Amateur Radio satellite communications looks like loads of fun to me. I first saw a demonstration in 2017 at the Dayton Hamvention. I saw the same Ham, Paul (N8HM), giving another demo for AMSAT at the 2018 Hamvention. So, I recently purchased an Elk2M/440L5 handheld SAT antenna to try out with my Baofeng. (Coming up next, more on JS8 and JS8Call.)
I’ve been using the Elk, along with my Baofeng, to communicate through Saudisat SO-50. Great fun, but you have to be quick as I soon found out.
Elk 2M/440L5 Handheld Antenna
From what I see there are basically three choices in handheld antennas, the Elk, Arrow and homebrew. I went with the Elk because it is a flat antenna and I can store it easily. The Arrow, although a very good antenna, looks a little more cumbersome to me.
The elements on the Elk are color coded and it’s very easy to put together.
I would do a homebrew, but I remember years ago making one for SAT communications and it didn’t work, so I didn’t want to take the chance this time around.
There are some easy homebrew designs, one is called a tape measure antenna and I have seen it work.
I bought my Baofeng in 2017. My first one died, but they are cheap.
This newer one is a BF-F9V2+. I like it and I get 2 day shipping on Amazon. It’s the tri-power version.
Programming the Baofeng for SO-50
Saudisat SO-50 is recommended when using the Baofeng. It’s an FM satellite with the uplink on VHF and downlink on UHF. Do be intimidated, it’s easy.
Chirp is pretty easy to use with the Baofeng. It’s the only way to go on these handhelds and I’ll have a video coming up on it soon. Programming by hand is too hard in my opinion.
More on Chirp and the Baofeng soon. Signup to the mailing list and you’ll be notified when that comes out.
For now, please see Getting Started with FM Satellites.
Here’s How it Works
It’s so easy to put together and it is very nice construction. Look at this video.
Note: When attaching the coax cable to the antenna, dress the cable to extend straight away from the connector for at least eight inches.
Coming up next I’ll have a video on JS8, JS8Call and how I am using it.
Stay in touch and best 73,
I hear the Baofeng UV-5R will work and it’s less expensive.