Listening to Satellites First – A Success
After getting the satellite information together, it was time for a draft run – listening to satellites as they passed. With an Arrow antenna in hand, a radio strapped around my neck, and my phone, to the outside world I headed. I noted where the AOS should be, where the time of closest approach should be, and where the LOS should be. With the squelch turned off, the frequencies verified, the antenna was held towards the AOS azimuth. Like magic, static breaking sounds were heard and as the satellite ascended, voices. A fellow in Puerto Rico talked to someone in Canada on UHF! The antenna traced the path, and twisted to accommodate for the circular polarization until the satellite descended to the horizon. Cool.
That afternoon, I listened to AO-91, SO-50, and AO-85. The first two sounded really good. AO-85 on the other hand, wasn’t as clear. I don’t know if my tracking was bad or if something was going on with the satellite.
Holding the phone and the antenna at the same time while dealing with the radio was a bit challenging. That process needs a bit of improvement. Additionally, the exchanges were really quick and often people would talk over each other. A recording device would be nice to help decipher what was said.