Hamvention AMSAT W3ZM/8 Amateur Radio Satellite Demonstration

The Hamvention in Xenia, Oh was amazing and I had an exciting time going from booth to booth. There was a lot to see. I picked up an RTL-SDR dongle and a RX7300 for my Icom 7300 transceiver (more info below).  Out of the demonstrations I saw, the best was at the AMSAT outdoor canopy. I visited them several times, but it wasn’t until my last visit that they were actually making satellite contacts. I guess I just had bad timing before and if you know satellite operation at all, timing is crucial.


AMSAT W3ZM/8 Amateur Radio Satellite Demonstration

I found out later the operator was N8HM, Paul. Take a look at the video, he is doing a great job operating and getting QSO’s in the log. The radios are two Yaesu FT-817 transceivers connected to an Arrow antenna.

“The laptop is running SatPC32 for satellite tracking, but it is not controlling the radios for Doppler (though it could be setup to do so). The rotator is a Portable Rotation Systems Az/El rotator on a cheap speaker tripod. The rotator is attached to the laptop for control.” – N8HM, Paul

YouTube player

His signal is being picked up and retransmitted by a satellite (Oscar 7 or AO-7) while other Hams in the US are receiving his signal with a similar setup. They are able to make contact with him through the satellite. Only essential information is exchanged.

The odd tone of their voices is due to the mode they are using, doppler shift and the necessity to constantly adjust frequency. It is not easy, but Paul did a great job.

Pretty amazing huh??

For more information, see AMSAT For Beginners.

Icom 7300 News

At the Hamvention I picked up an Inrad RX7300 and RTL-SDR dongle for my Icom 7300. I plan on making a panadapter from this. I’m excited to see if this will actually work. I’m not asking much from the RTL-SDR dongle, just enough to get me by until I know it works and it won’t blow up when I transmit.  Then I can pick up a better SDR receiver if needed.

Thanks for coming by. I hope to do what Paul was doing someday. Have you tried operating the birds (satellites)? Please comment below! Best 73 – Rich, K0PIR


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I'm an Amateur Radio enthusiast. I love the hobby and experimenting with radios, antennas and software. On my YouTube channel I upload videos on the Icom 7300 and Icom 7610 along with Ham radio software programs. I hope to inspire people to try new things in Amateur Radio.

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5 years ago

Can’t wait for the video on the RC-7300!

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