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RE: P3D information

> I would imagine that knowing the keps prior to launch is a 
> bit like playing
> roulette. The more I think of it it's exactly like playing 
> roulette! There's
> too many uncertainties to make an accurate prediction.

Indeed.  For me, the usefulness of the pre launch keps was like the
usefulness of knowing the odds of winning at roulette.  No exact answers,
but an indication of how things might turn out. :-)

> My QTH is in a built up area (Central London), and I took the 
> 'build it
> quick' route a year ago - and it was a big, expensive mistake.
> Indeed, the reason for going to satellites for me was 
> precisely _because_ I
> live in a built up area where there's quite serious antenna 
> restrictions, ie
> they cannot be visible from the street (technically I'm not 
> supposed to have
> any, but if you can't see them what's the problem?). If 

I have a slightly different variation of the same problem, namely the old
rented house with onsite landlady. :-)  She's actually quite good, but I
don't want to push it :)).  My solution was and still is very simple...  go
portable!! :)

> My mistakes (which are plenty!) were down to lack of planning 
> and also due
> to lack of operating experience and understanding. The 
> exhilaration you get
> when you get it right are awesome though. My first successful 
> downlink and
> QSO were on a $50 vertical and a 10c wire dipole. And I had 
> an arsenal of
> expensive yagis stuck in a cupboard which I couldn't put up.

My first successful satellite QSO was actually years ago on RS-10, with a
small collinear for the uplink and a piece of wire on the downlink.  From
the current QTH, I just used a pair of HTs with reasonable whip antennas and
managed a QSO from the back yard. :-)

> and practical examples. And the help of all on the BB has 
> been second to
> none - but just don't expect all the answers on a plate!

A few pointers and some food for thought is what often comes from here.  All
very useful stuff indeed.

> My recommendation would be to start off small with equipment 
> you may already
> have. I'm guessing your friend may be surrounded by buildings 
> if in a built
> up area, and therefore their visible horizon may be high. 
> This can be a

I agree, start small and look at your QTH.  I'm in a valley, which means
horizons of 5 degrees from the vertical on top of the roof, and verying
between 15 and 75 degrees, depending on direction from the back yard!  Being
portable, that can be easily reduced to near 0 degrees by going for a walk
down the street. :-)

> A good start would be to concentrate on the receive side like 
> preamps and
> some good coax. After all, if you can't hear 'em you can't work 'em.

Indeed.  I'd start with antennas.  What can he run?  Base?  Portable?  both?
Then put up the best antenna (which need not be expensive, homebrew antennas
work really well here and can be designed for a specific task, plus they're

Base station users will need to look at coax and preamp issues, portable
users at how to hang the various bits off one's body and still be able to
make all necessary adjustments to work the birds effectively (Doppler, Az,
El, Pol, etc ).
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