Can I use my Icom 7000 to communicate through satellite AO73(7 centimeter, ssb,uplink and 2 meter downlink)?Same question regarding satellite SO 50(2 meter,fm,uplink and 7 centimeter downlink). I,ve been inactive for 20 years,so getting back into ham radio involves a pretty steep learning curve....HI. Thanks for reading. Any/all responses will be appreciated.
To answer your question specifically, yes - you can use the IC-7000 for satellite work.
For the FM satellite SO-50, the easiest way is to probably use the two VFOs for the two frequencies needed to work the satellite. Put the transmit frequency 145.850 MHz FM with 67.0 Hz PL in one VFO, then put 436.805 MHz FM in the other. Make sure the FM tuning steps are set to 5 kHz, as you need to adjust the receive frequency (the 436 MHz side) downward as the satellite moves overhead. And engage the split mode, just like working split on HF. When you transmit, the radio can switch to the VFO with 145.850 MHz FM, then back to the 436 MHz frequency to hear the satellite. Make sure the squelch is open all the way, as SO-50 does not transmit with lots of power (only 250mW).
AO-73, and the other satellites workable in SSB (AO-7, FO-29, VO-52), is also possible. Since SSB satellites listen across a range of frequencies as opposed to a single channel like SO-50 (from a transponder of 20 kHz on AO-73 to as much as 100 kHz on FO-29), many stations can have QSOs at the same time. Although it is possible to work these satellites with just one radio like an IC-7000, it is probably better if you had a second radio serving as a receiver with your IC-7000. Or consider using software like SatPC32 to control your IC-7000, making the Doppler adjustments on both your transmit and receive frequencies. Your IC-7000 should be controllable from SatPC32, if you have the CI-V interface or a third-party equivalent to Icom's computer-control interface. SatPC32 can be downloaded from the author's web site http://www.dk1tb.de/indexeng.htm
if you want to take a look at it. The trial version is fully functional, except that you must enter your station information every time you run it. The SatPC32 license key, available from AMSAT's online store http://store.amsat.org/catalog/
, will save the settings so you won't have to reenter them every time.
With the dashboard software available from the http://funcube.org.uk/
web site, you can use your IC-7000 as a receiver copying the telemetry on 145.935 MHz USB (+/- for Doppler). During daylight passes, AO-73 only transmits telemetry on that frequency, as the transponder is off to allow for more power to be used on the telemetry downlink. At night, the telemetry downlink is still on, but at a lower power level (30mW at night, vs. 300mW in daylight) so the transponder can be operational. You can look at data that has been downloaded and sent to the FUNcube data warehouse server at http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/
. You can also join the FUNcube forum at http://forum.funcube.org.uk/
to talk with others about this fun little satellite.
More information on the available satellites you can talk through is available at http://ww2.amsat.org/?page_id=177
. Another good resource for information is AMSAT's AMSAT-BB mailing list. You can subscribe to the list, or look through the archives, at http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb
if you are interested. As you get started with this, don't worry so much about transmitting at first. The challenges are in hearing the relatively weak signals from orbit, as the satellites have good receivers and should be able to hear you. What do you plan on using for an antenna (or antennas)? How long is the coax run going to be, between the radio and antenna(s)? Coax loss is important at VHF and UHF, so using coax that works OK at HF like RG8 or RG58 won't be good for long coax runs at VHF and UHF.
Good luck and 73!