I've used 3 runs of half-inch CATVC hardline, buried for 200 feet, as
control cable (FREE is about as cheap as it gets). Center conductor and
shield gave me 6 conductors total. The starting capacitor always goes at the
tower, so that eliminates the need for two conductors (terminals 4 and 8 on
a T2X or Ham-type rotor).
Last time I bought new rotor cable was 1978. It was also the first time. 100
feet of it, still going strong
In addition to using hardline, I've picked up various spools of jacketed
multi-conductor cable at hamfests, yard sales and a local recycling yard
that sells it by the pound, more or less, with much dickering allowed. It's
always a fraction of what new 8-conductor cable would cost. Some of it has
small conductors -- perhaps Number 22 or 24 -- but many of them; 20 or 30.
Probably from telephone or computer applications. I just use several
conductors in parallel so there's enough current-carrying capacity.
You can use old coax too or just about any kind of wire.
Another way to save is to let several rotors share one rotor cable. I do
this by having one conductor dedicated as a control line. Using plus and
minus voltages on the control line I can get three relay positions (plus,
minus and zero voltage). The relays switch the 6 rotor conductors among the
three rotators. Works fine as long as you don't need a constant direction
indication. If you do, you could still save on cable by using relays to just
switch the brake and motor lines.
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