New Antenna Test

Ok guys, the first antenna test occured yesterday Sep 11 2014. This test ended up unsuccessfully due to satellites being to close to the horizon and the Cubesats that I tried possibly being dead. I’m not giving up on hearing something from this new antenna. 🙂 I am also trying to get my son interested as well. I believe that if he can hearing something, he may show some more interest.

Well today I decided to try again before bad weather comes into the area and I decided to give FO-29 a try I trying tuning to the highest UHF frequency that ISS Detector showed of 435.850 as I thought I should have and was not hearing anything. Hmmm…very odd, maybe I was doing something wrong. I did not think of moving around before the downlinks of 435.900 to 435.800. I put the antenna across the corner of the bed of my truck to adjust the radio and I tuned about 2 to 3 KHz down from where I was and started hearing some noise. I though to myself, this can not be this easy. LOL. I picked up the antenna and pointed about 10% from where I left off and sure enough, I was hearing a CW beacon and SSB voice communications.

The thing that I am taking out of this is to never rely on one frequency for the downlink or there may never be anything heard. I was able to track FO-29 for about 2 to 3 minutes before it started fading behind the houses. Another thing that I learned from this is that you do need to think equilateral which means that you can not just rely completely on azimuth or elevation but use the circular rotation as well to compensate for the tumbling of the satellite. Now that weather is coming in, I has to stop early but I will continue to try to pick up more so that I can document what seems to work in this area.

FO-29 Information

http://www.amsat.org/?page_id=1024

—===—===—

Mode V/U (J) Linear Transponder (Inverting):
Uplink: 145.9000 – 146.0000 MHz SSB/CW
Downlink 435.8000 – 435.9000 MHz SSB/CW

Mode U Beacon:
Downlink 435.7950 MHz CW

Mode U Digitalker (Rarely Used):
Downlink 435.9100 MHz FM

fo29

73’s for now,

Tim

KF4BZT

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New Arrow Antenna Arrives

After some issues with the mail, I finally received a package which I am looking forward to using. Thanks Tim Chapman KB7MDF for the awesome product. This is my new Arrow 2 satellite antenna for dual (VHF / UHF) band satellite communications. Below is the URL for the antenna that I ordered.

http://www.arrowantennas.com/arrowii/146-437.html

Upon opening the box, I was impressed with the compact packaging and the size really surprised me as the box fit into one of the larger outside mailboxes. I ordered the split beam boom to make transport of this antenna to the field or ham radio events much easier. Even my tripod that I will use is in a bag just a little larger than the one that I ordered which makes this the ultimate portable satellite package. Per the Arrow Antenna web site this antenna is about 19 Ounces so fairly light to handle. The boom is 3/4″ square at 37 1/2″ Long. which makes for a short boom. The bag is the 26″ Roll Up with sections in it for each part of the antenna. This makes storage much easier.

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After I removed the contents of the bags that came, you can see how everything is separated out. The boom is the far right which included a 2M / 440 duplexer. The duplexer came with the version that I ordered. It is normally sold separately with some models. Next to the boom are the VHF elements which are a set of 3, a director, a driver and a reflector. And right next to the VHF elements are the UHF elements. The UHF elements contain 5 directors, 1 driver and 1 reflector. Each element are separated into two sections with a threaded post to hold them together on the boom. You can also see a look at the bag and how it is made, Very nicely made with plenty of room for this antenna.

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Here is a closeup of the split boom with the duplexer built into the handle. The duplexer can be removed if needed and under the foam handle is also a mount hole for the tripod. I need to figure out how I am going to connect this to my tripod with the duplexer in line as well. If anyone has any ideas, By all means let me know at kf4bzt at gmail dot com.

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Here is a closeup of the VHF elements with the in-line gamma match. I have never used an antenna with a gamma match and these come pretuned so no adjustment should need to be done unless absolutely necessary. You can see the threaded connections which bring these elements together in the boom. Also you can see the a closeup shot of the UHF elements with the gamma match on the driver element. As I mentioned above, this is pre-tuned so no adjustments should need to be made. In this video you can each director attached to each other using the threaded screws. I like the fact that each element on VHF and UHF have red caps to protect the edges and to protect the operator and any one around from being stabbed. 🙂

 

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Here shows the two section boom together with the duplexer in the handle and the each VHF, UHF and radio coax waiting for their connections.

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Here, I have connected the VHF direct, driver and reflector to the boom. You can also see a close up of the gamma match connected on the driver element.

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Below shows the UHF elements that were connected and you can also see the antenna completely assembled. I have attached a shot of the UHF gamma match which is connected to the UHF driver element.wpid-20140910_172256.jpgwpid-20140910_172240.jpg

 

I did some reading from other ham radio operators of possibly how much time it took to assemble the elements because they were not labeled. So I looked at this, and in order to speed things up, if needed, me and my daughter Makayla created element labels and attached them to each element. She wrote down what each label is for which is a great help. You can also see what the elements look like with the labels. Not bad, huh??

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I also ordered the Male SMA Duplexer connector for my Baofeng HT and it works real well.

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And finally, below shows the antenna in its bag and the bag closed up. Like I mentioned earlier, this is nice for moving to the field or any ham radio events. Well, now it is time to test this bad boy out and I will post results as I have them.

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73’s All,

Tim

KF4BZT