First satellite QSO

I managed my first satellite QSO tonight using the Arrow 2m/440 handheld beam to complete a contact with N3CB in Pennsylvania on the SO-50 bird. I was working with my VX-7 handheld at 5 watts.

My previous attempt at SO-50 a week or so ago was a bust. Despite hearing the satellite perfectly on a long pass nearly directly overhead, a radio programming snafu resulted in no one hearing me. I thought I’d set the rig up with the proper PL tone on the odd split, but Yaesu’s instructions on that were a bit fuzzy. It wasn’t until I did some tests with another rig setup for tone squelch that I discovered the issue.

All things considered, pulling a copyable signal from a 250mW transmitter several hundred miles away isn’t too hard. Sites such as work-sat.com are valuable, in particular the radio programming guide that breaks down the frequency splits to compensate for the Doppler effect as the satellite passes overhead.

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