[amsat-bb] Re: Was HEO naivete; now GEO rideshare frequency choice, etc.

James Duffey JamesDuffey at comcast.net
Sun Feb 8 13:30:14 PST 2009

On Feb 8, 2009, at 12:47 PM, Rocky Jones wrote:
> 2.  In other words Ithink that the issue with the sats is primarily  
> the cost of acquisition of equipment AND what its use is when the  
> sats are not "up" (or working).  No science or polls behind  
> that...just my viewpoint.

One of the benefits of a Mode A bird when we had them up was that most  
hams already had the rigs needed to operate it. HF for the 10M down  
link and a keyed  HT for the uplink. Sure the note was chirpy and  
sometimes worse, but it did demonstrate what one could do without  
additional investment. Particularly on QRP days. Remember those?

I got in to satellite on the cheap. In 1980 I bought a used Ameco  
TX-62 and accompanying VFO for $50, paired it with my FT101E and had a  
blast on Mode A through the 80s with AO-7, AO-8 and a number of RS  
birds. Home brew antennas were and are cheap. Later a homebrew preamp  
helped the anemic FT101E.

Well there are no more predictable Mode A birds. AO-7 gets up in Mode  
A when it feels like it and the loud RS birds appear to be forever gone.

But I digress, I put together a Mode J/Mode B station with a $200  
TR-9130 and a $150 FT-780R. Again homemade antennas, this time WA5VJB  
Yagis, and I was on the air. That is not a significant investment.

I later picked up an FT290/FT490 pair for $125 each and they make a  
good pair to operate the satellites. Even later I picked up an FT480R  
to go with the FT780R for $75. Used gear is not that expensive if you  
shop around for it. By the way, the 480/780 pair are very nice for the  
FM birds as they will tune in 1 kHz steps, nicely compensating for  

An $35 AIDF converter added S band.

So the bargains are out there if one looks and is patient. And if  
people kept their old gear when they upgraded and loaned it out to  
newcomers who express an interest in the satellites, that would help  

The VHF CW and SSB gear have use beyond the satellites. Weak signal  
VHF and UHF work is quite challenging. VHF/UHF contesting is a blast.  
Activity nights are held in most places so that is a place to look for  
encouragement when the satellites are below the horizon.

James Duffey
Cedar Crest NM

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