Daily Archives: September 24, 2016

Using Satellites When HF (Shortwave) Is Down

This Sat-ellite-urday product ships from and is sold by Amazon.com. From the description ((with notes)).

Baofeng at eBay

High / Low Power Settings (4W/1W) Programmable Amateur Radio

Frequency Range: 65-108 MHz (Only commercial FM radio reception) VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx). UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx)
((You can listen to FM while waiting for communications))

Customize Channel Names, the Boot Display and More by Using the PC03 FTDI Programming Cable

1500mAh Battery; Broadband (Wide) 25khz / Narrowband (Narrow) 12.5khz Selectable

AUTO Keypad Lock, Dual Band, Dual Display and Dual Standby

The radio works great on direct simplex, on local repeater systems, some of which may have Echolink and similar internet voice connections, and you can work satellites. All this on such a cheap device without a phone bill. Welcome to amateur (ham) radio.

Baofeng radio vhf/uhf transceiver
BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio (Black)

Last Sat-ellite-urday, we covered using HF (shortwave) when satellites were unavailable, and presumably phones and internet, too. This week, let’s say phones and internet are off, maybe simply because the power is down, but the “atmospherics” on the shortwave bands are also not favorable. This was a problem before satellites, mentioned in movies about Pearl Harbor, for example.

Even in an EMP scenario, if you wrapped protected gear in cardboard and aluminum foil (seriously!), satellites might have been safe on the other side of the globe and are just now passing overhead for you to use.

Description of the video, First contact via amateur radio satellite, also embedded below, from Christian Jacobs‘ YouTube channel:

“In this video I make my first amateur radio satellite contact via SO-50 (145.850 MHz uplink, 436.795 MHz downlink +/- Doppler shift, http://www.amsat.org/?page_id=1015).”

“The new Yagi antenna was made from aluminium rods (6 mm in diameter). Measurements were calculated using John Drew (VK5DJ)’s Yagi Calculator program (http://www.vk5dj.com/yagi.html), which runs fine under Wine in Linux. The radio is a Baofeng UV-5R, connected to the antenna by some RG-58 50 Ohm coax and a PL-259 plug.”

“The Gpredict program (http://gpredict.oz9aec.net/) was used to predict the satellite pass time.”
Interesting note: This is one of the few YouTube videos to select the Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed).