Getting Active on Ham Sats
Well. This has been an on and off idea of mine for many years. I always wanted to have a go but never heard much except for the ISS. Getting to the RSGB NRC back in October 2019 fired my enthusiasm again. My first feeble tries were with a Kenwood TS-2000 radio. Very capable but with just one Diamond X50 I could only hear a few weak signals.
When I got the FT-847 a few years back I took a renewed interest and even managed some QSOs. I bought SatPC32 and joined AMSAT UK. The antenna was a eantenna 2m/70cms dual band Yagi. I made a bracket to raise the antenna to a 25 degree angle. It worked, well sort of. A duplexer was needed at the back of the radio and no preamps in circuit. I worked across the pond on AO7.
Jump forward to December 2021. I have a ICOM IC-9700, preamps for 2m and 70cms, A 9el LFA Yagi for 2m and a 23el DUAL made Yagi for 70cms. Both horizontal and set up for SSB weak signal. The trouble is. There is very little activity. When there is activity its all FT8. The best setup I have ever had for 2m/70cms DX and no one to talk to. What is a Ham to do.
Well I looked back at Sats again. Problem I had was no simple logging solution. Thats where Cloudlog came in. I had played with getting it going before but was not successful. This time I was. I installed WAMP on my Windows 10 box and eventually after a lot of faffing about got it working. Connected to SatPC32 for CAT control and I was, as they say away to the races. Over December 2021 and early 2021 I made 78 contacts and worked 17 countries and nearly 50 squares. You know what. Work Ham Sats is fun and a very interesting learning experience. I have a pare of WIMO X-Quads on order. I have a G5500 ready to install and once everything is here and the warmer weather arrives I will be pulling all the antennas of the mast and fitting new.
New antennas will comprise a Cobwebb for 20m through 4m and the two 2m/70cms X-Quads, with preamps for working Ham Sats. 2022 is going to be a very interesting year.