Computer control of amateur antenna rotators


The vast majority of radio amateurs use directional antennas. These can be the monster 80 meter Yagi or small satellite cross-polarized ones. All rotatable directional antennas have one in common – they need a rotator and control unit to monitor the azimuth and/or elevation direction. 

This can be done manually or by the specialized computer software which controls the rotation through the custom interface boards.

These boards are the main part of modern antenna rotation controllers that communicate with PC via COM or USB ports using the common Yaesu GS-232 A/B and Easycom protocols.

Several manufacturers are making antenna rotation controllers that are expensive due to including unnecessary “bells and whistles”.

Is there an economical way for ham radio operator to build an antenna rotation controller at a fraction of the cost of those “golden-plated boxes”? Yes, and let’s make a closer look at them.

US amateur Antony Good K3NG has designed the Arduino-based rotator interface that interfaces a computer to a rotator or rotator controller, emulating the Yaesu GS-232A/B and Easycom protocols which are supported by many logging, contest, and control programs. 

It can be easily interfaced with commercial rotator control units. With the addition of a proper capacity power supply and several interface components such as relays, this unit could also serve as a total replacement for a rotator control unit or as the basis for a 100% homebrew rotation system. 

Several azimuth and elevation position sensors including potentiometers, rotary encoders, digital compass, and I2C devices are supported. 

All necessary information about K3NG antenna rotator controller can be found here:

An internal view of the assembled K3NG AZ/EL controller is shown below.

Most of the modern logging and contest software like HRD, N1MM, TR4W, WinTest, DXLog etc., support antenna rotation and tracking. K3NG AZ/EL controller is compatible with them.

There are software packages for use with K3NG AZ/EL controller.   

KK5JY Rotor-Craft

This software is a simple, open-source software package for rotor control, with a modular and open architecture, to allow it to be easily modified and extended to other rotor types and protocols.

It offers the standard click-to-target interface and user-preset targets. 

Linux and Windows packages are available for download at: 


RemoteRotator is a command line application that makes azimuth/elevation antenna rotators available on the network. It is available for Linux/Windows/MacOS and written in the programming language Go


This masterpiece of Windows software became, de facto, a standard for all rotator control software packages. It supports separate antenna rotator controllers for Azimuth and Elevation control. 

This program can track the Moon and Sun, control bi-directional SteppIr and UltraBean Yagi antennas, and has a lot of different user options like antenna pointing by callsign, RA/DEC coordinate Moon tracking, tracking via contest and general loggers, etc.

 PstRotator is the Multi-user software allowing remote control over IP within the local network.

These PstRotator options and much more can be implemented using the powerful but easy-to-build K3NG Arduino-based rotator interface.

Manufacturers can make it as a kit giving amateurs a chance to assemble it and feel themselves a creator.