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Author Topic: Help! What am I doing wrong?  (Read 1639 times)

Posts: 7

« on: December 03, 2017, 02:04:20 PM »

  So I bought a new Baofeng BF-F8HP.  First two days I tried using a Nagoya NA771 antenna I was able to hear the satellites fairly easily.  That was 6 weeks ago and I have not heard anything since.  I have made numerous tries with some passes I should have been able to hear with some string and two coffee cans (elevations of 88 and 77 degrees). I have tried AO85, AO92, and AO50 at all times of day and night.  During the past six weeks I have triple checked my Longitude and Latitude.  I have mostly used the Amsat predictions since I figure they must be accurate and neither my Amsatdroid, Satpc32, or Orbitron will agree with each other no matter which Kep I use to update.  Last week I bought a Yaesu Ft60R on the theory that the Baefeng was cheap and I got what I paid for.  Well, the FT60R with the same antenna doesn't hear either.  I can hear the Weather Service broadcast from 15 miles away at Dulles Airport.  I know the problem is me.  I am new to VHF, UHF and sats.  I have run out of ideas.  I have read all the beginners stuff and watched all of the Youtube beginner videos to no avail.  I have compensated for doppler effect.  My sky dome is partially obstructed by trees, but can't even hear the passes that are high or in the clear.  Yes, the squelch is off.  I would love to figure this out before my "sell by date" comes due. 

Pat, K8PC

Posts: 17

« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2017, 05:01:06 PM »

It's hard to tell what's going wrong when I'm not standing there with you.  In any event, start with the simplest possibility, i.e., your satellite predictions are off.  You say you have triple checked your coordinates, but don't say what satellite tracking program you are using.

In any event, try an independent satellite tracking system and input your coordinates into that one.  I am pasting in below the link to the "Heavens Above" website which will allow you to put in your location and get accurate satellite predictions for your area.  If this works, then you know that there is something wrong with how you've programmed your own tracking program.

Another possibility is to find a local satellite operator (is there a 2 meter net for ham satellites in the area?) and try and use their predictions.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

73 de Bernie, KF0QS

Posts: 7

« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 06:46:44 AM »


Thank you for the response.  I will start using The Heavens Above today and we will see what happens.  I am also building a "Cheap Yagi" and have it about half done.  I want to buy an Elk or Arrow, but want to be sure I am able to hear the satellites consistently.  Thanks again.

Pat, K8PC

Posts: 7

« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 11:58:53 AM »

Success with AO91 on first try.  The max elevation was 41 degrees here near Washington, DC.  I copied the sat for about 8 minutes.  It appears that the Amsat predictions and didn;t work for me.  I must have been doing something wrong, but the Heavens Above predictions worked for me today and did not match what I got from Amsat.  I will figure that out later.  Bernie, thank you again for the suggestion.  I was getting pretty frustrated.  Maybe Santa will bring me that Arrow or Elk  For now I will try to finish the "Cjheap Yagi" tomorrow.

Pat, K8PC

Posts: 230


« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2017, 03:37:52 AM »

Even with your existing antennas it helps a lot if you can find a location with a clear view to the horizon (eg plain or beach) for at least 180 degrees. Then exploit satellite passes in the direction of that.

This gave me some good results even when receiving on a simple dipole as at

Sometimes you can get good signals with it in unexpected places eg near the ground.

Peter VK3YE

TOP-SELLING RADIO BOOKS: 'Minimum QRP', 'Hand-carried QRP antennas' & 'Getting back into Amateur Radio'. 
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