[amsat-bb] more SSB satellite experimenting (23 August)

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sat Aug 23 22:22:46 PDT 2008


Today, I planned to spend most of the morning at a city park
in north Phoenix (a park straddling the DM33/DM43 grid boundary)
to try a few passes on DO-64 and VO-52.  I also worked an AO-51
pass using my all-mode setup (two FT-817NDs with Arrow Antennas
handheld 2m/70cm Yagi), before those SSB birds started making 
their morning passes here - and before it reached 41C/106F 

The DO-64 pass I tried first was about 22 degrees maximum elevation
to the east.  I could hear the beacon, and could hear my CW going
through the transponder.  I could not hear myself when using the 
mic.  Since the second pass to the west was about the same elevation,
I didn't try it.  I was on VO-52 for two passes, both passes having
maximum elevation in the 20-25 degree range.  I heard a couple of
stations in SSB on each pass, I was able to hear myself call CQ a 
lot during each of the passes, but logged no QSOs. 

Since I am not using computer control, I have tried not to park near
the center of the passbands on these satellites.  Specifically for 
VO-52, I have tried to park around 145.910 or 145.915 MHz on the 
downlink as not to interfere with others around 145.900 MHz using 
full computer control.  Unfortunately for me today, nobody ventured 
up to find me during the passes.  

During the second (western) VO-52 pass around 1825-1840 UTC, I 
started reducing my power as I called CQ.  The FT-817ND has 4 power
levels, and I went down from the high power (5W) setting to the 
lowest level (500mW) and could still hear myself clearly through 
VO-52.  Antenna polarization was more important as the power level 
went down, in order to get to and through the transponder.  I had 
to twist my Yagi around more, to make sure I could make the round-
trip to the satellite.  This is a good thing, as now I know I can 
use a lower power level if I am operating with only the FT-817ND's 
internal NiMH battery pack.  I normally use one of my two 12V/20Ah 
jumpstart battery packs to power my two FT-817NDs or (for the FM 
birds) my IC-2720H when on the satellites. 

Since next weekend is a holiday weekend for the US (and Canada), I 
hope to be on VO-52 and maybe DO-64 during those 3 days.  I might
try AO-7 if there is a high pass in my area as well.  If you are 
on during those passes next weekend, please feel free to tune up 
the passband.  Please be patient with me, as I am not set up for 
computer control on my radios - yet.  If things go well, I will do 
some demonstrations on VO-52 along with the 3 FM satellites during 
the upcoming ARRL Southwestern Division convention here in the 
Phoenix area on 12-14 September. 


Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK 

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