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A 'L Band Pod' Story


I know there are a few people on this list that got one of these things.  I
finally decided to hook it up and see if it works.

One of the problems I had using it with GPS is my Garmin 12XL will only
switch to the external antenna if it senses a current drain on the antenna
port.  So that did not work.

I brought the pod, a F connector 18 volt power supply (from a Radio shack
preamp) and other sundry items out to the outdoor test range in the backyard.
It appeared that the 50ma wall wart on the 18 volt could not power the preamp
but I suspect it was really a loose connection inside the shielded housing.

I was able to power the preamp and I used my recently purchased VR-5000 whiz
bang receiver to search for interesting signals.  There seemed to be several
signals around 1575 if I put the receiver in sideband.  I also say some
digital signals on INMARSAT.  I did not see any analog stuff I heard was
on there.

Researching with the web I realized that the pod is LHC and the analog
INMARSAT stuff was RHC.  No problem, I will just use my 7-1/2 foot dish.
I took a loop of wire and managed to hang the pod next to the C/KU feed on
the dish.   I disconnected one of the LNB feeds and connected it up to the
pod.  I went inside and hooked up the VR-5000 to my splitter.  My Drake 1824
was powering the Pod.

INMARSAT AOR-W is near PAS-9 so I moved the dish there and got some weak
blips on the VR5000's band scope.  They peaked up just east of PAS-9.

I scanned the INMARSAT-A band and picked up a number of stations.  A few
were almost full quieting but some were alittle noisy.  The scanner is not
modified for the wider bandwidth so the signals sometimes were distorted.

It appears that something causes the preamp gain to drop off below about 1525
so some modifications may be needed to get it down into the ham band.  There
is a diplexer in this unit.

I realized that I was using a omnidirectional antenna for the feed.  I had the
pod apart a few months ago and it may pe possible to replace the existing
antenna that is on a cylinder with a better feed type antenna.

73 Eric eac@shore.net  WB1HBU
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