Satellite work for a newbie

Status
Not open for further replies.

mparker

Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2007
Messages
350
Location
Ohio
i would like to learn more about doing satellite work with my vx7... i got on to amsat.org and was reading about oscar 51.

i guess what do i do now? ive set the uplink and downlink freq into my HT. i assume i listen on the downlink and TX on the uplink?

how do i properly use tracking information, how do i know when i will be able to use the sat?



thanks guys
 

Bill_White

Member
Joined
May 19, 2004
Messages
260
Location
Perry, N.Y. FNØ2xr
I saw you in here earlier...
Did you figure it out???
I gave you a call on AO-51 during the last (useable) ascending pass today…
Using my HT, VX-6R (1/4 wave antenna), Did you hear me?
Feel free to PM or email (good on QRZ.com) me if you need more help.
 

kg6eak

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2006
Messages
12
Location
Saint George, Utah
I tried working AO-51 yesterday.
I really need to get a compass, so I can figure out my azimuths, instead of creating my own orbit, circling around in the back yard.

I was using my HT (Icom IC-T7H), and a Diamond whip. I used a BNC to BNC extension cable, so I could keep the radio steady.
Open squelch..Moved around..Nothing
Moved the antenna around....Nothing
Bent my arm into a position most Yoga instructors would scream at....Crackle crackle..Hams a chatting!!!


Once I got a bead on the position of the satellite (And my arm), it was very easy to follow the path line, and adjust for doppler shift.

I figured if I could hear them as clear as I was, (Damn near ALMOST full quieting except for the open squelch on my end) then they should be able to hear me. I called out about 6 times, but no one acknowledged. In my defense, that is one busy satellite. I was probably just piling up on top of people. I tried again on another pass an hour or two later, with the same results. Excellent audio, I just couldn't cut through the lineup.

I will try again. I think I'm hooked on trying to get through on it. I had a blast standing out there, and from my little 5 watter, hearing people states away. Good stuff. My kids think I am weird spinning around like a top trying to get the squelch to break..So yeah, a compass would be a good investment. and an arrow II, with a tripod couldn't hurt either.
Money wise, I think I am going to go with a pryme al-800 whip.
 

JeremyB

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2009
Messages
170
I made a contact on AO-51 yesterday at 17:50EDT(21:50Z). You might have a chance with AO-51 on a high pass with the diamond whip, turn the squelch off when trying to work the sats. With the arrow antenna, you should be able to work AO-51, SO-50, HO-68(when it goes back into FM repeater mode), and AO-27 on ascending passes(it turns on about 30 degrees north and shuts off at about 60 degrees north, there is only about 7 minutes to use this one analogue, then it goes to digital for 60 seconds before shutting off).

I think it was this morning that I heard someone on AO-51 that said they were operating handheld with a rubber duck and they were full quieting. Early passes during the week are fairly quiet compared to the afternoon and weekends

Definitely watch the two videos at Arrow Antenna's Arrow II Antennas
 

kg6eak

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2006
Messages
12
Location
Saint George, Utah
does satellite work better for a base station for handheld?
Now, I'm a far from an expert, but I feel, that it is equal. Someone with experience, please correct me if I'm wrong. It appears to center around the antenna, as you can make LEO (Low Earth Orbiting) satellite contacts, on just 5 watts, from a handheld. More watts out, will greatly help your chance of hitting the satellite, but there are several articles floating around, and tons of Youtube videos to watch, on people making multiple contacts with a handheld transceiver.

What do they all have in common though? That Arrow II antenna, or a homebrew version of it. I was using a Diamond rubber whip antenna, and I was picking it up just fine, but I got lost in the dogpile of people trying to make QSL's..I am going to construct my own antenna, or buy that Arrow II, in a few months, and try again.

A base station, which usually yields more watts out, with a dedicated/mounted antenna, would have a better chance of being heard into the satellite, in comparison to a 5 watt handheld, and an antenna like I was using. But, the equality I am talking about, comes from the outcome for both. You make a contact (provided, your handheld has a decent antenna).

