Station and Operating Hints

Operating on satellites is relatively straightforward, but over the years many tips, tricks, and secrets have been discovered which make operating more efficient and pleasant.  Here we are collecting information of use to both the new and experienced operator.

Fox-1 Operating Guide includes pointers on getting started and provides a handy reference to the Fox-1 cubesat operating frequencies. This color PDF file is designed to print double-sided. Two different resolution versions are available:
Low resolution PDF suitable for on-screen display (~400 KB size)
High resolution, press quality PDF for hard-copy printing  (~2 MB size)

Operating FM Satellites is the easiest way to get started. This guide introduces you to the basic equipment and techniques and has the information you need to get on SO-50. There is also a Spanish version.

Uploading Satellite QSOs to LoTW details how to upload satellite QSOs to LoTW using TQSL.

LilacSat-2 flyer. This one-page flyer has the frequency information for the LilacSat-2 (CAS-3H) FM satellite, and links for additional information on this satellite.

Working FO-29 with a single FT-817 and Arrow Yagi. Drew Glasbrenner KO4MA wrote this article which appeared in the January/February 2005 AMSAT Journal, explaining how to work FO-29 using a single Yaesu FT-817 and Arrow Antennas 2m/70cm Yagi. This article may be many years old, but the advice is still relevant today. Other antennas like Elk Antennas 2m/70cm log periodics or homebrew equivalents of these popular commercially-made antennas could be used in place of the Arrow Yagi. Other radios – for example, Yaesu FT-100, FT-857, FT-897, FT-991; Icom IC-706Mk2G, IC-7000, IC-7100 – that support SSB at 2m and 70cm could be used in place of an FT-817.

Mode-J Filter.  For satellites which have 2 meter uplinks and 70 cm downlinks, the third harmonic may cause overload of the 70 cm preamplifier used on most stations.  This can be greatly reduced or eliminated with an inexpensive duplexer.

Grid Square Locator Map A Google Maps interface to determine your Maidenhead Grid locator.

WA5VJB Kent Britain Cheap Yagis for Satellite Here is a PDF of the world famous cheap yagis and band splitter for inexpensive satellite operation.

CJU 70cm antenna Here is a PDF of the very easy and effective CJU antenna, designed for attaching to an HT for Mode J receive operation.

ioIO dual band antenna This is the dual band version of the CJU listed above.

AA2TX 70cm Parasitic Lindenblad Omni Antenna

An EZ-Lindenblad Antenna for 2 Meters

Add ISS Packet Operation to Your Satellite Activity JoAnne K9JKM has written a handy guide to ISS packet operations.

ISS Packet Operation on 70cm Information on how to work the ISS packet digipeater on 437.550 MHz. This is a supplement to the “Add ISS Packet Operation to Your Satellite Activity” document above.

The One True Rule for Doppler Tuning by Paul Williamson, KB5MU, or “Do I tune the uplink, downlink, or both?”  This classic article explains the best practices for tuning to compensate for Doppler effects.

Bringing the One True Rule of Doppler Tuning into the 21st Century by Alan Biddle, WA4SCA.  The increase in both computing power and sophistication of programs has made it possible to tune your radio almost as easily as you do on HF and then have your QSO without constantly having to retune if both operators are using Full Doppler Tuning and the satellite transponder does not drift.  This article discusses why FDT is desirable, and now easy to do.