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Re: Q-Par positioner (was Re: Free Microwave Calculator)

May I suggest that you take a look at the "dob driver" web page at
http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~mbartels/altaz/altaz.html which describes
a system used to position (and track) a dobsonian telescope mount,
which is an az-el mount.  While certainly not the shape required to
position antennas, there are a bunch of resources on stepper motors,
software, drivers, etc.  This might give you some ideas.

4000 step optical shaft encoders are widely used in the amateur
astronomy community;  see http://www.usdigital.com/products/index.shtml
for one of the popular manufacturers of devices commonly used.

See http://whizzo.transsys.com/louie/astro/equipment/ for pictures
of my scopes and mount; in particular in this image,
you can see the RA shaft encoder, which is driven off a gear from
the RA axis of the Losmandy G-11 mount.  Another approach is used
on a Vixen GP-DX mount where a rubber belt couples the optical
shaft encoder to the telescope mount; see
http://whizzo.transsys.com/louie/astro/equipment/DCP_0866.JPG and
look for the encoder on the counter-weight shaft, above the weights.

You can also see the small size of the "computer", which is just a little
box with a 20 character LED display.  (Can't use LCD's; they get
cold and sluggish when the temperature drops too cold, when only
crazy amateur astronomers are outside).


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