[amsat-bb] Re: A viable FD satellite operation

Jim Jerzycke kq6ea at verizon.net
Tue May 21 21:39:15 PDT 2013

You're definitely approaching it in the right way, Bill!

An FT-847 is an excellent satellite rig, and in combination with a small 
gain antenna, will be an excellent station.

The 50 Watts the '847 provides is more than enough RF power, even with 
the Arrow, or similar Elk, antenna.

A preamps are highly recommended, especially with a smaller antenna.

Use a diplexer "in reverse" to help get rid of desense. It's more 
important than you'd think.


A few other tips to help you.......

If you're going to be running tracking software, like SatPC32, make SURE 
your PC has the correct time set!

An error of 10~15 seconds may not sound like much, but it can cause you 
point your antennas wrong, and ruin a pass.

Same with your Lat/Lon. I use a GPS, which also supplies an accurate 
clock to the laptop, but a lot of people get by with just using grid 

Know precisely *WHERE* North, South. East, and West are at your station 

You'd be surprised how many people don't, and then can't find the sats 
as they come up over the horizon.

Have a helper to point the antenna, as you'll be busy doing the "Doppler 

Again, if you run SatPC32, the Doppler correction is fed to the rig, and 
it's one less manual operation to split your limited time amongst.

Keep the TenTec on the shelf, in the collection.

And as somebody else pointed out, get started setting up and practicing 

If you wait until Field Day weekend, you'll wind up extremely 
frustrated, with few or no contacts!

I know, as I used to do it that way every year. I think the best I ever 
got was three contacts one year.

The next year I started two months early, and I made THIRTY FIVE 
contacts that year, just because:

I didn't forget anything at home, requiring numerous unnecessary trips 
back and forth (I also bought some Tupperware tubs to keep all the 
satellite stuff in!)

Everything worked because I had six weekends to practice setting up and 
operating before Field Day, ensuring all the bugs were worked out

I was a lot more comfortable using the station because I knew it all 
worked, and the stress level was much lower.

Good luck, get going, and listen for K6AA on Field Day, and KQ6EA the 
weeks before while I'm practicing!

73, Jim  KQ6EA

On 05/21/2013 08:09 PM, Bill W1PA wrote:
> I may set up a Field Day satellite station for our local club. I 
> haven't done
> this in a while.... my last experience with a non-FM bird was AO-40.
> I'd like to avoid the futility of the FM LEO's on FD, and look to the
> working passband birds, which I understand are AO-7, FO-29, and VO-52.
> I have at my disposal a FT-847, an Arrow satellite antenna (V/U), and 
> if needed,
> various preamps and poweramps for 2m and 432, as well as antennas with 
> more elements.
> I also have a Ten Tec 2510 satellite unit that does not have the 
> "extra crystal board",
> which I understand makes it a non-starter for the 3 birds I mentioned.
> For those of you experienced with the bandpass birds, assuming an 
> outdoor,
> clear sky access location, what should I bring? (i.e. will the FT-847 
> stock amp be sufficient?
> How many elements do I need for uplink? pre-amp for downlink? etc)
> I also may only be able to work overnight (in darkness) -- that rules 
> out AO-7, correct?
> Bill W1PA
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