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so50 satellite

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by M0TXP, Feb 21, 2012.

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  1. M0TXP

    M0TXP Guest

    Hi everyone
    This is my first post so go easy on me
    I have bought myself a yaesu ft60 HT and arrow satellite antenna for the birds
    Today i got on ao27 and talked to a on3 (belgium), so thought i would have a go on so50
    Now i understand the 2 tones to access and stay on the bird (74 and 67) and doppler effect
    But my problem is how do you know when you have accessed it (i dont hear anything like i do on ao27), i cant hear no voices or anything just white noise
    Could anyone explain step by step to a new ham like myself, how you know when you are on so50 ??:confused:
    many thanks
    paddy (m6txp)
  2. W5PFG

    W5PFG Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hello Paddy,

    Very good question! Welcome aboard!

    SO-50 is a little trickier to work using only an FT-60R because the bird doesn't transmit a carrier. You cannot tell you are accessing it unless you can hear your own downlink, which you cannot using that radio. You'd need an additional receiver capable of hearing the downlink.

    This doesn't mean you can't work SO-50, it just means you have no real way of knowing you're in the bird if there are no other stations to confirm contact.

    There's no "positive feedback" to let you know you've successfully hit the bird or are being relayed through it other than someone responding to your calls.

    With SO-50 and a semi-duplex configuration (like you're using), it is really important to understand where the bird is in the sky. Otherwise someone may come back to you and you wouldn't know it.

    Good luck and have fun!

  3. KO4MA

    KO4MA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Clayton is right on here. Paddy, do you have a 2m mobile in your car? If so, try using the 2m mobile and car antenna for the uplink, and just the UHF part of the Arrow and the FT-60 for the downlink (with headphones).

    73, Drew
  4. M0TXP

    M0TXP Guest

    Thanks for the reply guys
    Didnt think it would be that complicated
    Looks like i need to buy a second hand HT to plug into the 70cm part of the arrow antenna and build a
    mount using a sturdy camera tripod :cool:
    IZ1TWC likes this.
  5. W5PFG

    W5PFG Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am not a big fan of using tripods for SO-50. Sometimes you may want to twist or turn the Arrow for best polarity matching. It's hard to do that on a tripod. If you use a second HT, consider getting one of the Baofeng UV-3R's for about $50 USD. They are a great little receiver for working the FM birds. I find it's very sensitive for picking up the weak signal of SO-50.
  6. W9DTC

    W9DTC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use a tripod. My arrow is basically always sitting on it, ready to go. Unfortunately, most passes occur when I'm not ready to go...

    Anyhow, my tripod has an adjustment to twist the antenna arround its axis allowing for polarity adjustment. It has enough tension to hold whatever position I put it in, but not too much that I can't easily move it. It was a $10 hamfest purchase, and I couldn't be happier. I use an HT for transmit (5w) and my mobile rig for receive... so I'm always standing in the open door of my truck (which means I have to park in such manner as to allow easy movement of the antenna over the course of the pass, or I'm having to walk a few steps to reach my receiver to adjust for dopler).

    I don't use a mount on the tripod for the HT or anything... I've found that if I clip the HT to a pad of paper, I can write and be ready to key up. On my last pass I finally got recording setup, which helped out a ton. I was able to verify that I had actually written down the callsigns correctly, and actually discovered that I hadn't marked on of my own QSOs down as completed when I should have.

    So, my setup in total:
    Arrow antenna
    FT-7900r receiving
    audio out from receiver split: 1 to headphones, 2 to computer for record
    VX-8DR transmit

    I tried to transmit with the FT-7900r on higher power once, but the vx-8dr seemed to get overloaded and I couldn't hear myself on the downlink. I did get confirmation that I was getting in, but I've not tried that again. 5w seems to be plenty so long as you don't mind getting walked on by stronger stations sometimes.
  7. KO4MA

    KO4MA Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is a good example of why you really want to be able to twist the Arrow to match polarity.

    73, Drew

  8. KD6NFD

    KD6NFD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Paddy I have the same setup - Arrow and FT60. I have found that SO50 is very sensitive to receive signal polarity and rotation of the Arrow as Drew pointed out. I've had passes where I had to keep the Arrow within a window of less than 45 deg twist to keep the signal. To keep things interesting the required orientation (rotational twist position of the Arrow) changes during the pass as it tumbles. I also juggle an Iphone to record audio. Full duplex is the way to go but I have only used it a few times, I am usually running out the door to catch the pass and lucky to get the FT60 connected and recorder turned on my phone. but this is part of the fun right?

    Craig KD6NFD
  9. M0TXP

    M0TXP Guest

    Thanks for the replys guys
    I think i need a cheap HT when funds allow :D
    Looks like a chinese ebay job that can do 5khz tuning steps
    Once again thanks and hope to catch you all on hf (20metres)
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