Eggbeaters + SSB Electronics preamps + clear horizon for FM easy sats?

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by AK5B, Jan 24, 2020.

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  1. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm considering a simple setup for more or less casual FM (+some SSB if doable) LEO dxing / grid-chasing here at my flat-terrain South Texas condo. (EL18 on the Gulf)

    I have a pair of 20-year old M2 Eggbeaters on hand in very good condition; one or both of which I could mount on a cross arm atop a telescoping 34' GigaParts carbon fiber (super-lightweight but strong) mast that will arrive tomorrow.

    By getting the Eggbeaters up at or above my second story roof line I figure having a fairly clear horizon/skyview could enable some decent FM satellite grid chasing. I also plan to start out with at least one 2m SSB Electronic mast-mounted preamp at the 2m Eggbeater feedpoint to boost the downlinks of AO-91 and 92 for starters. I could also add one for 70cm for the SO-50 downlink if my initial experiment works out well enough, too. Both would be the VOX version with bias T DC feeds through the coax.

    Does this plan sound feasible for the most part or am I setting myself up for frustration and disappointment?

    I do not want to ever do any digital mode stuff nor can I realistically install an az/el rotator with beams in my HOA environment; my telescoping mast would often be retracted in my back patio when not QRV on a few passes. I used to work the easy birds 20 years ago when they were flying but have not kept up with any sats at all since...

    Looking forward to what the experts have to say about my plan.

    (I may spring for an IC-9700 if I'm reasonably successful but will start out with an IC-746 and TM-V7A before proceeding further).

    73,

    Jeff

    EDIT: One other question: OK for a short (6') cross arm for both antennas or would that be too close for comfort? I could mount one antenna on the other side of my upstairs balcony but would be close to the stucco building on one side)
     
  2. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    well you should be able to do something with them, I've got into the FM sats twice with just my FT60R, although they were hi-passes.
    Before I assembled my satellite setup I had a 15 element 2M beam up 35' and a cloverleaf antenna for 70cm at 12'. Quite often I could work CAS-4A or CAS-4B at very low elevation. RX was not very good on the UHF cloverleaf
    Rig is an IC9100 and no preamps as of yet.
    theres lots of folks using handheld yagis with handhelds
    If you already have them I'd try them out, probably good idea for the preamps when the sats are lower elevation
     
    AK5B likes this.
  3. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks, Robert; that's something I hadn't thought of (that handhelds are making contacts with some of these birds). I might also go portable from our beach once I get it worked out here, too.

    73,

    Jeff
     
    VE3CGA likes this.
  4. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Jeff , what is that car on your bio page. It looks like one I had a few years ago
     
  5. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    The white car is a Scion xB; one of the most dependable vehicles I've ever owned (besides my BMW bikes, Hondas and old Toyota 4Runner). Got it with almost 50k on it and now am approaching 94k miles with little more than oil, tire, brake and filter changes. Only complaint is low ground clearance; I almost ripped off the front bumper/skirt section once when I backed up over a tiny tree stump protruding a few inches above the dirt that caught the bottom edge...

    73,

    Jeff
     
  6. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It has a similar shape to a hyundai I had in the mid 80's.
    I put my TS520 in the back seat with a large whip off the rear bumper.
    My young sons thought it was cool riding with the radio between them
    The whip with large center coil dwarfed the car

    I know what you mean about ground clearance, I had a Merc Villager
    One winter I hit a slush blob that fell out of the car's wheel well ahead of me
    The motor was siezed before I could get to the side of the road.

    My current wheels bringin home the yagi's

    upload_2020-1-24_18-59-2.png
     
    AK5B likes this.
  7. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Do it, getting into the FM satellites is pretty easy.
    You don't need a high-end tracking program or Azimuth/elevation rotors either.
    In my mobile dual band I scan the satellite Center channels and when one comes over it's like a band opening I normally can easily make a couple of contacts using a mobile antenna, the egg beaters will be better.
    I just scan until I hear one and it's like a band opening. Fun and easy. It beats listening to FM repeaters all day!

    I do the same thing on my home station I have a low game quarter wave antenna and I are gain antenna with a two position switch it does help but I can hear the satellites on either about anytime they come over.
    On FM Just program the center frequencies on the Uplink in the downlink and don't worry about the Doppler. And 5 watts is all you need most of the time, any good FM radio will work, no need for preamps, it's either there or it's not.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
    AK5B and K4BAD like this.
  8. K3RLD

    K3RLD Ham Member QRZ Page

    You will need to correct for doppler on the UHF uplink/downlink. AO-91 (and/or AO-92, too?) has internal compensation for non-corrected uplink - but my personal opinion is that it really only works if you are less than 5 kHz away. SO-50 sounds like trash if you aren't less than a few kHz from the downlink.
     
    AK5B, WE4B and WD9EWK like this.
  9. KG4RUL

    KG4RUL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have made numerous LEO contacts using the M2 Eggbeaters with the SSB Electronics pre-amps. My eggbeaters were mounted on a 5 foot fiberglass cross-boom and just peeked above my roof line.
     
    AK5B likes this.
  10. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree, I used to set my up/dwn channels 5 KHz apart in my rigs as I recall from "the old days" as well as slightly re-tune the ssb birds, too. Thanks for mentioning that.

    73,

    Jeff
     

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