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S-band success: was AO-51 S-band downlink on mode L/S always on?



Thanks to Drew and Steve for their quick replies to my questions. Drew deserves
the Mind-Reader Award for having guessed that I was trying to peak the
downconverter with the AGC enabled on my IF rig. I re-tuned it and got probably
about 10-15 dB better sensitivity. On the 14:20 pass of AO-51 I went outside in
the beginning of our post-Wilma storm and at about 10 deg. elevation heard W2XB
calling. I lost him soon after, perhaps because my house blocked the rest of the
pass, or perhaps he tired of calling with no answers.

With a K3TZ patch antenna made out of thin copper sheet, my TH-D7A indicated a
full-strength signal when he was transmitting.  Oddly, when W2XB wasn't
transmitting, I neither heard nor saw an indication of a signal. Perhaps the
S-band transmitter does, in fact, switch on and off with the L-band uplink.

In any case, all this is good enough for me to add the S-band converter
alongside the 144 and 435 MHz yagis on my about-to-be-raised rotatable array.
I'm thinking the approx. 8 dBi gain of the patch antenna will nicely match the
pattern of the four- and eight-element yagis if everything is tilted at a fixed
10 deg. elevation.

73, VE9QRP
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