John's solution is also one I have used for years: feeding a separate signal into the receive-only HF input on the TS-2000. I ran this way on AO-40 as well, taking the 2m signal from the atenna-mounted downconverter and running it through a Hamtronics 2m-10m converter to both the TS-2000 and another 10 m rig to independantly monitor the beacon (very handy). Elegant: no relays, and no danger of ever tranmitting into it. I still have the Hamtronics converter, now installed in my truck, so I could work the S-band downink from AO-51 on my FT-100.
For the birdie problem, I used to be able to tune around it with the big antennas and Landwehr preamp I had at my old QTH (circa 2000-2003). Seriously--if you have enough signal gain, you can tune above it and then below it and overpower the damn thing. My setup is more modest now, so I simply connect an HT for the ocassional AO-27 pass. For SO-50, I find you can tune below the signal and work most of the pass (except when it is approaching you on a high elevation pass). Obviously, you can't use computer control for the receive signal on these two birds. I have had this rig since November of 2000 and found no other serious complaints (except it only has one PC port--but that is another discussion).
73, Jerry, K5OE
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- John, K8YSE posted:
As many of you know, my satellite radio is a TS2000X. If you have visited my satellite webpage, you have seen many recordings of AO-27 and SO50 from AOS to LOS. Most of these recordings were made when I was not sitting in front of the radio.
At first I used a uhf mobile to hear AO-27 and SO-50. The problem was that those radios were not computer controlled so you had to tune for the doppler. That worked fine when I was in the shack, but it didn't work when I was away. The obvious solution was another radio that didn't have the birdie problem, or a simple UHF to 10M downconverter which wouldn't have the birdie problem. Back in the day, UHF and VHF down- converters were very popular because we didn't have a lot of DC to Light radios out there. Now these converters are sitting in junk boxes and are long forgotten by their owners.
One of the more popular manufacturers of these inexpensive downconverters was Hamtronics. They made all kinds of stuff for repeaters etc. At first their products were not that great, but they evolved into some better designs including their UHF to 10m downconverters. Unfortunately most downconverter manufacturers stopped making them when the devices they were using became obsolete and unavailable. The use of current production devices required a redesign of their PC boards and since the demand was no longer there, these products were abandoned.
I was fortunate to find a Hamtronics converter on a qrz.com posting from several years back. It never sold back then and the owner still had it. I purchased it and ran some tests on it against the receiver in the TS2000. It turned out that the downconverter had a slightly better sensitivity than the TS2000!
The big concern when using a converter or preamp is the fear of transmitting into it and smoking the front end. But the TS2000 has an auxiliary antenna jack which is receive only and perfect for a downconverter output on HF. As Drew mentioned, SatPC32 can compensate for a downconverter and tune the TS2000 for doppler in the 10m band. This allowed me to track AO-27 AO-51 and SO-50 unattended and make all those recordings without any human intervention.
A coaxial transfer relay was inserted into the uhf antenna line so that when the converter was in use, the UHF antenna was switched to the downconverter input (which outputs to the aux antenna jack on the TS2000) and the UHF antenna jack on the TS2000 is switched to a dummy load. So if you transmit on UHF, power goes into the dummy load and all equipment is safe. When I want to transmit on UHF (VO-52 and AO-7 mode B), the coax relay switches the UHF antenna back to the UHF antenna port on the TS2000. The downconverter is out of the antenna circuit at this point. I did not use the downconverter when operating on FO-29 so the aux antenna jack had to be switched to normal in the tS2000, menu #18 (FO-29 is a linear bird that outputs on UHF, currently not working).
Every owner of a TS2000 that operates satellites needs a UHF to 10M downconverter. Hamtronics is making a VHF to 10M downconverter now. If everyone emailed them to encourage them to make a UHF model, they might just do it. The only other solution is to make one yourself, or find a used downconverter or transverter that is gathering dust on someone's shelf. I now have an IC910H and am doing comparisons against the TS2000. My first impression it that I prefer the TS2000 but that might be because I'm so familiar with it. I use another TS2000 in the mobile sat truck but don't have a downconverter for it. I simply use a uhf mobile for receive on AO-27 and SO-50 since I'm in front of the radio and don't run it unattended. I have a coax switch to switch the UHF antenna from the TS2000 to the UHF mobile.
Now that AO-51 is silent, all of the FM operation is on SO-50 and AO-27. If you have a TS2000, you'll want to investigate the use of a downconverter.
73, John K8YSE