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Old 06-10-2009, 10:10 PM   #1
W6ZKH
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Default Playing with new mode.......for me at least.

Howdy all........ well, I should have never saw that Youtube video from K7AGE dealing with Satellite's. I got all curious to see if I could hear them, much less work any of them. I have a transceiver (Kenwood TS-731a dual-bander) that would work, so at least I had that battle taken care of, now just had to come up with some sort of antenna scheme.

After about a ream of paper through the printer, down loading everything I could find dealing with Satellite's, I started my journey into space !!

First, just wanted to juryrig up a simple yagi style antenna using #14 wire and found acouple I wanted to try, at least on the 435mhz receive portion. The first one was a 6 element "cheap yagi" mounted on a venitian blind rod which was made from plastic. Downloaded the data from the internet on afew of the passes, and attempted to give it a whirl. No soap... didnt hear a thing, so gave up on that idea. Then tried antenna #2, which was a design from Italy using only 2 elements, a reflector and a loop. Now, it worked, but was so broad, I could rotate it 360 degs and could still hear the birds. Thought maybe I needed some directivity, so took 3 of those directors from my first antenna, and "hot glued" them to the boom infront of the loop on antenna #2. It worked rather well, as I was amazed to say the least. So now I thought I had my downlink antenna, so now to tackle the up link antenna for 145 mhz. Found some articles and contemplated them, but then I happen to be listening to 20 meters (14.282) on Sunday afternoon, which is the AMSAT net. Larry, W7LB was net control, and at the end of giving all the bulletins and other news, he asked for any check-ins, so I checked in as a visitor. I told him I was just getting my feet wet, and was still trying to come up with a simple antenna situation for me, here at the beginning.

Larry gave me alot of advice and encouragement and told me what I should do is make up a "cheap yagi" crossed elements that is in an article on the net. I happen to have that article, as one I had downloaded. Said, this is the best way to go at the first, not to try and re-invent the wheel, so to speak. So, I started gathering materials for this antenna. I had a piece of 3/4" sch 40 pvc pipe which would work fine, but needed some materials for the elements. Being a set was need for 2m, #12 copper wire wasnt going to be stiff enough, so I proceeded and when to the hardware store and got some 36" bronze welding rods. For each element on 2M, I needed to splice them, and so I just soldered them together, and at that point is where I attached them to the pvc, then cut each one for the correct length. Didnt have to do that for the 435mhz part though. After drilling the holes through the pvc, and running the welding rods though, I secured them using hot glue gun. So, I was done.......I though! Now came the proof of the pudding, so to speak.. first I wanted to check the SWR of the uplink 145 antenna, but didnt have a SWR bridge for VHF, but do have a Leader Power Meter. With no cutting, I had 32 watts forward and 2 watts reflected......good enuff for me!! Didnt check the 435 SWR though, as not using it for uplinking.

When the next pass of one of the birds came across my location, I was holding that thing in my right hand, microphone in the left, and trying to tune the dopple effect with something, hi... Needless to say, I was "thrilled" when I head my own voice come back to me, as running full duplex, and a station came back to my call. I was so nervous I could hardly speak, much less say my callsign and locator ID. My first contact was Glenn, AA5PK in San Angelo, TX. Gave another call before I lost the bird and got another contact, but cant remember who it was or where he was located. After 15 minutes holding and twisting that antenna, needless to say, my arm was tired.

So, with that, I had to come up with a mounting scheme that was simple and cheap. Found one on the internet, but it was made for the Arrow crossed yagi.....so with alittle modification, I adapted it to my antenna situation. I lengthen the rear boom so I could use it to move the antenna around. The boom goes through a pvc "3/4" pvc cross", of which I have bored out each input so (1) the boom will pass through, and (2) so I can piviot the antenna up and down. I can rotate the setup where it attaches to the large pvc pipe riser coming from the tripod. Just a threaded coupler which is loose to give me rotation. I also added a "tilt gauge" (the blue thingy) just as an added feature.

So, after afew tries today, it is working fine and my arm isnt tired anymore. Biggest expense was the tripod from Radio Shack, but I can also use that for the Dish Satellite for the RV while on the road too.

Oh, I still am a "nervous Norvis" when it comes to making contacts, as I clammer and studder like some schoolboy, hi hi... I hope that goes away over time, as it seems foolish at my age, but I get excited that this thing actually worked.

Here at 2 photos attached of the antenna and also of the complete system sitting on the driveway, setup for operation. The piece of paper is info on the pass, as to elevation, time, direction, etc. Makes it handy... note:the bungie cord is to hold it at that elevation, due to it being somewhat weight forward from the pivot. I can rotate the boom also to allow for some polarization changes from vertical to horizontal on some passes.

