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RE: seeking advice on easy sats

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-AMSAT-BB@AMSAT.Org [mailto:owner-AMSAT-BB@AMSAT.Org]On
> Behalf Of Phil
> Sent: Sunday, September 09, 2001 11:39 PM
> Subject: [amsat-bb] seeking advice on easy sats
> Hello All,

Hi Phil,  Mike in El Paso.

> I'm wondering if I might be expecting too much from AO 14 and
> FO 20 because I don't seem to receiving either of them as well
> as some operators appear to. My expectations are bases on RS
> 12 which is receivable from horizon to horizon.

I started on AO-6 and AO-8 in Germany many years ago.  Then I
transferred back to the U.S., and lost touch with satellites.

I started back in on Christmas day, 1998, after almost 20 years of
being away.  I started back on RS-12, and it was just as I remembered
it.  The other sats were out of my league, having nothing for 420-450.

Then I got an ICOM IC-820H, and all that changed.  I was able to hear
SO-35 with a 3 band J-pole.  But my uplink was not strong enough to
overcome the majority of the stations.  I never succeeded in making a
single contact through the other stations, although I did hear my down-
link a few times.  SO-35 is now dead.  The FM birds are a mess at best.

> AO 14 is often only receivable for short bursts and periods of say
> 30 seconds to a minute two or three time during each pass. Signal
> strength is usually between S1 and S4 during those times. I'm only
> guessing that the reason might be that the satellite may be tumbling
> slowly which means that the satellite's antenna is pointing away
> from the earth for long periods of time. Is this correct?

Could be.  I had no luck on AO-14 at all until I put up a full tracking
system, with circularly polarized beams on both the uplink and down-
link.  There are some who claim to make regular contacts using a
handheld.  Maybe so, I don't know.  What I do know is that I can
only work weekends and evenings.  That takes a bit of ERP.

> FO 20 is very weak and I'm not sure if the signal fades to the same
> extent as AO 14 although it does seem more consistent. The difficulty
> with this one is compounded because it receives little use although the
> whistles and hellos does indicate that the satellite is still functioning.

Dunno.  I have made a few contacts on FO-20, but not much, and not
at all this year.

> My station is very modest and consists of an FT-817 and a hand-held
> home built 6 element Yagi. I don't have a preamplifier and I can't
> be sure that the antenna is performing to it's peak because I don't
> have access to a UHF SWR meter. However the beam width is around
> 25 degrees which I expect is normal and it certainly out performs a
> rubber duckie.

You can use a field strength meter to tune it.  You can make one out
of a micro-amp meter, two diodes, and maybe a cap or two to smooth
out the ripple.  If the radio seems to load to a higher power, then that
is probably a better tuning point.

I would test the beam against a few other known antennae then.  If it
seems to perform better than a 1/4 wave mobile whip, try it against
a 5/8 whip.  Use your local repeaters as a signal source, and try it
a few times over several days.  Good luck.

Vy73,  Mike.   KD9KC    MARS: AAV6EV

My E-mail address: mailto:kd9kc@elp.rr.com
Ham Radio page: http://www.qsl.net/kd9kc/
Gun page: http://home.elp.rr.com/elpasochl/
Dog page: http://www.geocities.com/heartland/estates/4174

Freedom is expensive.  Those who are not willing to
pay the price ultimately lose everything.

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