Station and Operating Hints

Operating on satellites is relatively straightforward, but over the years many tips, tricks, and secrets have been discovered which make operating more efficient and pleasant.  Here we are collecting information of use to both the new and experienced operator.

Fox-1 Operating Guide released at the 2015 Dayton Hamvention. This color PDF file is designed to print double-sided. Two different resolution versions are available:
Low resolution PDF suitable for on-screen display (~400 KB size)
High resolution, press quality PDF for hard-copy printing  (~2 MB size)

Operating FM Satellites is the easiest way to get started. Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK distributes this guide at hamfests and operating demonstrations. This guide introduces you to the basic equipment and techniques and has the information you need to get on SO-50, currently the only operational FM satellite (until Fox-1 cubesats are launched). Patrick also has a Spanish version here.

Mode-J Filter.  For satellites which have 2 meter uplinks and 70 cm downlinks, the third harmonic may cause overload of the 70 cm preamplifier used on most stations.  This can be greatly reduced or eliminated with an inexpensive duplexer.

Grid Square Locator Map A Google Maps interface to determine your Maidenhead Grid locator.

WA5VJB Kent Britain Cheap Yagis for Satellite Here is a PDF of the world famous cheap yagis and band splitter for inexpensive satellite operation.

CJU 70cm antenna Here is a PDF of the very easy and effective CJU antenna, designed for attaching to an HT for Mode J receive operation.

ioIO dual band antenna This is the dual band version of the CJU listed above.

AA2TX 70cm Parasitic Lindenblad Omni Antenna

Add ISS Packet Operation to Your Satellite Activity JoAnne K9JKM has written a handy guide to ISS packet operations.

The One True Rule for Doppler Tuning by Paul Williamson, KB5MU, or “Do I tune the uplink, downlink, or both?”  This classic article explains the best practices for tuning to compensate for Doppler effects.

Bringing the One True Rule of Doppler Tuning into the 21st Century by Alan Biddle, WA4SCA.  The increase in both computing power and sophistication of programs has made it possible to tune your radio almost as easily as you do on HF and then have your QSO without constantly having to retune if both operators are using Full Doppler Tuning and the satellite transponder does not drift.  This article discusses why FDT is desirable, and now easy to do.