APRS antenna options

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AronDouglas

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As some of you know I just got into APRS receiving, and I'm looking for better reception. Digipeaters do help out greatly with receiving signals, but I want better reception that what the RadioShack collapsible antenna can offer. And to throw a slight curve ball, I'd like to receive the ISS when it makes its periodic flyovers. This thread probably should be in the DIY antenna section, I'm not oppose to either buying or making my antenna.

A 1/4 wave ground plane would probably be my best option if I didn't want to catch the ISS. But I'm thinking a 1/2 wave dipole would be more suitable for ISS and ground transmissions. Or I could get a Diamond NR22L or a Larson dual band. What are your opinions and thoughts?

As I said before, I dont mind making antennas (I prefer it actually, its more fun). The antenna will be mounted on a 40-60ft tower.
 

n9mxq

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Why would a 1/4 wave not receive ISS? I've worked ISS with a rubber duck.. The biggest thing is CLEAR line of sight.

For both APRS and ISS get the antenna up as high as possible. The better the antenna the better your results.

If you're going to tower mount it, I'd go with an antenna designed for it. And not cobble together a mobile antenna to work on a tower.

If it's not on the top of the tower, use a decent stand off to get it away from the tower to reduce tower shading.
 
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I'd use a unity gain antenna. I'm not sure how antennas with gain would affect the RX when the transmitting station is at a high angle to the horizon.

Sent from my ME173X using Tapatalk
 

LtDoc

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An omnidirectional 2 meter antenna with gain (vertical array type of antenna) as high as you can get it would certainly improve any APRS stuff that you can reasonably hear from your location. What brand and model is up to you, you know what you can do better than I do.
As for the ISS, treat it like any other satellite. A directional antenna adjustable for azimuth an elevation would be best, but then it's back to what's practical for you. Lots of people use a hand held beam antenna to do that with.
Have fun...
- 'Doc
 

vagrant

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The M2 EB144RK2M egg beater antenna (no moving parts) may be just what you need. It will cover APRS terrestrial, and APRS relayed from the ISS. You may not need a pre-amp if you're happy with the coverage the antenna can give you. I'm not sure if you have transmitting antennas on that tower, if so I would mount that receive antenna elsewhere. If it's up high enough to clear your roofline by at least 5-10 feet, you should be fine.

Working the ISS to TX and RX APRS does not work well with a VHF vertical antenna, but it can be done. As mentioned a handheld yagi works, but that's not the vibe I'm getting from having read your other posts and you're only looking to receive. You could build a Quadrifilar Helix Antenna, or other variation. A discone could work as a unity gain, but if the satellite is right overhead you'll loose it for a bit.

I think the egg beater may work best for you. Enjoy the research.
 

AronDouglas

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Oh I would LOVE to have an auto adjusting antenna to track the ISS, but there is a point to which I have to cut off the funds. The egg beater looks very promising though, I'll have to read into those.

I might (80% positive) put a CB transmit antenna on my tower, but thats a whole different can of worms I'm reading into. I think I should be fine with a 5ish foot pole on top of my second story house, which would be about 35 +or- feet high.

Thanks for all the help and support guys, I love getting into new hobbies and learning new things.
 

N1BHH

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Simply place a mag mount 1/4-wave or 5/8-wave antenna outside on an air conditioner for better reception. You can of course upgrade to some of the above mentioned antennas as well. A ground plane mounted up on the peak of your roof will do quite well. An antenna is best placed outside because building materials will restrict/attenuate your listening pleasure.
 
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