John W6ZKH



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Old 06-11-2009, 07:42 AM   #2
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Enjoyed your story John, very interesting stuff. I can imagine how excited you were. After reading the post and then getting down to the photos, I don't know why but the the antenna system looked much better than I had expected. Professional looking job and obviously very effective.

Congratulations !!

Jim



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Old 06-11-2009, 08:22 AM   #3
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Neat antenna, I like your inclusion of an inclinometer That is not something I have seen in the design of these antennas in the past
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:59 AM   #4
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Thanks for the comments.... Jim, here is a pix of my first try at the receiving antenna.... but it actually worked quite well once I put on the 3 directors.....glued on of course !!

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Old 06-12-2009, 08:34 AM   #5
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I have to say John, the latter is much more improved version. I hope you have many happy hours with the new mode. I'm interested in attempting communications with the ISS but think I will use an omni.

I hear the ISS regularly on 2 meters as they make passes. Most of the time it's a beacon on packet. I do hear them on voice making contacts occassionally. I keep the 2 meter downlink frequency in scan. Very interesting. We did see a visible pass a couple of weeks ago shortly after sunset. Boy it was lit up bright, no problem seeing it. The brightest thing in the sky. It came almost directly overhead. It was "hauling". As bright and as large as it appeared, you would almost think you could see it during the daylight hours. According to my son (N4XCI) the Hubble is brighter at times then the ISS, due to the huge solar panels.

I got off on a different topic John. Have fun with your new mode of operation. Keep us posted please on your contacts and success.

73,
Jim



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Old 06-23-2009, 01:12 PM   #6
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New equipment setup a/o 6/22/09. I never like the results I was getting from that 6 element yagi, as it had NO EARS for some reason. All measurements and design was according to article, but it just would hear.........so, went back to my "CHU" loop antenna with one director and WOW, it receives out alot farther than I can transmit, (have heard the satelitte's out past 2500 miles) so am pleased with it........sofar, or until the next "wild hair" get up and going, hi ... If you look back at the original photo you'll see I have did some mods also on the xcvr mounting. Got away from the bar stool setup, which was a big pain, and mounted the xcvr on a piece of 1" square aluminum stock I happen to have laying around. Now, the display is just below eye level, and I can tune for RX side for the doppler effect without having to have 5 hands to do all the shuffling the AZ-EL, mike, knobs, etc.

SHOWING NEW 430 MHZ LOOP ANTENNA FOR RX:


SHOWING NEW SAT YAGI WITH XCVR MOUNTING BRACKET:
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:42 PM   #7
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Nice set up John! Looks like a QST article in the making.
73
Andy - n1ork



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Old 06-23-2009, 10:18 PM   #8
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I agree Andy. He needs to put his story and photos together and submit them to QST or the AmSat Site, or BOTH !!! I think it's certainly worthy. He might even mention all the moral support he received from ORR members.



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Old 06-24-2009, 08:10 AM   #9
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Well, believe it or not, I use to write for 73 Magazine and old Wayne Green. This was back in the 80's. Think I did a total of 7 articles in that decade for him. Most dealt with EmComm stuff. Major one was "Packet Digipeater in Ammo box", then there was the "VOX Controller" and I cant remember the rest. Oh some solar projects too. I use to have all the articles in a box, but over the years have lost them. Heck, ole Wayne use to pay me $125 per article.........I think he took the monie from under his "tinfoil" hat though, ha ha... He got real weird and quit HR but still played chasing aliens, like Art Bell...
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W6ZKH View Post
Well, believe it or not, I use to write for 73 Magazine and old Wayne Green. This was back in the 80's. Think I did a total of 7 articles in that decade for him. Most dealt with EmComm stuff. Major one was "Packet Digipeater in Ammo box", then there was the "VOX Controller" and I cant remember the rest. Oh some solar projects too. I use to have all the articles in a box, but over the years have lost them. Heck, ole Wayne use to pay me $125 per article.........I think he took the monie from under his "tinfoil" hat though, ha ha... He got real weird and quit HR but still played chasing aliens, like Art Bell...
I used to subscribe to 73 Magazine. I really enjoyed that publication. $125 probably was decent money in those days. I recall the "Packet and Ammo Box" article. I was heavy into packet at one time. I had a couple of "Rose Switches" and later went to a different switch. The other switch name escapes me. I used a vox type circuit, homebrewed to power a tape recorder once. I may have built it from your article. I don't recall where I found it. It activated a tape recorder when a particular frequency was active on a scanner. I guess you would actually have called it a COR. It worked and I knew what had gone on during the night while I was sleeping. That is to say if I had gotten to sleep that night and not been called out.

We should have known he had some experience writing Andy !



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