KX9X, my satellite elmer, told me what I needed in order to play with satellites: A decent dual-band HT, An Arrow antenna with a duplexer, a way to track the satellites, and a way to record. here’s what I did…
The next day after he helped me with my first satellite Qs…He held the antenna and radio, I keyed the mic…I ordered an Arrow antenna from the manufacturer. Yes, it was unfortunately timed with me being laid off (Meh, work is over-rated). It came in a few days time. I had a basically unused Yaesu VX-7R dual-band handheld radio. I say unused since I am hardly active on the local repeaters, and frankly there is very little activity around Nashville anyway. At least for now.
KX9X was using GoSatWatch on his iPad for tracking, so I decided I would do the same thing using my iPhone 6S+. It’s a bit pricey, but I didn’t want to get too creative and jeopardize my success. Basically, I wanted to do it just like Sean does it.
The only place I deviated was in the use some recording/dictation software on my iPhone.
So, after a few failed attempts in actually making a contact, on 3⁄24 I made my first solo unassisted QSO through SO-50 satellite: KK4FEM. What excitement! I then contacted WO3T, WA4NVM, and KI4RO during the pass.
Now the difficulties set in:
- Adjusting my frequency for doppler
- Pointing the Arrow antenna into the right place
- Remembering callsigns
- Getting a decent recording
- Timing through the QRM
On this pass I was lucky. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I am sure in my excitement my QSO technique was horrid. But that said, I got everything basically correct, albeit imperfect, and logged the the four contacts.