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Building a Serious Field Day Satellite Station

I have been acquiring hardware for a serious portable satellite station for several years. I have used various setups at Field Day and Winter Field Day with irregular success.

Here is what I have so far:

  • Green Heron RT21 Az/El Rotor
  • Icom 9100 HF/VHF/UHF Satellite Radio
  • M2 LEO Pack Satellite Antennas
  • Yaesu G5500 Az/El Rotor
  • SSB Preamps for 2m and 440
  • Mac Doppler for radio and rotor control

One website I check out from time to time is the wonderful site of Fred AB1OC and Anita AB1QB. I first found this site when looking for ideas on building a shack. One of Fred’s projects has been building  a portable satellite station. As I read the list of equipment in Fred’s article, I realized I have just about the exact same equipment that he does. You can find that article here.

Regarding Field Day, one practice that works very well for Field Day planning is a dry-run. Several weeks before Field Day, we get all the radios, cables, computers, etc together and make it all works together. We then take it all apart, put it all in sealed bags or boxes and bring those exact same bags and boxes to Field Day. It eliminates many surprises at the event itself. It occurs to me that I do not do that same with the satellite setup. So this year, a different plan is on order.

Building on Fred’s project, I went ahead and ordered the Glen Martin 4.5 foot roof tower and sand bags. In May, I plan to get together with those interested and assemble the satellite station complete with antennas, preamps, coax and the rest of the gear. We will then make some contacts. I will work on the bits and pieces between now and then, but the goal is to both educate those interested in satellite operations as well as ensure we have a reliable satellite station for portable operations. This can be of use for Field Day, Winter Field Day and the St. Petersburg Science Festival in which SPARC participates. In the future, the antennas may change as I put some of this equipment up at home, but it will be similar.

If you are interested in helping out, I will advertise this to the usual SPARC/CARS and UPARC channels.

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