So here’s one I wasn’t expecting. It came from one of our phone reps who said,
A customer is telling me that since they put their omni antenna on a rotator, it works a lot better. If they’re having problems they just rotate the antenna and it usually helps. Should I recommend a rotator to every customer?
Yeah, that one came out of the blue. After all, we all know that an omni antenna picks up signal from all directions. So what could be going on here? I thought of a few possibilities.
The customer could have a broken antenna.
It’s very possible that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong with the customer’s antenna. Generally speaking, adding a rotator to an omni antenna should do absolutely nothing. If anything, it’s possible that electrical interference, or additional wiring, could marginally reduce the performance of such an antenna. Although, that would be a really small amount of loss.
However, a broken antenna explains a lot. Perhaps there is some break in the internal wiring. Perhaps something has become disconnected. Maybe the internal electronics are causing interference.
Maybe an omni antenna isn’t “really” an omni antenna.
Looking out on the internet, I can’t find actual polar plots for any of the omni antennas we sell. We assume that they pick up equally from all directions. Maybe that isn’t true. Maybe they’re just a little more sensitive in some directions than others. That might have to do with the placement of the balun inside or with the overall construction of the omnidirectional element itself. I happen to have an omni antenna and a rotator, so look for a future article on this.
This would make sense if the customer were trying to get a distant channel which barely came in. Most omni antennas don’t have fantastic range so a distant channel might be a challenge.
Maybe it’s not even any kind of omni antenna.
We tend to take customers at their word. So, I don’t have a picture of this supposed “omni” antenna. There are a few companies out there selling omni antennas that are really panel antennas. In other words they do a pretty good job of pulling signals from front and back but not from side to side. A customer who really doesn’t have an omni antenna at all could explain this really well.
So, should you get a rotator for your omni antenna?
I have to say, in this case, the answer is no. Sure I’d love to sell you this nice rotator. It really does a great job if you actually need it. But, I think this particular customer had a very special case. I don’t think you should need to put a rotator on an omni antenna.