NG0R First QSO via Satellite

I spent some time in EN24 yesterday with some folks from the W0CRC (Crow River Radio Club).  Chris KC0YBM was putting on a demo showing folks how to work satellites to make some QSOs. He has a nice portable setup where he can operate from the back of his Subaru with an FT-8800R and an Arrow antenna.

I spent the afternoon shooting video and stills to put together a future presentation for a couple of the local clubs. As part of that activity I concluded that I should be able to make a couple of quick changes to my shack that would allow my me do the same thing from home.

So today (Sunday) in between the normal chores I managed to put a couple of new QSOs in my log.

It looks like I have a DST error in the log... should be 23:xx.. fixed.

AJ5C was my first QSO via satellite. K8YSE was my second. Both of the Q's were completed on the AO-51 satellite.

Here is a quick picture of my temporary shack from my camera phone.

I am running Linux with the program GPredict to figure out when the satellites will pass my area. I am running CQRLog as my standard logging program.  Nothing too fancy here, it is your basic HF+VHF/UHF/Microwave+QRP shack. (My Elecraft K2 is not in the picture as I am doing some work on it over at the work bench)

I used a FT-1900 (2m FM) as the uplink radio connected to my 144mhz SSB/CW weak signal antenna. I used a FT-7800 (deaf on 2m but 70cm FM works fine) as the downlink radio connected to my 432mhz SSB/CW weak signal antenna. Both beams are on my VHF tower. The antennas are not really tuned for this high in the band but they seemed to play ok.

Since AO-51 is a FM bird you dial in the uplink frequncy 145.920mhz and just leave it alone. I then dialed in the downlink frequency of 435.300mhz. I then swung the antennas to the southwest and waited.  AO-51 rose in the southwest and then made an arc to my northwest and was pretty easy to follow. I had some slight doppler shift on the downlink so I ended up tuning in at 435.305mhz.

QSO with AJ5C

QSO with K8YSE

The QSOs can be pretty short as there are a lot of folks trying to work people in a very short window. Typically it is callsigns + grids + roger/73. There are is some occasional chit-chit if there is time and it is not too crowded.

Sure, a nice dual-band/two-band-at-a-time rig like an FT-8800R would make this easier. This took about an hour to setup to make my first QSOs via satellite and cost nothing.

I will likely get a satellite friendly radio and an arrow antenna for portable operation while on photo trips, camping, and family outings. This was pretty fun. At some point I would like to try to work some of the linear transponders on SSB and CW.  --That is an adventure for another day.

73 de NG0R