[amsat-bb] AO-85 vs SO-50 for newbies with modest equipment

Felix Paez ea4gqs at gmail.com
Fri Nov 6 11:09:07 UTC 2015

Hi everybody from Spain,

first of all, thanks for your patience. I am a new HAM since October 2014
and I have just begun with satellites some months ago...

I want to add the point of view of a newbie to sat operation like me to the
list, specially for people that could be beginning like me.

First of all, as a newbie, I only have a Baofeng UV-5R (half duplex) and an
Elk Antenna. I think this could be the very first beginning equipment for
everybody (this is only 30 eur + 200 eur = 230 eur). I use ISS detector for
tracking (it is better for me than Amsat Droid Free because it has a
compass, so the track is really easy).

When a SAT is going to pass near my QTH I go down to a park after walking
15 mins and there I connect the Elk to the Baofeng.

With this, it has been very easy for me making contacts in SO-50 including
not very high passes. Why? Because when I hear people I know I can work
them. When I hear somebody calling, I am sure that when I press the PTT i
will be in the SAT. Hearing people gives you a lot of information in SO-50.

This is not the same when I try AO-85. I hear people all the time, but that
does not guarantee me they will hear me. Maybe I am 5 Khz down or maybe I
am 5 Khz up and because I am working half duplex, I can't check it. I have
to wait for silences and try other freq. I haven't been able yet to make a
contact in AO-85.

The conclusion for me is that it is easy to work V/U FM satellites in half
duplex and it is complicated in U/V at least for people beginning like me.

I tell this because I have read in the AO-85 document all the advantages
that U/V mode has but I don't know if that compensates the added difficult
it has for people working with modest half duplex equipment. So this does
not seem an entry satellite to begin with...

This is a just beginner comment on the SAT. I am sure in next passes I will
be able to make some contacts with some luck (I am going to buy a Midland
CT-890 full duplex HT too).

I want to congrat the AO-85 team for their work. It is indeed a great sat!
:) but I wanted to share my thought about if it is not better to have and
V/U repeater than an U/V one.

Thanks everybody. I am learning a lot with this list.

Felix - EA4GQS

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