[amsat-bb] AO-51/QRP

Tim - N3TL n3tl at bellsouth.net
Fri Sep 18 16:05:54 PDT 2009

My thanks to the AO-51 control team for this week's schedule, which includes activation of 145.880/435.150 for QRP operation. There is another week of this "QRP Pair" coming up later in the month. I hope more of you will take the time to see just how little power it takes for effective communication on AO-51 or any of the FM satellites, for that matter.

On the AO-51 pass here from roughly 22:30 UTC to 22:45 UTC, KD8CAO and I completed a contact using HTs with whip antennas. Doug was using a Pryme RD-98, and I was using the Diamond SRH-789 telescoping whip. Anyone who has an HT with a general coverage receiver ought to check out the Diamond whip because it brings the shortwave broadcast bands alive on the radios from Yaesu (VX-3R and VX-7R) and Kenwood (TH-F6A) I've tried it with. In addition, it works extremely well on the satellites. I didn't pick up the RD-98 for satellite use, but it is comparable in performance to Pryme's satellite-popular AL-800 telescoping whip. Pryme, by the way, claims the same gain numbers for the RD-98 as for the AL-800. I had an AL-800, and my RD-98 performs at least as well as it did. I prefer the SRH-789, which has an SMA connector, because of its versatility - and it's more rigid than the RD-98 in use. Diamond also makes a BNC version of the antenna, the RH-789.

On the next pass of AO-51, which hits me beginning at about 00:10 UTC, I'll be back on the crappy ol' Elk dual-band log periodic - but I'll be running 50 milliwatts out instead of the 5 watts I just used with the whip. I intend to run 50 mW and the Elk for the remainder of the weekend on AO-51. Experience suggests that I need at least 8 degrees of elevation to make the satellite on .05-watt, but I almost made it through the other day when AO-51 was below 7 degrees. A good contact at that low angle will represent a new "miles per watt" record for me, and I hope to get there.

Thanks again to the control team for the QRP-pair activation. 

73 to all,

Tim - N3TL

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