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Reviews For: Alfa-SPID rotor

Category: Antenna Rotators & Accessories

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Review Summary For : Alfa-SPID rotor
Reviews: 53MSRP: 1055
ALFASPID rotors are of a high quality with Torque to spare. They are custom made to withstand harsh conditions.

Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KA3FQS Rating: 2022-04-12
Prone to failure Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned two Spid RAK’s, both failed after about a year of service. The failure mode for both was an open circuit motor. The dealer from whom I purchased the rotator replaced the first unit under his warranty and did a failure mode analysis reporting that one of the brushes became stuck. He did not replace the second unit so I contacted the importer who offered little help but instructed me to take the motor apart, clean it up and make sure that the brushes moved freely. Finally he wished me good luck. This struck me as being the nadir of customer service.

When I took the housing off of the motor there was a significant amount of rust and the brush holders were severely corroded. After cleaning and lubricating the internals of the motor I reassembled it and the motor ran. The problem is that if a factory sealed motor only works for one year I have no faith that a rebuilt unit will even last that long. I contacted the importer to ask about resealing the motor housing but have received no reply.

I have heard of these rotators lasting for many years without failure but a picture I saw of one of the long term survivors showed that it had a different motor than the ones I received. Based on the failures of current or recent motors and the lack of support from the importer I seriously recommend against buying one of these rotators.
VK3ERW Rating: 2022-03-20
MD-02 controller has firmware problems Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I own an MD-02 controller and the new RAS HR rotator (0.1deg resolution). Controller firmware V1 had a firmware bug which made the controller randomly trip out on "Pulse Timeout" a few seconds after movement had stopped. To reset the error I had to restart the controller - really annoying when it happens multiple times during a satellite pass.
Firmware V2.0.166 was finally released in March 2022 and fixed the Pulse Timeout issue.
However, it introduced a new bug where the rotator stops randomly before it reaches its target position. This occurs during longer runs but not during satellite tracking where movements are generally less than 5s.
They have had a year of firmware writing but still don't seem to get it right. When the controller can't carry out a simple GOTO command which requires longer travel I have to say that the firmware authors need to be replaced urgently!
N0DMS Rating: 2021-12-20
Very Poor Quality Controller Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I am on my 3rd controller for the Alpha-Spid rotator. It is basically a piece of junk that will not move or control the rotator and can't be programmed. I guess it will go back to the supplier to the supplier. Totally frustrating.

I like the RAK rotator but this controller must have been designed by some idiot.

