Counting down to Arecibo…

April 16, 2010 | Amateur Radio | By: Mark VandeWettering

So, my barely finished antenna got just one basic operational test last night. I monitored the pass of SEEDS II, which was squawking in Digitalker mode on 437.485, which is somewhat higher than the nominal frequency this thing is tuned for (it’s centered for operation around 432). I haven’t really tried SEEDS II in a while, so I can’t compare the relative signal strength, but at times the signals were quite strong, but I seemed to have difficulty tracking and had to keep rotating the antenna (polarization seemed to be shifting alot). I can’t remember its output power, but it must be quite low (well under 1 watt, 100mw wouldn’t be far off). I hadn’t heard it in FM/Digitalker mode before, so I wasn’t ready to record it, but I suspect I would have not had a great recording because of fading.

In about 30 minutes, a fifteen degree pass of AO-51 out over the Pacific will occur, and then in about two hours, Arecibo operations should begin. I’m carting my FT-817, a pocket recorder, some headphones and my antenna (probably toss in the Arrow too) and bringing them to work, and hoping I can hear something during a coffee break. Stay tuned.