3 Best Antenna Rotator and Why You Should Get One

Best Antenna Rotator

An omnidirectional antenna works great in finding and receiving signals from multiple locations. But since it works in various directions, there tends to be a lack of focus. And this can give you patchy signals. The best antenna rotator can help your antennas maximize their potential. 

It can help direct your antenna to where the broadcast stations are. And it can be done with a touch of a button via remote control. 

You don’t need to install a second antenna just to get clear signals. That can be an ugly sight on your rooftop. And we are already hearing your HOA calling you on it. See our top three picks in our antenna rotators review.

Here is 3 Best Antenna Rotator:

What is an Antenna Rotator?

An antenna rotator changes the direction where an antenna is pointing to. It can also change the orientation of the antenna, either horizontally or vertically.

It’s often composed of two units- the controller and the rotor unit. The rotator is placed on the antenna mast, located below the antenna. While the controller unit is often placed near the equipment where the antenna is connected to such as your television. 

Top 3 Picks for the Best Antenna Rotator (A Product Review)

If you have the best antenna rotator, you don’t need to stack antennas. It will also help your antenna get the best signal available in your area. Keep reading to see our top three brands.

1. RCA vh226f Antenna Rotator– Best Value for your Money

This RCA antenna rotator can tick all the boxes in your checklist. It’s a real value for your money too. 

This outdoor antenna is easy to install and easy to program too. It can set up to 12 TV for Fm stations. Moreover, it’s easier to change the direction of the antenna. Though some find it a little heavy when mounted on a pole mast. But this speaks volumes about its quality. A little heft is good since it can say that a product is durable.

The interior of the rotator is housed inside an aluminum casing. So rest assured that it’s rust-resistant. That’s why this antenna rotator can withstand tough weather. It also comes with a small and cute control box and an infrared robot control for your convenience. And you’d also receive mounting clamps and U blast that you need for the installation. 

Water can affect the efficiency of a rotator. And some brands have this problem whenever there’s a heavy downpour. You won’t encounter such issues with the RCA VH226F. It’s well-sealed so it can be reliable for a long time. 

It has a directional indicator so you know easily where the antenna is pointed. And since it has 12 different positions, you can direct the antenna in 12 different locations. So that enables your antenna to pull in more channels compared to the competition. You’ll also find the digital display very convenient. It shows where the antenna is directed and it also reflects the presets. 

Features

  • 12 different positions
  • Infrared remote control
  • Digital display
  • Aluminum casing
  • Comes with u bolts and mounting clamps

Pros

  • Durable and weather restaurant
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable price
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Does not come with a rotator cable

Why you should buy this antenna rotator

It’s value for our money. This heavy-duty antenna rotator can be directed in multiple directions. This can improve the efficiency of your antenna

2. Channel Master CM-9521HD– Best Heavy Duty Antenna Rotator

If you’re looking for an antenna rotator with impressive programming abilities, look no further.

This antenna rotator is best for those who use a single outdoor antenna but able to receive signals from all directions. It’s also very handy for radio operators who need remote rotation.

As with any Channel Master product, this antenna rotator is extremely well built. It’s robust and made of heavy-duty cast iron. And it’s housed in aluminum material. So even if the weather isn’t the nicest, it won’t budge. It’s also rust-resistant.

So expect this antenna rotator to last. And even beginner DIYers will find this unit easy to install. The instruction manual is also very easy to follow. Quite intuitive too. 

You can program this antenna rotator for different channels. It also works well with large TV antennas. It also comes with infrared remote control, so it’s easy to change the direction of the antennas. 

And for a good brand, it has a very decent price. It might be everything you’re looking for in an antenna rotator. 

In addition, it’s very easy to do a DIY installation with this antenna rotator. 

Features

  • Comes with infrared remote control, power cable, control unit, and drive unit
  • Heavy-duty cast iron
  • Blue LED display
  • 90 days limited warranty
  • Has built-in thrust bearings
  • Aluminum gray housing
  • Antenna rotor with friction brake

Pros

  • Well built and durable
  • Easy to install
  • Can program different directions for multiple stations
  • Compatible with most universal remote controls
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Some complained of poor customer service

Why you should buy this antenna rotator

The programming ability of this antenna rotator is impressive. It’s also durable and comes from a reputable brand.

3. Yaesu G-450A– Best Versatile Antenna Rotator

The Yaesu is a medium-duty antenna rotator that can give expensive brands a run for their money. It also has a unique waterproof design.

This Yaesu motor rotator is decently efficient. It’s also weather-resistant so it can hold up pretty well against the elements. 

