Well, the launch and deploy went without an apparent hitch and given the
presence of Murphy throughout the Fox-1A project up through delivery I
thought that was pretty amazing if not downright spooky.
My qualms were settled tonight when Murphy was back, this time on the
first pass that I have had an opportunity to copy AO-85 on my own. I
set up at home to do just telemetry, and when she rose the signal was
horrible to say the least. It did get a little better as things went on
and pretty good at 30+ degrees of elevation but still pretty weak.
Having read reports that ranged from "outstanding" to "disappointed" I
thought I was finally finding out for sure what we had done.
So I tried manually moving the antennas thinking that if the keps are a
little off that might help.
That's when I noticed that the antennas weren't moving. Still pointed
southwest, maybe 45 degrees elevation, even though the satellite was
passing up high to the west.
I ran up to the attic and lo, the very dual band Diamond vertical
antenna that I had borrowed from the Hood County Club and placed in the
attic for testing Fox-1Cliff/D on the air, was caught in the elements of
my 70 cm antenna! The antenna was pointed north-northeast at 45 degrees
elevation and the rotator had been turning the mast within the tripod so
it thought it was pointing southwest/west. I guess I've been off the
birds long enough that it never occurred to me that where I placed it
was duh, not a good location when you start swinging long beams around.
How's that for comedy? Fox-1D (current configuration in the Labs
running on that Diamond antenna) takes down my Fox-1A pass out of sheer
The good news was, I was copying telemetry even though the satellite was
generally off the back or 90 degrees above the beam of the antenna. And
when it came into the beam, it was loud and clear as I had expected,
although it faded as it set and I could not track it but lowering the
elevation since azimuth was hosed.
It's good to be back in the realm of ham radio where anything that can
go wrong, will!
Jerry Buxton, NØJY