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AIDC 3373 and a newbie to 2.4Ghz

I'm looking for a few suggestions and a tiny bit of guidance regarding this

I've looked for AO-40 on two recent passes, without hearing it.  I was
listening at MA28-50 and MA240-250.  Farthest distance was 44,000km, nearest
was 9,500km.  I have the 3'x2' barbeque dish, and an untouched AIDC3373.
Should I have heard it?

I'm new to 2.4G, but not at all new to satellites or RF.  I've worked AO-10
and AO-13 extensively.  I have no test equipment for 2.4, nothing to
generate a signal... Actually nothing to generate an RF signal at all except
for various HF, VHF and UHF transmitters. I do have a 1.2G xverter (in need
of repair!).

My IF Reciever is an ICOM IC-706.  I'm listening at 123Mhz.  (actually
123.318 +- dopler and

I believe that I've go all the right figures.

Some Questions:

1) How acurate is the frequency of these downconverters....  How large a
search range should I use to find 2401.318?  100Khz?  500Khz?  1Mhz?

2) Whats the simplest way to create a test signal on 2400?  My 1.2G xverter
is in need of repair, but even so, i use my IC-706 for the IF for that too.
I have HF thru 440Mhz working, and a frequency counter that goes to 1Ghz.

3) What test equipment might I find useful, plentyful (read as cheap) for
use up here?  I do enjoy home brewing, but I'm usually at a loss as to what
to build for 1Ghz+.  I'm completly a newbie with regard to MMIC's and stuff
(altho they sure do seem like "connect the dots" and they just work!)

Thanks in advance!
Kevin Uhlir

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