Satellite operating improvements

There has to be a bet­ter way than the way I am doing it. Here’s some of the top­ics I want­ed to improve upon.

  • Not call­ing on top of any­one else
  • Bet­ter recording
  • Sim­pli­fi­ca­tion

Not call­ing on top of any­one else is key to actu­al­ly mak­ing a con­tact through the FM LEOs like SO-50. I had start­ed fol­low­ing oth­er sat ops on twit­ter (the only thing it seems to be good for) and one of the main com­plaints they had was the lid-ish oper­a­tion where peo­ple just call and call with­out pause. I am sure I have done exact­ly that in my excite­ment. Beyond this, repeaters either on a hill or in space sup­port sin­gle calls at at time (until some­one decides to but some TDM dig­i­tal birds up there…hopefully?) Since I was run­ning half-duplex, e.g. one radio, I was deter­mined to not be one of those lids any­more. I have a Yae­su VX2 sit­ting around, so I pressed it into duty as my sec­ond rig for RX, and will use the VX-7R for TX.

Works sur­pris­ing­ly well when paired with head­phones. I can hear when oth­ers are call­ing, and I can hear when I am actu­al­ly in the clear because I hear myself in the down­link. In fact, using two radios has helped me go from hav­ing mar­gin­al suc­cess to hav­ing con­sis­tent suc­cess through SO-50 satellite.

Bet­ter record­ing was anoth­er issue I tack­led. I was jug­gling devices/​wires in an ad hoc attempt to record my pre­vi­ous attempts. I am still jug­gling wires, but this time I am split­ting the RX audio between head­phones and a speak­er. The speak­er is in a lit­tle card­board box, and I tuck my iPhone head­set micro­phone doohicky under a rub­ber band against the speak­er. I am still using the iPhone for track­ing and record­ing, but I don’t need to keep the iPhone head­set up around my mouth. Full duplex oper­a­tion, head­phone for me, speak­er for record­ing. Next thing will be to get a lit­tle audio block for the iPhone and plug audio direct­ly in. Hel­lo Amazon.

Sim­pli­fi­ca­tion is still the goal. I am not good at remem­ber­ing calls, wav­ing the anten­na around and mov­ing the dial on either my TX or RX rig (depend­ing upon the bird) between pre-pro­grammed fre­quen­cies to accom­mo­date for doppler. I am bet­ter, but not quite there. At least I can hear when the “chan­nel’ is busy to avoid adding to the mess that is SO-50.

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