Archive for November, 2009

Amateur Satellites

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

I’ve always had an interest in making contacts over amateur satellites. Not only did the idea of talking to someone over a satellite seem really cool, but it can be done with basic equipment that almost every ham has. So, this week I decided to make an honest attempt at making a satellite contact–and it worked!

For receive, I used a handheld 440 MHz cubical quad antenna that was built for foxhunting, not satellite work. That said, it makes a pretty awesome satellite antenna due to its light weight and compact size. To transmit, I simply used the whip mounted on the top of my Jeep. The antenna probably provides somewhere around 3-5 dB of gain, but not necessarily directed upwards. I set my mobile to output 10W.

My first contact was on Friday, November 20th and I made it from the Chicken Hill parking lot on the campus of Virginia Tech (Grid Square EM19), on satellite SO-50. Sadly, I didn’t buffer the call of the other station, so I was unable to log it correctly. My second and third contacts occurred on Monday night, November 23rd, and were also on SO-50. The first contact was ZL7VX, who I believe was stateside in FM18. I then spoke with N9AMW in EN52 in Wisconsin.

Working the bird at night was definitely a pleasurable experience as I didn’t feel rushed to make the contact and get off the bird; there was plenty of time to slowly exchange calls and say a few words as well.

I’m looking forward to continuing to work satellites in the near future, and look for updates here on this blog as to how I’m doing with that.