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RE: AO-40 Station - How and How much



Hello Tim

> As a relativly new ham, I would like to know what I will need (be
specific)
> and how much it will cost to get on AO 40.  All I have right now is a beat
> up old packard bell P1 133 computer, 2 HTs and a borrowed 2 m all mode

I'm assuming you want the cheapest way possible... so here goes...

Your computer is certainly up to the job of satellite prediction and
tracking.

For the radios you will have some expenditure.

To receive, the general way things are going is to purchase a downconverter
and plug that into the 2m all mode. You may have some modifications to do.
Downconverters are available for about $50 (a Drake or a Transsystem) but
will require varying degrees of modification. Remember not to transmit into
the RX converter.

For a receive antenna you can build a helix for around $10
http://members.aol.com/k5oe/P3D_ant/helix_16.htm

You'll certainly be able to hear the beacon with this, but you might want to
(a) purchase a preamp and/or (b) convert an old TV dish.

If you wanted to beat yourself, you _could_ get away with keying CW on 70cm
on one of the HT's. FWIW for grins at Dayton I keyed an IC-T81 running 2W on
70cm and heard myself without even trying with the satellite out at
50,000km. Your HT must be capable of operating in the 435MHz band though.
Not all HT's do this. I was operating a 7 element yagi on the HT. Don't
operate FM. Disconnect the mic. Just key the PTT and operate CW. You can
build a suitable 70cm antenna for maybe $20
http://members.aol.com/k5oe/P3D_ant/P3D_yagi.htm

So, if you really are scrimping and saving you're there on $80. It would
certainly be some achievement.

You need some means of generating 70cm SSB. I've seen 2nd hand FT-790's for
$140. Here's the crunch... you need to generate some power here. On CW I can
get a downlink on 20W erp without trying. SSB I need 200W. So I'm afraid
you're going to need an amplifier with that antenna, or build a _much_
bigger antenna. Realistically, purchase an amplifier - I'd say 20W for that
K5OE 70cm antenna, maybe $100 2nd hand. But make sure it'll do SSB. TX
equipment Total $240.

There's a million and one ways to skin this cat, but basically money buys
you a more aesthetically pleasing configuration and sometimes a better
performing system with more bells and whistles.

If you're new to satellites, you may want to try some of the LEO's first.

73 Howard G6LVB


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