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Default [2E0SQL] AMSAT Antenna Upgrades


AMSAT Antenna Upgrades

Posted: 13 Jun 2016 12:00 PM PDT

Like with any amateur radio station the equipment and antennas are always
in a state of flux, with constant improvements being wanted to seek out
that bit of DX or dB advantage and with satellites it’s no different you
always want that extra bit of signal to work that station on the edge of
the footprint.Last week saw me implement some further changes to my home
AMSAT ground station; now anyone who follows me on Twitter will know the
last couple of months has been quite challenging after suffering quite a
few minor heart attacks so in theory, I’m meant to be resting till I see my
heart specialist in a couple of weeks but I never stick to the rules.First
changes was remove the Wimo X-Quads off the short mast in the garden which
thankfully just requires climbing on the wall to reach them although that’s
strike one for not following orders and I will admit knowing the risk of
blacking out at a moment’s notice was a little bit scary!However I got the
task done removed the quads and disconnected the phasing harnesses ready
for connecting the new polarity switching system; this was made by Gavin
M1BXF and based on the design on G6LVBs website and connect the new
SHF-Elektronik preamps.In fact doing those parts was probably the easiest
as I’d also bought two 15m runs of LBC400 coax to replace the old stuff
which needed to be routed from the mast to the shack; thankfully this was
completed with some help from Dad (M3JFM).Early signs after completing the
work is promising can hear the satellites down to lower elevations and the
fading is far more controlled being able to switch polarisation and in 4
days I’ve made 45 satellite QSOs on the improved setup.The only things now
left to change is adjusting the preamp gains 70cms is perfect, but 2m is a
little high and needs pulled back a bit. Another thing that needs added is
a 70cms bandpass filter as I’m noticing some desense issues but again all
these things can be tweaked in the coming weeks.Next task is to decide what
changes to implement inside the shack, I’m still undecided to whether there
is any real advantage to replace the ICOM IC-910 with a IC-9100, what I’d
love to see is someone build a duplex 2/7/23cms SDR similar to the
flexradio HF range that would certainly add some benefit to the station but
not seen anything yet.
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