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W1PA FD AO-40 (pictures and questions)



First off, my thanks to the list for their comments, help, and support going
back almost a year, with construction of the pre-amp and the downconverter,
to pulling the circular freq guide off the list the day before.... what a
help that was.

What an absolute blast Sunday morning...  hearing my dits "echo" come back
on the downlink for the first time, working my first CW QSO, first phone,
first DX, all in one night. I was up until 6:30am local, slept for an hour,
and continued working the bird until bad squint and trees around 11. About
20 valid FD contacts, and another 10 with DX stations with "non contest"
exchanges.

Details:

W1PA, 3A WMA, near Oxford, MA (just south of Worcester), FN42BC

Rig: FT847 (mod'd for separate 144 MHz receive port), no computer control

Uplink: Barefoot power, 15ft RG8x to a Cushcraft splitter, to 2 11-element
yagi's, offset along their booms by 6 or 7 inches to provide elliptical
phasing, Armstrong pointing using home-made clamp crossboom

Downlink: Primestar Dish, 5 turn helix, DEM preamp and DEM downconverter,
via RG8x back to 847. Set on the ground.

I have included a link to pictures of the site, set-up, and equipment (and
yours truly) from Sunday morning after the sun came up:

http://webpages.charter.net/acito/

Questions:

1) The best I heard the MB was S7, stations s4-5. (that is with the internal
pre-amp on, heavy overcast and 85F, 100% RH the entire weekend, less than
optimal coax). With the above listed equipment, the heavy load, and some
AGC'ing going on the bird (is this correct?), was that to be expected, or
should I check my receive chain? Is the 847 meter frugal? The 847 was a week
old (bought used) for this weekend, so I can't compare it to the levels I
saw on the old FT-790 (which has a tiny, almost binary (signal, no signal)
s-meter) when I did some of my first listening checks 6 months ago. On TX,
barefoot, full power, and optimal pointing, I could just trip Leila.

2) Speaking of the 847 (and my lack of experience with it), by trial and
error I finally settled on having the uplink on the center VFO, and putting
the downlink on the sub-band, using the tracking feature, and adjusting the
sub-band receive for doppler shifts. Is this the classic/ preferred method
for manual tuning?

Bill
W1PA





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