Re: TIPs for a Satelite newbie

Robin Burke

Hi Niece,

To be honest, I’d forgotten that this group existed but hopefully I can point you in one of the many directions to get information.

A great place to start is which is free to browse but some features are members only. Go to the top menu and check out “Satellite Info” and then “Station Operating Hints” for a laundry list of resources. Amsat just updated (2020) their “Getting Started with Amateur Satellites” and it can be purchased and downloaded on their site store ($15). When I finally got around to joining Amsat I got a free copy with my membership and it looks pretty good.

There are numerous YouTube videos of various qualities available. Some have really good information but a lot just record their satellite contacts which doesn’t help a beginner. Your best source is finding an “Elmer” in your area who works the satellites possibly via your local club.

I started out in 1975 in Colorado with some of the original satellites (AO-7, etc.) with 10 meter, 144MHz and 432MHz links. I’ve been living in France for over 20 years now and just picked it up again about a year ago. When I got back into it I did what a lot of hams do... an old FT-60 144/432 HT to an Arrow antenna for the “LEO” birds (low altitude satellites). I When I was back in the US last year I picked up a full duplex Kenwood TH-d72 HT and that made life a lot easier being able to hear my transmitted signal (that’s the full duplex part). For newcomers it sounds like working the LEO satellite is getting really crowded (at least partially due to the increase in Technician licenses). Try weekdays if possible when there aren’t as many people on. It’s not quite so bad here in Europe although being retired has its advantages in scheduling operating time.

I’m 71 (ham for 57 years) and although I love building antennas I am getting to the point where my time trumps cost and I’ve gone to off-the-shelf antennas but there are a number of plans for cheap easy to build antennas that can get you started. Dave Tadlock’s YouTube channel has some building ideas using wood and coat hangers as do others.

Enough rambling. I hope the Amsat site can get you pointed in a good direction. Best of luck and enjoy the satellites.

Rob Burke - W2RSB| F4WCM
Vaucresson FRANCE

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