After making many successful QSO on AO-51, SO-50 and AO-27 with the Arrow antenna using the two handheld Rigs, I have made a few new Ham friends who gave me some good tips regarding home brew SAT antenna's.
One Station Steve DL1YAL, gave me the link to EA4CYQ Juan's website showing his impressive SAT antenna the IOIo. The site contains detailed home brew construction information, which I followed using some 3mm TIG welding wire and PVC Tubing of Three different Diameters .
I made Three IOIo antenna's in total, the first one (MK I) worked well into VO-52 using SSB on the FT847 in the Shack. I was very impressed and wanted to experiment further, so I decided to try a slight change by changing the polarisation on 435MHz, making the antenna X shape. I gave the completed MK II to Phil M1PAC and as you see in the picture Phil has mounted it to a Tripod. Good luck with your set up Phil, and I hope to work you via one of the 'Birds' soon.
I then knocked up the MK III where I attached some more elements to see what might happen? I installed it on a tubular mast of 5 feet and aimed it N.W, I decided to try 144.300 to see if anyone was about to get a report when I heard a 5/5 signal coming from GM Scotland (150-200 Miles).
I called back on the new IOIo modified Beam and worked GM4CCC/P Chris at the Island of Isla IO65VO, exchanging 5/5 reports. I was extremely pleased with the IOIo beams great performance tested and compared. I tried to receive Chris on the Vertical and could not hear anything. The new beam was looking good, Tnx to EA4CYQ Juan for the design!
I finalised the test when I set the beam at about 15 degrees elevation,and about 200 degrees in a southerly direction, and awaited VO52 on 145.900 USB +/- RX frequency. I set the other VFO to the TX Up link frequency of 435.250 LSB.
It was'nt long before the signals came flooding into my FT-847, I successfully worked three Stations during the Pass.
I worked, DG6IMR, G7BTA, and EB3SA using the MK III IOIo with 5/9 exchanges and no Rotators. So the result was excellent and I just keep turning the antenna in the the approaching VO-52 Satellite's direction at the moment before the SAT is in range. Here are some images of the IOIo Satellite antenna's designed by EA4CYQ and built by myself 2E0HTS.
The MK I awaiting the two feeders which are soldered directly to the back of each loop.
The MK I Version in action. The MK II Version in action at Phil M1PAC QTH in Keighley West Yorkshire. The MK III Version at my QTH at 1000 ft ASL I really enjoyed home brewing these antenna's, and it was an inexpensive way of creating a tool to allow SAT Operation. I await my next project whilst playing some more Ham Radio!
I decided I would like to try work a few Satellites with my hand held radios after watching fellow Ham and Youtuber K7AGE Randy, in one of his many excellent Youtube videos.
I particularly enjoyed Randy's video which showed him making a QSO via AO51 with the Arrow Antenna mounted on a tripod using a simple hand held radio.
I also found other Hams on youtube with similar videos, one video with EA1GHW using two hand held radios which made the job of listening to your own transmission via the down link much easier.
So with the inspiration and ideas both taken on board as well as some ideas of my own, I began to set up my own Portable QRP Satellite Station.
The first job was constructing the extension boom which would incorporate two radio mounts as well as providing somewhere to site a compass and my HP Ipaq which runs windows mobile software and sat track.
I used some aluminium sheet which was 3mm in thickness. I cut the sheet using a guillotine and then placed the aluminium in to a bench folder which allowed me to fold the ally into a L shape, similar to angle iron.
Once the extension boom was drilled to fit the pre-drilled and tapped back part of the antenna boom, I assembled the ext boom. Then I began to plan the best way to mount the two hand held rigs I was to use which are Yaseu FT-470, and Kenwood TH-7e.
The next stage was where I fabricated two alloy carry case type radio supports, these were tailor made for each transceiver. I made them from 1.5mm high grade aluminium and mounted them to the L shape boom with 4.8mm diameter rivets.
I fitted the radios to the antenna and used the built in duplexer with a maximum input of 10 watts to practice receiving signals from the LEO(low Earth Orbiting) Satellites.
Both rigs are capable of working VHF & UHF and both have Dual watch(Two VFOs on screen).
After testing during the initial setup, I found the Kenwood worked excellent on VHF and could even be used to receive(RX only) VO52 operating on USB.
However, the Kenwoods performance was so not as good on Receiving AO51, AO27, and SO50 which are all FM UHF down links, the TH7e seemed to be deaf on 435 and 436 MHz.
This was not a great surprise as I have compared the little transceiver/multi mode scanner many times before with my almost antique out performing Yaesu ft-470.
The FT-470 can also be used as a one rig set up as I found out with successful QSOs being made from Germany and the Ukraine on AO51 and SO50.
The FT-470 has a fader that allows for example: AO51 up link 145.920 to TX whilst the down link can still be heard with the balance of the fader set to UHF at the same time as your transmission.
