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TIC Rotators

Subject: TIC Rotators
From: OOPDAVID@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu (D.RODMAN)
Date: Sat Feb 13 08:11:39 1993
I am surprised by the amount of mail I received inquiring about the 
TIC products at KN2M.  Rather than answering each individually, I am 
sending this to the group.

My interest in this product started when I spotted an ad in one of the
ham magazines about 3 years ago.  At that time, we were just starting
out with building the station.  After some discussion with Todd
Anderson, we ordered 8 rings, without controllers.  The rings were 
later modified to allow a potentiometer feedback to an analog controller
that was designed specially for me (and later AA6TT).  TIC is a small
family run business that is part of some other similarly run insurance
companies, I believe.  Because of its size, things take a long time to 
happen.  For example, the controller that I required was designed to 
turn two yagis simultaneously (or independently).  This took about a year
for prototype development and another 6-8 months (I forget exactly) for
the finished product to arrive.  The latest products that are appearing
in the ham magazines were originally planned for December '92 delivery
and are still not available, as far as I know.  I have wanted to install
a ring on a crank up tower for over  18 months, good thing I was not
in a hurry!

I have had several problems with the rings from time to time.  First of all
they were selected to allow 360 degree simultaneous rotation of yagis on
my towers.  Secondly, I was very disappointed with the quality of rotators
for large arrays.  I was constantly having difficulty holding large 
antennas on the mast without mechanical failure of the rotor or mast mount.
Todd convinced me that they had a good product.  He was right on that.
My large 40 meter antenna was ripped to pieces and the antenna never 
turned by the wind.  The bad thing on putting a ring at the top of a tower
is that a gin pole does not conveniently pass by the ring.  It is for 
that reason, I use an "alternative lifting device" (crane) to work on
my top antennas.  (My building code restricts me from building my tower
any higher to add lifting height.)  The top antennas, for 40 and 20, 
are on separate towers.  Both have two motors and neither is turned by
the wind to my knowledge.  These antennas are about 12-14 sq ft.  I have
another 20 on the tower that IS turned by winds, but that one has only
one motor.

My towers are quite far from the house for many reasons, including the
"Diane" line which starts about 200 ft back from the home.  I developed
a system of providing booster power supplies at the base of each towr
to provide for sufficient curentl 
current to turn two motors on the 40
that is about 500 ft from the station.  This arrangement has worked 
flawlessly.  It also allows me to turn 8 rotors with only two controllers, 
as I built in switching circuitry that also selects which rotor is
required at the two stations (one for KN2M and one for N2HIW-Diane).

TIC has a plastic stopping device that glues on the inside of the ring
I have.  It stops the ring from turning past a point by actuating micro-
switches on the motors.  I have never found this to be satisfactory.
I do not use the stops.  My operators are warned the antennas will keep
spinning if they go past south in either direction.  One motor had the
microswitch break off and switch the motor permantly in a one way direction.
Anothe failure occurred during CQWW 91.  We had a friction problem on
the top 20 antenna.  Apparently as the ring turned it developed pressure
on the guards that prevent the ring from lifting off the mounts.  We
lost two motors that day, they were twisted apart on the shafts.

TIC repaired the problem for me at no cost, the problem was, it took 
months for this to occur.  I have become wise to their limitations over
the years and with my 8 rings in operation at all time, I now have 
an inventory of parts, including two whole new rings and 3 or 4 spare
motors.  We can repair a problem within days now, rather than months.
When I received the spare motors, I noted that they did not turn 
as expected, they went in opposite direction as expected and the
meter turned similarly.  Problem, the wiring of the motors were changed
without notification of the users.  This required removing the new 
motor and rewiring all the replacements to be compatible with my system.

I note the new product has now a galvanized finish, whereas mine are
electroplated.  I intend to spray mine with cold galvanization in the 
near future, some are rusting.  I wonder if their galvanization process
will allow the necessary tolerances for the gear interaction that is 
critical to smooth operation.

I welcome the preset controller with the new rings that are presently 
advertised.  I have two of the new ones on order already and will
plan to put one on a crank up tower, if possible.  Todd  Anderson
is your contact man, he is supported by a brother, a father and an 
uncle.  All work on the project from time to time.  That is the key
word with TIC: time.  If you have it, then you are all set.  If not, 
I suggest you get another product, you might be disappointed.  Perhaps
with their new line the delays I experienced will be a thing of the past, 
only TIME will tell.

73, Dave (KN2M)

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