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Re: FM satellites (was: Re: SUNSAT OVER EUROPE)

    > In short, a SSB station capable of working the linear
    >transponders is no trivial weekend project.  It takes months of
    >dedication to making everything just right.

    I have to disagree with that statement.  It was exactly a weekend
    trivial project for me; I threw together a turnstile for 2 meters made
    from plumbing supplies, hooked up my 2-meter allmode, and used my
    existing HF rig and a 5/8-wave CB ground-plane antenna for 10 meters. 
    It got me on RS-10 and RS-15 (in it's better days) with a decent enough
    signal to make many contacts.

That assumes HF equipment, which a 'no-coder' won't have and can't really
use for anything else.  Most SSB stations are based on transverters to HF
or expensive transceivers.  I have a friend who's interested in getting up
on RS-12/13, either via 2m or 15m, and we're still trying to figure out
how to hear the downlink well enough to work it.  I may report back on
this later.

    Nowadays even the 2 meter allmodes are getting VERY reasonable on the 
    second-hand market. (Heck of a lot cheaper than a  dual band  FM
    handi-talkie with all the bells & whistles).

Fine for an experienced ham, but not useful to a newcomer.  One has to know
what to look for.  And what about the downlink?  So far, the only homebrew
project of vague relevance that i've seen in this realm is a 2 meter CW
transmitter (and while i'm happy to send, i just can't receive it by hear 
for any useful purposes besides transcribing beacons).  But that requires 
even more experience to build.

Sure there are the R2/T2 pair, but they need a stable VFO for each band, to
 cover the satellite band, pre-amp for the R2 at the station plus maybe one
 on the mast, and then a driver + PA.  Then there's the doppler problem, to
 be applied to two VFOs...

It's not a completely insurmountable obstacle for a low budget operation,
but if one is able to learn CW (i'm not sure i can for neurological reasons)
that is certainly the easier way to go at this point if one wants to go
beyond one's local area on a reliable basis.  *Sigh*

Used equipment is great.  But you have to know what you're doing, or have 
an 'elmer' to get you started.  And have access to suitable test equipment
and the knowledge to use it.  So far, no luck in those departments, and
up until recently, mostly i'm being the 'elmer' as far as the locals are
concerned.  Recently, a very nice gentleman in my area has been kind enough
to loan me his extra rig, and i'm working on the problem of an affordable
antenna system for mode J.

We need to get people excited about amateur radio, it needs to be at least
as interesting as the Internet, and shouldn't cost alot more than an entry
level computer system on the used market.

                                 -- KD6PAG

P.S.  I'm looking for Nebraska on AO-27 and that's close enough that a
selected weekend pass might be feasible if necessary.
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