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Re: Starting out on the cheap

After reading Laura's post on homebrewing a satellite station I thought I would do a little surfing and see what is available for off-the-shelf kits to build a complete station and pass along the links for those who might be interested in pursuing it.

Do-it-yourself HF/2m/70cm SSB Transmitter/Receiver Pair

The main receiver will be this 10m receiver kit which we will use for direct 29 MHz receive and as an IF for 2m and 70cm.  Cost $44.00

We can fancy up the above with a digital frequency readout from K1MG.  Cost $29.95

Now we need to add 2m and 70cm receive.  Hamtronics makes some low cost easy to build receive converters.  Cost $49.00 each  We need a CA144-28 and a CA432-5  Say $100.00 for both units.

So we're up to $174.00 for the receiver, lets be generous and add another $76.00 for shipping and miscellaneous parts and call it an even $250.00

Now for the transmit side, we'll start out with a 10m QRP CW/SSB kit from Small Wonder Labs.  This one needs a bit of a tweak to work on 28MHz but easy enough to do or find someone to do for you.  Cost $100.00

Of course this just wouldn't be the 21st century without a digital frequency display.  We'll use the same K1MG unit again.  Cost $29.95

Back to Hamtronics again for 2m and 70cm transmit converters.  The XV2-5 and XV4-5 will take our 10m qrp signal and convert it to 2m and 70cm respectively.  Cost for both $188.00

Total cost so far $318.00, lets again add in an extra $82.00 for shipping and extra bits, say $400.00 total or $650.00 for the whole deal transmit and receive.  If 2 watts isn't enough output for you another couple of hundred dollars will boost your output on both bands to the 30-40 watt level.  (CCI has a nice 35W VHF amp kit for $80.00 http://www.communication-concepts.com/335a.htm but they seem to have discontinued their UHF model).

Now of course there might be better options than the ones above, they were just the first ones I found.  Homebrewing the antennas and rotators is much more straightforward than the electronics.  I used to work AO-13 all the time with a 2m cross-yagi on a 12ft 2x2 wood boom and elements scrounged from old tv antennas, a 10-turn helix on 70cm (which I still use) and a tv antenna rotator for azimuth with a reversible drill and jackscrew affair for elevation.  Don't believe for a minute that it takes piles of money to get into ALL the satellites (not just the easy-sats).  It only takes motivation.

John - VE8EV

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