Recent AO-85 Observations – 17 February 2016 AMSAT-BB Post

For the past several days, I have observed the following:

– On ascending passes, I can activate the transponder at AOS very easily.  Either polarity V or H works.

– Previously, I needed 10-15 degrees at times on ascending passes to activate the transponder.  As I approached TCA, the challenge getting in always went away and I could get into the transponder easily.

– Descending passes have never been an issue for me. I could access the transponder at AOS and activate the transponder as low as 0.1 degrees elevation.

– Downlink receive polarity seems to flip almost constantly or be equal at times.  I’m running a V or H antenna configuration (not RHCP or LHCP.)

– Suspected reason is the spacecraft’s spin rate has changed with it now in constant sun.

– As a result I’m hearing some newer stations working AO-85 with handheld transceivers.  I’ve worked 2 new stations in the last 2 days who emailed me directly after the pass stating they were seeing some success with an HT.

One thought on “Recent AO-85 Observations – 17 February 2016 AMSAT-BB Post

  1. Clayton,

    I have just recently gotten back into the hobby after a decade long absence. In the process of studying for my Extra exam, I came across the chapter on satellites in the ARRL study guide. For whatever reason, I had never heard of amateur satellites until that point (or if I had it was long forgotten), and it immediately piqued my interest.

    Having previously sold all my radios and now being on a budget, I purchased a very inexpensive Chinese made HT to tinker around with. About a week ago I started a home brew antenna project and constructed a basic Yagi dual band that I could hold in my hand using the HT.

    Today I took it outside for the second time, after barely hearing some traffic on SO-50 last night. This time I was pointed at AO-85 (or so I hoped), and after scanning for a moment or two and adjusting the frequency for the doppler shift, BOOM! I heard your call loud and clear and could hear your QSO. For my QTH the elevation was pretty low, but for a minute or so it sounded as clear as the local repeaters.

    Maybe it's the geek in me but I thought it was pretty cool!

    I doubt that I will ever have the type of setup you have displayed here, but I just wanted you to know that by using a cheap HT and a homemade antenna I can definitely hear the birds. Maybe on the next pass I will try making a contact.

    I'll browse around your blog some more, I'm sure there is a ton of good info here for someone new to satellite work such as myself.



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