FT-817 / VX-8

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

From the In Box ...


Hope this is not a bother but I want to work satellites and just not sure which radio to buy. I know I need crossband and I could use either a mobile or portable. I note in your website an FT-817 and that would be great for the HF that goes with it, but I've heard it is a poor choice for satellite work. I also saw the attached video and I think the fellow is using a VX-8R Yaesu. So, what do your recommend? I do quite a bit /p with my HF, and it would be great to have multi-capabilities. Also do all these radios account for doppler through memory usage. I've tried the HRD program and it tracks, but I may not always have a notebook with me. Appreciate it if you have the time to answer some questions from a newbie to satellites.

My reply ...

... FT-817 ... HF, too ... but I've heard it is a poor choice for satellite work ...
The FT-817 is a great rig for QRP HF work, FM satellite work, and SSB satellite work. It's all in the antenna ...

... VX-8R ...
The VX-8R is nice ... but NOT a true duplex radio, either. (True duplex means you can hear the sub-band while transmitting on the other band - NOT mandatory, but many prefer working that way. Personally, I haven't felt the need to hear myself ... (grin).)

... what do your recommend? I do quite a bit /p with my HF, and it would be great to have multi-capabilities ...
Then you might like the FT-817: 2M and 440, plus HF! But if you don't have a 2M/440 handheld in your collection, the less-expensive FT-60R is a great performer.

... do all these radios account for doppler through memory usage ...
None automatically. But I get around that by simply programming multiple channels for each satellite. Only the 440 side needs doppler correction on the FM birds ("acquire = ABOVE" is my mnemonic device ... ACQUIRE the signal as sat is rising ABOVE the center frequency).

Clint, K6LCS

SO-50 Frequencies

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

From the In Box ...

re: Doppler programming
in your example AO-51 has memory channels 101 through 105.
(that template is how I have the fm sats programmed in the FT60R, and it works fine)
question is this, in your example for SO-50, you extend your memory channels out by two or three more channels. (I am not talking about the 74.4 CTCSS, I understand that is for activation) Is this just to extend workable time on the sat? do you recommend that spread for all FM sats?

ANSWER: SO-50 is a little off-frequency, that's all. That's why there's more of a spread in my programming chart than there is for AO-51!

Satellite Presentation - Fullerton, CA - 01/20/10

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

AMSAT area coordinator Clint Bradford, K6LCS, will be
presenting his "Working Amateur Satellites With Your HT"
multimedia session at the January 20, 2010 meeting of
the Fullerton Radio Club. All are welcome to attend.

"Tentatively, we'll have a workable pass of AO-51 at
5:12PM that evening," Clint reports. "If you would like to
show up early, I'll be working the satellite from the
Ruby's Diner parking lot ... " - which is where the
club informally meets before the 7PM meeting.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
5:15PM - dinner before the meeting
Ruby's Diner
1301 S. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832

7:00PM - FRC Club Meeting
Fullerton Senior Center
340 West Commonwealth Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832-1711

Attendees should download Clint's four-page tutorial and radio
programming matrix before the meeting from ...

And Clint welcomes pre-presentation questions - call him at
909-241-7666, or send email to

If you'd like this lively, hour-long presentation to be held at
your club or organization - just contact Clint.


AO-51 Schedule for Rest of January

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

AMSAT-NA VP Operations, Drew KO4MA says AO-51 is back in to its normal configuration between January 4 - January 31:

FM Repeater, V/U
Uplink: 145.920 MHz FM
Downlink: 435.300 MHz FM (570 mw)

9k6 BBS and Telemetry
Uplink: 1268.700 MHz FM
Downlink: 435.150 MHz FM (450 mw)

Sometime in early January the AO-51 Operations Team plans to use the reversible magnet to reorient the spacecraft to the normal polarity favoring the northern hemisphere.

Toward the end of January 2010 the schedule may allow for L/U voice configuration on the 435.150 downlink between telemetry collections. The AO-51 schedule will be updated when this mode becomes available. Please address all AO-51 e-mail inquiries to the Operations Committee via the ao51-modes list.

AO-51 Back to "Normal"

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

AO-51 is back in to it's normal configuration with the 145.920/435.300
repeater at 570 mw and the 1268.700/435.150 9k6 PBBS and Telemetry at
450 mw.

For the month of January we expect to leave the satellite in this
configuration. Sometime next week we expect to use the reversible magnet
to reorient the spacecraft to the normal polarity favoring the northern
hemisphere. This is dependent of the timing of some personal issues
including the impending birth of my son :-) . Towards the end of the
month I expect we can run some L/U voice on the 435.150 downlink between
telemetry collections, but that is not yet reflected on the official

Please address all AO-51 inquiries to the Operations Committee vi

73, Drew KO4MA
AMSAT-NA VP Operations


K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

This morning AO-51 was changed over to our Kid's Day configuration,
145.88/435.300. The official ARRL Kid's Day window is 1800 to 2400 UTC,
which fits nicely with the afternoon AO-51 passes. Mode change back to
normal will likely be Monday morning EST.

