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Cost comparison

Don Woodward wrote:

A more apples to apples comparison would be to bundle UniTrac (radio tuning and rotor automation) at $260 with the G5500 - with UniTrac you don't need Yaesu's GS-232 - so $525 + $260 = $785.

Wayne replies:

Several "plug and play" rotor control solutions are much cheaper than UniTrac.  In Germany, there are the HalloSat and WinRotor32 that both cost less than $100.  That is a complete and extremely compact hardware interface (with driver software) that plugs into a parallel port on your computer, and to the DIN connector on the G-5500.  For radio tuning, several satellite tracking programs support Doppler tuning using only a $5 serial cable.  I'm using a HalloSat interface that seems to work quite well.  The only "problem" is that all the documentation is in German.  That's not much of a problem after you've run the automatic calibration routine.

Nevertheless, the SatEL system does seem to be cheaper...  I don't know why, but I think I would rather have "real time" computer control of the rotors, rather than download a file to a standalone rotor control unit.  It seems like the SatEL system is very inconvenient to switch from one satellite to another.  The web site is mum about it, but I hope the driver supports manual rotor control for terrestrial operation.  Finally, I think the Yaesu (Kenpro) G-5500 rotors are slightly more rugged than the Alliance U-100 rotors.  There are so many differences, I don't think it's possible to make an "apples to apples" comparison.

Wayne Estes W9AE
Mundelein, IL, USA
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