Station equipment list:

In the beginning I used the Kenwood TM-V7A  mobile unit with  good results.  Even before the TM-V7A I had used my HTX-252 to work the ISS on packet and voice using 25W of power.  The Kenwood provided me with better memory capability and an increase in power to 50W, which enabled me  to  compensate  for doppler effect in a more orderly manner. I started out working the ISS with even a different setup that encompassed my IC-746 and the Cushcraft 13B2 fixed at 55 feet. This enabled me to increase power which I was able to extend pass time by about seven minutes. This increased time was achieved by the setups capability of reaching out to over 1500 miles and about -2 deg. in elevation. Since my early days of operation  I  have  upgraded to the IC-821H and a phased array of Cushcraft A148-10S and A44911S antennas, still vertical polarize, I  have  been able to work birds such as Fo-20 and FO-29 ssb satellites. This setup has enabled me to work longer distance and increased pass times even better than passed setups. The Cushcraft antennas, two of which are commercially built, the other two I have constructed myself. The self constructed antennas, one being a replica of the  A148-10S the other of the A44911S. Both sets being phased with lengths of Belden 9913, solid center conductor, coax. Both sets being connected with tees at a Comet duplexer, mast mounted. The feed line used is the RG-213/u at 75 feet, into a second Comet cf-416 duplexe at the rig. AZ/EL control is manual using the Ham-IV and CDE controller for azimuth and an old Alliance TV rotator for elevation. A standard duty, eight conductor wire is used  with four of the conductors separated for each rotator, so that only one cable is needed for the run to the shack. The array has been placed 35 feet  above ground to eliminate interference from nearby obstacles. My setup includes a  Kantronics Communicator 3 Terminal Node Controller connected to the rig with a MFJ-1272B Mic to TNC switch for  packet operations.  I use a Dell GX-150 pc with WinOrbit 3.6 tracking software and AGSatTrack software to track the satellites. Nova has been added as well.
 Future Equipment Upgrades:
Currently I'm working on changing my array to circular polarized so to minimize the fading condition that is heard from Faraday rotation.  Preamps will be added to the 70cm  and the 2m arrays with a relay added for switching from RHCP to LHCP.  The array can be easily brought down for portable use and takes about one hour to be ready for transporting to any remote site for Emergency or activities such as Field day or Jamboree on the air.  For field use I currently use a Panasonic lap top pc loaded with tracking software and the IBM  thinkpad 560 lap top loaded with packet programs.  
In addition, I'm looking for a set of OSCAR beams that will eventually replace my home station and leave the existing array for portable work.  A 160W amplifier will also be added later on as required, although it has not been needed so far.  The 40-45W's of output that my IC-821H has has been more than adequate in making contacts over 8,000 nm "round trip".
Newly Acquired Equipment:
Thanks to Jerry W0SAT and Bill N9JWO, I have acquired KLM's 2M-14C and 435-40CX antennas that will replace my current Satellite array some time in the next month or so. I have also acquired a TAPR TrakBox and a Kenpro KR-5400A dual control antenna rotor.  

