[amsat-bb] Hard times for satellite radio buyers?

Mike Sprenger mikesprenger at gmail.com
Mon Mar 20 12:50:46 UTC 2017


Talk to the guys at Flex :) 

They are participating in the Phase 4 ground station work and they know who we are.  

Then again, they know who we are (grin) 

Thanks,
Mike
W4UOO 

Sent from my iPhone

> On Mar 20, 2017, at 8:11 AM, Paul Stoetzer <n8hm at arrl.net> wrote:
> 
> When you step back and look at the state of the satellite transceiver
> market, it's not all that different from the 1990s. The difference is that
> Yaesu doesn't produce one, otherwise each of the "Big 3" have only produced
> one model at a time. The other difference is that both the Icom IC-9100 and
> Kenwood TS-2000 are "shacks-in-a-box" which increases costs for those who
> already have or don't want HF capability. The TS-2000 is also lacking
> because of its birdie on the SO-50 downlink frequency which prevents me
> from ever recommending it.
> 
> The other downside is that both of those options are not exactly "field
> friendly." The Icom IC-820H, 821H, 910H, and Yaesu FT-847 are all small
> enough to be used in the field. Many have remarked that the Icom IC-910 and
> an Arrow antenna is the simplest and best performing portable satellite
> station available. These transceivers are not to difficult to find on the
> used market, but the prices can be a bit high owing to continued demand.
> 
> If you want to buy new equipment for the field, Norm's suggestion of two
> Yaesus is not a bad one. Dual FT-817s are very commonly used. NJ7H has used
> his "FT-1634" to activate 250 grids and 7 DXCCs on satellite over the past
> year. I use a "FT-1634" plus a small dual band amplifier (a Microset
> VUR-30) and preamps for a well performing portable setup. Others have used
> the "FT-1674" (a Yaesu FT-817 and FT-857 combo) with great results. The
> downside is that you often need filtering to eliminate desense between the
> two radios. A common diplexer such as those made by MFJ or Comet works for
> this purpose.
> 
> As suggested, the future lies in the SDR realm. At the present time, these
> solutions are not ideal for the field. Many have used SDRs such as a
> FUNcube Dongle or SDRPlay as their downlink receiver paired with an
> all-mode transceiver for the uplink. Properly configured, this can work
> very well, but use in the field can be difficult due to glare on laptop or
> tablet screens. Many have used this type of setup with great results in
> home stations. Another downside is SDR processing delay and its
> difficulties with full-duplex operation, but this can be mitigated with
> more efficient programming and/or more processing power.
> 
> When it comes to a full SDR transceiver setup, as Norm suggests, this is
> doable today. While Flex no longers offers the Flex 5000 and V/U modules,
> there are other options that could work quite well. The downside is that it
> is not "plug and play" at the moment, you need to add filtering and
> amplification to the available SDRs. I don't think any user friendly
> software exists at the moment either, but there is definitely an
> opportunity there.
> 
> The AMSAT Ground Terminal team is working on a full SDR based ground
> terminal for use with digital 5 GHz uplinks and 10 GHz downlinks, to be
> used with a number of future AMSAT satellite projects/payloads in GEO, HEO,
> and beyond.
> 
> When you consider all the options, there are likely more options for
> getting on the satellites today than have existed in the past. There might
> not be as many plug and play boxes available from major manufacturers, but
> there are lots of ways to build a ground station for home or field use, and
> ways to do that to meet almost any budget.
> 
> 73,
> 
> Paul, N8HM
> 
> 
>> On Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 03:20 Norm n3ykf <normanlizeth at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 
>> Ettus B210. Tested with another radio as the uplink. Blasted away with
>> 50 watts (accidentally) and the B210 didn't complain (or croak).
>> 
>> It has other advantages, as it's rx goes out to 6 GHz.
>> 
>> The amps/control hardware need way more testing before cabling all the
>> stuff together and trying it out. Creating a smoking pile of junk
>> makes me want to cry. No oopsies so far.
>> 
>> Computer control (using windowz) is a nightmare due to lack of support
>> for the B210. Lots of promises. No one has delivered. There is a Linux
>> solution. The dark side beckons.
>> 
>> Simple enough amplifier circuitry. Biggest wow was the amount of heat
>> produced (wasted power). Fans, heat sinks, power supplies with
>> regulation and filtering....
>> 
>> Test setup is runs from +24VDC battery stack (D cells) using surplus
>> power bricks. Lots of documentation on how to make them RF quiet.
>> 
>> The down side of these bricks is that for them to meet spec, there
>> must be a minimum load.
>> 
>> Currently portable with an 857d and an IC 7000.
>> 
>> The longer a product is produced, the more spare parts available and
>> the better the support (most of the time). The 857d is a great radio.
>> Strapping two together would make a great station. Much to be said for
>> this approach.
