need. For Wichita itself, it's pretty much the same as it was in Knoxville, TN -- they're only interested in whether it's going to rain on the weekend or not. :)
As for storm protection, the house has full basement w/ poured concrete walls and heavy flooring that serves the purpose. We keep it supplied and retreat to it occasionally -- typically two-three times per year for a short period, maybe; most generally when it's after dark and so getting "snuck up on" unawares is more likely.
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On 7 Jan 2007 10:40:36 -0800, dpb wrote:

Same here, although it was going off this past Friday and yesterday afternoon and evening. Got kinda rough - particularly for this time of year - just to the south and southeast of us. Severe T-storms and tornados are our major threat also, but not nearly as bad as I understand your area is - tropical systems sometimes cause some grief with flooding, winds and severe T-storms. Rarely get much snow, 3" is a lot generally, but did get 16" locally back in the early '90s, most I've ever seen up close and personal. Been lucky for quite a few years now and haven't had any serious ice. Certainly hope yall get thawed out soon - been there and done that so I can relate to the situation out there.

Our cellar was an accident. We had to move the house foundation, when digging the basement, to avoid blasting a rock formation we ran into. That forced us to pour a full-height wall to support the front porch since it supports part of the roof and we'd already dug full depth there. Underneath the porch is a room about 5X20 with poured walls and ceiling (porch floor is 4" of concrete with tile on it), soil on 3 sides (poured wall on the 4th) and only a couple of inches that isn't the floor of the porch above ground.

The radio I have won't let you get snuck up on - have the volume set pretty low and it'll still wake the soundest sleepers around here. I really like not having to have the radio turned on (listening to the broadcast) in order to get the alerts - beats any other method I know of in that respect.
Not sure what you're trying to get from the TV weather that isn't available via NWS or The Weather Channel online or the weather radio in emergencies. Here the TV weather long-range forecast is pretty much whether or not it's gonna rain and the hi/lo for each day. They do show fronts and High/Low pressure areas, but that info is readily available from other sources - a trip to the NWS or Weather Channel website can provide that info and more. Never been to your part of the country, so I have no idea of what's available locally, but other places I've been are very similar to here, with some minor variations like adding tide info near the coast. Nothing to justify the cost of a rotator. I'd just point the antenna to the station that provides the most useful information and leave it be, depending on a weather radio for emergency information and checking online if I wanted an immediate longer range forecast than what I could get from punching the button on the weather radio.
Mind you, I don't advocate dropping TV altogether, just don't see a need for it when obtaining weather information. I'm not referring to any agricultural programming available from the TV when I'm talking about weather - we have (or at least had, not in the ag business so I haven't looked in quite a few years) some of that here too with crop/animal prices and general long-term (2 months IIRC) weather projections along with other ag info on the local PBS stations. Regular advertizing stations dropped that stuff when I was a kid - north GA is just too "citified", probably still carry some of it in the more agricultural, southern part of the state.
FYI, In case you're not aware of them. There are a couple of browser add-ons that you might find useful in monitoring the weather. One can be obtained from the Weather Channel website and (I think) works on all browsers, the other is called ForecastFox and works on Mozilla browsers. Both put icons at a location you choose in your browser and are highly configurable as to how many days out they show and what information is shown. You can have NWS alerts automatically pop up a clickable link that will take you to the text of the alert if you like. Mine shows quite a few alerts and statements that I wouldn't want to have the radio sound an alarm for - but it is possible to have the radio do it if you like...
Also, at least locally here (may not be true of your area), the NWS supports satellite reporting stations all around the state which can provide things like soil temp at several depths, rainfall, UV levels, wind, and such. These are automated readings and were limited to within the last 24 hours last I looked, but I believe that they were planning on adding archival info. You can set a link directly to the site(s) once you find them - go to NWS site and shop around for locations.
Later, Mike (substitute strickland in the obvious location to reply directly) ----------------------------------- snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net
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Michael Strickland wrote:

I saw that -- the result of the same front after it passed thru here. The temperature gradient and lift were actually sufficient there were some t-storms here ahead of the ice/snow event altho nothing more than some hail.
We're just to the west of the real "tornado alley", but there are at least some in the area every year. It's a little farther east/southeast where it's a little wetter on average than here where the heaviest concentration are spawned. Our major events here are likely to be large hail. Last 2-3 years have been pretty high numbers, but no monsters. About 3 miles south last summer was closest although town got a couple of hits each of the last two years, they were relatively small also. Took a few buildings and (as always) a trailer park. Lost the old barn at the County Historical Museum, though, sadly. It was a landmark barn that had been moved to the site from a early farmstead but was too heavily damaged to try to salvage.
We're pretty well de-iced here now, but the folks w/ all the snow and w/o power are still hurtin'. And, it's a real problem getting in to continue to feed/water cattle and will be for quite some time. Since there was so much precipitation where it has melted some and/or combined w/ the snow they're having to use farmers' tractors on every pole truck and pickup/service vehicle to pull them from one pole to the next or even, in some places, down the road while trying to rebuild/repair lines. As only one example, there was one stretch of 25 miles with not a single pole left standing and something over 10,000 poles down altogether in KS alone. It'll take a while.
...