I found the old radios receive capability was outstanding and the only weak spot now was pressing the band select button to RX VFO whilst adjusting the Doppler frequency, then back to the up link band to TX.
So the final stage was to remove the boom fitted duplexer supplied with antenna, and to feed the dual bands directly to the two Hand helds.
Steve has a good selection of Equipment new and second hand, as well as the other bits and pieces related to radio you may need. Local for myself and the best place to get some quality feeder, fittings and new rechargeable battery's for the old Yaesu.
Me outside LAR. Once I returned from LAR, I fitted the feeder and began to play.
It was not long before AO-27 became in range, and with the two radios working I was easily able to operate the QRP satellite operational portable station out in the garden and made a successful QSO via the satellite.
The FT-470 was in RX mode whilst the kenwood was used to TX.
Here you can see both rigs and mounts fixed to the EXT L boom. A close up of the FT-470 and home brew mount. The Radio's, Ipaq, and Compass. HP Ipaq running windows mobile software and Sat Track to know when and where to point the antenna when the Satellite is in range. Technology is great but a trusty compass makes life easier when finding the correct direction. The Completed project. Looking upwards Easily becomes Vertical polarisation and works well on 2m Fm and SSB, good for SOTA work.
I've been running in and out quite a lot the past couple of days working nearly every pass that each satellite provides with the new QRP set up, I am really surprised on how well it is performing.
I am enjoying this interesting way to make radio contacts and hope to hear you all calling CQ Satellite soon. It makes a change to be working the satellites making QSOs from the usual WX monitoring. Which lately the constant rain has told its own story. I would just like to say this type of activity is an exciting, fast paced way to make QSOs that seems very addictive and time consuming as I have worked two satellites since beginning this post and am constantly watching the Satellite Radar waiting anxiously, what good fun I'm having, I love it!
p.s tnx to Louise (M3TLL my YL) for putting up with it all. h.i
The past few weeks I have been exploring the world of VHF by listening and playing around on 2M SSB as well as VO-52. I have had some success on 144.300 with my vertical and home brew Loop with DX opportunities such as GM4PPT (Richard) located in Scotland near to Ayr and one or two other interesting QSOs.
The rest of the time apart from HF operations, I have been tracking VO-52 and trying my best to put a signal into its Transponder and making some QSOs. I successfully had a QSO with DL6HP via VO-52 and tonight's pass brought signals to my Earth Station once again but this time I received them with my new home brew 2M Yagi. Tonight's contact was with G7BTA (Dave) who was approximately 200 miles south of my QTH down in Hereford.
The Home brew Yagi received well but my TX was still going through my vertical so you guessed it, the next job is a 433/70CM Yagi.
Here is the story so far, I used a broom handle, some 3mm thick aluminium sheet, and some 3mm Brass sheet.
I cut the sheet on a 6mm capacity guillotine with a 3 meter wide bed, which allowed a full 3X2 meter sheet to be cut. The aluminium elements are 15mm wide and the brass driven element was cut at 20mm wide.
The above diagram shows the element sizes and the element spacings.
The Image below shows the finished project assembled to the Broom Stick. You can see the Three 15mm x 3mm Aluminium elements and the Brass 20mm x 3mm active driven element which is folded at one side creating optimum performance as well as 1.1 SWR across 144-146 MHZ. The total length is 960mm wide + 480mm (folded element) + 35mm space between top element and bottom folded element. Total size was 1475mm. Here you can see Me holding the Broom Stick Yagi, with My Dog Dudley assisting the installation. I used the flat strip rather than round bar mainly because it was at my disposal at the time.
I will probably build the 433- 437 MHz Yagi from welding rods which are round. This Yagi was simple to build using screws and the wooden broom, but now I can no longer sweep out the shack as the broom has now become my Boom. h.i The next stage is where I fixed some box section to the base of the Broom-Boom, here you see the yagi in its horizontal state.
The next image shows the Coaxial feed line which the braid is taken to the centre of the top part of the Brass Driven Element. Here you can see the Coaxial inner which is connected to the bottom folded part of the Driven Element. I used a plastic spacer to obtain the 35mm clearance from the top part of the Element Another view of the Feeder which is 50 ohm Coax. And of course as usual ,I like my antennas away from nagging/complaints so once again the Tree provides height a well as stealth. ( I did straighten and line up the elements once I set everything up) This one is a prototype, Once I have given it a serious testing I may construct a Dual band yagi similar to the LEO (Low Earth Orbiting) Satellite antenna, which should be arriving from Antenna warehouse USA any day soon. I am hoping to use the commercial Arrow antenna which is hand held with my Hand Held Radios and operate via AO-51, more about that in the near future and maybe I'll try to make something similar.
In the meantime thanks for reading and if your thinking about trying a Broom stick Yagi like this one, I hope you have as much fun and enjoyment making it like I just have had.
It does seem to work very well within the short time I have tested it, and I am feeling confident it will be a big improvement especially on SSB.