Though this unit is not the most durable, it still works well. And for an affordable price, you would not be able to complain. It’s more of a medium-duty rotator. But for its price, you won’t be disappointed. It can rotate antennas faster than other premium models. 

The repeat accuracy is quite impressive too. In addition, It has a clamshell design with heavy-duty ball bearings. This design prevents water entry. And this can mean great for the performance of the unit. That’s why you can expect the Yaesu to perform well rain or shine. And also, you won’t experience any glitches with the Yaesu. 

Features

  • 360-degree rotation
  • Can handle 200 lbs of vertical weight
  • Made of melamine and resin-coated aluminum
  • Clamshell design
  • Capable of azimuth elevation

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Weather-resistant
  • Almost maintenance-free
  • Waterproof design
  • Impressive rotation and repeat accuracy
  • Easy to calibrate

Cons

  • The connector that it comes with is rather flimsy

Why you should buy this antenna rotator

It’s a cheap antenna rotator antenna faster than expensive models. 

What to Consider When Buying the Best Antenna Rotator (A Buying Guide)

Before buying an outdoor antenna rotator, hover through our checklist first. This can help you get the most value for your money.

1. Weather-resistant

Since you’re going to mount the antenna rotator outdoors, it’s only sensible that it should be weather resistant. This would ensure that the unit will perform well rain or shine. It also helps if the unit itself is waterproof. Because once water seeps into the unit, it can greatly affect its performance and longevity,

2. Breaking ability and turning torque

Breaking ability is the maximum wind force the antenna can withstand. Whereas the torque refers to how much torque the rotator needs to turn the antennas.

3.  Vertical load

Some antenna rotators such as the Yaesu can turn the antenna into a vertical plane. And these rotators will specify its maximum vertical load capacity.

4. Rotator size

Rotator sizes come in small, medium-duty, and large rotators. Small rotators are suitable for small yagis. And these rotators won’t be able to hold an antenna with a significant load.

Medium duty antenna rotators are suitable for midsize HF yagi antennas. These are antennas that are equipped with a few elements and weigh less than 50 lbs.

Large rotators, on the other hand, can handle the biggest amateur HF yagi antennas. 

And take note that the bigger the rotator is, the higher their capacities are.

How Does an Antenna Rotator Work
Credit: viorelracoviteanu by create.arduino

How Does an Antenna Rotator Work

To understand how an antenna rotator works, let’s take a look at the two main parts of the unit- the drive unit and the control unit.

The drive unit contains the motor. And this motor supports the mast and turns the antennas. The control unit, on the other hand, is connected to the rotator’s drive unit via rotator cables. It’s often placed near the TV.  

The rotator cables will connect the drive to the control unit. The cables have three cords and these convey information to the drive unit. 

Most rotators nowadays are equipped with a remote controller. And this is what you’ll use to change the direction to where the antenna is pointing to. The controller features a left and right button so you can change the position of the antenna, one degree at a time.

How Do You Install an Antenna Rotor?

We’re going to round down basic steps on how to install a motor rotator. But also read and follow the manufacturer’s manual. There may be steps that are specific to the rotator brand that you’re using.

Before we head on to the installation, here are some tools that you need for the set up: rotator cable, support mast for drive nit, u bolts and mounting clamp, cable ties, electrical tape, standoff insulators, sealants, thrust bearings, and guy wires, compass, screwdriver, and an adjustable wrench.

  1. Remove the antenna and attach it to a small section of the mast. Do not remove the mast from the base, keep it fastened as it is.
  2. You must put the drive unit of the rotator on top of the base mast. So the existing mast should have a decent length. It must not be too long than what’s needed for the unit to rotate. 
  3. A large antenna may need a 3 ½ ft mast. And if you have a shorter antenna, just cut the mast in half.
  4. Remove the old transmission wires from the antenna terminal. Then attach the new transmission wires.
  5. Attach the rotor wire to the rotor’s drive unit. To do this, remove the access plate at the bottom of the drive unit. 
  6. Rotor wires have three cords. Connect the red wire to terminal 1. Then connect the black cord to terminal 2. Then the yellow or third wire should be connected to terminal 3.
  7. Cover the connection with an insulating material. Then return the access plate to the rotor drive. 
  8. Using C clamps, attach the rotor housing to the base mast. Rotate the housing until the access plate faces you. Then fasten it in place.
  9. Position the shorter mast above the rotor motor housing. Ensure that the antenna terminals are positioned on the opposite side of the rotor housing terminals. You can keep on rotating the unit until it reaches the proper position. Then fasten the connection. 
  10. Attach a two-wire standoff on the base mast. This is about 4-6 inches below the rotor housing. Then attach the antenna wire and the rotor wire to the two portals of the standoff.
  11.  You might need an additional wire standoff depending on the distance of the antenna to the entry point of your house. Ideally, standoff should be installed at a 10 feet interval.
  12. Drill holes where you can loop in the antenna wire and the rotor wire into your house. Alternatingly, you can loop them through the windows if you don’t want to drill holes.
  13. Connect the antenna wire to the TV terminals found at the back of your TV set.
  14. Connect the rotor wire to the rotor’s control unit. 
  15. Synch the control unit to the rotor drive housing unit. Plugin the control unit then turn the knob clockwise. Allow the antenna to rotate until it comes to a full stop.  
  16. The control unit will make a clicking sound while the antenna is rotating. Once the antenna stops rotating, turn the knob counterclockwise. Allow it to rotate until it comes to a full stop. This is the end of the synchronization process. And you’re all set up!

