Satellite Ops

The club has been involved in some satellite ops for many years mostly because of the mentorship of Keith Pugh W5IU (SK).  Having a permanent ground station at the clubhouse was a dream of his and he donated quite a bit of equipment to create it.   Unfortunately he left us before the job was completed, but we are forging ahead. 

Short term plan is to have a robust permanent 2M/70CM ground station, and a group of club members well versed in it's operation.  

Long term plans involve becoming a ground station for ISS telebridge school contacts through ARISS.

The club operates a 'portable' station for field day or school outreach programs.   It includes a Yaesu FT-847 radio, Yaesu G-5500 Rotor, circularly polarized 2M and 70CM antennas, and ARR preamps.  We deployed this system to our Field Day location and running QRP in a low spot (below buildings and trees) managed about 30 contacts...we could have run more power, but we really needed to stress test the system, and get a feel for SSB operations over satellite.

The club's main station is located at our club facility in Fort Worth where we have an Icom IC-910H (with another FT-847 for backup), SPID RAS Az/El Rotor with Green Heron controller, M2 Antennas 2MCP14 and 436CP30 with polarity switchers, and more ARR preamps.  When the ISS gets the HamTV high speed video system operational, we will also have a HamTV downlink station operational.

Entire assembly was tested for SWR, electrical controls, and mechanical movements at ground level, then moved to the roof.   It is on a Rohn NPRM with about 500# of ballast...mast is 10' tall...we looked into making it shorter, but the current height fits well with obstructions etc.   Note Preamp Box half way up mast.  

Preamp box contains two ARR preamps (powered over coax from radio) and a Duplexer for a desence filter (for 70cm receive).

LMR-400 coax runs from the antennas to the preamp box.  LMR-600 runs from preamp box to AlphaDelta surge protectors at building entrance, and then on down to club radio room.  Finally LMR-400 from a bulkhead to the radio.

Rotor power and control wires also go through a surge protector at the building entrance.

We have a dedicated PC running SatPC32 connected to the Green Heron RT-21AzEl controller and the Icom IC-910H.

We also have a camera mounted to the club tower with a view of the satellite we can inspect and monitor operation (camera has full movement and optical zoom)

As of 15Dec23 it is fully operational, but have not yet run cabling to polarity switches.  (we wanted the big parts working first)