Please refer to the documentation below for the guidelines for chasing dx on Sat.
Preparation guidelines for beginners on Amateur Satellites (AMSAT)
The famous terms in AMSAT (Need to know)
Date – Pretty obvious. The day the pass happens.
AOS – Acquisition of signal. This is the time of day at which the satellite first rises above the horizon.
Duration – This is simply the time between AOS and LOS, ie, for how long the satellite is visible.
AOS Azimuth – The direction at which the satellite first becomes visible, in degrees to the right of North. 0 or 360 is North, 90 is East, 180 is South, and 270 is West.
Maximum Elevation – How high the satellite will appear to go in the sky, in degrees above horizon. 0 is the horizon. 90 is directly overhead.
Max El Azimuth – “Maximum Elevation Azimuth”. This is the direction at which maximum elevation occurs.
LOS Azimuth – The direction at which the satellite ceases to be visible.
LOS – Loss of signal. The time of day at which the satellite goes below the horizon and the pass ends.
Dual-band radio operation (handy or mobile radio) A full-duplex radio (capable of receiving and transmitting simultaneously) is recommended. Options include:
• A dual-band, full-duplex handheld radio
• Separate handheld radios (one to transmit and one to receive)
• Separate multi-mode radios such as a Yaesu FT-817 (in FM mode).
Get started by listening.
External antenna To make successful contacts, operating with your HT’s flexible antenna is not recommended as your only antenna. These popular directional antenna options include:
• Dual-band Arrow Antenna
• Dual-band Elk Log Periodic Antenna
• Building your own, to get started see: http://www.amsat.org/?page_id=2144
• Some satellite passes may be occasionally received with just the flexible antenna so don’t let lack of a beam prevent you from receiving experimentation.
• Dual band vertical base and mobile antenna should be able to work (not well) in most cases. Try it!
Satellite Tracking Applications You’ll need to know when the satellite is in range of your station. You’ll also need to know where to point your antenna. Web-based trackers will get you started:
• Linux orbit prediction software includes the Predict and GPredict programs.
• Windows orbit prediction software includes, Orbitron, Nova32 and SatPC32 (visit the AMSAT store)
• Mac software is MacDoppler (visit the AMSAT store)
• AmsatDroid (free), ISS Detector PRO (paid) or similar for Android based phone.
• Satellite Explorer Pro or similar for iOS based devices.
Orbital predictions are needed to tell you when to listen and where to point your antenna. You’ll need to tell the web site or apps of your location:
• Grid square, or
• Latitude and Longitude, or
• For some, selecting the nearest major city is enough to start with for manual tracking.
• Select the satellite you want to track.
• If using a computer tracking program, you’ll need to load tracking data, called Keplerian elements, into the software. Initially, we’ll recommend the web until you have had a chance to learn more.
Your tracking program can now tell you the basic parameters of the satellite pass:
• AOS/LOS – the time of the Acquisition of Satellite (beginning of the pass) and Loss of Satellite (end of the pass).
• Azimuth – this is the compass direction (such as north, south, east, or west) which updates as the satellite flies through your view of the sky.
• Elevation – this is how many degrees above the horizon the satellite will be flying (0° is the horizon and 90° is directly overhead), which updates as the satellite flies through your view of the sky
Suggested Operating Hints
●Tuned to correct frequency ( Uplink and Downlink, VU or UV ) Modes and tones.
● Use a small beam like the Arrow Antennas Yagi or Elk log periodic, clear of obstructions.
● Select the correct PL/CTCSS for transmit (required on FM amateur satellite)
● Uplink power should be on the order of minimum 200 W EIRP for full quieting at lower antenna elevation angles. With an Arrow, 5 W has been used successfully to make contacts.
● Open your Squelch all the way.
● Use a combo headphone/boom mike to reduce feedback/echo (and give you a free hand)
● Use a printout or your laptop, smartphone or tablet to track the satellite path over your QTH
● Have an audio recorder to log the QSO (it is difficult to talk, point the antenna, do PTT operation, remember the callsign, and think – all at the same time)
● Set your transmit and receive frequencies in memories to make tuning easier.
● Twist the antenna as the pass progresses to improve signal strength ( clockwise, anticlockwise, RHCP,LHCP)
AMSAT Frequency Table
*BY70-1 no longer in service
Getting started to RX from satellites
1. Refer from the FREQUENCY TABLE and set the RX frequency and modes (FM or SSB)
2 . RX and listen first to the QSO on the satellite and get used to the Doppler effect. (In future you may need to TX and RX, so when you are used to it will be easier for you, you may also program all the frequency into your radio for easier channel steering later.
3. AOS ( Acquisition of Signal) / LOS (Loss of Signal) – Depending on frequency plan ( VU or VU ) when satellite is approaching, the RX frequency is higher from the centre frequency. Meanwhile, when the satellites goes below the horizon the RX frequency goes lower from the centre frequency.
Getting started to TX to satellites
1. Refer to the FREQUENCY TABLE and set the TX frequency and modes (FM or SSB)
2. Most FM satellites requires a PL/CTCSS to trigger the repeater. Set it correctly!
3. Saudisat SO-50 required a different tone to enable/turn ON ) the repeater.
4. Say your callsign and wait for respond. You may need to call a few times for other hunters to get you. Example, Niner Whiskey Two Romeo Uniform Tango satellites or 9W2RUT calling on satellites
5. Pile up situation may occur. So wait until you hear no one calling and you start to call again. (Each satellite pass is very quick from AOS – LOS, so KISS . Let others make a QSO also.
6. When there is hunters calling you, you may reply with locator and signal you received. Example,
9W2RUT calling on satellite
• 9W2RUT, this is 9W2GEE, you’re 59 in OJ11, QSL?
• 9W2GEE, this is 9W2RUT, thank you, you’re also 59 on OJ03, 73!
• 9W2RUT listening
• 9W2RUT, this is 9W2VRD, you’re 59, QSL?
• 9W2VRD, thanks for 59, you’re 59 too 73!
• 9W2VRD, this is 9W2GEE, 59 QSL?
• 9W2GEE, 59, 73!
7. You may keep a record for your future reference.
Exchanges will be crisp and very short, so do not expect to have a lengthy conversation about the weather or your station configuration. Most importantly listening is important: if two other stations are in the middle of the exchange, let them finish. Even though a pass is short, the exchanges are even shorter. You will get a shot so please be patient and respectful of others.
Do and Don’t on Amateur Satellites
Due to the satellites over the horizon we might have international station so it’s better to keep all in a correct manner and also take care of the satellites life. 😛
Always listen first and listen again when the satellite is AOS
Do not speak vulgar , politics and religions.
Do not interrupt the frequency when other station is on QSO.
Do not use high power to TX , let the satellites remain in a healthy condition.
Do keep the conversation short and simple. KISS (Keep It Short Simple)
Do off the roger beep tone, it helps others!
Do record and post it on Youtube, Facebook (hihi, it help the new comer to join this activities)
Respect each and all stations, we’re sharing the same frequency and same hobby.
Adapted and edited from AMSAT Fox-1 Satellites by AMSAT-NA
Happy hunting from