We have begun looking ahead to Satellite Station 4.0 and where we want to go next after our ARISS crew contact is complete. Our goals for the Satellite Station 4.0 include:
- A permanently installed version of our 3.1 Station which can be operated remotely over the Internet
- Upgraded Transceivers which add Pan Adapter/Waterfall display capabilities
- Enhancements to our Transportable 2.1 Station for improved performance
- A more portable version of our 1.1 Station for Grid Square Activations
New 4.0 Station at our Home QTH
The performance of the 3.1 Station’s antennas is very good but the antenna system is a handful to transport. We are planning to install these antennas on a new tower at our QTH and use our Flex-6700 SDR-based Remote Operating Gateway with some upgrades to create a remotely controlled satellite station which can be operated via the Internet. The main components of the 4.0 Station will include:
- A new 36′ Rohn 45G House Bracketed Tower
- Reuse of the current 3.1 Station’s M2 Antennas 2MCP14 and 436CP30 yagis and the associated polarity switching relays
- Reuse of the current 3.1 Station’s Directive Systems DSE2424LYRM 23cm yagi
- Upgrades to the 3.1 cross-boom to provide better long-term support for the antennas
- Reuse of the ARR Preamps and AlfaSpid Az-El Rotator from the 3.1 Station
- Addition of Down East Microwave 2 m (2MLPDA), 70 cm (L432-28), and 23 cm (L23HP) power blocks/Transverters to upgrade our Flex-6700 SDR Remote Gateway for satellite operation
The new tower will also provide a new antenna system for the 6 m band.
The Flex-6700 SDR and the associated Maestro Remote Unit will enable the 4.0 Station to be remotely operated through the Internet via a Laptop running MacDoppler.
Upgraded Transportable 2.2 Station
Upgrade plans for our Transportable station include the addition of remote switchable polarity relays and a new Icom IC-9700 Transceiver when it becomes available.
The polarity switches have been installed on the M2 Antennas 436CP16 and 2MCP8A antennas in our M2 Antennas LEO Pack. We are using a DX Engineering EC-4 console to control LHCP or RHCP polarity selection on the antennas. We have been doing some testing with the upgraded LEO pack which includes the polarity switching capabilities and we are seeing a significant improvement in performance.
We are also planning to move the upgraded LEO pack antennas to the current 3.1 Tower to take advantage of the AlfaSpid Rotator which is installed there.
The other major upgrade planned for the 2.2 Station is the new Icom IC-9700 Transceiver when it becomes available. This radio will utilize Icom’s SDR platform and includes a Pan Adapter/Waterfall display which will be a very useful addition for operation with Linear Transponder Satellites.
Upgraded Portable 1.2 Station
We really enjoy mountain topping and activating grid squares so we are planning upgrades to our 1.2 Station for this purpose.
The 1.2 Station utilizes computer control to enable operation with linear transponder satellites and will use solar/battery power along with a 100w/70w Icom IC-910H Satellite Transceiver.
A pair of 90W foldable solar panels, an MPPT solar charger, and a pair of LiPo 4S4P A123 batteries provide plenty of power to run the IC-910H Transceiver and the associated computer. The portable station also includes a pair of ARR preamps.
The antenna system we’ll be using is an Elk Portable Log Periodic 2m/70cm yagi on a camera tripod. A combination of a compass and an angle finder gauge help us to correctly point the antenna.
As you can probably tell, all of these upgrades are in progress and are at various stages of completion. We will post updates here on our Blog as we continue to make progress. Here are links to some of these posts:
- Satellite Station 4.0 Part 1 – New Tower
- Satellite Station 4.0 Part 2 – Antennas
- Satellite Station 4.0 Part 3 – Antenna Integration and Testing