Its pricey (for me) but I can save my pennies. Just want to be sure its really the best way to get into LEO work without yagis and rotors and whatnot. Is it worth the ~$400 ?
You could try some other alternatives. If you're willing to homebrew, you may be able to save most of that $400 or so you would have spent on the M2 Eggbeaters. Options include:
- Simple 1/4-wave groundplane antennas for each band. Although not optimized for satellite work, the simple antennas don't radiate solely to the horizon like most gain verticals used by hams for fixed antennas.
- Horizontal loops for each band, mounted 1/4-wavelength above a groundplane (roughly 6 inches above the groundplane for the 70cm loop, and about 19 inches up for the 2m loop). This gets closer to what the Eggbeaters are functionally, but (at least at M2 pricing) cost a lot less than the Eggbeaters. Or make your own loops.
- Search for Lindenblad antennas, another good omnidirectional antenna design used for satellite work, and build them for 2m and 70cm.
- (or look at the previously-mentioned K5OE Texas Potato Masher)
When going with omnidirectional antennas, many satellite operators find that they need to use preamps to be able to have good reception of the downlinks. This is where any savings from not putting up a directional antenna (or antennas) and rotator may go out the window. With good quality feedline, you could go with an Arrow Yagi or Elk log periodic on a TV antenna rotator, pointed up 15 to 20 degrees from the horizon. This will let you work the vast majority of all passes, the TV rotator could be turned by hand, and buying an Arrow or Elk with a TV rotator might be about half the cost of two M2 Eggbeaters. Unless the feedline run is very long, you may be able to avoid the need for preamps with the directional antenna on the TV rotator. Just a thought to keep in mind...