[amsat-bb] WD9EWK on AO51 this afternoon with VX-8GR/long duckie

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sat Aug 28 17:59:09 PDT 2010


On the AO-51 pass that just went by around 0012 UTC this afternoon,
I tried something I do with any HT I get - work satellites.  I picked
up a Yaesu VX-8GR at Dayton 3 months ago, and have started using it 
for APRS.  Since it has two VFOs on it, I did not have to program any
memory channels to get it working for satellites.  It is not a full-
duplex radio, but it can work.  I use a Diamond SMA-BNC adapter on it
all the time (a well-designed adapter, which makes a secure physical
connection to the radio), and put a Diamond RH77CA 2m/70cm long duckie 
on it.  Since I did not have my Sony digital audio recorder with me, I 
used a recorder app on my N900 phone, with the phone sitting in my 
shirt pocket and the microphone hole pointing up.  And I was doing this 
on a west-facing balcony at my office in Scottsdale AZ (DM43al).

This pass was a nice one for Arizona, with maximum elevation at 64
degrees to the west.  The footprint still covered a significant 
chunk of North America.  Once the satellite got up to about 25 to
30 degrees elevation, I could hear it easily with the squelch wide
open on the receive VFO.  I made a few QSOs, including one with John
K8YSE still on his road trip.  Thanks to everyone for the QSOs, and
thanks to John for all your work putting on a lot of rarely-heard
grids in that part of North America!  

With this radio, I had to change from one VFO to the other before 
and after transmitting.  Since this radio has two VFOs, I could
still hear the downlink even if the transmit VFO was the active 
VFO.  I had to make sure to go back to the receive VFO to make my
Doppler adjustments, and then to the transmit VFO if I wanted to 
be heard through the satellite (something I missed once or twice).
Sure, this is not the ideal handheld radio for FM satellite operating,
but it is definitely good enough as a backup if I am not able to 
use my normal HT (IC-T7H) or any of my other radios to get on an FM
satellite pass.  

I will not regularly work satellite passes from this location.  I
tried it today, since I was the only one in the office (I had some
work to do on one of my computer systems, best done when nobody else
is in).  There is a hospital about 1/2 mile (about 1km) south of here,
which throws out a lot of intermod - a good reason not to work many 
passes here.  With a better antenna, and especially pointing south
toward the hospital, I would have had problems hearing the satellite
downlink.  Even with all of that in mind, I now have another radio 
that I've used on the satellites - and is capable of being used in
the future if the need arises.  It will definitely be used for APRS
when I go on the road, mostly through the terrestrial APRS network but 
I might see if I can get an APRS packet through the ISS some time.  



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