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Working my first sats

Hi all,
     I am new to satellite operation and have quite a few questions. I just
bought an arrow antenna and I want to work AO-51 with a handheld(Kenwood
TH-D7AG). I am going to try voice first, but I am very interested in data
and telemetry as well. My handheld is 9600 baud capable, but I notice there
is 38k capabilities on this bird as well? What kind of TNC or equipment
would I need to start using that?

Operating the BBS. Is there a guide or webpage detailing the proper
operation of this?

Telemetry. Very interested in this. Is this in CW or packet format? Is it
raw data or do I need decoding software?

That's all I had pertaining to AO-51. I had some additional general
questions I'm hoping someone can answer for me as well:

1. El/Az rotor and controller. I can't afford to invest in a nice commercial
quality rotor like the Yaesu for example, are there any homebrew or cheaper
alternatives? I'd like to come up with something that does automatic
tracking, and I love to build stuff so something in a kit form would be

2. Antennas. Do I even need and el/az rotor for LEO sats? I plan on starting
with these first and then moving up to more advanced birds. I have an Arrow,
but I want to keep that for portable use only.

Sorry so many questions and their vagueness. I am not new to ham radio, but
very new to satellite operation, I haven't made a contact yet, but have
listened to a few passes. In short, I could use some old fashioned elmering,
and I don't think there is anyone around where I live that is active with

Thanks and 73 de N1VLV,
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