During the long winter months, I’ve had time to do a lot of research on amateur radio satellites. This is something that has always been a mystery to me and I’ve never really had the resources or time to spend learning what I needed to learn in order to actually utilize them. Well that has changed.

I finally decided to purchase a high gain dual band hand-held UHF antenna along with a radio (or possibly two or three) that would finally provide me with the opportunity to do something I dreamt about since I was a teenager.    I’m also hoping that this could be a fun activity during the summer weekends while camping.   Perhaps I will be the only nerd even remotely interested in this while sitting around the campfire enjoying a beer at night, but at this point my life I’m totally fine with that.

The satellites have changed over the years and are actually easier to make contact with them they were when amateur satellites originated. So to that end I am hoping that on Tuesday or Wednesday I will have the final pieces of hardware needed to try my hand and talk to somebody thousands of miles away using somewhere between three and 5 W of power.

SO-50 Will be the first satellite that is flying overhead and I should be able to reach it Tuesday night at 8 PM.  There is amazing software available now that makes it even easier to find the “birds” and know where they are while operating.  Since they are a moving target hundreds of miles above the earth, it’s very important to know exactly where to point the antenna while operating.   Wish me luck!

The first satellite opportunity I will have tomorrow night

An iPhone app that helps direct the antenna.  Found this from an operator I chatted with on Twitter today.  Makes me feel like I am in a Jedi Fighter!

The handheld antenna that will make everything happen (besides my hand holding the antenna and my other hand which will be on the radio)