I like running a handheld/portable, because 1.) I get to go outside, and do it, and 2) I like it when the younger kids in the neighborhood come up, see the equipment, and ask what I am doing. I get to tell them, I am attempting to make contact with other people, using a satellite in space. They stand around, and listen. They get jazzed when they hear the satellite communications break through the squelch, and what have I done there? I planted the seed of scanning/ham radio in someone else's mind.. Win / win

That's it for me...

~Brian
 

JeremyB

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2009
Messages
170
Now, I'm a far from an expert, but I feel, that it is equal. Someone with experience, please correct me if I'm wrong. It appears to center around the antenna, as you can make LEO (Low Earth Orbiting) satellite contacts, on just 5 watts, from a handheld. More watts out, will greatly help your chance of hitting the satellite, but there are several articles floating around, and tons of Youtube videos to watch, on people making multiple contacts with a handheld transceiver.

What do they all have in common though? That Arrow II antenna, or a homebrew version of it. I was using a Diamond rubber whip antenna, and I was picking it up just fine, but I got lost in the dogpile of people trying to make QSL's..I am going to construct my own antenna, or buy that Arrow II, in a few months, and try again.

A base station, which usually yields more watts out, with a dedicated/mounted antenna, would have a better chance of being heard into the satellite, in comparison to a 5 watt handheld, and an antenna like I was using. But, the equality I am talking about, comes from the outcome for both. You make a contact (provided, your handheld has a decent antenna).

I like running a handheld/portable, because 1.) I get to go outside, and do it, and 2) I like it when the younger kids in the neighborhood come up, see the equipment, and ask what I am doing. I get to tell them, I am attempting to make contact with other people, using a satellite in space. They stand around, and listen. They get jazzed when they hear the satellite communications break through the squelch, and what have I done there? I planted the seed of scanning/ham radio in someone else's mind.. Win / win

That's it for me...

~Brian
The elk antenna is another good choice for a sat antenna, but the arrow 2 is a better antenna for a beginner. The elk has to be pointed more accurately in respect to direction and polarity than the arrow to have a good receive/transmit signal. With the arrow, you need to buy the duplexer for most transceivers, unless you use one to receive and one to transmit, which I like to do so I can hear my own downlink but in most cases is not necessary. There are plans for building a cheap yagi on the internet for sat use, do a search for Clint Bradford and you should find his work-sat webpage with his antenna links
 

kg6eak

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2006
Messages
12
Location
Saint George, Utah
im guessing contacts are made outside?
It's a bit easier to work from outside, from what I've seen

Try going to a park, or a mall parking lot. Somewhere, where you have an unobstructed sky view.

Here's another hint.
Find a satellite pass, somewhere around the early AM, on a weekday. From what I've experienced, the birds USUALLY are not as active with radio pileup then. It MAY increase your chances of making a first contact.

Above all, just have fun doing it, or attempting to do it..
 

JeremyB

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2009
Messages
170
It's a bit easier to work from outside, from what I've seen

Try going to a park, or a mall parking lot. Somewhere, where you have an unobstructed sky view.

Here's another hint.
Find a satellite pass, somewhere around the early AM, on a weekday. From what I've experienced, the birds USUALLY are not as active with radio pileup then. It MAY increase your chances of making a first contact.

Above all, just have fun doing it, or attempting to do it..
The guys on in the morning are great people, W6GMT, K8YSE, N5AFV, and some others that I can't quite recall. They all know each other by first name anymore and are really patient with the new sat ops.

With the arrow antenna(or elk) you can make contacts inside, I've done it with each one from my second story on AO-51 when it was raining.

It can be fairly cheap, elk or arrow 2 antenna(about $140 plus shipping), a wouxun dual band radio($119 with shipping from Hong Kong, get it 7-14 days), a few adapters, cheap compass, free tracking software like Orbitron or Satscape
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top