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Success with 4-foot dish

Hi all,

At 1410 [0610 local] I had success in hearing AO-40.  Of course the squint
was ~4 degrees and elevation about 30 degrees [and the air temp about 20F].
 So I crank the dish up manually and pull it around to the correct azimuth,
and holding the 5-turn helix with Drake attached in front of the dish [no
feed mount yet] I find the beacon immediately.  Its peaking 3 S-units over
the noise.  Then I tune up the band and hear 3 or 4 stations on varying
between 1 and 2 S-units over the noise [no LEILA candidates], but if I were
not freezing my butt and my hand aching from holding the feed, I would be
copying pretty good. {some of you need to learn how to talk faster on the
bird...he! he!}

I guess the Drake is not broke, nor the feed.  BTW the 5-turn helix has too
narrow a beamwidth for this center-fed dish so I'm only effectively using
about 50% of it.  That means the gain ~24 dBic.  So I come back inside to
thaw and have a coffee and check Gene's spreadsheet.  It predicts 15 dB S/N
for the numbers [about S-3 on the beacon]; just what I'm hearing.

Well tonight I'll work on a feed support and coax runs to the dish and 432
antenna.  AOS is 0643 [2243 local] tonight with a small squint.  Hoping to
be QRV on mode-US.

PS: with a preamp this ought to be "smoker"!

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