Here’s a demonstration on how I used an FT60 with power of 5W to access Diwata 2 satellite during its testing phase. In the video, I have successfully made contact with stations in Pangasinan and in Okinawa, Japan, from Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Notice how I tracked the satellite using a home-brewed antenna.
To learn more how to access amateur radio satellites, head directly to Satellite Communications. To view all posts on amateur radio, click here.
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.
More than 50 amateur radio satellite enthusiasts attend two live satellite contact demonstration conducted by the AMSAT Philippines, Inc., Stamina4Space, and Holy Angel University, on September 28, 2019, in Angeles City, Pampanga. The live demo events were part of an amateur radio satellite seminar and antenna workshop.
The video recordings below show the two demo events featuring voice communications via AO-91 and PO-101 (DIWATA2) satellites. The official AMSAT Philippines, Inc. call sign DX1O (Delta X-ray One Oscar) was used during the event, with Anthony Urbano (DU1AU) as the operator.
Demo No. 1 Satellite: AO-91 (Fox-1B) Time: 04:09 to 04:24 UTC Elevation: 51 deg Operator: DU1AU (Angeles City)
I’ve received 6 SSTV images from the International Space Station (ISS) from August 3-4, 2019, from my amateur radio station in Bacoor, Cavite, using a DIY antenna and a portable radio. The app Robot 36 was used to decode the SSTV transmissions. For participating in the SSTV event, I was awarded a certificate.
To learn how to receive SSTV images from the ISS, 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).
I have received these cards from BG5UTE (China), for our contact on various satellites on April and May, 2019. Shi sent me a QSL-card confirming each of our first contacts in AO-91, AO-92, SO-50, and PO-101 (DIWATA 2). The cards’ cover features a photo of an Iridium satellite flare taken by BG5UTE himself! Thanks for these cards, I’ll be sending mine soon!
For more posts about QSL cards I’ve received from fellow hams, click here.
Interested in a paper QSL-card exchange? Catch me on one of the satellites, then send me an email:
Prior to the service announcement, a small group of volunteer amateur radio operators worked with the engineers from STAMINA4SPACE Program (formerly named as the PHL-MicroSat Program) to test the full capabilities of DIWATA2’s Amateur Radio Unit. The scope involves testing the receiving (RX) and transmitting (TX) capabilities of the satellite both for voice mode and data mode. It also includes determining the kinds of antennas, the clarity of voice communication, and how much power is actually needed to access the satellite.
Plaques of appreciation were awarded to the first 10 stations to ever access DIWATA 2, and certificates for those involved in the testing efforts.
First 10 Stations to make a successful QSO via DIWATA2 Satellite
Anthony Guiller Urbano, DU1AU (Philippines), formerly 4I1AWN
Joseph Petruff, 7J1ADJ/JR6 (Japan)
Afer Shi, BG5UTE (China)
Iji Yoshitomo, JA6PL (Japan)
Brian Santos, DU1MS (Philippines)
Hong Liu, BH4ESB (China)
Stanley Sumping Anak Albert Bejie, 9W8DNX (Malaysia)
For assisting with the testing efforts and achieving one of the firsts QSOs via DIWATA2, special awards were given to
Percival Padilla, DV1XWK (Philippines)
Lee Castor Canono, D8BVK (Philippines)
Veronica Catherine Anak Nohan (9W8VWW, Malaysia)
The awards were given on April 26, 2019, at the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute Bldg., University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, through AMSAT Philippines president Atty. Eduardo Victor Valdez, PHL-50 project leader Dr. Marc Caesar Talampas, and STAMINA4SPACE program leader Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano Jr.
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.