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 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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