A new and better antenna for amateur satellite work / 2014-04-02

2014-04-02 A new and better antenna for amateur satellite work
I ordered and received an Arrow Antenna: hand held portable dual band 2m/70cm Yagi satellite antenna. It came in last Saturday afternoon. And now I constantly look at the amateur satellite trackers on my laptop and tablet to see when passes come up for satellites that I can receive in FM. First receiving: I don't want to be the proverbial alligator on the amateur satellites (all mouth and no ears).

Our house being in a quite built-up area means when the elevation doesn't get above around 20 degrees there will not be a lot of chance to receive the satellite.

What I am looking for is satellites I can receive (and work) with the FM handheld transceiver. I focus on Saudisat-1c, the International Space Station and Oscar-11. Oscar-11 is an older amateur satellite but I could be lucky with receiving telemetry in AFSK format.

This evening had an 'easy' pass of Saudisat-1c usually known as SO-50, straight over my head. The obvious upside is: no buildings in the way. The less obvious upside: a shorter distance to the satellite, less signall loss. With headphones to hear the incoming audio in both ears I was able to hear callsigns. I'm not sure I heard a complete QSO. What I learned was that the moment the reception is clearest (shortest radio path) is also the moment of the biggest Doppler shift in receive frequency.

I also had a reasonably easy pass Saturday evening. I reported both passes to the OSCAR Satellite Status page by KD5QGR.

Update 2014-04-04: This evening I heard the AFSK1200 noises from an ISS pass! Amazing how fast the enormous mass of the International Space Station flies across the horizon. In 6 minutes it passed from azimuth 218⁰ (southwest) to 80⁰ (north of east).

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