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Re: AO-40 user population

This is from a true newbie trying to get started with satelittes.  To spell
it out, I have never heard a bird and have yet to even attempt to contact
one.  As the station is still a ways away form being up and running.

I am new to HAM and new to sattelites.  I heard about them this summer and
being in the field of communications and always being interested in the
world beyond the ionosphere i decided to give all this a try.  I did some
basic reading went and took my technicians exam a few months ago and got the
ticket.  Now to build a shack for VHF/UHF sattelite operations, initialy I
have choosen analog comms.

Now for the daunting process of desingning a truly capable
groundstation/shack.  This is where things have really started to let the
setup drag.  So many possibilities so many options.  Everything I had read
said the AO-40(Phase3D) would be the bird of choice for newbies. So I plan
my initial setup around AO-40 and add the capabilities of a few others birds
as well.

I have taken the approach of having known goods, to baseline my
capabilities.  This means I have spent a significant amount of money on my
new groundstation.  I know that I can homebrew alot of what I need and save
a fair amount.  I decided till I could make good contact on a regular basis
under optimal conditions, that I should not introduce potential questions
that I am not capable of solving at this time.  So I bought a good rig, good
antennas, premade low loss coax...... etc.  You get the picture.

Mode S is where I am still stumbling.  I am finding it difficult to find
preassembled complete mode S solutions.  I can find all sorts of components,
and instructions and everything I need to build this.  I will press on as I
am committed and determined to hear this bird and hear myself on this bird.

I dont beleive the outlay of cash, time, and effort has exceed that of
seting up a good HF shack.  I have contemplated just switching toHF to save
money, but realized that i wouldn't and would not be as interesting.

In summary getting started on sat's is a daunting task to the newcomer.
What I would have liked to see more than anything, was more easily accesible
information on the AMSAT website.  I believe I have spent 50% more time
trying to locate the information I need than I should have.  Mode S makes
things more complex than not, as this equipment is not as readily available.
Nothing good does nt come without the labor and love of time time and

This is a great hobby, and I look forward to working the birds and hearing
some of you for the first time.  Do not be discouraged.  Newbiew like myself
will make it.  We just need time to get their , and a bit of luck.


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