[amsat-bb] AO-51 V/S, 6-12 November 2006

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sun Nov 12 20:56:34 PST 2006


Although I didn't get on the air as much as I had hoped to during
the past week with AO-51 in the V/S configuration, I was able to
work 5 passes and make contacts on all 5 passes.  One pass on
Sunday (6 November) night to the east, 3 on Saturday (a morning
pass to the east, then two passes in the evening - one to the east,
the other to the west), followed by one pass Sunday morning to
the east.  I made a total of 18 QSOs, a few more than my total
from the last AO-51 V/S week in late August/early September
when I made 14 QSOs.

I used the same setup as I did in early September, with a pair of
HTs, my Arrow Antennas 2m/70cm handheld Yagi for the uplink
along with the dipole/corner reflector on my downconverter for the
downlink.  I worked stations across the USA, 3 Canadians (1
VE3, 2 VE6s), and one Mexican in this configuration.  I missed
a demonstration on Friday night with Andy K0SM and his radio
club, but had the chance to work K0SM twice on Saturday.  Two
of the passes had a maximum elevation of 14 degrees, one was
in the mid-30s, and the other two were around 55-65 degrees.
AO-51's S-band downlink is easy to hear, but with the simple
dipole on my downconverter I was having to turn it 90 degrees
periodically to keep up with the signal along with pointing it in
the general direction of the satellite.  It's not critical to have the
antenna pointed exactly at AO-51, but it doesn't hurt.

I've heard that computer control really makes this more enjoyable :-)
but there is something to be said for a portable V/S operation where
I don't have to put a laptop and the cables to connect to at least one
radio to do this.  Especially when away from home (the Sunday
morning pass was done from a nearby city park, with a better view
of the sky and not so close to the mountains that ring Phoenix, along
with being in two grids).  Now I need to look at other options for the
S-band antenna, besides the dipole/corner reflector, to see about
improving my receive setup.  Transmit is easy enough at 2m with an
HT and the handheld Yagi.  I was getting compliments on my 5W
signals up to the satellite, and heard a couple of others comment
on the low power they were also using on their uplinks.


Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK - Phoenix, Arizona USA

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