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Re: Apathy


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 

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
Ed - KL7UW 
BP40iq,  Nikiski, AK      http://www.qsl.net/al7eb
Amsat #3212
Modes: V - U - L - S
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