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Re: ISS Repeater


I saw the following in an earlier message:

> Power.
> For 2-meters, try ERP of 25+ watts or more. HT's only
> work from Mount Everest, Hawaii, South pacific, Mid
> atlantic etc.  The closer you are to a big city, the
> more power you need. Close means a city closer than
> 500 miles

If the power comment stopped with the first sentence, that
would be valid.  More ERP, through higher power output from
the radio (or radio with amp), better antenna, or a combination
of both is probably the better way to go.  However, discounting
HTs as only being useful from those far-off places is a broad -
and, in my opinion, invalid - comment.

Sure, if you are near a big city or you're trying to work the
ISS during a pass over areas with lots of hams trying to make
a contact at the same time, the HT is a tough way to go - but
*not* impossible.  Operator skill, timing, and a little luck can
sometimes overcome the limitations of a station with low power
and less-than-optimal antennas.  I have only tried one time to
talk with the ISS when there has been voice activity on the
145.800 frequency, and was successful in that single attempt
(1 December 2005) after reading about Bill McArthur's activity
in late November.  My station for that QSO:  Icom IC-T7H HT
(6 watts output), Maldol AH-510R 6m/2m/70cm telescoping
whip.  I was standing outside my office in downtown Phoenix.

Am I trying to ignore the premise of WF1F's message?  No.
It's full of useful information.  I'm not saying that an HT will work
every time when trying to contact the ISS.  I may never talk to
the ISS again unless I have a better station at my disposal.
Will I try again with an HT in the future?  Probably.  It's part of
the fun, the challenge... just like trying to crack the pileup for
an HF DXpedition station when operating with the proverbial
"100 watts and a (dipole or vertical)" station - or QRP with a
wire up a tree - going up against those with more power and
better antennas.  You never know what will happen unless
you give it a try.

For what it's worth, I had only made connections to the packet
system on Mir in 1996-97, and before last month had only 3
satellite QSOs in my log (2 in 2000 through SO-35, 1 in 2003
through UO-14).  I had been listening to AO-51 passes and ISS
school QSOs for the past few months, plus the ISS cross-band
repeater activity in late July.  I wanted to listen and learn how to
deal with Doppler shift on 70cm receive, and hear how things
were done on AO-51 before I ever transmitted through it.  After
making my ISS QSO, I dusted off my IC-W32A (rarely used in
the past year or so) and Arrow Antennas handheld 2m/70cm
Yagi (never used it in the year or so I've had it) and decided to
finally make a serious effort at working the ham satellites.  I've
stuck with just the FM satellites lately, making just over 200 QSOs
in about 3 weeks through AO-27, SO-50, AO-51, and the ISS
cross-band repeater.  Most of the time, I work daytime passes
from outside my office, and some evening/weekend passes from
home or a nearby city park.  I mostly use the Arrow Yagi, but have
occasionally gone back to the telescoping whips (the AH-510R I
used for the ISS QSO, and the AL-800 whip that others have used
with success) and - once - a Diamond RH77CA  long duckie.  I will
try the 2m SSB uplink on AO-51 next week, and I have an S-band
downconverter at home I'm interested in trying out the next time
AO-51 has its S-band downlink turned on.

I've been an AMSAT member for a few years, because I have
enjoyed reading and learning about this corner of our hobby - even
if I had little interest in using the satellites until recently.  Now I'm
enjoying this corner of our hobby!  AO-51, in particular, is a great
way to learn about different facets of ham satellites and getting
ready for P3E and Eagle when those are launched in the future.
I don't know what the future will hold for me with the ham satellites.
I do know that, when I travel in the future, I will definitely bring an
HT and at least a telescoping whip for some FM satellite activity
from wherever I go.  I have traveled over the past 5 years with
portable HF gear, so why not add a small satellite setup?  :-)


Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK - AMSAT 33217 - Phoenix, Arizona
(DM33xl when standing outside the office, DM43ao at home)
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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