In a recent test I’ve conducted with my portable satellite radio setup, I’ve successfully accessed the following satellites even at elevations of only 1 to 2° (very near the horizon!): AO-91, AO-92, IO-86, SO-50, and PO-101 (DIWATA2).
A satellite on the horizon is described to have an elevation of 0° (degree) and a satellite directly overhead has an elevation of 90°. A pass may have an elevation anywhere from 0 to 90°.
While there are many factors leading to a successful low-elevation contact, the following appears to have the greatest impact:
1. Use of a well-tuned and very directional hi-gain antenna
2. Proper pointing of antennas to satellites (use a smartphone)
3. Correct polarization of antenna elements (twist until you get the best signal)
4. Use hi-power when necessary (10W)
Have you done this test lately? How low an elevation can you access the satellites? If you want to make contact with distant stations via satellite, the only way to do that would be to access satellites when they are very low in the horizon.
My satellite antenna is a Moxon-Yagi dual band VHF-UHF antenna with a single feed line. This allows using a full duplex radio to simultaneously transmit in one band and receive in the other. Properly tuned, this antenna has an SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) of 1.0:1 in VHF and 1.1:1 in UHF.
This antenna has been fully tested to work with satellites such as AO-91, AO-92, SO-50, IO-86, and PO-101 (Diwata 2). To learn how to access satellite repeaters, head directly to Satellite Communications.
Following the successful signal reception and decoding of the International Space Station’s (ISS) Slow Scan Television (SSTV) images, I am now eager to build a dedicated hi-gain directional antenna for satellite hunting! The first step is getting the signal to and from the radio using proper connectors.
With these new set of connectors, I can now connect the FT60 to a DIY antenna which I will be building soon!
Note: The configuration can be further simplified using a SO-239 (socket) to SMA (male) converter, but not applicable for my setup as I needed the BNC interface for my other antennas :)