While in the 145.88/435.300 configuration, please yield to any Kid's Day

73, Drew KO4MA
AMSAT-NA VP Operations

2009 ...

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

After a flurry of satellite presentations September through November, it's been an uneventful, quiet holiday season. Which, at my age, is just fine ... (grin)

Over in the AMSAT messagelist, a participant posted this earlier this week ...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
My first contact on satellite was 29-Dec-08 via AO-51 and the QSO was
appropriately with Clint Bradford, K6LCS. It is appropriate that it was
with Clint because Clint is the one that sparked my interest in working
satellites. I remember reading about amateur radio satellites in my
Technician exam preparation book where it was discussing the various forms
of amateur radio. I also distinctly remember the impression that the author
said working satellites was challenging and not easy to do. Along comes
Clint to do a demo at one of [our club's monthly meetings] with his
Arrow II and an HT and showed just how easy it can be.

At that point I was intrigued enough to put an Arrow II on my Christmas wish
list and a few days after Christmas, I got myself on AO-51. I remember that
first pass seemed very busy but Clint and I had pre-arranged to work it and
having that successful contact fanned the fire ...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Cool. Or, as my sons would write, "Kewl." I intend to keep "infecting" folks with this "satellite affliction" in 2010. Already have a couple of dates for presentations lined up.

I picked up a "net control" position for the South CARS VOIP Pacific Coast Connection net on Tuesdays at 7PM Pacific / 10PM Eastern on EchoLink Node 96140. If you have EchoLink capability, please drop in and say hello. It's a newer net for the SCARS folks - and we need son participation from - the Pacific side of the continent.

VOIP has been interesting. For the first times ever, I gave my sat presentation over VOIP to audiences I couldn't actually see (Skype and/or EchoLink). I prepare a .pdf file of slides for the club to project on their club's screen, and work the presentation. It has proven to be effective ... and I still have a great time with the Q&A sessions afterwards.

SO ... THANK YOU ALL for a great 2009. Hope your 2010 is peaceful.

Clint, K6LCS

AO-51 Mode Change

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

This morning I switched the satellite back to "normal" mode for a bit
with the 145.92/435.3 repeater on, set power levels on both 435.3 and
435.15 transmitters to 450mw and 500mw, and reenabled the SSB/FM
repeater. I believe the higher power on the SSB/FM repeater running
alone was causing some of the interference issues and odd behavior we
have been hearing and getting reports about. I did also briefly listen
to the 145.88 uplink in FM and there was non-amateur QRM there.

Let me know if this sounds more like the way this mode sounded last time
we ran it.

Twitter and the AMSAT AO-51 schedule page also updated.

73, Drew KO4MA
AMSAT VP Operations

AO-51 Mode Change

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

December 29 - January 2

SSB/FM Repeater, V/U (CW QSOs only on Straight Key Night)
Uplink: 145.880 MHz USB
Downlink: 435.150 MHz FM

January 3

Kid's Day users ONLY please.

FM Repeater, V/U
Uplink: 145.880 MHz FM
Downlink: 435.300 MHz FM

73, Drew KO4MA
AMSAT-NA VP Operations

Re: AO-51 Back Up - Er, "On"

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

Good catch - you are absolutely correct.

V/U Mode of 145.920 / 435.300 is correct.


Re: AO-51 Back Up - Er, "On"


Did you mean 435.300??

In a message dated 12/23/2009 3:05:34 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time, clintbrad4d@... writes:

AO-51 software reload just completed. V/U repeater again operational 145.920 / 435.500. PBBS to be opened soon.

12/23/09 1:50PM PST

Tape Measure Yagi

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

With Southern California under STORM WATCH again earlier this week (we were expecting at least 0.03" of precipitation), I decided to build one of those cheap "tape measure 2M Yagi" antennas from plans seen all over the Web.

I mean, I mention them during my satellite presentations as an affordable entry into high-gain ... I have a couple links on my Work-Sat Web site for plans ... I can see in theory where they should work - but I've never built one myself.

So I stuck the PVC pipes together ... soldered the matching element ... straightened it all out, and took it outside for a test.


This is something that EVERY ham should do. What a dramatic increase in a handheld's performance a couple dollars' worth of stuff can accomplish! I heard a NOAA WX station (technically, out of range for this 2M Yagi) in San Diego that I have never heard from the house before. Every repeater of the six I immediately hit were received more clearly than with even the best of HT antennas ... and as good or better than my Cushcraft A148-3S (retailing for sixty bucks).

Plans at the regular site ...

And if you click on PHOTOS on the top menu, there's a couple photos of the finished project.


AO-51 Back Up - Er, "On"

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

AO-51 software reload just completed. V/U repeater again operational 145.920 / 435.500. PBBS to be opened soon.

12/23/09 1:50PM PST

AO-51 Software Crash

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

AO-51 might be down for a day or two ... the control team is re-booting it ...


