How to build amateur satellite antennas

Written by georga hackworth
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The most basic mode of ham radio satellite operation is the use of 2 meter FM (144 to 148MHz) up and 70cm FM (440 to 450MHz) down. Normally two antennas are needed as well as two radios. The easiest antennas for new operators to build for this mode are a pair of ground plane antennas.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 2 RF panel jack connectors
  • 8 4-40 nuts and bolts
  • 16 4-40 Flat washers
  • No. 10 copper wire, 5 pieces 21 inches long, and 5 pieces 7 inches long
  • Solder
  • Flux
  • Weather proofing material
  • Wire cutters
  • Small adjustable wrench
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure or yard stick
  • Soldering Iron,100 watt model
  • Steel Wool or Small wire brush

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Using the steel wool or a small wire brush, clean the area around the four bolt holes on the panel jack connectors.

  2. 2

    Cut one piece of wire 19 5/16 inches long. This will be the 2 meter vertical radiator.

  3. 3

    Cut 4 pieces of wire 20 3/16 inches long. These will be the 2 meter Radials.

  4. 4

    Using the steel wool or a small wire brush, clean one end of each of the 5 pieces of wire. Clean at least ½ inch of wire.

  5. 5

    Using the soldering iron, flux and solder, Solder the 19 5/16-inch piece of wire to the centre solder cup of the RF panel jack that will be used for the 2 meter antenna. Use the cleaned end of the wire to solder to the solder cup.

  6. 6

    Using the needle nose pliers, make a small loop on the cleaned end of the remaining four pieces of wire.

  7. 7

    Using one bolt, one nut, and two washers, attach one radial wire to the connector body.

  8. 8

    Repeat step 7 for the other three radial wires.

  9. 9

    Bend the four radials down at a 45-degree angle. This will present a 50 Ohm impedance to the feed line and radio.

  10. 10

    Cut one piece of wire 6 3/8 inches. This will be the 70cm vertical radiator.

  11. 11

    Cut four pieces of wire 6 inches long. These will be the 70cm radials.

  12. 12

    Using the steel wool or a small wire brush, clean one end of each of the 5 pieces of wire. Clean at least ½ inch of wire.

  13. 13

    Using the soldering iron, flux and solder Solder the 6 3/8 inch piece of wire to the centre solder cup of the RF panel jack that will be used for the 70cm antenna. Use the cleaned end of the wire to solder to the solder cup.

  14. 14

    Using the needle nose pliers, make a small loop on the cleaned end of the remaining four pieces of wire

  15. 15

    Using one bolt, one nut, and two washers, attach one radial wire to the connector body.

  16. 16

    Repeat step for the other three radial wires.

  17. 17

    Bend the four radials down at a 45 degree angle. This will present a 50 Ohm impedance to the feed line and radio.

Tips and warnings

  • The higher they are, the sooner you can hear and possibly access the satellites.
  • These antennas need to be physically separated. This is to prevent the transmitter from overloading the RF circuitry on the Receiver.
  • Do not locate the antennas anywhere near power lines or where they may come into contact with power lines.

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