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Drake 2880 Problem with AO-40 ???

Hello All,
 In the wake of hearing about the AO-40 S-Band Transponder Output turned on 
and having successfully received a few minutes of telemetry on a very low 
perigee pass a few months ago, I decided to listen for signals from AO-40 
recently. Unfortuneltly, the Drake 2880 does not appear to have sufficient 
Noise Figure by itself and an external preamp looks like its required. 

Is any one experiencing their Drake 2880 to be deaf ???
Is a external preamp required ???
If so, where can I get one with use with the Drake ???

I do know about a modification / Gaasfet device that can be installed in the 
RF section of the Drake but did not consider installing it due to the fact 
that there are reports that many are using the converter as is with no 

The antenna is a 13 turn RHCP Helix. I understand many are using this same 
converter and antenna and hearing/working the satellite just fine.

Jeff K7XQ

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