Yes, that's the advantage and we rely on it as well for such alerts. I was simply meaning when already know there's weather around and it's dark enough to not be able to spot an approaching funnel if there were one -- otherwise, we're flat enough that most of the time you've got clear enough view to know.

...
As I noted in a reply earlier, two things -- one, since it is an agricultural area, the weather segment is longer and far more detailed than in other locations, particularly urban. What they do is to provide the analysis of their projections and best guesstimates of likelihoods of what the fronts are really going to do and when. For winter weather, this is significant in trying to make a decision on whether to actually move cattle, for example. That's no minor undertaking that can be done in a few minutes or an hour, even. Bringing them to the house necessitates feeding as well as the actual moving, then they've got to be moved back afterwards, another significant effort. If it does storm significantly, it's likely to be worth the effort. But, working them and then it all doesn't happen after all is a pretty sizable effort and the actual act of moving them is both stressful to them and alone may cause weight loss and/or subsequent susceptibility to sickness. There's a financial cost associated with that as well as that which might occur from the the result of the storm if just leave them to weather it as best the can. Got's to try to judge what's the better choice of the two, neither very good. All the info you can get is better.
As I think I also noted before, the difference in what happened in this storm was drastic from an area of about 60 mile width of rain-only to the east/south and almost all snow/blizzard north/west. We were just about in the middle of that. The difference between what is on the NWS site and feeds is they provide the basic data and forecasts and information and concentrate the forecasts primarily, it seems, on travel impacts and the like. The TV weather guys take that information and expand the detail of what the present via these repeaters and as well as the same information really do try to work out the variations in these situations. This last one they indicated pretty high confidence in the location of the snow/ice/rain line and I decided to not move any based on that assessment. If I'd relied only on the NWS, I'm not sure which way I'd have gone. Turns out their projections actually hit it quite accurately this time and not doing anything was by far the better choice.
TWC is useless here, really, for anything other than knowing what is happening elsewhere. It is a long-range feed and has no local presence other than the automated time/temperature/etc., scrolling feed.

Yep, that's the way it is except in places such as here where it hasn't yet become urban-dominated. I was in Knoxville, TN, area for 20-some years until returning 7-8 years ago so am fully aware of the difference. If were were just outside Wichita instead of in far western KS, it would be the same thing and I would have no other alternative but those you mention, either. We're still where the major advertisers are the farm implement and seed and ag-chem dealers, etc., so that programming is still available. If, as others have suggested, I were to go to the satellite only, then I'd go back to the only "local" stations being those in Wichita, not the translators and the city-slant is what I would get and if there were all there were, I'd agree with you completely it wouldn't be of any incremental value over other sources.

Yes, those are of some use but again serve a somewhat different purpose.
The real difference and what I want is that actual inference the local guys make and provide through these translators. And, yes, it is far different in what they actually do than what most are used to. They're the meterological staff of the Wichita stations and are in Wichita, but as well as watch the metro area, they know they have these repeaters in the western areas that aren't well served otherwise, and they monitor events carefully and in major events like these aren't afraid to interrupt if it warrants it but more importantly, know the importance and timing required for farmers and ranchers to be able to take preventive action and understand the consequences of their recommendations/forecasts as outline above. You don't get that from NWS or TWC and like haller says, "if you ain't seen it, you can't understand" :) And, of course, unless one were intimately involved and affected, it wouldn't be of any interest anyway.
But, in the end, I'm just interested on top of all the rest!
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On 8 Jan 2007 09:04:44 -0800, dpb wrote:

I understand now. Too hilly here to see anything until it's on you, so rely heavily on the radio.

<SNIPPED for brevity>

I now understand about the local broadcasts. You jogged my memory of how it was when I was a kid and they spent a lot of time with the weather. There were (maybe still are) some programs that deal exclusively with agriculture and they spent much of the program discussing projections, but mainly related to crop conditions here as livestock wasn't so prevalent. There's also a program on PBS dealing with aviation weather - quite interesting, but not particularly useful to me.
TWC is useless here also, but the website has useful information - mainly maps and radars. I was referring to the website for them and NWS and to using the information from the sites to work things out yourself - I know from experience that if you do it long enough you can get pretty darned good at predicting what's going to happen. From what you've written in previous posts, it would appear that you, like me, are no spring chicken and probably have quite a bit of weather knowledge built up over the years that can be applied to some basic tools like front movement forecasts and such to work out a pretty good assessment of what the weather's gonna do. I suspect that you probably do something very similar to that already with the local TV broadcasts.
Still, I think that from what you've said, I'd try turning the antenna to the new direction and see whether or not it's worthwhile to point in that direction. If so, and it's only 2 directions, I'd just get 2 antennas and do as suggested in other posts, mounting one pointing each direction. Rotator is fine - got one myself - but can be a bit of a pain if you're trying to fine-tune a weak station and it has to be pointed *just so* to pick it up. Something else to consider, every time you add a gadget, it's something else that can break.

