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Having a blast with satellites and HT

Discussion in 'General Ham Radio Discussion' started by TMI, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. TMI

    TMI
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    W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    I am having a blast working satellites with a Yaesu VX-8R and the Arrow dual-band satellite antenna with duplexer.

    I've worked about eight passes total for the AO-51 and SO-50 satellites, and am mapping my contacts on this Google map: QSLs - Google Maps



    The Arrow antenna is mounted to a camera tripod and I track the satellites manually, using the quieting of the downlink to help me zero in. The landscape/portrait hinged plate on the tripod makes it easy to change polarization of the UHF elements.

    Working the satellites is contest-style with very quick contacts made and confirmed. I notice this especially on the weekends, but on weekdays, traffic is a bit lighter and some folks actually have brief conversations.

    My first batch of QSL cards is at the printer, and I already have cards from several of my first contacts. I am having great fun, and am learning a great deal about the features of this radio!

    Tom/W3ROK
     

  2. n0zna

    n0zna
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    Digital master

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    thats great,i did it one time.I didnt have the time in the past,since i am retired now,i might get back into it.have fun,73s de JW
     
  3. 74IN

    74IN
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    No end to the new stuff with a ticket, huh?
     
  4. TMI

    TMI
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    W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    As a new ham, this hobby appears to offer lifetime learning to those who wish to explore. I like that aspect of amateur radio!
     
  5. Moleculo

    Moleculo
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    I'm not quite sure I understand how you mounted the antenna on the tripod. I've contemplated trying to do something like this also, but haven't come up with a plan that would allow me to rotate the antenna for the polarity changes. Could you snap a couple of pictures of the setup and post it so I could see how you did it?
     
  6. Dave_W6DPS

    Dave_W6DPS
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    Fount of Occasionally Useful Knowledge

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    Yeah--I am trying to use my swimming pool fence as a support so I can manually aim and rotate. It gets a bit busy trying to manually steer in three directions AND try to make contacts. Even with the XYL logging (she has a Tech ticket) it gets crazy.

    I'm new to FM satellites, but not to ham radio. I just haven't listened quite enough to be comfortable with jumping in and transmitting yet.

    Of course, when passes are convenient for me in SoCal, they are also convenient for a bunch of other hams in SoCal. It is a lot like trying to get into a DX pileup, while visualizing the birds path across the sky and trying to point at it.

    I just made a homebrew antenna and can hear the birds fine, but haven't actually tried to transmit. I use two VX-5Rs, so I can hear the downlink (in case I ever transmit), but am looking at homebrew diplexer ideas...

    Dave_W6DPS
     
  7. TMI

    TMI
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    W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    Let's see how this works. I haven't posted photos here. Two pictures below of the Arrow II satellite antenna mounted directly to a camera tripod.

    In this first photo, note the little bit of deformation where the antenna boom is screwed to the camera mounting plate.
    [​IMG]

    In this second photo, the antenna is rotated 90 degrees. There is a tension adjustment on the front of the tilting head that allows me to hold the antenna at any angle between flat and 90 degrees...and I often find that about 45 degrees works well throughout much of a pass.
    [​IMG]

    Warning: I am seeing deformation where the camera mounting bolt goes into the antenna boom. I'm going to have to figure out a more robust way of mounting it. The problem is when you tilt the camera plate to vertical, all the weight of the antenna (little though it is) causes the antenna to sag...so one naturally tightens the screw more to stop the sagging, and that's when I am causing deformation. YMMV with a different camera tripod (that's my next step!).

    Tom / W3ROK
     
  8. Moleculo

    Moleculo
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    OK, I see what you did. I think I might try finding a square U-Bolt that would fit over the boom and attaching that to a plate that is tapped for the tripod bolt. I'm not sure if that would solve your issue or not, but it might be worth a try.
     
  9. TMI

    TMI
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    W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    Yup, a plate of some kind would help. For the immediate future, I'm thinking a couple of small clamps would take the pressure off that one bolt, which acts as a pivot point.

    I'm also trying to visualize some U-channel aluminum, into which the boom would nest, as a way to reinforce that area...but that isn't very clear in my mind yet.

    Meanwhile, more satellite passes this evening :)

    Mole, thanks *very* much for the Arrow antenna review. It was instrumental in my decision to buy it, and despite this one little glitch, I am delighted and am having a wonderful time!

    Tom / W3ROK
     
  10. 555

    555
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    i bet troy at Stargun has a few ideas
     

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