Technical Articles

Satellite Basics (Part 5): Operating Satellites from Your Home Station

Editor’s Note: Welcome to OnAllBands’ new video series on the fun and challenges of making contacts through Amateur Radio satellites! Your host is Sean Kutzko, KX9X, OnAllBands blogger, former AMSAT Volunteer Coordinator, and experienced satellite operator.

In our fifth installment of Sean’s video series, he moves inside to discuss how you can operate amateur radio satellites from a simple home station built from equipment you may already have around the shack.

Using an Icom IC-746PRO for 2M on receive and transmitting on 70cm with an Icom IC-706MKIIG transceiver, he has been able to log an impressive number of grid squares. For antennas, he employs a five-element horizontally polarized Yagi for 2M and an M2 Eggbeater Satellite Antenna for 70cm.

Sean demonstrates making a QSO with his “everyman satellite station”; discusses its many limitations (e.g., inability to correct polarization fading); and offers suggestions for Hams on ways to creatively assemble a home satellite station that can get you started without all the bells and whistles.

Looking for bells and whistles? Icom’s satellite-friendly IC-9700 VHF/UHF/1.2 GHz Transceiver is available at DXEngineering.com. It features full duplex, smooth satellite operations with normal/reverse tracking, and 99 satellite channels. DX Engineering also carries circularly polarized Yagis, pre-amps, and azimuth-elevation rotator systems for your ideal setup.

To view all of Sean’s videos, enter “Satellite” at OnAllBands.

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