Same here. Always been interested in weather, even had a little weather station when I was growing up. Always figured it had something to do with growing up in the country instead of the city as I have an interest in most things in the outdoors.
Later, Mike (substitute strickland in the obvious location to reply directly) ----------------------------------- snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net
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Michael Strickland wrote:

...
...
I agree one can tell quite a bit from the data, but it's fairly time consuming to do so in detail although I can pretty much tell the big picture. One can't predict where (or whether) the front is going to stall, though, very reliably without much more detail than even I want to get into. The big difference in what they do and what I can't is they have access to the models which have the actual boundary conditions re-normalized and can then observe the progressions predicted over a series of runs to see the ensemble averages play out over the next 4-12 hours in exquisite detail. Those aren't, to my knowledge, available anywhere and don't have the compute horsepower here to run them if did, nor the feeds of the data required to normalize the initial bc's. The Wichita stations buy this service and the NWS relies on their own sets of models very extensively any more rather than the old "seat of the pants" experience based on what remembered from previous. That tempers he models, of course, and in some cases they through them out almost entirely, but overall, they really make a big improvement.
For example, two days ago, they were talking of all snow here and the freezing rain area was to be nearly 200 miles east. Starting yesterday, the models started suggesting that wasn't going to hold and by tonight we're right back in the bullseye for mostly freezing rain with _maybe_ a changeover to snow before it finally ends...that's a degree of fineness on where the warm air is going to ride over the low-level cold front you really just can't tell from satellite data alone -- it takes the jets and upper air patterns to be able to project where that is going to be as well as the water vapor imagery and ground temperatures.

...
I'll get the new antenna and experiment before commiting to anything, of course. The one problem w/ the two on the mast is it will have to be beefed up quite a bit I think or the extra weight and especially cross-section to the wind will take it down pretty quickly w/ our winds.
But, I agree, if that were fixed, it could be more reliable than the other at about the same cost. Of course, if I can't find the other repeater anyway, my problem is solved... :)
Thanks for the input and the chat...
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Michael Strickland wrote: ...

...
Just saw this on the NWS "behind the scenes" discussion of this AM...not exactly what we're needing for the weekend... :)
"it appears that low level moisture will really begin interacting with the front over southwest Kansas late Friday. Will raise probability of precipitation in the western County Warning Area Friday afternoon and the rest of the County Warning Area Friday night...Saturday will increase to chance probability of precipitation with more upward adjustment likely in coming forecast updates should things appear to remain "on track". As far as precipitation type GOES...think initially in this kind of setup...will be looking at low level lifting mechanisms so freezing drizzle/snow flurries will be the primary concern initially. The airmass will be so cold that -10c isotherm will be overtaking much of the County Warning Area such that freezing drizzle would become flurries at some point. For Saturday...as it stands now...think any elevated warm layer would be just over the southeastern County Warning Area (per gfs) and any mixed precipitation would be over south central Kansas. This is still in the 120-144h time frame though...so one must be very careful in reading too much into the individual model runs. Will keep the snow going for Saturday over much of the County Warning Area...but will entertain a mix of sleet in the southeast. Given the impressive Arctic nature of the airmass involved...and with deep southerly flow atop it...there will likely be a zone of ice somewhere in the Great Plains...which is something to watch closely...but at this point it appears any ice threat would be quite a bit farther east this go around..."
At least if he's borne out, perhaps we'll miss the ice this time.
CMS was by about noon to make permanent repair to the line that broke just north of the house they put a temporary splice in last Sunday. Said I was surprised they had crews to spare for a non-emergency repair given the rest of the situation. Seems they've kept a few crews in our area and sent the rest but while it's good they're trying to fix all known week spots before this next round this coming weekend to try to forestall problems if can. Seems like good idea, certainly. As was leaving them to their task, one of them commented "But, we've no shortage of places to go!"
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You could run the wire down to the ground, over to the downspout, and up behind the downspout. Or something liek that.
Or ask in sci.electronics.repair .

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dpb wrote:

I think the voltage for most light duty rotators is low. It comes from the control unit. Only place you need 110 is at the control unit. I have one that uses a light duty 4 wire ribbon cable from the control unit to the rotator.
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Rich256 wrote:

...
...
...
I know. I was hoping for a way to put the controller there and just run the cable from that point where there already is access.
If I can't find or gin up something, in all likelihood I'll forget the rotator...it's not that important to me, but seems like it would possibly be benificial. While I'm putting up a new antenna I'll try the manual rotating thing and see if it really does anything great. If it does at that point I might get more motivated to look into the alternative wiring routes/choices.
Thanks...
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dpb wrote:

I put my antenna on a rotor about 10 years ago. Once I found the best position for a decent reception on all 6 channels, I rarely use the rotor anymore. When you move off that "ideal" spot, it's hard to find it again.
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