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So close to success! (SO-50 pass)

Satellite station is about 90% done as far as hardware goes - about all I
need to do is to get a quality 70cm rig and perhaps set up elevation control
for the beams (6 elements for each band). I have only received faint signals
so far and nothing really good quality.

So, this evening I fired up the Orbitron as usual to see if I could try to
RX any passes. Turns out there was a nice SO-50 pass, about 41 degrees peak,
and decided to give it a shot.

One thing I tried was tearing my shack-mount, terribly-constructed preamp
out of line. I have to say that I slacked on it - I used 3" pieces of RG-174
as patches in the (unshielded) box, and attempted to have a bypass relay
setup - but with a cheap little DIP relay. Crappy, I know, but it's old.

So, I just hooked the Icom 208 straight up to the antenna feedline, and said
"what the hey." It's a better receiver than the PCR100 but still has a
wideband RX front end so I was fearing knocking the RX out when TXing (both
antennas are vertical polarization and I have no filtering yet)

Sure enough as soon as the bird hit about 7-8 degrees (I'm at 15 foot
antenna elevation in a mildly urban area) I was able to activate it, and I
got a full quieting carrier when I called CQ.

I was able to CQ for about 75% of the pass, I lost it above 35 degrees or
so. Quickly regained it on the descent.

Right as I was losing it I heard a station with a Spanish accent come back
to my CQ but it was too late - lost the bird.

Anyways I am terribly excited and hope that I can get some passes in when
there is actual activity. Hope to talk to you all on the birds very soon!
(like tomorrow)

Very surprised at the audio and transmission quality. For some reason I
imagined that the signal would have much more flutter and fading. It was
remarkably consistent. good job amsat! :)

As an aside, I intend to catch as many overnight passes of -50 and -51 as
possible. If anybody in NA wants to try to set up a sked some time, do send
me an email.

73 de Matt
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