Sunday, September 15, 2019

A cheap way of using SSB satellites with a cheap handheld for a transmitter

Many of us have used the FM satellites. They're are basically an orbiting single channel repeater. All you need is a couple of cheap handhelds (and preferably some small yagis) and you can have contacts through them. 

However their pass times are short and you can only have a single contact at a time. This is where SSB satellites come in. They have a linear translator. Thus they can support multiple contacts simultaneously. The only problem is they need two SSB-capable transceivers. And you need to retune to account for doppler shift. 

CW is a bit easier. You just need one SSB receiver to receive the downlink. In a pinch you can use a cheap handheld (keyed) to send slow morse. And a bit of frequency drift is OK as it makes the signal less readable than what would happen with an SSB signal. 

I haven't had a contact in this fashion. But I have done some tests to prove it would work. Here's a video showing it. 

PS: Into low power amateur radio? Minimum QRP is the top-selling manual on the equipment, antennas, operating and strategy of successful QRP operating. It's available for under $US 5 each in electronic form. Or you can get a paperback version. Visit VK3YE Radio Books to find out more. 

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