How to Extend the Life of your Antenna Rotator

Your motor antenna can take on some abuse. But if it’s too much, it can break. And these are not necessarily cheap, so it is better to use them properly. Here are several tips on how you can extend the life of your motor rotator.

1. Be gentle when turning in from the reverse direction

Give your antenna rotator a break. When operating your rotator, give it a few seconds before you change the rotation direction. Don’t go full counterclockwise if it came from the other direction. Let it stop first before rotating it in the reverse direction.

2. Do not use a long mast pipe. 

Longer mast pipes would put too much stress on the motor rotator. To minimize the length of the pipe between the rotor motor and the antenna.

You may also like: How High Should a TV Antenna be Mounted

3. Even if your rotator is rated weather-resistant, you can also put a shelter over it

You can make a DIY umbrella using a funnel painted with UV coating. This will help your motor rotator bear the harsh elements better. And in cases of strong rains, you‘re sure that water will not seep into the unit. 

Pros and Cons of TV Antenna Rotators

Here are the reasons why you should get an antenna rotator:

1. You no longer need to stack antennas

When a single antenna could not get you a clear signal, getting a second one seems to be the most viable solution. And then you have to stack the antennas on top of one another to get the best result. And it can look hideous on your rooftop.

An antenna rotator will eliminate the need to do this. Instead of buying a second antenna, you’ll just need to install the rotator on the antenna mast. It will look cleaner and it costs less than buying a second antenna.

2. Ease of operation

Most rotators come with remote controllers. This makes it easier to navigate the antenna. You just need to click the button.

3. Can get clear signals from multiple directions

Even if you have an omnidirectional antenna, you can still get blurry signals. Sure, your antenna can receive signals from various directions, but it can be blurry or patchy. Because there isn’t any focus, you won’t get clear signals. An antenna rotator helps make the signals received from multiple directions clear and crisp. 

And of course, there are some cons too.

1. It’s not automatically synchronized to your TV. You must scan for channels independently. 

2. It will direct the antenna towards the same stations for all the TVs in your house.

How to Pperate a Rotator

Your antenna rotator will help your antenna receive the signals clearer. But how to operate your antenna rotator?

  1. The first thing that you have to do is set up the motor rotator. Install the device unit to the mast of the antenna, which is located below the antenna. But you have to also read the instruction manual of the brand since installation may vary per brand.
  2. You can also use a signal search map to help you direct the antenna to the location of the broadcast towers.
  3. Once the setup is completed, you can put the broadcaster’s location on your control box. You can either use the controller for it or do it manually. 
  4. Consequently, the rotator will point the antenna in the direction that you have indicated on the control box. 

FAQs

Are there wireless antenna rotators?

Yes, there is. As there are wireless antennas, there are also wireless rotators.

Do you need to waterproof the rotators?

Even If your rotator is weather or water-resistant, waterproofing it can lengthen its life. It can also ensure that the unit is running efficiently rain or shine.

Do you need to ground the rotator?

Remember that grounding the antenna and grounding the rotator are two separate things. One, you should definitely ground your antennas. And two, there isn’t much need to ground the rotator. One of the rotator’s wires already serves as a grounding wire. Alternatingly, it’s advisable to turn off the antenna in cases of thunderstorms.

Conclusion

The best antenna rotator can enhance the performance of your antenna. It’s also very easy to use. and remote control is all you need to navigate and change the position of your antenna. 

You don’t need to buy a second antenna. And stacking it on top of the first one is such an eyesore. Pus, a rotator is a more economical choice.

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