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Re: Apathy



Tyler,

At 01:41 PM 10/2/2005 -0400, Tyler Harpster wrote:
>I was a member of Amsat a few years ago, but have since left the membership 
>slip after AO-40 was lasered by jealous aliens who don't have ham 
>privileges.

Funny!  But seriously why did you drop out of Amsat.  Amsat needs members
to keep going toward building future HEO's (i.e. Eagle).

>When I first got into ham radio in 1993?, hearing DOVE and MIR in my car 
>with my homemade 1/4 wave antenna was a rush.  I tried a number of times to 
>connect to MIR with packet, but just couldn't do it with an HTX-202 and 5 
>watts into a HT whip.  (poor college student)
>
>I finally have a real source of income and play with satellites (listen to) 
>from time to time.  My only QSO through a bird was on UO-14 for a grand 
>total of 10 seconds.  After purchasing a VX-1 (downlink RX) and a arrow 
>antenna, I'm a little bored with fighting to make a 10 second FM QSO.  It's 
>a 3 person operation anyway.... armstrong antenna tracking, tuning 2 radios 
>(the HTX-202 is still pumping out RF) for doppler, writing call signs, 
>watching the clock, watching the compass and the bigfattail program on the 
>handspring deluxe is more than one person can handle.  While I managed to 
>talk my wife into getting her ticket and she's easily trainable to assist in 
>logging, it's difficult to pull her away from Desperate Housewives to help 
>me make a sat QSO.

I can see that would be challenging.  I have done Leo tracking with an
arrow but using a dual-band radio which simplifies the tuning issue
somewhat.  Using headphones and mic OK but a headset with boom mic is even
better.  I hear of many using a voice recorder to log calls so that
eliminates the pen and paper.  All one really needs is AOS and LOs Times
for a pass and respective azimuths, plus the highest elevation angle.  This
is close enough to find the satellite when manually tracking.  The issue of
one-channel FM QRM I cannot fix; that is the nature of the FM Leo's.
Regarding operating on AO-51 or other FM Leo's it does take some practise
to get the hang of working them efficiently...not impossible, a challenge
one can handle...more fun when you accomplish it. 

>So what do I need to motivate me?
>
>1)  I'd like to see real world examples.  Where do you get equipment to work 
>these things?  I realize a lot of the equipment is modified from something 
>else, or homebrewed entirely.   I have all the parts I need for a 2.4 Ghz 
>downconverter from ebay.  I didn't get around to putting it together before 
>AO-40 went silent.  I finally bought a IC-706 which gives me an excellent IF 
>source.  I'm starting to accumulate station components but I haven't set a 
>goal to get onto any one bird.  (station configurations seem to be somewhat 
>bird dependent)

Yes that is true to a degree.  I would say more so for the various digital
sats, though.  For Heo's it implies SSB radios (at least dual-band).  For
2.4 GHz reception, one needs a downconvertor and antenna at least (a preamp
is a plus).  AO-51 requires a simple antenna though (no dish needed).
S-band dipoles, corner-reflectors, small helix and patch antennas all seem
adequate from reports.

What downconverter did you get?  Perhaps we on amsat-bb can help you get it
going.  The IC-706 is popular rig but doesn't have full-duplex in crossband
to my knowledge.  That is a real benefit but not completly a requirement.
I have used my FT-817 which doesnot have crossband duplex for sats.
Ultimately for P3E and eagle you want to be thinking of a full-duplex SSB
station, though.  Mode U/S is a good starting point for them.  Uplink for
P3E or eagle has not been deterimined (so plan for a station like was used
for AO-40:  5-25w uplink on 435 MHz with a ten-element yagi; 2-3 foot dish
for s-band with low-noise preamp at dish feed).

>Can anyone give examples of their stations?  Power, rigs, coax, 
>transverters, etc.

My station is not a good example for a beginner low-cost station:
FT-847, 60w UHF linear amp, 33-inch dish with 5-turn helix feed, MKU-232A
s-band preamp, Drake downconverters, large 42-element x-yagi for 430-440
MHz and 22-element x-yagi for 144-MHz.  Two 45-element loop-yagis for
1268/1296 with 60w amp and Downeast converters or transverters.

But my FT-817 makes a suitable starter station (your IC-706 is equivalent
with more power).

>2)  If I could spend  $300 (less would be great) to talk on a sat that's a 
>little less occupied than UO-14, and I'd be there in a second.  It has to be 
>for more than 10 seconds though.  What opportunities does AO-7? hold?

I am not experinced with AO-7 so leave that to others to tell you.  Have
you considered VO-52 which is a mode VU SSB Leo satellite?  More fun than
the single channel FM sats.  Simple antennas work with VO-52.

>3)  It's not out of the question for me to drop lots of dough on a down east 
>microwave transverter.  Aren't those primarily for terrestrial use though?

Not at all.  They translate your HF or 144-MHz transceiver to higher
bands...simple as that!  Very commonly used for eme and satellite.  Since
you have the IC-706 you might consider a tranverter for an HF radio.  If
your s-band converter has an output at 123 or 144 MHz then use the IC-706
for receiving and purchase a 28-30/434-436 xvtr for the HF radio for the
uplink.  Or do the opposite if you wish as I think the IC-706 has UHF band
as well.

So let us help you figure out a good station...we will keep your budget in
mind!
 
73's,
Ed - KL7UW 
===================================
BP40iq,  Nikiski, AK      http://www.qsl.net/al7eb
Amsat #3212
Modes: V - U - L - S
===================================
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