[amsat-bb] AO-73/FUNcube-1 videos, observations
Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK)
amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sun Dec 1 00:46:49 PST 2013
Over the past few nights, I've been working the new AO-73
satellite from my back yard. Most of the time, I have been
using my normal portable all-mode satellite station - two
Yaesu FT-817NDs, Elk handheld 2m/70cm log periodic
antenna. Last night, I replaced one of the FT-817NDs with
a Kenwood TH-F6A - using its all-mode receiver to copy the
downlink. Tonight, I used an Icom IC-R20 receiver for the
downlink. I have used these radios in the past on other
satellites, and for some hamfest demonstrations on VO-52
I have used the FT-817ND/TH-F6A combination. I have
made a series of videos (satellite audio combined with
slideshows) from several AO-73 passes I've worked this
week, and those are available at:
One of the AO-73 videos I recorded contains audio from two
passes, and is about twice as long as the others which have
audio from a single pass.
After working these passes, I am convinced that this new
satellite performs as well as VO-52, for both its uplink and
downlink. This is a very good thing! AO-73 hears very well,
as long as I'm careful to match the polarization of the satellite's
antennas. The downlink is strong enough to allow me to use
any of these radios as the receiver on higher passes. For
lower passes, I would probably use my second FT-817ND for
the downlink receiver. It is good to know that, at least on the
higher passes, there are lots of options for a downlink receiver.
On the same higher passes, I know that I can cut my power
down from 5W to 1W and even 500mW. High power is not
necessary to be heard through the transponder.
Next project for me with this satellite: using a FUNcube Dongle
Pro+ that I have had for a few months as the downlink receiver,
for both the transponder and telemetry, while working the
transponder with an FT-817ND as my transmit radio. I reinstalled
HDSDR and its ExtIO DLL for the Pro+ dongle on my 64-bit
Windows 7 laptop, and it is working well. I have downloaded the
FUNcube-1 dashboard software, and need to get that installed.
I also have an old netbook with Linux on it, and am curious to
see how the dongle works with that operating system. I am
hoping to be able to use the dongle and a laptop as the downlink
receiver, without being wiped out by the 5W signals from an
If this is successful, I may have a new combination for my all-
mode satellite station I can use for upcoming demonstrations.
Using the dongle and dashboard software during daytime AO-73
passes at hamfests would be something different, and a great
thing to show off to the hamfest crowds.
Thanks, again, to all who worked on getting this satellite built
and launched. Even with the transponder on only for the nighttime
passes, it has been fun to be on a new satellite so soon after
its launch. Time for bed... 73!
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