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Re: Newbie questions

Hello David,

Seems like quite a Christmas present you will be getting!

The priority bands for satellite work are 2m, 70cm, and 2.4 ghz.
Depending on the satellite, you may be using the 2m side for
transmit or receive; same for 70cm.  2.4 ghz will be receive only,
for AO-40.  Other 2.4ghz sats should be coming, so it is worth
getting on 2.4 ghz.  The BBQ grill dish will be fine.  I'd trade the
two loop yagis for something else, as they won't have the gain
of the dish.  Some have tried them on AO-40, and I don't believe
I've heard a good report.

The controllers can be manual for now.  Don't try to automate
everything all at once.  You will need the computer to know
where and when the satellites will come by.  Later you can have
it control the rotors and the rig (doppler correction).  I have
full automatic control here, but very often do things manually.
It's not that hard, and telling the computer what to do can be
harder than just doing it yourself.  The Low Earth Orbit birds
work well with fairly blunt antennas, so precision with the
antenna rotors is not necessary.

The first thing to do is probably get the VHF/UHF stuff mounted
and on the air.  UO-14 is currently the "easy sat" to start out with.
Transmit on 2 meters, receive on 70cm, all FM.  So, if you have a
70cm receive preamp, that will help, but it's not essential.  Once
you have UO-14 mastered, try FO29.  This one will get you SSB
experience (tuning is more critical), and the idea of an inverting
transponder (LSB up, USB down).  THEN, give AO-40 a try.
You should have plenty of fun with the LEO birds long enough
to get the 2.4 ghz equipment ready.

I've got a small website that details some of my projects, including
an AZ/EL rotor controller for the Alliance-type motors.  It's at:

Good luck, and let us know how you're coming, and if you have
any questions.


Greg  KO6TH

>From: "David Beach" <VE3STI@rac.ca>
>Reply-To: "David Beach" <VE3STI@rac.ca>
>To: <amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org>
>Subject: [amsat-bb] Newbie questions
>Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 13:34:33 -0500
>I am new to satellites - so new in fact I haven't done anything! My
>questions stem from the fact that an elderly ham friend (VE3GTF) is
>'retiring' from
>the satellite end of ham radio. He has generously offered me all his
>equipment (minus
>the transceivers) if I take it away when the snow goes away. He has been
>inactive on satellites since approx the mid-90's - after the demise of
>AO-13, I think.
>I hope this is the correct forum for these questions. If you think the
>answers will unnecessarily load up the mailboxes (and these questions are
>likely old hat to experienced operators), reply directly to me.
>The equipment is:
>-one az-el setup with a 2m beam (Telex/hy-gain 216S) and a 70 cm beam
>(Telex/hy-gain 215S)
>-another az-el setup with two 2.4 GHz ring beams (Downeast MW 1245LY) and a
>(Myers SB-32 - looks to me like something one might make from a BBQ 
>-both az-el setups are TV rotator jobs, one using two Alliance U-110's and
>other using an Alliance U-100 for elevation and a ChannelMaster (model
>unknown) for azimuth. All are run from standard rotator controls with the 
>and el directions marked on.
>-a 100W 70cm power amp
>-an assortment of preamps, downconverters and transverters to be able to
>transmit on 440 and receive on 2M and 2.4G using his two HF rigs (using 
>-plus he was kind enough to supply lots of documentation along with a
>frequency counter, GHz wattmeter and other assorted bits and pieces,
>including the Satellite Experimenters' Handbook.
>Christmas came early even though I won't get the antennas up before spring!
>Backyard limitations (ahem, my wife is less enthusiastic about satellites
>than I!) may keep me at one 'tower' rather than two. It seems to me that
>three 2.4G antennas
>is a lot!
>Could the ring beams be put on the other setup?
>Is the 'BBQ grill' parabolic antenna better/worse than two ring beams?
>Satellites seem to come and go - what are the 'priority bands' if I have to
>stick with what I can get on a single az-el setup?
>He was using manual antenna rotating. Today, computers are cheap - I have a
>couple of spares!
>How hard is it to computer control the old (kerchunk, kerchunk!) TV-type
>of the sort I mentioned? I am fine at construction and could assemble a
>controller if I had plans or a kit. I don't feel like designing one! I want
>to get started relatively inexpensively and can't just go out and buy a
>Yaesu 5500 (or whatever)!
>Do I *need* to computer control these antennas? Manual control would be
>simple BUT (never having operated satellites) it looks like running the
>rotators while operating would be a handful!
>Comments? Suggestions?
>I have lots of other questions - and more, I am sure, will arise later. I
>don't know of any active satellite users in my area (Prince Edward County,
>Ontario, for any VE3's who are reading this) but will start asking around 
>see if I can find a local Elmer.
>Thanks for your help.
>David Beach
>Via the amsat-bb mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
>To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe amsat-bb" to Majordomo@amsat.org

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