Make: Online – Catching satellites on ham radio

Another great MAKE: Magazine/Blog/Online article – this one on Satellite Operations:

Catching Satellites On Ham Radio

My favorite ham activity is making contacts via satellites. Not only is there the romantic notion of sending messages into outer space, but you have to trace the orbit of the satellite with your antenna while tuning the radio, to compensate for the Doppler effect.

The satellites AO-51, SO-50, and AO-27 orbit the Earth acting as repeaters. Repeaters are automated relay stations that allow hams to send signals over a greater distance using low-power hand held transceivers. The satellites allow hams to relay messages from Earth to space and back to other hams somewhere on the planet. The International Space Station (ISS) also has a repeater, but occasionally, if you’re lucky, the astronauts turn on their radios to make contact directly with hams on the ground.

The following instructions will get you started listening to birds (satellites) on FM, which can be done with a simple VHF/UHF FM radio with a whip antenna, without the need of a ham license. For better coverage, you can use a Yagi antenna (like the one pictured above) connected to a mutli-mode radio and a license (if you want to transmit). A Yagi antenna can also be used to improve the signal of your hand held radio.

via Make: Online » Catching satellites on ham radio.

Have to get back at my duplexer & antenna project, and work those birds!

Oh, did I mention the article is by YL Diana Eng KC2UHB?




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3 thoughts on “Make: Online – Catching satellites on ham radio

  1. Great article.

    Thoroughly enjoy the blog, lots of quality posts to read.



  2. Kuby says:

    Steve, I’m a lil surprised you did not add the link to my Yahoo User Group that has been support SAT OPs since Jan 2006. A whole bunch of good SAT info both commercial and hobby on the group.

    • k9zw says:

      Hi Dale N6JSX/8

      Would love to have a write-up on the group as a guest post if you’d have the time to put something together!

      Make:Magazine really go in for links, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add them!



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