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Newbie Question(s)

Oh, where to start.

After being in the hobby for a few years and finally ignoring what local hams say, I am going to take the plunge into the Amateur Satellite realm!  I really have no idea where to begin, however.

I have read the article titled "Working the Easy Sats" by Gary B Rogers, WA4YMZ, and I am *really* impressed.  The only parts I really skipped over were the parts about the "RS" birds - I have *no* desire to go back to HF whether it be terrestrial or satellite.

After reading that article, I consulted the boss (the XYL) and asked her about purchasing some more radio equipment (I had once vowed to sell everything I had due to the narrow mindedness of the local ham community).  She has no problem with the purchase of new amateur equipment.  So, now what to buy?

Again, after reading the above article, my interest has really piqued.  I then read the section in the 1993 edition of The ARRL Handbook.  In that section, there is just a plethora of information.  I now actually think I can get on the air for less than $2000 buying new equipment and building the antenna(s).  Now to my equipment questions.  I am planning on purchasing, new, an IC-821H.  However, I just realized that a major Amateur Radio dealer is closing out the TS-790 for the same price.  Could I please have comments on these particular radios - especially from those that have owned both?  I have picked out a 440 mast-mount preamp, the Mirage KP-2/440; however, I have seen numerous e-mails on this server referencing the Landwehr pre-amps.  Pros and cons of those two pieces of equipment?  Lastly is the antenna.  My father-in-law, a retired machinist, can make the dual-band j-pole antenna in The ARRL Handbook.  Does anyone have any operating experience with this particular antenna.  Coax is not a problem.  I am either going to use 9913 or LMR600.  I think the LMR600 has about 5dB atten. / 500 ft.  Not a hard choice there.

Now to my ultimate goal with the Amateur Satellites:  To be able to work P3D (*when* it goes up) and to work the PACSATS.  For now, I just want to get started, but I want to build to that ultimate goal.

I am trying to read everything I get my hands on regarding Amateur Satellites.  I plan on purchasing the just released The Radio Amateur's Satellite Handbook.

Thanks for advance for all replies.


Joel B. Black, KS4AW