The K5UTD Amateur Radio Club satellite station is the first major project I’ve led since joining the club. I thoroughly enjoy satellite QSOs and the technical challenge behind the contacts, so it was only right for our shack to be one step closer to “complete” with a satellite station.
Several of the pieces were already at the shack, including an FT-847, Yaesu G-5400, and tons of Heliax. Some pieces were missing though: rotor control box, satellite antennas, and preamps. From a previous project, we had a GlenMartin RT-936 (8 foot tower) and the associated non-penetrating roof mount. After a few emails and phone calls, I was able to locate our antennas and the control box. Oddly enough, we went to pickup the control box and came back with nearly 4 van-loads of old test equipment and other radio-related gear. The stuff had just never been delivered to the shack, and if we wanted the box, the rest had to come. A generous professor donated a pair of ARR switched preamps for our station, taking care of the last piece in the puzzle.
Our antennas are believed to be KLM cross-polarized Yagis, but we’re not too sure. The markings have long since faded. From the antennas, we have about 25ft of Davis Bury-Flex into our custom preamp box. The preamps are ARR switching boxes, which feed about 200ft of 1/2″ heliax. The heliax terminates in our closet outside the radio room, and we finish the rest of the coax run with 30 more feet of Bury-Flex. Both runs terminate into a Yaesu FT-847, which is controlled by a Linux PC running GPredict. The G-5400 control box is interfaced to the PC with an Arduino running the K3NG rotor control software. All things considered, this is a fine satellite station, and we’re very fortunate to have the gear that we do.
Our satellite station in the shack.
And finally, the completed station.