[amsat-bb] WD9EWK's first non-FM satellite QSOs today!

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sat Aug 9 15:50:46 PDT 2008

After months of trying to make a portable station that would 
allow me to work the SSB/CW satellites (first with an FT-817ND
and AOR AR8200Mk2B wide-band receiver, then later with two 
FT-817NDs, all using my Arrow Antennas handheld Yagi), I finally 
made everything work.  At 1756 and 1758 UTC today, I logged my 
first two satellite QSOs not using FM on either the uplink or 
downlink.  As I expected, it was not an easy thing; FO-29's 2m 
uplink seemed to make it a bit easier than a 70cm uplink like I 
had tried before on VO-52 or AO-7.  Now, after over 4100 satellite
QSOs in the last 2 1/2 years or so, I can say I've got at least a
couple SSB satellite QSOs to go with the others I've done on FM.
I know that computer control for either - or both - of the radios
is the preferred way to go.  Less work for the operator, reducing 
how much my signal moves through the passband due to Doppler, and
simply more time to work other stations.  I will most likely end 
up with a portable setup using a small laptop that can control 
these two FT-817NDs or some other radio(s), eventually.  I will 
also rig up a tripod or something for the Yagi, or try another 
antenna, so I don't have to hold it while trying to work the 
radio(s).  I decided that the 1745-1759 UTC FO-29 pass this 
morning to my east would probably be a good pass to try.  Good 
elevation, and a footprint covering most of North America.  I set
up my radios in the back of my truck just over the line into grid 
DM44ha northeast of Phoenix AZ, and tried my luck.

It took a couple of minutes to get used to finding my signal in
the downlink.  My 5W signal with the Yagi was more than enough. 
I heard some CW early in the pass, then I could hear a couple of
voices - Joe K3SZH and Jeff K7WIN.  When those two finished their
QSO, I quickly called K7WIN.  K3SZH came back instead, and I made 
a quick QSO with Joe.  I followed that up with another quick QSO
with Jeff K7WIN.  Both Joe and Jeff commented I had a good signal
through the satellite.  Thanks for the QSOs, and especially for
dealing with my non-automated station near the end of the pass!

Now I can go back to working on VO-52 and AO-7, plus the new Delfi
satellite, and see if I can do the same with a non-FM satellite 
using a 70cm uplink.  And keep on working FO-29, a very nice bird.
I'm not turning my back on the FM birds, but adding more options 
when I want to play radio via satellite.  :-)  



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