[amsat-bb] Re: Equipment/Software

David - KG4ZLB kg4zlb at googlemail.com
Thu May 7 07:26:54 PDT 2009

Hi Mike,

Well I am sure that my set-up is very similar to a lot of other op's on 
this board but here goes!

1) Radio is an Icom 910HX, Rotator is the G5500 and SatPC32 to do the 

Why SatPC32? Because its a dedicated program that does exactly what it 
says on the tin (unlike Ham Radio Deluxe which is a jack of all trades 
and master of none, IMHO, and still has Icom issues), has  great 
customer service, all sale proceeds go to AMSAT and a lot of people on 
the BB use it so there is no shortage of help when needed (Thanks to 
Alan, WA4SCA!)

2) Interface between 910 and PC is a CI-V clone cable available on e-bay 
for less than $20

3) Interface between PC and G5500 is an LVB Tracker - why?
Again, profits to AMSAT, super after sales service, it works and works 
well and it really looks nice in my shack! If you have the money then 
sure, go buy the Yeasu alternative but you can buy an awful lot of other 
goodies with the change that an LVB will give you!

4) Because I do not have the "proper" Icom CI-V unit, I can only control 
one radio at a time with SatPC32 so when AO-51 is in Mode S, I use the 
910 for the receive side allowing SatPC 32 to calculate the doppler. For 
transmitting, say on 2m (When in Mode V/S) I use my Icom 706MKIIG and 
just leave the transmit frequency alone - works like a charm. When AO-51 
is in Mode L/S then SatPC32 can do everything I need through the 910. 
The 706 is only used when Mode S is on as it ties up the 2m band.

5) 1.2Ghz antenna is the helical antenna built and sold by Bob, W7LRD - 
its solid, performs excellently, Bob is on hand in the event of problems 
and he donates 20% of each sale to AMSAT.

6) Currently I have a BBQ dish feeding a downconverter but I spoke to 
Bob (W7LRD) about ordering a 2.4ghz helical antenna which will replace 
the BBQ dish as its rather heavy and cumbersome. but again, it works and 
as I paid $15 for it and the downconverter, I really can't complain. But 
with Dayton next week, I am saving my pennies so I will order the 
antenna when I get back.

Now one thing that I did not see on your list was pre-amps!

 Again in my opinion, you really can not do without them. A lot of 
people will steer you towards SSB Electronics or ARR as sources and yes, 
they are great pre-amps but if you are putting a station together and 
you have the 910 have a think about the much maligned Icom pre-amps - 
yes, I know they do not publish noise figures and everyone says they are 
crap etc, etc but you can not blow them up by transmitting through them, 
they do not need a separate DC feed, they are readily available and they 
do work. Last evening I had an SO-50 15 degree pass out over the 
Atlantic and I worked a station and then turned the pre-amp off 
afterwards and I could not hear him. That pre-amp made the difference 
between a successful QSO or not one at all.

Now I know that people reading this will say, "hang on, 15 degrees, why 
the big problem?" but let me explain that currently I live in an HOA 
community that does not like you painting the front door or changing the 
brand of toilet tissue without having written permission from the Board 
of very old people with far too much time on their hands. So my antennas 
are probably no more than 6 feet off of the ground within the confines 
of a pool cage. Whilst that sounds very restrictive, and to an extent it 
is, I work all of the analogue birds, the ISS and I get pictures from 
the weather sats. Last month I worked 171 stations. So it can be done.

I hope that some of the above is of use, if you want any pictures of 
what I have here then please e-mail me off the BB and I would be happy 
to send you some.

73's for now



Mike wrote:
> Okay, I am starting to build my station after playing around with the
> portable. So far I have acquired an IC-910 with 1.2G, power supply, G-5500
> AZ/EL rotor, M2 2MCP14 and 436CP30 antennas. To finish I have the following
> questions. 
> 1. What radio, rotor and tracking software are you using and why? (I am
> using Orbitron right now) 
> 2. What interface are you using for an IC-910H and why? 
> 3. What interface are you using for your G-5500 rotor and why? 
> 4. What are you using for the radio side for 2.4G? 
> 5. What antenna are you using for 1.2G? 
> 6. What antenna are you using for 2.4G? 
> Thank you in advance for your time and help. 
> 73 
> Mike
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