[amsat-bb] Re: How to get started on SSB birds (antennas)

K5OE k5oe at aol.com
Tue Jun 28 11:09:47 PDT 2011

Somewhere in the last century (1998 or 1999, I think), I wrote an intro article about antennas for home stations.  The specifics may be a little dated, but I believe the concepts are still valid--maybe more so today with only LEOs to work.  If you are interested, here is the,admitedly aged, article:

If you want the short version (don't we all?), here's the summary:

1.  Big antennas for LEO satellites are a personal choice, but not the only one that works.
2.  Elevation control is nice to have, but not mandatory either.  The need for elevation control is related to the gain of the antennae and the size of your budget. 
3.  Ditto for automatic control of the antenna array.
4.  Popular options, that will all work, are listed in decending order of complexity and cost (you choose):
    A.  Oscar Class Station:  big CP beams, G-5400, auto-tracking, etc.
    B.  VHFer station:  using less expensive beams already on the tower and just adding elevation control (PA3GUO posting)
    C.  HOA Restrictions Special:  small 3 or 4 ele beams, good preamps at the antennas, and an amplifier in the attic.  Elevation control not required.

For the price of a new G-5400 you could turn that dual-band HT into a mini-OCS:  $150 for a pair of small V/U beams, $150 for a UHF preamp, $75 for a TV rotor, and $100 for an 80 W VHF amp.  But then you would be tempted to run FD as 1D and all your pals would lose respect for you :-)

Jerry, K5OE

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