Working F0-29

Now that I have worked an FM satellite (in my case SO-50) the next challenge was to try a SSB satellite.

The basics would be the same I figured, except I would need to use my Yaesu FT-817. In fact, all I needed to do was to switch rigs and take into account that I would be needing to run to 817 off my 7 a/h SLAB, which I would need to slip into a spare camera bag so I could carry it over one shoulder.

The battery is in a camera bag hanging on my left side, and the FT-817 is slung around my neck (I knew the strap would come in handy some day).

So that I could work the satellite single handed out in the field without the aid of computer software, this is what I did:

  1. Set the rig into split mode
  2. Set VFO A to 145.960. This is the uplink.
  3. Set VFO B to 435.840. This is the down link
  4. Make sure the antenna connection is set to the front connector on the radio
  5. Keep the radio set to VFO B

When I saw the satellite is within range (using Satellite Explorer on my PC), I went outside and pointed the antenna into the rough direction of the satellite’s approach. This was roughly north. Then I put out a call (the radio switches to VFO A automatically when the PTT is activated but returns to VFO B when it is released. Then I immediately began tuning down the band to listen for replies.

Sure enough, I heard Wal VK4CBW, George VK2WEL and Geoff VK2ZAZ. I had a very satisfying QSO with them, but it was challenging having to continually alter the receive frequency by hand during the receive cycle while altering the direction of the antenna to take into account changes to direction as well as height, all at the same time.

Next is to think about improving my operating setup, perhaps with some form of automatic tracking capability.




4 thoughts on “Working F0-29

  1. Hi Grant, well done moving up to the SSB birds. Your checkpoint about the antenna connector made me smile, I have overlooked that check several times with my 817. I guess you need to make that setting for each of the bands separately. Sometimes I operate the 817 with the front socket for one band and the rear socket for the other.
    Keep it going…
    73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

  2. Hi Grant congratulations on working a bird SSB, something I found too difficult some years ago, you make it look easy. If you mount the antenna on a camera tripod will that help free up a hand? Well done! 73 Andrew VK1AD

    • The other issue is this Andrew: the transmit frequency also shift due to doppler. I set mine and leave it there, meaning the receiving stations need to ‘chase’ me with their RIT knob. But so far they have happily obliged knowing the difficulties I face.

  3. A tracking tripod will make a huge difference. I need to investigate mounting some kind of motorized system on to a camera tripod and connect it all to satellite tracking software.

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