ZAGGsparq Deal this Week

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

If you've been looking for a high-capacity rechargeable battery pack for your USB-power devices, I think you'll like the ZAGGsparq that I've been writing about the past two weeks.

Well, I was working on a Web page with a review and comparison of other similar units on the marketplace, when ZAGG came through with a deal.

The unit usually sells for $99. But from now until December 25, 2009, they are $69. And I will donate $10 from each pack sold to your choice of either of these three organizations: AMSAT, the ARRL, or The Rotary Foundation. This link must be used for this donation deal -

Excuse the commercial nature of this post. Yes, I am now an affiliate of ZAGG. After the $10 donation is made to AMSAT, I make a profit of $3.90. I'm not in this for the profit. I have found an excellent 6AH power source, and want others to know about it. And at $69, well, that's less than what I paid for my personal evaluation unit two weeks ago.

I do not intend on making the AMSAT-BB a venue for every little off-topic thing I am involved with. But this really is a quality product. And even if I were not making four bucks a unit, I'd still be telling friends about it.

Clint Bradford

XW-1 is now HO-68

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

AMSAT-NA OSCAR Number Coordinator Bill Tynan, W3XO has informed Alan
Kung, BA1DU, Amateur Satellite Project Manager and Chief Executive
Officer of AMSAT-China that XW-1 is now designated as Hope OSCAR 68,
or HO-68.

Bill wrote, "The satellite was launched successfully 15 December from
the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center of China, on a CZ-4C rocket. Ama-
teur Radio Operators around the world have received beacon signals
from XW-1."

Bill continues, "Further, I have been informed that XW-1 has been coor-
dinated through IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel. As
XW in Chinese means 'hope', it had been requested that this word be used
as the prefix for the new OSCAR number. Therefore, with the above infor-
mation and the authority vested in me by the AMSAT-NA President, I hereby
designate this latest amateur radio satellite as Hope Oscar 68 or HO-68."

Congratulations to AMSAT-China. Bill concludes, "On behalf of AMSAT-NA
and the world's amateur radio satellite community I congratulate those
responsible for building, testing and launching this new satellite. May
it have a long and successful life."

The latest official information can be found on-line on the AMSAT-China
Web page at:

The AMSAT-NA Satellite Status Web may also be consulted for frequency
and operating mode information at:

AO-51 Mode Change

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

AO-51 is back in V/U mode! Around 2230UTC 20 Dec 2009 the mode on AO-51 was changed according to the posted schedule as follows:

December 21 - December 28

FM Repeater, V/U
Uplink: 145.920 MHz FM
Downlink: 435.300 MHz FM

9k6 BBS, L/U
Uplink: 1268.700 MHz 9k6 FM
Downlink: 435.150 MHz 9k6 FM

The FM Repeater on TXB (435.300) is at about 450mW, while the BBS on TXB (435.150) is at about 500mW. Signals on both transmitters sound fine. The digipeater on TXB is "ON." We are collecting telemetry (every 30 secs) for the next 24 hours.

Thanks for the S-band activity during the previous mode period!

73 on behalf the AO-51 Command Team,

Mark L. Hammond [N8MH]

Re: Portable Power

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

I have run the ZAGG spark portable power pack through a couple charge cycles. It is impressive.

I am working on a deal where if you purchase one, $10 will be sent to AMSAT.

Stay tuned ... I will be creating a Web page with detailed information.

Clint Bradford, K6LCS

Portable Power

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

Ever wanted more battery life from your iPod / PDA / cell phone or other device that charges via USB? Of course we have.

The company name, ZAGG, might not ring a bell with you. But more of you have heard of InvisibleSHIELD - IMHO the best of the screen protectors for our PDA and cellphone screens.

Well, ZAGG just introduced what appears to be the best of the "portable USB device power packs" available.

Although the ZAGGsparq is marketed as being "able to charge an Apple iPhone up to four times," I see it being used for a lot more applications.

Physically, it's 3.5 x 3.5 x 1" in size. Its Lithium Polymer battery pack is rated at 6000mAH - that's SIX AMPS in your little pack. Only the Amstron PP66S has that capacity ... but the ZAGG offers more features than the Amstron.

ZAGGspark works with any of your devices that uses a USB cord for charging. Plus, it provides TWO USB ports for charging your mobile devices when plugged into an AC outlet.

Weighs a tad over a half-pound. Four LEDs indicate power level (25%/50%/75%/100%).

I just ordered one, and will immediately put it to use. It's going to power my Verizon MiFi 2200 and Apple 32GB iPod touch. I'll report back how it performs.

Clint Bradford

Battery Charger Deal on Amazon - TODAY ONLY!

K6LCS <clintbrad4d@...>

Today only, Amazon has the La Crosse BC-9009 AlphaPower Battery Charger for $34.99 shipped. And in addition to NiCD/NiMH charger, you get four AA rechargeables, four AAA's, adapters for C and D cells, and a travel case.

Charger features four independent status displays, one for each of its four slots. They can cycle through stats like charge rate, discharge rate, elapsed time, and total battery capacity.

Clint, K6LCS

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