by Ivo Klinkert, PA1IVO
“A Multi-purpose Portable Setup – Working low-earth orbit satellites from any place
Only a relatively simple setup is necessary to use amateur radio low-earth orbit satellites. The design of a portable setup is described here, together with some experiences and rationale.
The current fleet of operational AMSAT satellites consists solely of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Although high-earth orbit (HEO) satellites like AO-40 (and the upcoming P3E) delivers worldwide communication capabilities and interesting technical challenges, using LEO satellites is also interesting and fun, and has its own challenges to deal with.
This article describes a portable satellite setup for working LEO voice satellites. The setup was developed and optimized over several years, and the article mentions some rationale behind design decisions and practical experiences with the setup. Excellent results were achieved in terms of making QSOs via LEO satellites as a portable station.
The setup described here has the following main features:
- Truly portable. It is quick and easy to take in and out of an apartment, or a small tent on a campsite during holidays. The setup can also be carried entirely by one person, including the batteries to power it.
- Full-duplex capabilities. In the context of this article, full-duplex means the possibility of transmitting on one band, and receiving on the other band at the same time. When working QRP, listening to your own downlink is advantageous and increases chance of making successful QSOs.
- Satellite modes V/U and U/V are available, which are the main modes for the current fleet of LEO voice satellites. Also S-band reception capabilities are available (mode V/S, mode U/S also possible), after some small conversions in the setup.
- Multi-mode capabilities. Both FM and SSB can be used, including exotic combinations of modes (DSB up/ FM down used by AO-51, or the planned FM up/DSB down by Triton-2)…..READ MORE
The presentation held at the AMSAT colloquium 2011: A Multipurpose Portable Setup.
The article for the German AMSAT-DL Journal: Eine tragbare Mehrzweck-Satellitenstation.
The presentation held at the Dutch Interessedag Amateursatellieten 2013: Een draagbaar multi-functioneel satellietstation.