You may have read my First Satellite QSO post from October. Since that time I’ve been working a few of the satellite passes. I’ve become reasonably adept working FO-29 and XW-2F with both SSB and CW, with 30 QSOs. I have not yet felt comfortable with the FM satellites, but did manage one QSO on AO-85.
Early this morning I added AL7RS to the log on FO-29 with CW. He’s located in Alaska near the Bering Strait. I’d heard him on the air before but just as the satellite was dropping below the horizon. This morning I found him as the satellite came over the horizon.
The day prior I worked XE3ARV in Mexico, also on FO-29 CW. So I now have three total countries and a couple of handfuls of grid squares.
I can tell that I need more sensitivity on the receive side of the equation. This is based on having a fair bit of difficulty understanding SSB transmissions and seldom experiencing FM with anything like quieting through the limiter.
Of course, adding elevation to the antennas would help, plus adding more boom length and elements. The antenna size is limited in my side yard. Plus, elevation isn’t in my future there either. That leaves something that could help both my satellite station and my weak signal work – preamplifiers.
I’ve looked at a number of possibilities from high cost to low. But it’s starting to look like the Mirage preamps might be the way that I go. Chiefly, I need some simple method of getting them out of the line when I transmit. Since I don’t intend to go above 100 watts on 2 m and 70 cm, the Mirage units will take care of that.
Actually, I’d love to get hold of the Icom preamps that were meant for the IC-910H, but they are no longer sold new and not readily found on eBay, etc. So, it looks like the Mirage units might be the answer. I’ve got time to search for a few more options as I won’t be doing anything until 2016.
If I worked you on the satellites, thanks for your QSO. If you called and I didn’t hear you, now you know why.