I’ve been gearing up to work SO-50 lately. Mostly just listening in, perfecting my setup, and perhaps overthinking things.
I use ISS Detector for Android on my Galaxy S5 to alert me to ISS and AMSAT flyovers. I was busy when my phone alerted me to a nice 71° pass at just before 7pm local time. Well, by the time I had a chance to grab my gear, I had only 2 minutes to spare. Today, less was more, and with less… I made my first satellite contact.
I grabbed my tape measure antenna and only one radio, and connected it to the 2m side so I could transmit, and hopefully receive well enough. Once the bird broke through 25° it came in nice and clear (there are mountains to the north where it began it’s pass). I recorded the audio with my phone. I have been working to use my TASCAM audio recorder, but didn’t have time to get it all together… plus, I’ve yet to come up with a way for the TASCAM to record my transmissions. More tinkering to do there.
I waited for a break to get my call-sign in the mix, and ended up making contact with KM4LMF, who appears to be an even newer ham than I… As in a day or two ago?! Nice job!
Here it is:
I attempted a couple more contacts, and WB3CSY ended up calling, I threw out my call-sign, but at the time I didn’t catch his call-sign and I kinda just had a brain fart, after having made my first contact. Oh well… I was excited.
I’m sorry, WB3CSY… I’ll do better next time:
The tape measure antenna came through in a pinch! Now I need to work on getting an HT that does SSB for the other AMSATs up there.
This is a very limited test and review of the DJB-1 dual band HAM antenna that I purchased from Dr. Ed Fong (WB6IQN) on eBay. I recommend buying directly from his eBay store since the proceeds goes towards his students. They often make the antennas as an exercise under his supervision. Mine was well-made and performs nicely.
After installing the antenna in the peak of my attic away from all electrical wires and air conditioning, I connected about 50 feet of LMR-400 to it. I then connected my Chinese antenna analyzer and tested both 2m and 70cm bands. Everything looked good and I was just in time to check in to the SE Linked Repeater Net and give it a whirl with my Baofeng UV-5R V2+ HT.
The day after, I set out to see which 2m repeaters I could hit on low power (1 watt), and get some signal reports. The first try was 23 miles away with great reports. The second attempt was 32 miles away with great reports. The third try was 42 miles away and I was able to hit that repeater with 1 watt and full quieting. Pretty good! There were some repeaters I could not hit that were a bit closer, but I cannot verify if they are up and running. I’m located at one of the highest points in my town, and I think this is what is helping the DBJ-1 perform so well for me. They are a relatively horizontal pattern antenna and mine is located at a decent elevation with respect to my surroundings (and area repeaters). I’ll try for more distance on both low and high transmit power when I have more time. I will also plot not only distance, but direction and elevation differences between my station and repeaters. From there, I will rotate the antenna and see how this affects performance to fringe repeaters.
Below are a series of images showing the test result using my Chinese made KVE 520A analyzer. This small box shows 1:1 SWR with two different 50Ω terminators. Good enough for me since I compare antennas instead of relying on accurate numbers for each antenna. I would love to someday find out how well this little box is calibrated.