[amsat-bb] Re: ECHO duty cycle

Jason Hitesman jradio@hitesman.com
Thu Aug 31 23:57:42 PDT 2006

On 8/31/06, McGrane <tmcgrane@suffolk.lib.ny.us> wrote:
> Hi gould- thanks for information. Hopefully the command team will manage
> to eeck out a little more power. I'm not just thinking of myself. As I
> recall, one of the purposes of echo was to attract new people ( myself
> included ) with an easy to operate satellite. After 2 years, I now use an
> 8 element beam and preamp to hear echo. Take care, pat

As one of the new people who was attracted to sats in general and AMSAT in
particular by Echo I'd just like to say it has worked to attract me at
least.  I got interested in sats just days before Echo launched and it was
the first sat I had a confirmed QSO on.  Right now though I'm only active
when I'm out and about since I don't have a rotor for my antenna and haven't
been impressed with the performance of Omni antennas on any of the FM LEO's,
and I got tired of my neighbors staring at me as I waved antennas around in
my driveway...but I've consistently found Echo to be the easiest to hear.

Heck I've listened to passes with just an Alinco DJ-C5 and the joke of an
antenna that it comes with!  It takes a good ear and some funny looking
waving around to find the sweet spot but even so it amazes me at just how
little antenna is needed to hear this sat.  I usually use a 4el Yagi I built
based off of VE6AB's handheld design (
http://va6bc.no-ip.com/jerry_pix/yagi/handheld_yagi.htm) and find it's so
easy to recieve Echo that it's almost no fun!  Before I built my current
antenna I used a 3el yagi I built in 15 minutes for free out of junk I found
in my garage based on K5OE's design (
http://members.aol.com/k5oejerry/handi-tenna.htm) and even that worked great
on Echo.  It was a challenge to hear AO-27 and SO-50 was hit or miss.

With my current homemade 4el antenna it's so easy I've stopped operating
from home as there just isn't enough challenge to it to keep me interested.
I now pretty much only bother to operate when I'm camping unless a friend
wants me to demonstrate in town.  With my current antenna I can hear
AO-27,SO-50 and Echo all extremely easily.  The hardest part is not trying
too hard in regards to aiming and tuning - I tend to overcorrect too much
and have to keep reminding myself to relax and not make things harder than
they have to be since it seems too easy.

I sometimes wonder if people are overthinking this and making it harder on
themselves than it has to be.  I borrowed an arrow from a friend for awhile
and really didn't care for it.  It was heavier and had a tighter pattern
than my homemade antennas both of which combined to make it harder to use.
The s meter in my FT-470 isn't a super accurate test instrument but
switching between my 4el homemade antenna and the arrow I had no difference
in readings even at low elevations.  However I did find it MUCH easier to
aim the smaller antenna.

One of these days I'll come up with a rotator setup and be able to armchair
operate....and when I do I'll probably just whip up a 3el yagi and run it at
a fixed elevation as I've found it's got plenty of gain to work the current
crop of FM sats.

Of course with the sat in V/S today I can't verify that it's still that easy
to hear as it's been a few week since I listened to a pass.  And I still
haven't finished getting my S downconverter ready to go...need to find
someone here in Yuma, AZ who has more experience with the higher freqencies
to help me out still.

Jason Hitesman

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