Satellites workable from VK? Antennas?

Discussion about orbiting satellite, and balloon launches
Post Reply
User avatar
Forum Diehard
Posts: 1899
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:39 pm

Satellites workable from VK? Antennas?

Post by VK4GHZ » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:13 pm

Hi all

Developing an interest in working satellites here with an IC-9700 in the shack.
Whilst I've read about casually working sats simply with an FM 2/70 hand-held, I'm aiming for a higher level.

Realistically, what satellites are workable from VK that offer the biggest footprints?
(ie; to maximise potential number of contacts)

AO7 still working?

There are tit bits of information found on the interwebs, but a lot of it is quite dated now.

How many stations are active within these footprints?
Trying to gauge whether it's worth spending minimum $2k on this endeavor.

What antennas are typically required?

Was considering a 2MCP14 and 436CP30, both from M2.
I'll have more chance of actually getting on air if I don't have to fool around making antennas.

Andrews claim the Yaesu G-5500 AZ/EL rotator is obsolete and no longer available.
Strictly Ham still lists it as being in stock.


I would also consider a more robust AZ/EL system that would ultimately cope with a 3m mesh dish for 23cm EME use, once the satellite novelty has worn off. Suggestions?
Adam, Brisbane | VK4GHZ on Youtube
10 things that happen when you stop checking Facebook constantly:
Facebook use and mental health issues:

Forum Diehard
Posts: 360
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:50 pm

Re: Satellites workable from VK? Antennas?

Post by VK1JA » Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:59 pm

G'day Adam,

Compared to a few years ago, there are a heap of sats that can be worked from VK these days. I have the following sats programmed into SATPC32 (there could be more).

SO-50 (FM)

Also include the ISS on that list, they seem to be doing more SSTV/APRS stuff recently.

AO-07 and FO-29 both have decent height so have a good footprint. AO-92 also switches to it's 23cm uplink Freq once a week on Mondays (I think) for 24hrs, AMSAT put out a quick message on their BB, Facebook/social media sites when they do switch it over.

To get you up and running easier I'll post up my sat files from SATPC32, as I remember it can be long and painful to program in all the sats.... Do check the file details, I've done my best to get the details correct, but I may have entered something wrong along the way. You will need to delete the '.txt' extension from the Doppler and SubTone files - I added .txt to both so I could upload them here.

Antenna's - I've had success with very small antenna's - 3el on 2m and 5el on 70cm. Saying that, a bit of gain will certainly help on the downlinks on AO-07 and FO-29, along with LNA's. If you do go with the 2MCP14 and 436CP30, then you should be able to work some big gun EME stations as well, so a bit of a bonus, maybe? I've worked a few big gun EME stations on my 8el 2m and 18el 70cm yagis. Also, if you're interested, have a look at the X-POL yagi's that InnovAntenna's have - ... i-benefits, they are a big step forward in antenna design.

Regarding activity, I'm not particularly active, but when I do fire up SATPC32 there seems to be at least one or two stations on each pass. They may be the regulars though.

Rotators - the G-5500 is what I use here, and they are still being advertised on the site. I've not heard any news of them being phased out, not that I'm activily keeping an eye on them though. The G-5500 certainly wouldn't be able to handle a 3m dish though.

PC-Rotator Interface - I use a FoxDelta ST3 at the moment, and will soon be moving to a FoxDelta ST2 (USB) version. Cheap and they do the job and intergrate with all the programs I have.

Edit - You may know of the AMSAT page that shows the current status of active sats - but not all of those sats are workable from VK :(

Hope it helps

(2.2 KiB) Downloaded 16 times
(4.73 KiB) Downloaded 15 times
(3.58 KiB) Downloaded 16 times

User avatar
Forum Diehard
Posts: 1899
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:39 pm

Re: Satellites workable from VK? Antennas?

Post by VK4GHZ » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:54 pm

Hi Jayson

Appreciate the detailed post. :thumbup:

I'll have to have a proper session with SATPC32.

Adam, Brisbane | VK4GHZ on Youtube
10 things that happen when you stop checking Facebook constantly:
Facebook use and mental health issues:

Forum Novice
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:30 pm

Re: Satellites workable from VK? Antennas?

Post by VK2NB » Sat Jan 11, 2020 6:48 am

Hi Adam

Re Rotors yes the yaesu G 5500 is still availible from strictley ham I bought one not long ago, dont know what andrews problem is.

If you search under VK3FOWL she and the husband has a electronics school with various projects and one that I am building is a stand alone sat tracker for a light antennas eg the Arrow hand held antenna.
That seems a good way of getting started into satellites.

I have also ordered a another tracking project from VK5DJ although this mainly a sun / moon EME project it can be used for satellites as well.
It has the advantage of being able to be interfaced into almost any rotors.

I am getting back into satellites after many years absent used to operate the first group of micro sats, AO10, AO13 and started with AO40 before it cease to function.

I also want to try EME and will slowly start with the G 5500 and yagi antennas due to beam width ( using digital modes ) on 23cm,
I eventually want to try using a dish ( hense the VK5DJ tracker ) but will be home brewing the as/el tracker.
Some hams are using solar panel trackers for the rotators and also wheel chair motors that have a 90 degrees worm drive to act as a brake.
There are commercial heavy duty rotators available but a bit out of my price range unless I will loto.

Nigel VK2NB

Post Reply