Our next generation portable satellite station is complete and we tested it during our recent Tech License Class. We discovered a minor issue which was easily sorted out. The new antenna system includes switchable circular polarity and has performed really performs well during the first 50 or so contacts made using the 3.0 station. You can read more about the new station and the initial tests via the link above.
ARRL has asked the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. The FCC has not yet invited public comment on the proposals, which stem from recommendations put forth by the ARRL Board of Directors’ Entry-Level License Committee, which explored various initiatives and gauged member opinions in 2016 and 2017.
It looks like the ARRL got this one right on the mark. Expanding Technician Class License privileges to include digital and SSB phone options on more of the HF bands is just what we need to make the first level Amateur Radio License more fun, a better learning experience, and a more effective bridge to upgrading to General Class privileges. Well done ARRL!
Our Portable Satellite Station antenna system uses a pair of Advanced Receiver Research Remote preamplifiers at the antennas to boost weak signals. These preamps have RF sensing and switching to protect…
Our Portable Satellite Station 3.0 is coming together and has been tested thanks to help from several NARS members. Part of the project is to improve the sequencing system which manages antenna mounted preamplifiers. These improvements involved the design and construction of a simple Push To Talk (PTT) router. The article above explains the design, construction, and integration of this PTT Routing devices. It was a great homebrew addition to our Portable Satellite Station setup.
The video above is a capture of the school’s contact. It was very easy to receive the ISS downlink on our portable backup ground station. I heard the downlink a few seconds before the ISS came up on the horizon and the audio was solid for the duration of the contact. We can only hear the astronaut’s side of the contact as we cannot receive the school’s uplink from Raleigh, NC. The ISS pass began here in New Hampshire part way through the school’s session so we did not hear the first few questions.
Update on Portable ISS/Sat Station 3.0
Work on our upgraded primary Portable 3.0 Station which includes a larger antenna system using switchable circular polarity is progressing well. The portable tower, upgraded rotator system, and the new, larger 2m and 70cm circularly polarized antennas are complete. We are just waiting for a few additional components to arrive here and the upgraded portable ground station should be ready for its first test at our Technician License Class later this month.
More on Today’s ISS Crew Contact
You can see a live stream of the ISS Contact from the school above. There is a great deal of planning which goes into an ISS Crew Contact such as this. We are working closely with Hudson Memorial School on their project and their school is also beginning a High-Altitude Balloon Project with us in a few weeks.
The ISS Crew Contact today was exciting to listen too and we are looking forward to being able to share this experience with Hudson Memorial School in the near future.