The first controller worked about a week. The second worked 3 days. The 3rd did nothing right out of the box...
SM6VFZ Rating: 2021-08-30
Mechanically great, poor water protection Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have used a Spid RAU for several years. It is mechanically great. Really strong and robust. No lashback at all, which is great for high-gain UHF antennas.
But the encapsulation for the motor and first worm gear is not the best. A wheel bearing rusted stuck for me and I had to open it up and repair. One should better add an additional enclosure.
I never used the control unit but built my own with an ATtiny MCU which is rather simple to do:
VE6VAC Rating: 2021-03-26
Excellent support Time Owned: more than 12 months.
A have a Alfa Spid RAS rotator. It has worked great for many years, my club used it for an ISS school contact 2 years ago. I was moving some UHF antennas on the unit last week and by mistake I made the 8 wire control cable to tight. When the rotator turned I pulled 6 of the eight wires out of the rotator. My fault. I tried to reconnect them on a tower 20 feet off the ground during a very windy day. I make a mistake and I thought it cost me the controller box. After a few phone calls with Mitch at Alfa Radio, I drove the 2.5 hours one way to Edmonton, Alberta to have him fix it or sell me a new controller. He diagnosed and fixed it, It cost me only a new E-prom chip which he had in stock, and a very reasonable labour charge. He and Dave then gave me an hour tutorial on the operation of the RAS unit, no charge. Mitch, Dave and Amanda are great people. I only wish the display was a bit brighter for outdoor use during field day. Ps always bring Tim Horten donuts.
M0WGF Rating: 2019-12-07
Needs improvement. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I recently bought a Spid RAS with Rot2Prog controller in the UK for £875 which was very expensive purchase for me. I found for the most part the mechanical engineering was fine. My main gripes with the unit is the use of terminal strip in the rotator for the feed cables in a box that isn't waterproof I don't see the connections lasting very long living by the sea. The cable glands are quite small allowing a max cable diameter of around 7mm and the gland is the only thing keeping the cable fixed to the housing. The use of 4 pin microphone sockets on the controller also only allows for a small cable to used and these need to be uprated. The controller itself the display is so dim even in a bright room it becomes unreadable and there's no adjustment and this is being written in October. Using the controller with external software can also be a pain due to the so slow USB port running at a meager 600 baud. So all in all I was expect a Porsche and got a Jalopy. How well this rotator holds up I'll have to wait and see but I don't personally see why this rotator gets such a high rating? It just goes to show how poor the current available rotators actually are. UPDATE : After having the SPID installed for a month I've had the following issues. 1. The ProgRot2 controller fails to remember which direction the rotator is pointing if power to the controller unit is lost, it should be fairly simple to write the heading into an EEPROM on the fly and not require the unit being turned off by the power switch. 2. The bottom mast clamp comes with eight bolts which clamp onto the mast however none of the bolts come with locking nuts and so can become loose in operation, locking nuts or a single bolt that passes all the way though the bottom mount would stop the rotator becoming loose. The result of the last problem is the antenna acting like a weather vane causing damage to the feed cable. I'm sorry but I would never recommend the SPID to anyone it's not worth the money.
SV1GFM Rating: 2018-01-18
Great Rotator, Great Support Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I purchased a Spid RAK from Waldi SP6IDX, it's worked great and is running with PstRotatorAz Software with computer control. After 1 year the Motor has stop to work. I contacted Jacek at Spid Poland, He sent next Day a new Motor to me free of charge. After replace the Motor ( very ease, my Hexbeam was on the Rotor no need to put down ), the Rotator is like new again ( I think it turns faster ). The old Motor has lot of water inside, and after open it and cleaned it works again. If you want to get a Rotator that the supplier and company stand behind then get yourself a Alfa Spid and Jacek you are true Gentlemen.
Thank you for all the help and information.
VA7DZ Rating: 2017-05-17
BIGRAK + Green Heron vs. ORION Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
We've had an Orion rotator and control since 1996, now replaced by Alfaspid BIG RAK + Green Heron RT-21, thankfully.

Orion: cheap aluminum casting, mounting bolts upside down so able to fall out - and did!
Bolts can interfere with the gears. Control pigtail failed due to inadequate waterproofing. Company failed to upgrade pigtail when rotator was returned for other repairs and refused to pay for the second trip to the factory to make it good. Falling-out bolts were replaced by the obvious bolts with safety wire, but did M2 apologize for the design blunder and do it free?
No, they charge $$ for it as an optional extra. [No Kidding.]
Orion control box was also badly designed. It had ONE error code. The box booted up into the full-speed mode -which is dangerous for the mechanicals. Requests to change the code so it would boot up in start slow then go fast mode were ignored by M2.

By way of comparison, the BIG RAK is solid steel, has no wedge brake to fail, and the
reed switch and motor can be changed out WITHOUT removing the rotator from the tower. The Green Heron is beautifully and thoughtfully designed.
I'll report on their long-term reliability in a year or so.
IH9YMC Rating: 2017-05-06
bad experience Time Owned: more than 12 months.
After 4 years i must update my opinion to alpha spid rak , the rotator don't turn anymore ccw and cw , and turn itself in a piece of rust . NEVERMORE!
K3GM Rating: 2016-07-24
2nd RAK added to station.... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Almost 10 years to the day, I filed my review on my newly mounted RAK. Since installed, it has provided stedfast, dependable service. When I installed a second tower last year, I couldn't think of a better rotator to turn my antenna with than another RAK. The rotator maintains rock solid headings in the windiest of weather. It's quiet, and there's no potentiometer to wear out. If I had one negative, it would be that because of the deep socket the mast drops into, and the fact that it's secured on all 4 quadrants, there is no easy way to remove the rotator for servicing like what you'd find on the traditional bell housing rotators. Fortunately, in the 10 years of service my first one has seen, it has never required service of any kind. I did have to remove it several years ago to replace a damaged antenna at the top of the stack. Because of the weight of the mast and antennas, I had to jack the rotator and mast up from under the shelf high enough to the equivalent of the depth of the mounting socket, then lock the mast in place to clear height of the rotator. This required a hydraulic bottle jack, and it was painfully slow. But then again, I've never had the mast slip in the rotator mount and get its heading mosaligned. This is a wonderfully powerful, well made rotator. While it works fine being powered by 12V, it really snaps to with 18V. I choose to control the rotator with a Green Heron RT-21, so selecting the 18V option is easy. Try this rotator! You won't regret it.