In April 2018, we’ve rescued a chick that was abandoned by his parents. We raised him as our pet, and now he’s one year old! We’ve created an Instagram account for our pet rooster Chocobo. Follow him on his adventures at:
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.
We have successfully conducted a live demonstration of DIWATA2’s Amateur Radio Unit, showcasing the satellite’s capability to relay signals not only to and from any point in the country, but to other nearby countries as well. In this demonstration held earlier today in UP Diliman, Quezon City, an inexpensive home-brewed antenna connected to a low-cost radio transmitter was used to access the DIWATA2 satellite. Contact was established via satellite among the amateur radio operators in various location: Anthony Guiller Urbano (4I1AWN, Quezon City), Jharwin Barozzo (DV2JHA, Pangasinan), JP Almonte (4I1DIT, Quezon City), and other stations from Japan such as IjiYoshitomo (JA6PL, Japan) and JR6DI (Japan).
To listen to a complete uncut recording featuring the Japan-Philippines contact via Diwata 2 satellite (recorded by DV2JHA), click here.
There is something special about receiving a paper-QSL card (a postcard-sized document confirming a radio contact). I have received these cards from JA3FWT (Japan), for our AO-91 satellite contact on April 16, 2019. Thanks for these great-looking QSL-cards Kiyo!
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:
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
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!
CQ satellite! I’ve conducted a live demo of a satellite QSO at District 1 Pakulo 2019, a local hamfest held in Tagaytay, Philippines on May 11, 2019. The demo showcased a satellite repeater’s capability to relay signals and enable two-way communications to any point in the Philippines, as well as nearby countries, using inexpensive ham radio equipment.
To the following stations I’ve worked with during the AO-91 pass: JS6DRQ, DU6DKL, DU2XXA, DU4PGS, 7J1ADJ/JR6, and JA6PL—you are all 5-9, thanks for the contact, 73!
To learn how to access satellite repeaters, click here.
My satellite antenna is a Moxon-Yagi-Uda dual band VHF-UHF antenna with a single feed point (connects directly to the radio, no duplexer needed), based on the original design of LY3LP. 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.
1. Very good RX and TX signals. Check out the logs on my QRZ page or hear the audio recording as received by this antenna in this video prepared by DV2JHA. 2. Easy to build. This antenna build is intended to be very easy to replicate. Very few tools and materials needed to build one. No special parts needed. Anyone can build it. 3. Elegant design. Because it only has one feed point, you only need one dual-band VHF-UHF radio to use this antenna (instead of using two different radios and feed points for each band, thereby eliminating the need for a duplexer). The coaxial cable from the radio connects directly to the antenna (no baluns). To maximize the full capability of this antenna, use it with a radio with full-duplex capability. 4. Easy to tune. You only need to adjust the gap between the Moxon (VHF) driven element, and the Yagi-Uda (UHF) driven element to achieve perfect SWR. If you wish to move the center frequency (the frequency with the lowest SWR), adjust the length of the driven elements. 5. Lightweight. You will begin to appreciate this once you compare it with other antenna designs. Heavy antennas are not particularly useful for hand-held satellite work. 6. Portable. With the split-boom feature, you can easily store and transport this antenna. If needed, you can always disassemble and collapse everything into a very small package. 7. Durable. This antenna design is built to last a lifetime of satellite work. 8. Low-cost. How much does a commercial satellite antenna cost? To build this antenna, I spent an equivalent of 5 USD.
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 build your own satellite antenna, kindly refer to the antenna plans below.