On our returned trip to the Isle of Mull this year, we plan to operate through the current active amateur radio satellites (Full list pending). The setup we plan to use is simple yet effective consisting of the following:
- Yaesu FT-817
- Arrow Antennas – Arrow II 146/437-10 Portable Satellite Yagi
- HamSatDroid – Tracking
- Digital Recorder
This lightweight setup allows flexibility in operating locations, but most of all its reliable and known to work on previous portable trips. The Yaesu FT-817 allows us to operate in semi-duplex mode which means we can’t hear ourselves on the downlink, so we plan to operate on the central part of the transponders if its an SSB satellite so we should be easy to find.
We are however planning on experimenting with using a Funcube Dongle Pro Plus as an additional receiver which might help us work full duplex better, but is weather dependant.
If you’re not familiar with the superb Arrow Antennas Arrow II 146/437-10 – then it is a 3 Elements for 2 Meters crossed with 7 Elements for 70 cm yagi which is easy to hold in your hand and manually track the satellite as it passes over the horizon, they also have an option for split booms and a built in duplexer this is the version we will be using.
You can see the Arrow antenna and how it will be used with the Yaesu FT-817 in a video of Mark M0MJH and me Pete 2E0SQL on YouTube
For tracking passes its likely that we shall be using the fantastic HamSatDroid designed for Android devices, and possibly SatPC32 for general monitoring and timing passes.
We’ve been already asked about skeds with stations in North America and we’ll do our best to get on some westerly passes but its highly dependant on the surrounding area. If you’d like to work us we will try and announce passes we are on via the @G3PYE twitter account if we have access to the internet.
Planned Satellite Operations
- SO-50 (FM)
- VO-52 (SSB)
- FO-29 (SSB)
- AO-7 (SSB Only in U/V mode)