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Not hearing S-band on AO-51



I've been trying to get a handle on my S-band receiving setup for a 
couple of months now. It seems when the bird has been in V-S mode that 
I've had one problem or another that hasn't allowed me to test it. I 
don't have an L-band antenna up at the moment so I thought I would at 
least listen to some passes the past couple of evenings  to see how my 
receive would work.
I have a AIDC 3731 downconverter and a small BBQ-grill dish on my Az/El 
rotator system. The IF of the downconverter is at 123 Mhz.  I built  
another converter that was featued in the AMSAT  Journal awhile back. 
The purpose of this converter is to further reduce the 123 Mhz output 
to  6 meters where I can feed it into my TS-2000X. Unfortunately I 
haven't heard anything with this setup. I've had some near overhead 
passes and once my dish gets above about 30 degrees or so it is pointing 
at clear sky. I thought maybe my homebrew  converter was to blame so I 
dug up an HT that will receive directly on 123 Mhz. Still nothing.
I can hear the noise level increase and decrease if I cut power on and 
off to the  downconverter so I assume it's working. Could I be wrong in 
that assumption?
The other thing is that it's been kind of rainy and overcast here the 
past couple of evenings. Would this affect my reception?
I don't know what I should be trying here. It's pretty new to me. I know 
a BBQ grill dish isn't the best antenna but it seems to me it should 
work ok considering people hear the bird with this same downconverter 
and a small corner reflector  plus an HT.
Any ideas or suggestions out there?
TNX and 73,
Michael, W4HIJ
AMSAT #  36017
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