From Email ...
I have received several email messages and telephone calls during the Thanksgiving "break" -
many hams trying out the satellites for their first times! Really exciting, indeed!
Many "first-timer" questions are addressed in the tutorial offered on the home page and
throughout our support Web site ...
Questions like ...
>> ... How do I know when a satellite will be overhead?
Several programs and sites cited on the TRACKING page on the Web site!
>> ... The satellite isn't breaking squelch ...
From the tutorial: The one “absolute” for success is to open up your SQuelch. We
are talking about “weak signals” from hundreds of miles away - so don’t expect
the satellites to be strong enough to break squelch like your local repeater does.
Sure, it’s a little noisy - but that’s part of the process: That noise is an aid in
locating the satellites! When the frequency starts exhibiting quieting, that’s a sign
that you are capturing the satellites’ signals.
>> ... Can I do this with the stock antenna that came with my handheld radio?
Again, from the tutorial: Improve your HT’s stock antenna (most are rated at
NEGATIVE 6db - or worse!). The Smiley 270A is a good performer, and is
available in Male SMA, Female SMA, and Male BNC models. But for best success,
you need more GAIN, so using an Arrow Satellite Antenna or Elk Log Periodic is
much better. If you prefer to home-brew your antennas, go to the work-sat.com Web
site’s ANTENNAS page for construction article links: You can get in to the world of
high gain operations for as little as $15!
>> ... Is Doppler only for receiving?
The Doppler phenomenon isn't "dependent" on whether a frequency is
transmitted or received. It is "frequency-dependent." It is on the 440mHz side
of life where we should compensate for Doppler. It is the 440 side where there
could be as much as +/- 10kHz deviation in an FM satellite's frequency. So whether
that is SO-50's downlink - or AO-91 or '92's uplinks - it is the 440 frequency for which
we need to compensate. The frequency chart at work-sat.com takes this in to consideration
>> ... I saw someone using a longer whip ...
Yes - I know of many who are successfully working AO-91 and AO-92 with stock or improved
antennas on their HTs. A little more finesse is required - but it is being accomplished!
From the tutorial: If using a whip antenna, don’t hold it upright. Held in a vertical position,
your transmitted signal is hitting land-based receivers. Most of our satellites are not land-
based (grin). You need to tilt your HT’s antenna about the same amount as the satellites'
ELEVATION. Get it perpendicular to the orbit’s path! You will quickly get the hang of it -
and hear the difference. Again, you will have much better results with a modest beam or
Yagi antenna ...
>> ... [full-duplex operations] ...
From every of the 100+ presentation I have made, and from the tutorial: Ideally, we
should be working the FM voice satellites in full-duplex mode, where we can
simultaneously listen to the downlink as we are transmitting. Although this method is
preferred, it is not mandatory: Carefully monitor the downlink, and wait for a break
in the conversations to key your mic and announce yourself ...
>> ... What is my grid square?
There are Smartphone apps that will tell you your grid square. If you are home, a lookup
of your own callsign on QRZ.com has it for you. And on work-sat.com on the SHACK AIDS
page is a link to a grid square locator!
Happy holiday season to all!