Arrow Antenna Mounted and Outfitted

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by W3KW, Aug 24, 2018.

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  1. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The KG-UV9D Plus isn't a bad option, other than what affects some dual-band radios - receiver desense when working V/U FM satellites. A second radio usually cures that. The KG-UV9D Plus is supported by the CHIRP programming software, and I have some KG-UV9D Plus configuration files compatible with both CHIRP and the Wouxun software in my Dropbox space (look in the folder "KG-UV9D_Plus").

    In addition, there are threads in this forum about the original KG-UV9D and the KG-UV9D Plus.

    Yes, it is. Paul KE0PBR has a nice writeup on how he made a portable satellite station with a TM-V71.

    I don't have a TM-V71, but have a TM-D710GA that uses the same radio "box" as the TM-V71 with a different faceplate with the additional packet/APRS and GPS functionality. Nice radio. I have used mine mostly for the packet/APRS satellites, but it is a very good performer for FM satellites. The TM-V71 has one advantage: its faceplate is designed to be mounted on the radio "box", or has the option to mount the faceplate away from the "box" with a separation cable. The TM-D710GA's faceplate wasn't designed to be mounted on the "box" in the same way, plus it is larger than the TM-V71's faceplate.

    Most of the time, including the just-concluded Field Day, I use two FT-817NDs for SSB satellites. Mine are not mounted together; I set them side-by-side on a table or other flat surface - which sometimes can be the roof of my car - and use them that way. Sometimes I will replace one of the 817s with a different receiver when working SSB satellites - a software-defined receiver with a laptop or tablet, the all-mode receiver in my Kenwood TH-D74, or my Icom IC-R30 receiver. The two 817s did very well during Field Day, working a bunch of stations on 6 different SSB satellites from northern Arizona on Saturday.

    Good luck, and 73!
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
    K4BAD likes this.
  2. WE4B

    WE4B Ham Member QRZ Page

    I will confirm what Patrick stated. I heard him working stations while using his 817s while I was working stations on our 817s, here in central Alabama. For just satellite work, I'm not sure if the extra expense of additional filters will really offer you any ROI but it certainly would for terrestrial HF.

    I have a couple of SDR devices which get used for downloading WX satellite images. One day I will try one for the amateur radio communication satellites.

    For the satellites which we amateurs have available to us, it's hard to beat a pair of 817s. Have fun and best of luck to everyone!
    K4BAD and WD9EWK like this.
  3. WD4ELG

    WD4ELG Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK, I have two dated but functional FT-817ND rigs that I can use for the birds. I used them in the past, I just need to get off my butt and make the portable setup again so I can get out on the road.

    I never really got the hang of the linear birds...I would have to guess at the doppler...while I was listening to the other station on one 817 I would fiddle with the transmit rig so that I would at least be close to the desired frequency when it was my turn to transmit. Is there a better way do to this (and keep one hand free for the antenna)?
  4. WD4ELG

    WD4ELG Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK, I found a great video that shows how to do it with two FT817...but the key is you need a headset and separate plugs for each for the rcvr and one for transmit. No way to do this with CW LOL

  5. WE4B

    WE4B Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is totally possible to do CW via satellites while being entirely portable and manually tuning. How do I know? I've been there and done that. I haven't done it recently but, if I were to dig out my key from one of the boxes it's been stored in since a moved, I could be on the next linear transponder satellite pass sending CW.

    Phone is the most popular mode but there is plenty of CW activity. Either way, once you work out a system that works for you, you can do either with just two hands, two radios, a handheld antenna and either a key or a microphone. At first it may not seem intuitive but it's like riding a bike. At first it's difficult but it gets a bit easier each time and eventually you can do it blindfolded.
    WD9EWK likes this.
  6. K3RLD

    K3RLD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I read something once that really made sense to me regarding CW on the linear sats.... (even though I don't know code):

    Put your Rx radio into SSB mode. That way you don't have to fine tune one radio, and in some cases the doppler could almost entirely within a 3khz SSB filter. Yes, the tone will change pitch... but from what I understand that shouldn't hurt a seasoned code operator? I'm interested to hear if this works for the CW guys....
    WE4B, WD9EWK and WD4ELG like this.
  7. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is actually possible when using a headset with an FT-817 or FT-818. Unlike many other HF or HF/VHF/UHF transceivers, the FT-817/FT-818 microphone jack does not have a pin with receive audio. Headsets for these radios have a cable or adapter ending with two pigtails - one with the RJ45 (modular) connector for the microphone jack, and the other with a 3.5mm plug for the speaker jack. Normally, these two pigtails plug into the side of an FT-817 or FT-818, but they don't have to go to the same radio. If my memory is correct, there is no connection between the microphone element and the speaker(s) on the headsets. The RJ45 pigtail can go to one FT-817 for transmit, and then the 3.5mm pigtail can go to another FT-817 or whatever radio you use as the downlink receiver.

    For CW, you can plug your straight key or paddle into the same FT-817 that the RJ45 connector is plugged into. You can then work CW or SSB via satellite, listening to the downlink with the other FT-817 or whatever radio you are using to receive the downlink. As K3RLD mentioned, I leave the downlink radio in USB even when working CW, to deal with Doppler. I can usually track the CW signals as the tone pitch changes, and still adjust frequencies as needed. Even with full computer control, it is possible that the other stations you work aren't operating in the same manner. The other stations may not be lined up perfectly with you. Using narrow CW filters for those satellite QSOs may not be helpful. I have 500 Hz filters in my FT-817s, but only use them when I work HF.

    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
    WE4B likes this.
  8. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I try to "fiddle" with the radio that has the higher of the two frequencies, trying to keep the lower frequency in one place. Doesn't matter if the higher frequency is the uplink or downlink. Doppler is more pronounced on higher frequencies. Sometimes I am having to adjust both radios, to keep up with the other station - usually a sign that the other station is operating under full computer control, adjusting both uplink and downlink to stay on the same spot at the satellite.

    With an FT-817 or FT-818, you can adjust the transmit frequency with the VFO knob while transmitting, which is helpful for most of our linear (SSB/CW) satellites with 70cm uplinks and 2m downlinks. When in a QSO, I sometimes start my transmissions with a quick "aaaaah" as I line myself up again. Once I clearly hear myself, I proceed with my transmission.

    As for tuning and knowing where to be during linear satellite passes, Paul KE0PBR (yes, him again) has a frequency "cheat sheet" that many use when working the linear satellites.

    WE4B likes this.
  9. WE4B

    WE4B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Fun discussion. WD9EWK has perfectly describe the set-up for using two 817s and both K3RLD and WD9EWK are correct about using SSB to listen to the CW. It's really not as difficult as it first seems. I would definitely not use any filters when doing CW via a satellite as, odds are, the other station is not going to be perfectly lined-up with you.
  10. W3KW

    W3KW Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great video. This is the companion video that clearly explains the set up and provides links to all the gear. He did all the work for us.

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