New Sat Antennas:
My KLM's are up and running, ready for Field day tests. I have rebuilt the relay box and it works great. Working on the TrackBox interface to automate the tracking. After Field day the system will replace the current antenna system placed 30ft. up to clear obstacles.
My KLM'S have been modified with a 1 1/2" metal cross mast cut to six foot. The beams are turned 45 deg. to limit the interaction with the mast. Tests show little to no change in performance of the setup.
Still working with the Trackbox to get the unit to track as a stand-alone unit.
AO-40 Dish Project:
Oct. 26, 2003. Today I accuired an eight foot dish assembly to convert over for use with AO-40. The dish is aluminium with all steel mount. The assembly has horizon to horizon AZ motor and set bolt for EL which will be converted to a screw system for EL. The Patch feed will be a Tri-band for S, L, and U (435MHz, 1269MHz and 2401MHz CP). The down converter will be Bob's/k5gna AIDC3731AA which seems to be the best choice I've found. Potentiometers used for this project are from Allied Electronics (1-800-433-5700) p/n 970-1680; 132-0-0-103: 1 turn 10K .5% linearity.
Potentiometer Mounts:
I used two threaded rod addaptors one inch long, 1/4 x 3/8. I drilled out the 1/4" end for the potentiometer shaft and drilled a 6/32 hole for a set-screw. I cut a one inch long piece of 3/8 threaded rod to connect the addaptor to the mount. The AZ potentiometer is placed at the top of the mount on the center axis. "3/8-16" hole drilled and tapped to hold the addaptor. The bracket made from 1/8 x 3" stock formed to mount to the sheild bracket as to be flexable for any offset of centers. The EL potentiometer is mounted at the pivit bolt center. The addaptor is made the same as AZ. I drilled and tapped a 3/8-16 hole in the center of the bolt. The bracket is mounted on the upper part of the mount and formed to rotate over the center axis. (The AZ potentiometer is stationary, the EL potentiometer rotates about its axis).
Mast Mounts & Dish Support:
Supports for the 3 1/3" mast are held in place by two plates. "Top" assembled to fit over one section of Rohn-25 tower. "Bottom" fit inside the tower section so that it will help support dish weight. Mast is 3 1/2" dia. 1/4" wall, cut to 54" and is welded at top only. This makes the assembly "removalbe" leaving only the tower section in the ground. The bottom plate will have three flanges for centering of and stabilization of the mast.
Controler Power:
Power Supply for the dish motors are one 25vdc supply. The motor supply is adjustable for fine tunning motor voltage. There will be two 12vdc supplies, one for potentiometers and one for the displays.
The motor board is regulated and filtered with a 2200uF 50v cap. The pot/display power board is also regulated and adjustable, filtered with one 1000uF 35v cap and one 1000uF 50v cap. The cap's would have been the same, but where not availible. The motor supply is set at 18.5vdc.
Motor board update: Testing the board proved that the original components where to light to handle the current, so upgrading the board was needed. I have added a current boost circuit that concists of a heatsinked 2N3055 in parallel with the LM317T regulator. This has taken all the heat off of the LM317T, it seems to be helping. Also added a heatsink to the LM317T regulator. There is a 1W 1.2K bleed-off resistor between the positive and negitive output leads. Temps now within exceptable range and working great.
Displays & Switches:
The switches are Allied #676-0035 rocker type DPDT. Power will be on center and motor on each end reversing polarity from one to the other, (+,-)(-,+). The DPM's (digital power meters)are Jameco #970-1680 and are backlit. Calibration will be through a 10K pot and voltage divider using a 2.2M resistor.
The face plate is made from two pieces of 1/16" alum. glued together. The labeling is printed on vinyl, (shelf liner). I laid out the templete in "word" for printing. The vinyl was then put onto a standard piece of printer paper, cut to fit, and run through the printer. The vinyl was then removed from the paper and with the adhesive backing placed onto the alum. plate. Switches and displays then mounted.
Voltage dividers:
The voltage dividers have been changed from Roberts posted values to match my design. R1 still remains at 2.2m ohms but the R2 has been changed to 6620ohms. This makes the change from the 3v (180deg AZ) setting to the required 18mv needed for the displays. On the displays, RA had to be removed so that the displays would read out in mv. The high end pots are 10K and mounted on the side of the cabinet for both AZ and EL adjustments.
Final Project Assembly:
With minor adjustments still to preform, setup has begun. As of December 14, 2003 the motor assembly has been placed on its mount. The dish is being assembled and made ready to be mounted. Hope to have the down converter sometime mid January and ready for tests late January.
Dish assembly has been mounted and the tuning and calibration has begun. Focal point has been set at 29.38", (dish to 435MHz reflector plate). The 435MHz patch SWR tuned up to 1.3:1, best I could get.
Dish Project Up and Runing:
With the downconverter installed on January 12, testing confurmed all is good to go for the first signal to come in. Power up showed a noise floor of S3-4, AO-40's beacon came in at S9+5.
Dish Status & Drive unit Update:
With AO-40 out of the picture for now, I've decided to re-design the AZ drive unit to get true AZ/EL opperation. The refit will consist of a seperate drive motor and gear reduction system including a sensor for AZ readout. This unit will turn the entire dish assembley so to cancel out the arch of the horizon to horizon movement of the original unit. The EL assembley will remain the same with one modification in that it will have extended range providing movement from 0-90 deg. The design, fabrication and assembley is expected to be complete in four months. Details can be seen on my Station 2 page.
Station Page 2 Link

Control Room at little NASA

AZ rotator, plate mounting  EL rotator assembly  Home built 440 beam

   Satellite array ready for JOTA


    Full Batt powered Sat Station    

AO-40 Tri-band Patch Feed
435MHz - 1296MHz - 2401MHz
Back Cover


                     Patch cover complete

Equipment cover:
The patch cover has a dual purpose. I wanted some type of cover to protect my connectors and the 2.4GHz down converter. So this is what I came up with. I started out with (2) large plastic FOR SALE signes and a plastic worm container, .25 cents from a machine at K-Mart and three plastic Easter Eggs my wife had left over. I glued the signs together and cut out a cone shape then, I glued half of the rounded plastic "worm container" into the turncated end of the cone. Shaping the "Easter Eggs" to fit as brace covers, I glued them in place, two of one size and one larger one for the bottom, space for coax to enter. Then it was time for the really messy part. I fibber glassed the whole unit which had become the form on the cone. After four coats of ressin and cloth, I sanded and cut it to fit the back side of the tri-band patch feed and glassed in three small wooden dowels for mounting. The local Ace Hardware store no longer asks me what I'm working on, but they do follow me around to see what I "find".

Mounts for Potentiometers

EL potentiometer mount              AZ potentiometer mount

AZ Potentiometer  Dish mount assembly  EL Potentiometer

Mast Mount Supports

Mast center support        Mast weight support


    little NASA   

    Displays & Switches to go     Power supply

Dual power board    Motor board Modification   

Heatsink for 2N3055    That's all I can get IN THERE    2N3055 Mounted

Screw mounts        Screw motor wiring


Almost done    Calibration to go!

8' AO-40 Dish
"little NASA"

little NASA up and runing

First RX signal Jan. 12, 2004 2222utc

First Contact DK3SE January 15, 2004 2018utc


My future intrestests are EME "Earth Moon Earth" and microwave communications

I would be more than happy to assist anyone wishing to assemble a satellite station.
Thank you for stopping in.

a - Semi-major Axis (meters, feet)a constant defining the size of the orbit (meters)

E0 - Eccentricity: a constant defining the shape of the orbit (0=circular, Less than1=elliptical)

I0 - Inclination (degrees) : The angle betwen the equator and the orbit plane

O0 - Right Ascension of the Ascending Node (degrees): the angle between vernal equinox and the point where the orbit          crosses the equatorial plane (going north)

W0 - Argument of Perigee (degrees): the angle between the ascending node and the orbit's point of closest approach to the          earth (perigee)

M0 - True Anomaly (degrees) The angle between perigee and the vehicle (in the orbit plane)

Apogee - In the orbit, The more distant point between satellite and the Earth

Perigee - In the orbit, The nearer point between satellite and the Earth

Ra - distance from the center of the Earth to the apogee point

Line of Nodes - The point where the vehicle crosses the equator

Large Dish Give-a-way