[amsat-bb] VO-52 experimenting this morning...

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sat May 9 21:48:16 PDT 2009


Earlier today, I went to my favorite Phoenix city park (the park
that straddles the DM33xp/DM43ap grid boundary that I operate from 
regularly) to work a VO-52 pass starting at 1705 UTC.  I have 
worked many VO-52 passes from here over the past few months using
my two FT-817NDs and a directional antenna - initially an Arrow 
Antennas 2m/70cm Yagi, and now the Elk Antennas 2m/70cm log periodic.
This satellite can hear well, since I have been able to make QSOs 
through VO-52 with as little as 500mW using either of these antennas.
Today, I wanted to try something other than a directional antenna on 
this satellite to make a QSO.  

Just like I have done with dual-band HTs on the FM satellites, I
decided to try my Maldol AH-510R telescoping whip for today's pass.
This antenna is similar to the AL-800 whip that many use for 
portable satellite work.  I connected a 6-foot length of coax 
between the whip and the diplexer I use to feed my two radios, so I
could move the antenna around without it being connected directly to
either radio.  I left the transmit power setting at 5W today; 
adjusting the power output can be done in a future experiment.  This
pass had a maximum elevation of 54 degrees to the east for me, and I 
hoped to hear someone on there to complete a QSO with this setup.  

I heard K8YSE calling CQ around the center of the passband at 1706-
1707 UTC, when the satellite was only up 8-10 degrees from the 
horizon.  After sending some dits to align my two radios (I know, I 
really need to get SatPC32 working with them to simplify my non-FM 
stellite operating), I called John.  We started our brief QSO at 
1707-1708 UTC, when VO-52 was up 15 degrees from the horizon for me.
I used the rear hatch of my truck as a reflector under the whip, 
along with moving the whip around to improve the signal in my receive
radio.  Using that improvised reflector, along with the satellite 
continuing to move higher in the sky, it was easy for me to keep up 
with the Doppler shift and the adjustments for the whip.  John and I 
chatted for a couple of minutes, and signed off before John's LOS.  
Thanks for the QSO!

Now that I have completed a VO-52 QSO with the telescoping whip at
5W, I will try other experiments with lower power output using the 
same antenna.  I will also swap antennas, trying others like longer
duckie antennas (around 20"/50cm in length), to see how small I can
go with antenna and power output when working this satellite.  And,
eventually, doing any or all of this with my little netbook and
SatPC32 controlling the frequencies on my FT-817NDs.  :-)  



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