[amsat-bb] Re: My First Satellite Contacts

Tony Langdon vk3jed at gmail.com
Tue May 17 23:29:16 PDT 2011

At 03:34 PM 5/18/2011, Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) wrote:

>Or look for the all-mode HF/VHF/UHF radios at swapmeets and
>online, and get a pair for your satellite station.  There are radios
>out there that won't break the bank.  Yes, more than a dual-band
>FM HT or mobile radio, but not a whole lot more.  Even going
>back 15 years to a radio like an IC-706Mk2, you would have the
>option of computer control using software like SatPC32 or
>possibly HRD (among others).

The old single band radios have now come down to reasonable 
prices.  Another alternative is something like a FT-736 off eBay for 
a base station, which can be computer controlled.  Software selection 
is limited, though there is an interface to make the FT-736 look like 
an FT-847 to software such as HRD.  I have beta tested this interface 
myself and it works extremely well, and opens the 736 to a lot more 
radio control software.  I haven't heard if/when it's going to be 
made available, but I hope it can be sold to 736 owners.

>I'm using a portable all-mode satellite station - normally two
>FT-817NDs, sometimes one FT-817ND with a Kenwood TH-F6A
>(TH-F7 outside the Americas - this HT has an all-mode receiver
>from HF up to 70cm), always with an Elk 2m/70cm log periodic.
>Other than the antenna and some accessories deemed unsafe
>for carry-on luggage on aircraft, my station fits in an old laptop
>bag and goes where I go.  The 817s could be controlled by
>software, but I spin the "big knob" on each radio as I work
>stations instead of also setting up a computer to run the radios.
>You don't need a lot of power to work SSB, just as many work
>FM satellites with HTs.

I have been using the FT-736 and an IC-7000 in tandem for the SSB 
birds.  Unfortunately, in the shack, my antennas let me down (receive 
being the biggest issue), so I haven't been able to do any more than 
simply test.  I'd need a setup like yours to go portable, which would 
be an interesting exercise without computer control (tuning and 
aiming an antenna at the same time :) ).

Unfortunately, while I was tempted, I had to stop short of buying an 
FT-817ND, it's still on the wish list for portable work.

73 de VK3JED / VK3IRL

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