[amsat-bb] Re: FM satellites

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Wed Jul 6 08:54:51 PDT 2011

Hi Ron!

> I have to disagree. Have you tried working one of the FM birds using a 2
> watt ht and a whip antenna ?

Unfortunately, the comments like "I cannot see any difference in pushing
a button on an FM bird than operating a cell phone" (from WB6LLO's
post in this thread) show up from time to time.  If FM satellites were that
simple to operate, then everyone who attempted to make an FM satellite
QSO during Field Day should have been able to do so.  People wouldn't
show up in large numbers for the many demonstrations and presentations
that AMSAT people put on for radio clubs, hamfests, etc.

> The  FM birds are something I can work while traveling. Have been able
> to find a SSB setup that is compact enough to carry on a plane.

This almost reads like you were trying to say "Haven't been able to
find a SSB setup that is compact .... ".

With the advent of smaller radios, you *can* carry an SSB satellite
setup on a plane that allows all-mode full-duplex satellite operation.
I travel with two FT-817NDs, and in recent times a TH-F6A (its all-
mode receiver is a backup to the 817 I use as a receiver) also goes
along, all in an old laptop bag.  If you want computer control of the
radios, you can use a netbook with software like SatPC32 - which
could also fit in the same bag.  Along with these 3 radios, I also
take a TH-D72A.  It is my APRS radio, and works well as a full-
duplex FM satellite radio.  That laptop bag also has room for more
batteries, a GPS receiver, compass, and and other accessories.

Unless you are using a long flexible whip, the antenna (directional
antenna like a Yagi or log periodic, or a telescoping whip) may have
to go in a checked bag due to security regulations.  The higher-value
parts of your station can go with you into the cabin, along with the
accessories that are not considered dangerous for carry-on luggage.

> Look at this from an emergency perspective. If you only had an ht
> and couldnt access a repeater, you woul at least have a chance to
> get help on a satellite pass.

Definitely!  You'd have to be quick with your information, but that would
be a possibility.  Something I always kept in mind on my road trips around
northern Arizona and southern Utah in 2009 and 2010, since there were
many places without mobile-phone coverage up there.  Know when the
passes come by, and you can plan to show up on those passes to send
and receive information in that sort of situation.



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