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Author Topic: Using Icom 7000 With Ham Satellites?  (Read 7102 times)
K4BAD
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« on: January 27, 2014, 06:54:47 AM »

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.
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K6LCS
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014, 08:40:31 AM »

SO-50 is a simple, FM voice V/U bird ... details for working it at http://www.work-sat.com

AO-73 FUNcube-1 is a little different ...

TLM down link freq 145.935 MHz BPSK

Transponder:
Uplink 435.150 - 435.130 MHz LSB (Inverting)
Downlink 145.950 - 145.970 MHz USB

Please use a maximium uplink power of 5 watts to a 7 dBi gain antenna. More power is not needed to use the transponder!
Transponder is SSB/CW Inverting.

Currently operating full power TLM beacon (300 mW) when Sat is in sunlight, and Transponder, plus low power (30mW) TLM beacon when in eclipse.

Go to their informational Web site at ... http://funcube.org.uk/ for more details!

Clint K6LCS

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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.k6lcs.com
WD9EWK
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2014, 09:01:46 AM »

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!
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Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK
http://www.wd9ewk.net/
K4BAD
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2014, 10:06:04 AM »

Many thanks for the advice/information. This must be a subject of some interest....Almost 2000 views....73.....K4BAD
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WD9EWK
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2014, 01:26:12 PM »

Many thanks for the advice/information. This must be a subject of some interest....Almost 2000 views....73.....K4BAD

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) has been a popular topic since its launch in late November.  Many are interested in working its transponder, as well as copying telemetry from it.  Good luck, and feel free to post back here with updates.

73!
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Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK
http://www.wd9ewk.net/
K4BAD
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2014, 06:20:31 AM »

Update from my earlier post. I've connected my Icom 7000 to an Arrow 144/440 ground plane mounted on a painters pole at a heigth of 20 feet.The feedline is 30 Ft. long of LMR 400 coax. I've picked up SO-50 for a grand total of 2 seconds of extremely weak signal over 4 orbits. 1 orbit was directly over my QTH. So at this point results have been disapointing.I bought the ground plane based on reviews indicating pretty good success with satellite contacts. I know that using a fixed,no gain antenna would be marginal but I did expect better results.Maybe problem lies with lack of mast mounted pre-amp,feed line too long,Icom 7000 marginal for satellite use,etc. So at this point I don't know if I should give up on satellites with this rig/antenna set up or try something different.Otherwise,the set up is working great on local repeaters...it's not a complete loss. Comments/suggestions please. Thanks for reading....73 HM
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K5LXP
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2014, 06:50:23 AM »

an Arrow 144/440 ground plane mounted on a painters pole at a heigth of 20 feet.

That's not going to cut it.  You absolutely need antenna gain when working these QRPp satellites.

I've worked a few different FM satellites with just an HT and an arrow yagi.  It's iffy even then so I would consider it a bare minimum as far as antennas go.  Ideally you'd be tracking az/el and using circular polarization.  At that point the passes become consistently workable and fun factor improves.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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WD9EWK
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2014, 10:54:55 AM »

Update from my earlier post. I've connected my Icom 7000 to an Arrow 144/440 ground plane mounted on a painters pole at a heigth of 20 feet.The feedline is 30 Ft. long of LMR 400 coax. I've picked up SO-50 for a grand total of 2 seconds of extremely weak signal over 4 orbits. 1 orbit was directly over my QTH. So at this point results have been disapointing.I bought the ground plane based on reviews indicating pretty good success with satellite contacts. I know that using a fixed,no gain antenna would be marginal but I did expect better results.Maybe problem lies with lack of mast mounted pre-amp,feed line too long,Icom 7000 marginal for satellite use,etc. So at this point I don't know if I should give up on satellites with this rig/antenna set up or try something different.Otherwise,the set up is working great on local repeaters...it's not a complete loss. Comments/suggestions please. Thanks for reading....73 HM

K5LXP hit it on the head.  You need antenna gain.  With a groundplane antenna, a preamp is a must. 

The antennas like an Arrow Yagi, Elk log periodic, or homebrew equivalents mounted on a simple TV antenna rotator, where the antenna is pointed up 15-20 degrees above the horizon, would be an improvement over the groundplane.  Preamps may still be needed for the directional antenna(s), depending on the coax type and length you are using.  There are some who work satellites with coax runs in excess of 100 feet, but they are definitely not using el-cheapo coax for that - and with preamps out at the antenna end of the coax.  Your 30-foot coax length should not be impossible to work with on the satellites.

I can't say I have worked too many stations on the satellites that had IC-7000s.  I think it has more to do with the lower price of other comparable radios like Yaesu's FT-857 (rather popular for those working SSB via satellite) and FT-897 (similar to the FT-857, but with the option for large internal battery packs) - which are both very similar to the little FT-817.  The '7000 has better DSP than all of those, so that could come in handy - especially on the SSB transponder downlinks. 

73!
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Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK
http://www.wd9ewk.net/
W4WNT
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2014, 02:17:47 PM »

I'd suggest you look up "Cheap Yagis" on Google.  Kent has great instructions for making VHF/UHF beams that are quite good and will provide you the gain you will need.  You can build a 2m/70cm combo that will work for the birds.
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K4BAD
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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2014, 07:55:40 AM »

Thanks to everyone for your time and effort in responding to my questions. It looks like I can install a mast mounted pre-amp and slightly improve my chances of receiving the satellites. It perplexes me why my Icom 7000/ground plane combination isn't as effective as a handheld/whip combination.The other,and better,choice is to buy a 2 meter/70 cm.beam,rotator, some sort of mounting/mast configuration(tripod/mast ?),cock the beam 20 dregrees above the horizon and give it a shot. I would like to buy a "plug and play",or as close to it as possible,setup. Comments/suggestions? Thanks for reading.   73    K4BAD 
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W5PFG
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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2014, 11:56:03 AM »

It perplexes me why my Icom 7000/ground plane combination isn't as effective as a handheld/whip combination.

Personally I have not observed a handheld whip combination to work better than a ground plane.  Neither are what I would even remotely consider for regular use as part of a satellite station - portable or fixed.  I've made contacts using both and neither I'd write home about.  There is another Texas station who utilizes a pair of groundplanes and preamps for his home satellite station due to Home Owner Association rules.  He's severely handicapped in his ability to hear stations on the birds - FM or SSB.   Bottom line - get some small yagi's and a TV rotor and you'll be far better off.
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