Taking steps to get back on the amateur satellites / 2019-05-15

2019-05-15 Taking steps to get back on the amateur satellites
Saudisat 1c / SO-50 cube satellite
Saudisat 1c / SO-50
Tuesday evening we had a good presentation at our radio club about getting active on the QO-100 geostationary amateur satellite. This was a very technical presentation by René Stevens PE1CMO. This amateur satellite is actually a transponder on the Es'Hail2 satellite. The transponder is active on amateur bands: 2.4 GHz up and 10 GHz down.

A very interesting and good presentation. And for now I find it very interesting but I'm not going to invest the time and money to get on that satellite.

This did remind me that I wanted to get back into amateur satellites as planned for several years. Looking back I see a clear moment when the satellite activity stopped: The last successful amateur satellite contact was 2014-08-10: Success with the new radio and the SO-50 amateur satellite and the first HF contact was 2014-08-29: First PSK31 on HF contacts. It's easier to make a lot more contacts on HF for the same amount of work as one satellite contact.

As a first step I took out the arrow antenna and a handheld radio just to listen to some passes. And that showed the well-known problem with satellite passes: They have to fit in your schedule or otherwise you will miss them completely. But there are a lot of amateur satellites to listen to. I had two Fox-1A (AO-85) passes not higher than 23 degrees elevation. And I heard nothing on those passes, but that wasn't a big surprise given earlier experiences and what people have shared. I had one pass of Saudisat (SO-50) which went up to 29 degrees elevation and I heard at least a few callsigns on that pass. And no really bad behaviour, but maybe a Wednesday daytime is better in that regard.

Update: I have been following the amateur satellite news but I was not complete on the details. The Two way amateur satellites overview from amsat lists that Fox-1A AO-85 is currently unavailable for amateur radio use due to battery issues.

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