Back In The Shack – Reception report VO-52

Things are hopefully get back to some form of normality here after a difficult few weeks.

During my downtime I missed the news that VO-52 HAMSAT had fallen silent on the 28th February a week after my last post. But good news the Dutch built CW/SSB transponder  was reactivated yesterday so last night and this morning I monitored a couple of passes. The transponder was certainly busy and I got some nice captured IQ files to analyse later.

Using just the loft mounted discone I monitored quite a little QSO between G7SVF and I8CVS this morning which I managed to capture using the audio recorder.

VO-52 (15-Mar-2012-0823) by nerdsville

The discone It isn’t the best antenna for satellite work, especially with the FUNCube dongle as it’s wideband characteristics heavy overload the front end, but it is nice capture all the same, even if it made me slight late this morning and so got caught in the school run traffic.

I did a Google search on the call signs and discovered I8CVS is Domenico Marini from Napoli Italy. Dom appears to be a well known expert in amateur satellite operation.  On that page is a picture of Dom in 2003 next to an impressive antenna array which appears to be sited on top a high rise building (oh the envy!)

While my own set up is much more modest. I have done a little tinkering, building a small UHF Yagi out of some metal coat hangers but have yet to test it in anger. I have also become a little more familiar with my FUNCube setup. I use the SDR-Radio.com application and having updated to a much later beta version have had much more success. There were some issues that involved the swapping the I and Q signal on early versions but these appear to have now been corrected.

After listening to the ICQ Podcast I have been monitoring a few propagation beacons (GB3VHF and GB3BUX) (I will post more on this later) and using those beacons have got the frequency calibration more or less spot on now. I have also discovered that the Doppler Invert option needed setting so now SDR-Radio more or less correct perfectly as the satellites passes (still occasionally needs some manual interaction)

I really must make a real effort to get a licence and become less passive in this hobby, just not sure how I am going to afford an all-modes transceiver mind!