My portable satellite radio setup won 1st place (VHF-UHF category) in this year’s go-kit (portable equipment) contest as part of the 87th anniversary of the Philippine Amateur Radio Association. It is essentially a satellite phone with collapsible antenna which allows communication with anyone, anywhere in the Philippines and neighboring countries such as Japan, Malaysia, China, Korea, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and even Australia, using only a transmit power of 5W.
The go-kit was built in April 2019 to help the STAMINA4SPACE test our country’s first amateur radio satellite DIWATA2.
Amateur radio satellites are orbiting relay stations that enable long distance communications using only a two-way radio and a home-brewed antenna. Unlike other communications systems like the cellular service and the Internet, satellites do not rely on ground-based communications infrastructure. If a locality is hit with a major disaster, damage to infrastructure will render the cellular phones and the Internet unusable, but satellites in space will continue to function. In this talk, I’ve discussed how to access these amateur radio satellites, and explained how to setup a home-brewed satellite phone for reliable communication in times of disaster.
To view all posts on amateur radio satellite communications, click here.
I was invited to conduct a live satellite demo at the Philippine Navy as part of the exit presentation of DOST-Balik-Scientist CDR Leo Almazan USN (ret) at the Pascual Ledesma Naval Station in Cavite, Philippines. We’ve accessed DIWATA2 (PO-101) and had successful contact with JA6PL (Japan), DV2JHA (Pangasinan), and DU1ELT (Cotabato).
The ability to operate off-the-grid is a huge advantage when hunting satellites. Coupled with a portable antenna, this battery-operated radio setup can be easily carried to any remote DX location while requiring only very minimal prep time (5 minutes). Simply connect a satellite antenna, turn the radio on, select the pre-programmed uplink and downlink frequencies, and you are ready to make contact!
The portable satellite radio setup consists of the following:
1. Kenwood TMV71A full-duplex VHF-UHF radio with microphone 2. 12V 8AH lead-acid battery pack with volt meter 3. Sony recorder 4. Headset 5. Other accessories (not shown) such as SWR meter, patch cable, compass, flashlight, notebook, pencil, etc.
This setup has been used recently in a satellite demo at a local hamfest. Since only 5 watts of power is needed to access the FM satellites, this setup lasts for one week of use (about 50 satellite contacts) in a single charge, perfect for DX-peditions!