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s-band for cheap?

hi everyone
    as some of you might know I'm a little cash strapped as I'm trying 
to do everything off a student budget. I'd like to be able to get onto 
the s-band downlink for AO-51 and some of those future birds that are 
coming...however it would appear that it is a little cost inhibitive. 
All the converter/transverters I found seem to be in the $300-$400 and i 
just don't have the money to do that. Will I just have to only work the 
birds when they're in v/u or is there a cheap way to do things?
-Steve VA3SAX

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