Another late afternoon today, another chance to try working the new Chinese satellites. The satellites are now starting to spread out, and instead of hearing XW-2A through XW-2F together in a 10- to 12-minute pass, XW-2A is now coming up several minutes before the others. This is now making a pass for these 6 satellites last about 20 minutes or so. I got home in enough time this afternoon to set up my gear, and also assemble my VHF crossed dipole (the antenna sold on the AMSAT-UK web site) and use that for the downlink antenna. The crossed dipole was connected to my SDRplay receiver, and my Elk log periodic was connected to one of my FT-817NDs for my uplink transmitter.
Around 0043-0044 UTC, I started hearing the digital and CW telemetry from XW-2A. This was several minutes before I heard anything from the XW-2B through XW-2F satellites. I was tweeting photos of what I saw on my tablet's HDSDR screen at this point. A few minutes later, I saw the telemetry from XW-2B through XW-2E, and some activity on the XW-2E transponder.
On XW-2E, I worked Jim WD0E and George WA5KBH. I was seeing more activity pop up on the XW-2F transponder, so I moved over there and worked 5 stations (Glenn AA5PK, Jack KC7MG, Robert KO6TZ, George WA5KBH, and Clayton W5PFG). I heard others on XW-2F, so I knew that it was the busier of the two transponders this evening.
I wrote more about this pass, and posted some photos, in a message I left in an ongoing thread about the new Chinese satellites on the QRZ satellite forum:
In that post, I have a link to my Dropbox space, where you can see some photos, along with an audio recording of what I heard when I worked the XW-2E and XW-2F transponders. Sometime tomorrow morning, I will upload the HDSDR RF recordings I made from this long pass (two files, totaling about 4.6 GB in size) to my Dropbox space, as my home ISP has throttled my upload bandwidth when I try to upload large files to Dropbox.
I hope to try more of these passes over the weekend. Unless LilacSat-2's FM repeater is activated, I will probably try working the XW-2E and XW-2F satellites with my FUNcube Dongle Pro+ as my receiver instead of the SDRplay. The dongle should do fine, and its smaller maximum bandwidth (192 kHz) is sufficient to copy the transponders and telemetry downlinks from both of these satellites. The SDRplay has been performing well, and I expect the same from the dongle.
Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK http://www.wd9ewk.net/ Twitter: @WD9EWK