>> 
>> Norm n3ykf
>> 
>> On Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 1:33 AM, Mike Diehl <diehl.mike.a at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Ken,
>>> 
>>> I too wish for a V/U purpose built rig and in particular a portable one.
>> A rig with dual VFOs and full duplex capability. I don't see this type of
>> rig offered from the "Big 3" anytime soon.
>>> 
>>> I think instead of everyone trying to get them on board, we should
>> pursue the smaller manufacturers. I see these Xiegu HF rigs and they look
>> pretty nice. My guess is a company like this has facilities to produce a
>> nice, modern sat rig. Perhaps we should send our votes of support to a
>> company that would cater to a niche market.
>>> 
>>> As far as ancient tech goes, I think it still works pretty good. Used
>> two 817s to work Russia from a park in LA county about a week ago on AO-7,
>> launched back in 1974. It's not the most ideal rig but it can still get the
>> job done.
>>> 
>>> 73's
>>> 
>>> Mike Diehl
>>> AI6GS
>>> 
>>>> On Mar 18, 2017, at 10:53 PM, Ken M <va7kbm at outlook.com> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> Hello all,
>>>> 
>>>> Is it not hard times for new and prospective satellite operators (like
>>>> me) in terms of equipment choices, at least in terms of the "big three"?
>>>> (And, to be clear, I'm talking about current, in-production models
>> only.)
>>>> 
>>>> I'm looking for an HF base/mobile radio, and also a VHF/UHF-only
>>>> all-mode base/mobile radio that I can use for the linear satellites but
>>>> - wait - there are no VHF/UHF-only all mode radios! That means I need to
>>>> buy a "shack in a box" but - wait - there are only two choices (at what
>>>> I will call moderate prices), the ancient TS-2000 and equally ancient
>>>> FT-857D. There is the new and somewhat more expensive FT-991A and,
>>>> although that sounds like a very good radio, for HF at that price point
>>>> I might prefer the IC-7300 but that would mean no satellite work.
>>>> 
>>>> I'm also looking for a portable HF QRP radio, and a portable radio I can
>>>> use for the linear satellites. Again the venerable but ancient FT-817ND
>>>> is pretty much the only game in town. As with the HF base radios above,
>>>> if I am only interested in HF QRP I would probably rather put my money
>>>> toward a KX2 or KX3 of newer design but, again, that would mean no
>>>> satellite work.
>>>> 
>>>> So as a new operator, to get into linear satellites it seems I am forced
>>>> to either (1) troll the swap meets for ancient gear; (2) buy new gear of
>>>> old design (which in my mind is even worse); or (3) buy new gear of
>>>> modern design that works for satellite and HF, but is not necessarily
>>>> the radio I would choose for HF alone.
>>>> 
>>>> I should add that the situation is not much better for HT/mobile radios
>>>> for the FM satellites, but at least there are some cost effective
>>>> workarounds including the less expensive Baofeng/Wouxun/Tytera radios
>>>> and their clones.
>>>> 
>>>> Thanks for indulging my shopping frustrations, and my inexperience, but
>>>> I have to think there are others new to the hobby that are having
>>>> similar thoughts. Do Amsat members see this as a problem?
>>>> 
>>>> Probably off to spend some new money on an old radio...
>>>> 
>>>> 73 - Ken - VA7KBM
>>>> 
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. AMSAT-NA makes this open forum available
>>>> to all interested persons worldwide without requiring membership.
>> Opinions expressed
>>>> are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the official views
>> of AMSAT-NA.
>>>> Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur satellite
>> program!
>>>> Subscription settings: http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. AMSAT-NA makes this open forum available
>>> to all interested persons worldwide without requiring membership.
>> Opinions expressed
>>> are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the official views of
>> AMSAT-NA.
>>> Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur satellite
>> program!
>>> Subscription settings: http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb
>> _______________________________________________
>> Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. AMSAT-NA makes this open forum available
>> to all interested persons worldwide without requiring membership. Opinions
>> expressed
>> are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the official views of
>> AMSAT-NA.
>> Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program!
>> Subscription settings: http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb
>> 
> _______________________________________________
> Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. AMSAT-NA makes this open forum available
> to all interested persons worldwide without requiring membership. Opinions expressed
> are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the official views of AMSAT-NA.
> Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program!
> Subscription settings: http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb


More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list