After the June VHF Contest and now the September VHF Contest, it’s time to return my home 2 meter and 70 cm antennas to vertical polarization to better access the satellites. I’ve made this same swap a few times as covered in my blog posts Satellite Antennas @ K5ND and Satellite Antennas Once More.

This time I made one major change in upgrading the 70 cm yagi from 10-elements to 15-elements. It’s the Diamond A430S15 Yagi, which replaced the A430S10. It’s not a great deal of difference in gain. The big thing is it allows the repurposing of the 10-element yagi to my VHF contest rover operation. It should be a lot easier on the painter pole mast.

This is also the first time that the 10-element 2 meter yagi has been in vertically polarized mode. The original 5-element version was used in my recent contest rover operation, where it worked quite nicely at the top of that painter pole.

In my home satellite installation, I set both antennas at 15 degrees elevation. I’m following the advice of Bob Bruninga in his article LEO Azimuth Tracking.

The things that I appreciate about the Diamond yagis are that they are very lightweight and broad-banded. They cover the full band. That allows working both the SSB/CW DX portion of the band and the satellite portion.

The test of the new setup came this afternoon working an SO-50 pass that topped out at about 54 degrees. I was able to work nearly the entire pass with loud signals. With the antennas at horizontal polarization, aimed at the horizon, I could usually work the first 15 degrees, then lose the signal until about 30 degrees and then for sure lose it overhead. So this is a big improvement for the FM satellites.

I should be able to keep this set up through the fall and winter. For the January VHF contest I expect to be on the road again as a rover.

That’s the update here. Something always changing. That’s the fun of amateur radio.


What do you think?